Heli Pad Review Series: FQ777-124 Pocket Quad with Headless Return
The SBEGO FQ777-124 is a very long name for a very tiny Quadcopter. SBEGO is a new brand to me. FQ777 seems to be the model number, but the package and the manual also call it the Pocket Drone Quadcopter 124. For the purpose of this review, let's just keep it simple and call it the FQ777. It is a small toy that fits in the palm of your hand. Had the company known what bad press the "drones" have been getting, they would definitely not market it as a drone. In general, I refuse to call any of my toy Quad drones.
The FQ777 is 45mm motor to motor diagonally. I could easily fit three of them on the face of my cell phone. They come in 4 fashionable colors, black, white, red, and blue. I got the black one. In many ways, it is similar to the Cheerson CX-10 that I have previously reviewed. CX-10 was the first Quad on the market of this size category that offers a full body shell. Prior to the CX-10, there were several models using the PCB as the tiny frame and arms. The battery usually sits above the PCB, covered by a flimsy canopy. CX-10 changed the game by putting on a full body and dropped the battery to under the PCB, lowering the center of gravity and profile. It was a great design, and I love it very much. After the CX-10 came the CX-10A, which was an update with the Headless flying mode.
Like the CX-10A, FQ777 also has Headless flying mode. Before flying in Headless mode, careful calibration must be performed. You do that by standing directly behind the Quad and pulling both control sticks to the lower left corner. The LEDs on the Quad will flash to confirm and perform calibration. Once the Headless mode is engage, the heading of the Quad is disregarded. It's movement is entirely relative to your position with the remote. No matter which face the Quad is facing, pushing the right stick forward will cause the Quad to fly away from you. Pulling it back will cause the Quad to fly towards you.
FQ777 one ups the CX-10A by offering, for the first time in this size class, One-Key Return. Without GPS awareness, One-Key Return is not very accurate. It is basically Headless with the Right stick pulled back for you, so the Quad flies towards the general direction of the Tx.
The other unique thing about the FQ777 has to be its Transmitter/Case combo. The Transmitter (Tx) is also a carrying case. It has a compartment with a clear window cover that houses the FQ777 for transportation. The idea is that the whole setup could fit in your pocket - well your rather deep and big pocket. The case is 5.5 inches (14cm) long, bulky to say the least. It isn't light either, because it uses 4AA batteries to power, instead of two smaller AAA like the CX-10. Why? Because it is supposed to be a portable charging base for the FQ777, also. Since it is basically a rectangular case, the Tx feels extremely boxy and uncomfortable in the hand, with two very short control sticks that are difficult to use with any kind of precision. The Trim Buttons are really, really small. But because of its boxy but symmetrical layout, the Tx could be flipped over and configured to either Mode 1 (right hand throttle) and Mode 2 (left hand throttle). It is nice, but fairly useless feature to most people.
The FQ777 is packaged with nice accessories, all of which could be carried in compartment under the Tx. First, there is a wrist strap, if you incline to carry the Tx that way. Then there is a very functional Prop Guard. Next, are 3 landing gears. You only need 2; the third one is a spare. But the landing gears are so flimsy that I am afraid of breaking them just by installing them. Lastly, there are not 4, but 8 spare props. That's a nice touch. A Yellow USB charging cable is also supplied, but it won't fit in the case.
The Final Verdict
Truth be told, all three, CX-10, CX-10A and FQ777 are fun flying machines. They are not for beginners because they are small and fast. They are not the easiest to fly because their small body transform them into a dot even at nominal distance. But for experienced pilots, you will love flying them. The biggest downside is their short 4+ minutes flight time. Because the battery is sealed in, you can't put on a fresh one and keep flying. For that reason, I like the Eachine H8 mini over all three of these. Among these three very similar pocket Quads, I like the CX-10A best, not to mention that it carries the lowest price tag currently. For the lower price and added feature, it is a no brainer to get the CX-10A over the CX-10. There are raving reviews out there for the FQ777, but at the end of the day, the step-up features found on the FQ777, such as One-Key Return, flimsy landing gears, Mode 1/2 switching, and the recharging case, are gimmicks. They have no practical usefulness. On the down side, the flips are not as tight as the CX-10A, it's heavier, and flight time is up to half a minute shorter. Honestly, if it is marketing it as a pocket Quad, I will never put that case in my pocket, and the Tx is awfully poor in the hands. I'd much rather find a small case for the CX-10A, and have the option of carrying that and the Tx in Two different pockets. Not to mention that the CX-10A Tx is so much better than the FQ777's. The CX-10A Tx is 70g. The FQ777 Tx is over 200g (my scale maxes out at 200g). Which one would you rather have in your pocket, seriously?
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Just got mine and as normal practice with RC models and per instructions, switched Tx on then the Quad, it just sits there flashing its LED's no matter what.
If however you switch the quad on and then the TX (ie like binding) it connects and works every time.
Either the instructions are wrong and this does it the reverse to every other RC model in existence or mine is not remembering the Bind.
I have seen 3 review vids and in each the Quad was turned on first so maybe it is just the way it is (even if totally wrong safety wise) and instructions are wrong.
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