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Old Jan 09, 2013, 11:02 AM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
Joined Aug 2004
2,290 Posts
Mini-Review
JamesChen072's WLToys V959+modules review

The WLToys V959 review


Introduction

Hey guys, I hope everyone had a very nice holiday/ New years! I am very pleased to have the pleasure of writing this review as my first of 2013 (first of many, I hope!).
The V959 appeared late last year but it has practically flown under the radar for most of the past few months. I think the quad is quite innovative but there has been little or no information about it anywhere. Doesn't matter, we'll take a look at it anyways... I hope at the very least, this review will provide you with some entertainment...but hopefully it'll be helpful towards the decision-making process on purchasing your new quad.

The reason why I'm very interested in the 959 is not only because of it's functionality...but because I own both the Hoten X and the 949... and I keep them in relatively close proximity... so I suspect they've been doing some naughty business and this is their offspring :P
Before we start, I'd like to give thanks to my friend Aaron for providing the sample and asking for a fair and unbiased review as always.

Design
The 959 is certainly an interesting mix and match of parts; the canopy is a clone of the popular Hoten-X and the frame originally started in life as the Blade MQX, then the V929 and V949 (although on the 959 the battery is mounted along the center line). There is a clip type connector below the frame that allows you to attach multiple modules to the bottom of the frame.
Due to the added capability of adding modules, the 959 has a nice, tall landing gear that adds ground clearance. The 959 comes with an onboard camera as standard, but I've purchased all of the different kinds of modules so that I can show you guys how these modules function
On the board, there are 4 plugs for the motors and 8(!) for the LEDs. 4 of these have been occupied by the white headlights and the red tail lights. The other 4 you could plug a V949 light set into, which should help with orientation at night. All of the lights are controlled via the light switch on the transmitter.

From the box

The V959 comes well equipped...

1x V959 quad with on-board camera
1x Micro SD card (2GB)
1x 2.4GHz transmitter
1x 3.7V 500 mah Lipo battery
1x 110V/220V charger
4x Spare props
Instruction manual

Transmitter
The V959 comes with a transmitter that seems quite similar to the Devo 6. That said, the clone is only skin deep. Besides the larger case and LCD screen, the functionality of the stock transmitter is similar to other WLToys transmitters.
Like the other recent WLToys transmitters, 4 rates (40,60,80 and 100) give the user a wide range of flight characteristics from the tame to the comparatively sporty. The 6 buttons by the LCD are functional, and their functions are listed in the picture. (I think that getting the function you want without looking at the transmitter takes some practice... there are simply too many functions available on this quad!)

Oh and on the pictures you'll see that I listed the flip key/button as the flip (standby) button because pressing the button does NOT flip the quad, it makes the quad standby for full cyclic input (that's when it'll flip). Meaning that no matter which settings you are in, unless you press the standby key, no amount of cyclic will get the quad to flip. They have been listening, see?

Flight characteristics

So I was a little worried about the V959 with it having to carry the extra weight of the module and the landing gear; but those fears disappeared with the push of a throttle. The V959 has plenty of power even when carrying the camera (or other modules) to climb at a decent rate and even perform flips. Oh and you won't believe how stable the V959 is! Hands off hovering is easily done once you trim out the quad, and the V959 will return to a stable hover if you return the aileron/elevator to neutral.

Compared to the V949, the V959 is less motivated to move. It's not sluggish, I'd say, but it performs your commands with a certain grace about it that I've yet to see in other quads.
Flips are nice and easy... in fact, surprisingly, it's the only quad out of the V929, 949 and 959 lineup that I dare flip inside my apartment! Flips are done with authority and the 959 quickly returns to level flight with minimum loss of altitude and stability.

Due to its heavier weight, the V959 seems to take less notice of the wind when compared to my 929 and 949. It tracks straight and true in the air even when diving at steep angles. Fast forward flights are easy and heaps of fun.

My friend Peter came by yesterday and he had no previous experience with quads...but he found it to be nice and stable..and we were talking about how easy it was for him to transition from coaxial helicopters to this quad in particular. He had no problems hovering it and flying around at all. I think the stability, along with its durability, makes the V959 the perfect beginners quad for those of you out there who are just starting out.

V959 Review video (2 min 41 sec)

Modules


When I bought these modules online, I bought them for the spirit of experimentation... but actually they turned out to be a lot of fun!
Swapping out the module consists of unplugging the plug from the function portion of the receiver. Then you have to push the module back out of the frame with a little bit of force. Reverse this procedure to re-install the module..it takes around 10 seconds before you're ready to go.

I've found that when the quad is binding, the modules (besides the camera) run at full speed for some reason..so make sure you don't have the missiles loaded...or the water reservoir full when you're binding.

For those who are wondering how much these things weigh, I've included the weights of the various modules.

The quad itself weighs 88grams ready to fly (including the battery, without any modules attached).


***Camera module***
Weight: 8g

The Camera module is the one that comes stock with the 959. FyreSG did a very thorough test of it...and here I'll add my comments too!

The image is surprisingly sharp for something that's so cheap! Although the 640x480 resolution is sub-standard these days, it's pretty adequate for playback on the computer. The quality of the image is much better than the cheap 808 that I got from Banggood, but still a bit away from the 808 #16.
I feel that the video is quite smooth, probably because of the 60 fps frame-rate. The blades are balanced very well on this quad, so there are basically no vibrations or jello effect out of the box. Just switch it on via the function button on your transmitter... and fly!
I'll say that the sound quality is not great... on the 808 #16, you could hear spoken words but the V959's camera picks up only muffled sound... in which you can tell that people are talking, but you can't make out what they are saying.

Below is a little video I took of the V959 flying around the community. Will see if it can carry the 808...if so, I will do a comparison.


***Missile module***
Weight: 11g

One of my favorites. The “missile” module shoots red plastic rods at your target with quite a bit of force!

The module comes with 6 “missiles” and it'll shoot one with each squeeze of the trigger (top left: function button). These tiny things are EXTREMELY easy to lose and I've already lost one today. I think I'll ask WLToys to sell the “missiles” by themselves so people could replace the ones they've lost.

I tried this on my friend Peter, we were both amused. I tried it on my girlfriend Deanne, she was not.

***Water gun***
Weight: 10g dry, 13g loaded

Again, a heck of a lot of fun this!the gun's got a 3 gram reservoir situated on the rear end of the module..and a small coreless motor that pumps the water out whenever you press the trigger. In the spirit of experimentation, I tried to sneak up on the gf and squirt water at her while she was watching her TV show.

And guys, that's just never a good idea... got yelled at and had to do the dishes for reparations.

But I do it for you guys, not for me...for you!!! :P
Anyways, this module is a lot of fun..I think I'll chase my dogs around with it when I get the chance to... I promise to post a video if I get around to it

***The hoist and basket module***
Weight: Hoist: 6g, Hoist+basket: 7g

This one's a lot of fun too. It takes a lot of skill and concentration under 100% rates to lower catch the basket on the grappling hook and hoist it up to the quad... but it is VERY rewarding once you do pick up the basket with the hook.

I've gone through about 3 batteries trying to lift bits and pieces from a place to another in the house. .. and I'm pretty surprised at how much the V959 can carry because I've placed the camera module in the basket a few times and the V959 could carry it too (albeit with a little more effort).

***The bubble module***
Weight: 11g dry, 14g loaded

OK, this one's fun if you have children (or pets!) around... turn the V959 into the wind and let the bubble maker do its work!
The package comes with the liquid that you need to make the bubbles with, but when that runs out.. some soap water will do the trick!

Make sure you don't engage this function indoors though, as it leaves a slippery mess (ask me how I know!).


Conclusion


The V959 is certainly the most versatile mini/micro frame in its price range out there. I'm very, very happy with it's stability and performance. It's very hard to imagine how much quad you get for such a comparatively low price... it is a seriously great deal!
For those looking into a first quad, a first on-board camera platform; or those who are looking for some fun... look no further! There are no bad flying characteristics that I've seen so far...and the build quality is a vast improvement over previous WLToys quads that I've tested.

I think the modules themselves are worth getting... I know how cheesy it looks on the brochures and all, but they are heaps and heaps of fun for the young and the young-at heart.

Oh and get more than one battery...you'll want to fly the V959 pack after pack after pack like I do!

This review was written on January 9th, 2013 and is accurate per my findings. I will post the standardized review chart when I reach 100 cycles and that should provide a somewhat objective comparison with the other quads that I have tested. Let me know if you have any questions or comments regarding the review either in this thread or via PM. Thanks for reading!
Pros & Cons

Pros
+ Great flight characteristics
+ Great Value
+ Stable camera platform
+ Optional add-on modules
+ Unparalleled camera quality (compared to other cameras that are bundled to aircraft)
+ Very durable


Cons
- Modules operate during binding
- Muffled audio channel

The WLToys V959 is available at http://www.banggood.com/Wholesale-Wl...a-p-59263.html for 68.99 shipped!


Rank (subjective)
#1 RC EYE One/ RC Logger
#2 QR Ladybird V1/ Walkera
#3 X4(H107)/ Hubsan
#4 V959/ WLToys
#5QR Ladybird V2 (Stock with Devo 4, tied in second place if flown with a programmable radio) Walkera.
TIED
#5X100 (Mini Pet)/MJX/XinYuDa
#6 V949/WLToys
#7 V929 WLToys
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Old Jan 09, 2013, 11:09 AM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
Joined Aug 2004
2,290 Posts
Coming soon: A review of the V959 (V2)!
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Old Jan 09, 2013, 11:39 AM
Registered User
Joined Sep 2012
201 Posts
nice review, I really like this little quad also.. it is now my on the go quad, replacing my v929, and ar.drone, which previously held that position... where do you order the modules? I may pick up the water gun, and missiles..
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Old Jan 09, 2013, 03:15 PM
I'd rather b flying or fishin
Rodger68's Avatar
Vancouver, WA
Joined Dec 2008
29 Posts
Thanks for the review. I really enjoy my V939 so that experience along with your review was enough to convince me to pull the trigger on the V959 plus the LED light kit. Order placed today from BG
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Old Jan 09, 2013, 03:33 PM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
Joined Aug 2004
2,290 Posts
Cheers guys for the nice comments!

@username, the modules I got on Taobao.com but banggood will be carrying them in the very near future (Within a couple of days probably).

@Rodger, cheers! You won't be disappointed at all! And good call on the night kit! I'll post some night flying pictures up (hopefully soon). The addition of the bright LEDs on the nose and tail really does wonders to the visibility and orientation of this aircraft at night..
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Old Jan 09, 2013, 09:29 PM
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Spain
Joined Jan 2010
457 Posts
Very nice review as always...James...Great work and happy new year to You too.

Just curious with the cons...so...if missiles r loaded before binding...r they shot while the binding procedure is done?
And about the sprayer and bubble modules...Can they be refilled while are still attached to the quad ?

Thanks in advance,
Saludos,
Jose
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Last edited by Doblao; Jan 09, 2013 at 09:36 PM.
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Old Jan 09, 2013, 10:56 PM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
Joined Aug 2004
2,290 Posts
@Jose, Thanks!
Yeah, I found that to be very annoying how when you plug in the battery, the pump for the water gun/bubble module will start to work without any command input.
You can refill the sprayer and bubble modules after binding and you can also replace the plastic missiles while the quad is powered. Just make sure you don't have them loaded before you bind it because the quad will start to shoot water/bubbles/missiles at you as soon as you plug the battery in.
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Old Jan 09, 2013, 11:31 PM
KDS450QS(ZYX4),V977,CX-20
FyreSG's Avatar
United States, CA, Monterey
Joined Apr 2012
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Nice review. Wow! Great shots of the bird in flight! I'd love to see the modules in action, like the bubble and missile modules.
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Old Jan 09, 2013, 11:45 PM
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natscape's Avatar
Philippines, NCR, Makati City
Joined Sep 2012
696 Posts
Nice review!

After reading how stable it is, I am thinking of getting the 959 board and using it on my 929 w/808 #16.

I am down to about 85grams AUV with hyperion 550mah battery and the 808 #16 D-lens w/battery but it would be nice to get rid of the camera battery using the 959 board.

Question - does the camera port on the 959 board continuously supply power (+,-) automatically after binding? No need to press any buttons on the new TX?
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 12:10 AM
It flies!!! ... so who cares ?
erdnuckel2's Avatar
Joined Mar 2009
9,069 Posts
kudos on the review James. Great as usual. However, I am surprised you say it is out for months now - I certainly was not aware of this ... and I guess a lot of other guys neither, or there would have been a huge thread by now.
(Guess now we will see the same as with the Syma X1 ... the "right" person (whoever this may be) has to talk about it and all of a sudden the ball gets rolling ...

It really sounds like this one is different from all the other clone quads ... and NOT just because of the modules (the availability of which ... for purchase ... I was not aware of either)

Well, way too many words already ... great review, keep up the good work in the new year!

E2
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 05:24 AM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
Joined Aug 2004
2,290 Posts
Cheers guys,
@FyreSG: Thanks, I took those pictures with one hand while I flew with the other :P I will try to take a video of the modules in action..but I think the bubble module might be the only one that you can see function on camera.

@Natscape, the port is powered but it's a 4 wire port..so I'm not sure how you might connect to it. It'll probably take some experimentation.

@E2, At least here in China...it's been on the market for quite a bit of time.. Aaron told me that the modules are available now btw! They are nice and cheap..I really recommend getting all of em'
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 05:29 AM
KDS450QS(ZYX4),V977,CX-20
FyreSG's Avatar
United States, CA, Monterey
Joined Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jameschen072 View Post
Cheers guys,
@FyreSG: Thanks, I took those pictures with one hand while I flew with the other :P
What?! Great skills!
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 09:19 AM
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UniversalRC's Avatar
United States, GA, Mt Airy
Joined Dec 2001
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James, when will MassiveRC have these?

Ready to hit the buy button
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 09:46 AM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
Joined Aug 2004
2,290 Posts
@FyreSG, Thanks!

@UniversalRC: You'll have to convince MassiveOverkill that you really really really want it and we could probably carry it. I have asked our suppliers about cost and all..because I really do like the 959 a whole lot..but the shipping is what gets us... international shipping is EXPENSIVE
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 10:11 AM
Flying mostly micro's
BlueHavoc's Avatar
United States, WV, Vienna
Joined Mar 2007
606 Posts
Great review as always James! I wasn't even aware of this one yet & don't know how I missed it! Looks like fun!
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