When you need an affordable drone with high performance capabilities, the Walkera QR X350 has to loom out larger. For nearly 3 years now, this drone has endured as one of the main formidable competitors to the dominance of the DJI Phantom 2.0 series in the drone market.
The main reason why I believe this has been the case is owing to its relatively cheaper cost and its customizability. Can you think of any other $500 bot with an APM flight controller having GPS-enabled functions and Auto Pilot features in the market?
The Walkera QR X350 drone comes in two main popular releases. These are: The Walkera QR X350 X2 and The Walkera QR X350 Pro. The Pro version is just an improvement of the X2 version.
Nonetheless, the latter has a more durable casing, an APM flight controller (X2 used an analog controller) and a higher flight time. Thus, the pro version of the drone costs about $200 more than the older release of the same. I admit that $200 is quite a huge cut, isn’t it? But it is worth the cut. Let’s do a few more considerations to explain that.
- GPS altitude hold system
- One key return home and compass sensor
- Plug and play G-2D gimbal support
- LiPO and brushless power – more expansive battery compartment than the DJI Phantom
- Approximately 25+ minutes of fly
- Quad is compatible with ardupilot, MAV link and open sourced mission planning software to allow for waypoint driven flying
- Devo 7 seven channel transmitter featuring a quad bearing design for silky smooth control stick action and the ability to bind up to 15 vehicles
Please keep in mind that cheap could be expensive: Walkera QR X350 drone has got many similar counterfeit productions in the market. Obviously, most of the non-original and second-hand drones do cost much cheaper than the original drone. While the original drone costs between $450 and $500, you can actually get one at just $300. The only problem is that these cheaper alternatives break so easily.
The QR X350 pro version is packaged in a Ready-To-Fly (RTF) state where as the QR X350 X2 is packaged in a Bind-n-Fly (BnF) state. Also, both versions normally lack a Camera and a gimbal in standard packaging. Thus, there exist variations of the packaged drone components depending on the different vendors.
Even so, the quadcopter will always have the following accompaniments:
- The QR X350 drone
- A 2200mAh or 5200mAh battery
- A user manual
- The Devo F7, 10 or F12E transmitter (pro version only)
Note: As stated before, besides the drone and the drone guide, other accompanying components of this drone do vary greatly among different drone vendors. It is thus essential to first verify the particular accompaniments only as stated by the vendor and make a claim only if any of the could be lacking.
Since the drone doesn’t come with a camera, both the older version and the newer version of the drone does require some minimal welding of you will require fixing a camera on it. Either, in the older versions, it will also require you to tighten most of the screws before engaging the drone.
This is certainly one of the causes that hindered its earlier popularity. Check in below video how to do that.
Drone design & durability
The QR X350 quadcopter has got great looks to be discerned. From its front-upper look, it has got a peculiar slant on its top that makes it look fancier and enhances its speed as well. That can ascertain its agile speed of up to 45mph.
It has an extended landing gear able to accommodate a camera below it and keeps its sensors protected. It is also very light, portable and it able to carry about 7lbs above its own weight.
The casing of the drone is made of strong plastic that is able to safeguard its breaking with brushless motors. In addition, the fact that the drone has got an extended and well protective landing gear does play a role in keeping the camera and the sensors from accidental damage.
The Walkera Company’s drones have in the past received a popular complaint on their durability. It is evident that over 60% of the complaints that were raised on the drone’s first release compromised poor welding of the drone.
As such, it is important that you will take some time to confirm that a drone is well welded before taking it on air. The Pro version was built to address these popular drawbacks.
One sad fact is that the original standard release (which is the cheaper option) does not have an accompanying camera. Initially, it was released in a BnF form that could require you to bind the drone itself first before attaching a camera.
However, the never releases only require you to bind the Gopro and the camera. In other cases, some suppliers can do that for you freely!
The fact that the drone lacks a camera at the high cost does make it seem a little too poor to many. However, this also can be advantageous as it allows you to upgrade cameras and with it a cheaper way to improve quality of pictures. It is compatible with all modern drone cameras like the Hero 3, 3+ and Hero 4.
Battery & flight time
The Pro version is usually packaged with a 5200mAh, 11.1V battery that takes between 40 and 60 minutes to fully charge and drains in 15-21 minutes when in continuous use.
This is a great improvement from its predecessor (the X2 version) that could last between 7 and 11 minutes. Thus, it is recommended to choose the latter if you got some extra bucks left.
Now the feature that distinctly puts this drone away from its competitors like the Scout X4 and the Tali H500 is the APM flight controller. If you are a fanatic of multicopters, I am sure you’ve already joined the dots.
The APM flight controller is an open source software program provided by ArduPilot which controls the drone’s performance. It can as well be termed as the drone’s mind.
Great features accompany the controller to enable the quadcopter become smart enough to compete even with DJI Phantom 3 series drones. The leading among all features is its ability to combine Google maps and GPS controls to guide the drone in remotely.
The QR X2 version of drone is not an easy-to-fly type drone since it utilizes the use of purely manual controls. Manual controls do not require complex set ups; they are always ready to fly instantaneously.
However, you’ve got to be a bee’s knees for you take the drone out in the skies and control it back safely without making accidents.
As such, it is recommended that you first take time to study and learn a few essential before giving it a try. You can check on this short tutorial here to assist you learn and make the first flight.
The Pro version on the other hand is incredibly easy and enjoyable to control. The APM flight controller incorporates both the analog and auto features that make its control much easier. You will first have to install a freeware known as Mission Planner in your PC.
Next you connect your controller via a USB and you can begin learning some drills that the bot can achieve. When ready, set an appropriate control mode e.g. the “Simple Flight” mode that enables you to do drills easily and start your bot.
It’s not hard; you just move you’re the control stick whichever way you want the drone to move and it will obey. Don’t worry about balancing it; the drone itself is smart enough to know that. It has a control distance of 2 KM.
Value for money and guarantee
The drone costs about $500 in online stores. It does look like quite a huge figure, doesn’t it? However, most of the other drones with similar features cost a lot more. This makes it a better alternative to opt for when working on a tight budget.
I must point out that this drone really lacks in warranty. But while the drone doesn’t come with any valid warranty from its suppliers, it is always advisable to negotiate terms with your seller so that you can be guaranteed of replacements in case the drone arrives in a malfunctioning state or if it be questionable. On this, you got to use the rule of bidding: the best bidder wins.
The prominent distinguishing features of this bot are:
- The APM Flight controller: this incredibly advanced feature (already described above) distinguishes this quadcopter from many others of the same class. It places on your table control features like the various flight modes like the fly level, straight or simple. In addition, it is GPS enabled thus can detect altitude changes, hover when it exceeds the control distance and even return and takeoff automatically yet safely.
- The battery: The Walkera QR X350 pro did a great improvement on the drone’s battery when compared to its predecessors. With a flight time of up to 20 minutes, this drone qualifies to be used commercially or as a substitute of the expensive DJI Phantom alternatives.
Similar models or main competitors
The UDI 818A Quadcopter
The UDI 818A emerges as the latest and cheapest formidable competitor to the Walkera QR X350 drone in the market. The designers of the UDI 818A drone seem to have borrowed the design from the Parrot AR Drone 2.0.
Then again, this bot has its distinctive features because it uses a manual controller, it has a special altitude sensor that manages its flight stability (assisted by 6-axis gyro stability), and since it is relatively simpler, it doesn’t require FAA rules to fly.
The ability of this bot cannot be underrated either; it is agile as it is convenient. Thus, it will allow you to make perfect swings, rotations, spins and many other robotic acrobatics. It’s also made of a strong plastic casing whose durability disputes all drones of its simple class. It supports a 4GB Micro SD card for recording videos.
However, it surely has a relatively poor camera of 2MP and a short flight time of just about 7 minutes. In addition, it has a limited control distance of about 200 meters. But come on, at a cost of just $90 what more could you expect? A GPS controlled bot? No. This drone has surely exceeded the market expectation in its cost-to-performance ratio. Thus, it is surely a product to yearn for.
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The Scout X4
The Scout X4 is one of the best drones ever produced by Walkera Company both in performance and when it comes to design. If looks were ranked, then this bot could scoop it all. It begins with a fancy strong plastic casing that is curved to bring out a chopper-like look. Then the cool pairs of propellers and an accompanying retractable landing gear that finishes the design.
Besides, it also has some smart features too. For instance, it is capable of following the controller of the drone under a special “Follow me” feature. With an iLook+ camera and it allows for camera upgrades. It can also be converted from a simple 4-motor to an 8-motor quadcopter and thus increase both its speed and capability.
This drone is programmable and is app-controlled like most of the newest trends are. It has a flight time of between 20 and 25 minutes when fully charged and just like many other drones, it too can be controlled remotely.
But this drone too has faced a few oppositions to its sales in the past. This is mainly because about one in ten of its buyers experienced a durability of the drone’s parts. The key among these fragile parts is the retractable landing gear. Either, the Scout X4 has a tendency of preferring the use of manual controls than the app controls. This makes it hard for a novice in quadcopters to enjoy flying it
Even so, this bot is surely great and worth of evaluation. It cost about $1100 currently. Do you need some outdoor filming? Try this out.
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DJI Phantom 3 Standard
When quality is essential in selecting a drone the DJI Phantom surfaces unrivaled. I chose the DJI Phantom 3 standard as opposed to the Phantom 2 series because the latter is no longer supported by DJI Phantom.
By a look at this quadcopter, not much complexity erupts in its design. However, embedded in the deceptively simple look is a powerful capability that can only be rivaled by DJI Phantom series drones themselves.
This drone comes in a RTF state complete with a 2.7K camera that relays images at 30 frames per second. That also means that this drone is app-controlled. This makes it a perfect choice for hobbyists and learners.
It has a 25 minute flight time and is GPS enabled. Thus, this drone can be controlled remotely and easily. This drone is popular for having a durable body and being fault tolerant. Thus, you need to worry less on its breakage. Furthermore, it is the only drone with a warranty among the reviewed.
There has been no much hullaballoo about this bot. Nevertheless, it has also been compromised as some of the users experienced breakage of internal parts of the drone. However, the number of its complaints is highly minimal is thus recommended even for commercial usage. It costs about $500-$650.
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Here are a few more pros and cons of the Walkera Quadcopter you ought to keep in mind:
- It is stable: this drone does have a self-adjusting mechanism that keeps is balancing and thus is able to shoot highly professional videos that lack the shakiness of drone videos.
- It is cheaper: while most drones with similar features tend to cost between $700 and $1000, this bot cost as low as $450 in some online sellers.
- It is smart: it is able to easily pick up controlling signals and can only fly within the limited controlling region. It can make automatic takeoffs and a landing thus it is able to safely return without much difficulty.
- It is agile in flight: this feature enables it to cover lengthy distances easily thus becomes more economical.
- It is not easy to control: though with an advanced and highly powerful controller, this drone still may prove challenging to use as it has almost manual controls. Thus, it takes time for one to acclimatize with the controller.
- It has a less durability: from its reviews, it can be determined that he drone has a very fragile body. Up to 70% of its critics associated the drone with easy breakages.
- Camera incompatibility: since the drone isn’t packaged with a camera, it has also faced few complaints of camera incompatibility in the past.
It is a great drone in design, an obedient bot in taking commands and cheaper option suited for commercial usage.
Nonetheless, this bot does have a few negatives like the compromised durability. Even so, this drone has still recorded one of the highest drone sales worldwide. So, you can trust it and try it.