Yuneec Typhoon H Hexacopter – First Look and Rating

Size Comparison of Backpacks

Yuneec Typhoon H Hexacopter Camera Drone – Droneflyers Review and Rating
Prelude – If you are a drone newbie or beginner and/or technically challenged we would caution you that this model – and, in fact, most delicate and complex camera drones over $1,000, are not for your first attempts at flying. The exception would be if you have a local hobby shop or dealer who is willing to do setups, troubleshooting and education. Most beginners should consult our series of articles and recommendations and start with the basics.
NOTE: Draft published August 9 – article will be added to in the weeks ahead w/demo videos, links and other experiences.

Introduction

The Yuneec Typhoon H created excitement at the 2016 Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. Much of the buzz was about the Intel Realsense obstacle avoidance system slated to be included on the H. However, Yuneec was late in delivering Realsense (they are just starting to sell the Pro models now – August, 2016) and instead released the Typhoon H at a lower price of $1299 (about $1125 discounted on Amazon) without the Realsense module. Although they promised an easy upgrade, they are not currently offering this…the full Realsense H “Pro”  (about $1899+) is currently the only way to get the full OA (Obstacle Avoidance) system.

Our Typhoon is the standard model which also comes with a “Wizard” controller – a hand held wand that can substitute for the Remote controller in certain situations.

Some customers have been confused by Yuneec shipping the H without the RealSense. There is a so-called “obstacle avoidance” front facing sonar built into even the base model but it is not very useful (low range, only front..not on aircraft bottom, not “vision” but sound, etc.).

To clear up this matter, here are the three Yuneec H models and approx. prices as well as features.

  1. Base model – this is the basic hexacopter unit sold from launch until beginning of August, 2016. It comes with a single battery and no Wizard wand. Current “street price” is approx. $1100.
  2. Base model with Wizard – this is the same as #1 but includes the Wizard wand. Current “street price” is approx. $1180.
  3. YUNEEC Typhoon H PRO Hexacopter with Intel RealSense and Backpack- this is currently selling for approx. $1899.

The H is a consumer level camera done which features a 4K camera capable of video or still pictures and a large remote controller with a built-in 7″ screen. The OS (screen) runs on Android. In terms of other offerings in the same segment, here are the current popular choices:

  1. DJI Phantom 3 4K – $599
  2. DJI Phantom 3 Pro – $899
  3. Autel X-Star – $699
  4. DJI Phantom 4 – $1250 (street)

Only #4 above has true “computer vision and obstacle avoidance”, and so can be compared to the H Pro. All units have 4K cameras. At the end of our review we will offer specs, suggestions and opinion on the pros and cons of the various units.

The H is marketed as having three main selling points: [Read more…]

Best Selling Camera Drones on Amazon USA – August, 2016

August, 2016 Best Sellers – Quadcopters, Multirotors and Camera Drones

Rank #1 – Phantom 3 Standard #30 in Camera & Photo

Rank #2 – Phantom 3 4K #104 in Camera & Photo

Rank #3 – Phantom 4 – #124 Camera and Photo

Rank #4 – Phantom 3 Advanced #180

Rank #5 – Phantom 3 Pro – #190 –

Rank #6 – Autel X-Star Premium #250 –

Rank #7 – Yuneec Q500 4K – #1000 –

Rank #8 – Yuneec Typhoon H Hexacopter – #1050 – [Read more…]

DJI Phantom 4 – First Flights and Rating – Part 2

Phantom 3 (L) and Phantom 4 (R) Gimbals

Note – Part 1 of this review is at this link.

DJI Phantom 4 – First Flights and Rating – Part 2 – Camera, Gimbal and Propulsion System Improvements and Differences over Phantom 3 and earlier models.

Thousands of articles and videos have detailed the features and workings of the Phantom 3 series of Camera Drones. Rather than repeat these details, we will note the improvements in the Phantom 4.

As we often note, the Phantoms are “Flying Cameras”…and so improvements over the existing models should be in the imaging (camera) and flight systems. The Phantom 4 features a completely redesigned Gimbal and camera body – both of which are designed to provide more stability and a better image quality.

Phantom 3 (L) and Phantom 4 (R) Gimbals

Phantom 3 (L) and Phantom 4 (R) Gimbals

The Phantom 3 had the gimbal and the associated electronics mounted below the main body of the quadcopter. The pictures above (L) show that the camera is held in place on one side only – the left when looking at the Phantom from the front. A small metal arm then connects the gimbal/camera assembly to the external gimbal electronics.

The Phantom 4 features a refined design where the gimbal holds the camera on both sides – see the lower right P4 picture above. The gimbal electronics have been moved to inside the Phantom body and are connected by much more robust shaft.

The Phantom 4 camera also has an improved lens. [Read more…]

Counting Drones – How many? Which ones?

Guestimates on Consumer Camera Drones

As a “thought experiment” today I wondered how many camera drones have been sold worldwide in the last 3+ years.  I quickly put fingers to keyboard and made some wild guesses which turned out as follows.

The time frame for these sales is 2014 onward – being as that was arguably the start of the “consumer camera drone” market. I also excluded models which were sold without a camera and/or gimbal (Phantom 1, Blade 350QX, etc.). Only units under $2K are listed.

My “back of the envelope” results look like this:

Guestimates on Consumer Camera Drones

Guestimates on Consumer Camera Drones

These numbers line up fairly well with other estimates. Highlight of the data:

  1. 2.5 BILLION dollars at retail of consumer camera drones have been sold.
  2. DJI may have sold 80% of the DOLLAR amount – at retail.
  3. Yuneec is the ONLY other company with more than 5% of the sales volumes at retail dollars.

[Read more…]

DJI Phantom 4 – First Flights and Rating – Part 1

Rainbow at Dusk -Phantom 4

As of mid-2016 the DJI Phantom 4 is the flagship product in the “consumer level” quadcopters made by DJI, the largest manufacturer of multirotors in the world. We purchased ours direct from DJI along with an extra battery. They are also available through Amazon, BestBuy and various local and online dealers. Following our own advice, we waited 90+ days after the initial release to purchase. This waiting period allows for the makers to update various parts of the system (usually software called “firmware”).

Basic Setup

The Phantom 4 is packaged well and rough transit (shipping) should not harm it. An integrated two piece foam assembly – which serves as an everyday storage and carrying case – is included. This is a nice touch as the buyer does not have to immediately purchase an additional case. Those who do a lot of travel or hiking, may want to consider one of the many backpacks, soft or hard cases available.

Foam Case is included

Foam Case is included

The Phantom 4 is sold fully assembled and RTF (ready to fly). Included in the box are:
1. The Phantom 4 body with battery and SD card.
2. The Remote (R/C TX) which appears almost identical to the Phantom 3 Pro and Inspire remotes. The Remote features a mount which holds your choice of smartphone or tablet – which powers the DJI Go software app.
3. Battery charger with connections for the battery and for the remote.
4. Propellers (8) – as well as a USB Cord and USB adapter
5. Basic documentation – which contains links to more detailed videos and manual.

I was pleased with the simplicity of the packaging and setup – it can be offputting to see countless small plastic bags of various tools, adapters and accessories when unpacking some drones…not so with the Phantom 4.

From my former experience, I knew that the first order of business was to charge up the batteries. This takes approx. an hour and provides a good break for the new owner to glance over the documentation, install the propellers.  [Read more…]

Finding Beautiful Places to Fly and Photograph with your Drone

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0022.JPG

Bought your new video/photo drone? Check!
Read the Manual? Check!
Run the flight simulator program or practiced with some toy quads? Check!
Watched some of the online Videos relating to your model? Check!
Made your maiden flights at a large open field (school or similar field) to test the setup? Check!

Now it’s time to find some more varied places to fly your quadcopter and take some stunning still pictures and videos. Don’t be tempted to use your front and back yards and local neighborhood as regular flying grounds they probably aren’t that interesting and you’ll be quite embarrassed if you need to retrieve your new machine from the neighbor’s pool. Worse yet, you could damage cars, property or injure people.

Finding suitable and photogenic locations can take some effort but the results will be worthwhile. Here are some hints and tips which may help you find some safe

Know Where you Are!

Study local maps carefully ideally on Google, Bing or Apple Maps Satellite view. Once you become familiar with your locale, locate large open (usually green) areas. During a recent trip to Florida, I noticed that a large fairgrounds was just a few blocks away. This area provided a great view of the city and surrounding area and was very safe for flying.

Example of Map View

Example of Map View


I founds some large abandoned areas near some railroad tracks which provided an amazing view of a local park as well as the center of town. [Read more…]

Drone Sales Forecasts released by CTA

Drone Boom Chart

July, 2016

The CTA (Consumer Technology Association) has released their projections for the US and worldwide Drone market for the years 2016-2020. Droneflyers.com was proud to provide essential data and consulting to the CTA (produces of the CES Show in Las Vegas) in order to help them provide the most accurate projections possible.

After studying their new report we conclude that they did a fine job in comparison to their earlier models. Here are some of the highlights and some editorial on their projections and the market in general.

Highlights – and some of our opinions!

The US represents approx. 25% of all Consumer Drone revenue worldwide. This figure is probably lower than the former 30% as the ROW (Rest of World), especially China and Europe, increase in sales and importance.
[Read more…]

Best Selling Camera Drones (Amazon), July 2016

The following, ranked by order of sales, are the top sellers in the Camera Drone category on Amazon USA.
Note -the Phantom 3 Advanced hit first place due to a Lightning Deal which reduced its price for one day.


DJI Phantom 3 Standard Quadcopter Drone with 2.7K HD Video Camera
DJI Phantom 4 Quadcopter
DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter 4K UHD Video Camera Drone
DJI Phantom 3 4K (White/Gold)
Autel Robotics X-Star Premium Drone with 4K Camera, 1.2-Mile HD Live View & Hard Case (Orange)
DJI Inspire 1 V2.0 Quadcopter With Single Remote
DJI Phantom 2 V2.0 Quadcopter
Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon Quadcopter Drone RTF with CGO3 Camera, ST10+ & Steady Grip
Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition Quadcopter – Jungle
Parrot Bebop 2 – Red
Typhoon H 4k Collision Avoidance Hexacopter w/ Battery, Charger, ST16 Controller

We publish a list of the best selling GPS Camera Drones once or twice a month. Our data comes from various rankings on Amazon – the best category being “Camera and Photo”. However, this data has to be combined with other rankings as drones are often classified in differing (and incorrect) categories.

The list provides a peek into the mid-range consumer electronics Camera Drone market.

HK 251 Whirlwind Brushless Quadcopter Review

XK 251 Brushless Quadcopter

The XK 251 is a RTF (Ready to Fly) mid-sized (250 mm diagonal) quadcopter featuring brushless motors and carbon fiber arms and landing gear. Brushless motors are more efficient and more powerful than the brushed variety typically found on toy-grade models. They also have a much longer life span.
Here is an FAQ relating to the difference between brushed and brushless motors.

The XK 251 weighs in at 215 grams meaning that no FAA registration is needed. It is powered by a small 2s (7.4v) battery.

Audience for the XK 251

I would describe this XK model as a “light sport” quadcopter which would appeal to many types of pilots. It would serve as a good learning platform for newer pilots wanting to step up their skills from toy-grade models. More experienced pilots may enjoy flying it with or without add-on cameras, FPV or other modifications. While it may not be as fast or powerful than heavier racing drones, it will satisfy most who desire a “go fast” machine and cost MUCH less both initially and for upkeep.
[Read more…]

Best Selling Camera Drones in June 2016

Phantom 3 Standard - #1 in June, 2016

As a new feature we are going to try and report the best selling GPS Camera Drones on a regular (monthly and possibly weekly) basis.

The data is from Amazon.com (US).

New this month are the inclusion of the Autel Robotics X-Star and the Yuneec H – both new entries into the Camera Drone Category.

Without further ado, here is the list:
#54 DJI Phantom 3 Standard – http://amzn.to/28VCH34
#120 DJI Phantom 4 – http://amzn.to/28UNUWh
#153 DJI Phantom 3 4K – http://amzn.to/28TGeii
#242 DJI Phantom 3 Advanced – http://amzn.to/28XArwv
#353 Autel X-Star Premium – http://amzn.to/28YRxt7
#362 DJI Phantom 3 Pro – http://amzn.to/28UO7sw
#450 Yuneec Typhoon H – http://amzn.to/28TyY7V

Others models which are selling fairly well are the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 (and oldie!) and BeBop (various) Models.

Phantom 3 Standard - #1 in June, 2016

Phantom 3 Standard – #1 in June, 2016


Notes on this Data – It is very difficult to pin down Drone sales on Amazon due to miscategorization of many models – that is, Amazon may have one Drone under “Quadcopters”, another under only “Camera and Photo” and yet another under “Cell Phones” or other improper category. Also, some models have multiple listings/sellers, so we have to add up the 2 or more rankings. Due to these and other factors, the data is not exact…however, it probably represents the “best guess” at this specific point in time.