MJX X100 Review ***Updated: Video***
Introduction (and a few words from James)
Hey everyone, I know that I've promised a review of the X100 a few weeks ago...but I've been so busy lately that I can barely find the time to do my paperwork at the hospital... let alone the review! (For those of you who are following my exciting life at the bottom of the medical pyramid, I'm doing my rotation in the Internal Medicine/Cardiology ward... not a fun place to be for both patient and doctor )
Anyways, I trust that many of you have seen Erdnuckle2's excellent post on his blog about this quad...so I hope that my findings can provide another point of view or further information perhaps...into the performance and many other aspects of this great little aircraft.
Special thanks goes to Banggood (my friend Aaron especially) for providing the sample... and to you guys for reading it.
As always, questions and comments are welcome and much appreciated.
From the box
There was no damage to the box at all when it arrived at my apartment (although it has made a far shorter journey than most). Like Erdnuckle2 said though, everything from the box to the manual were in Chinese...which may be a problem for most of you. In the following review I'll label most of the buttons on the transmitter and highlight some of the unique functions of this quad, so hopefully the lack of an English manual won't be too much of a problem for you guys.
Box contents include:
1x MJX X100 quadcopter
1x 4 channel 2.4GHz transmitter
4x spare blades (2 black, 2 orange)
1x USB charger
1x 3.7V Lipo battery
Documentation (in Chinese): 1 x Manual
1 x Warranty card (valid only in China)
When I first saw the pictures of the X100's transmitter, I really didn't think much of it. It seemed like just another toy TX... but when I tried it out, I found many unexpected features!
The most interesting of all was the ability to switch between mode 1, 2, 3 and 4. There are these tabs on the sides of the sticks that will switch the function of the sticks (from throttle to elevator)...and a “Aile/Rudd” button below that will switch aileron with rudder. (don't know if that makes sense. Tell me if it doesn't :P)
Another function that I like is it's equivalent of the Ladybird's 6 axis mode (NORM/PRO button switched to NORM)... basically you won't be able to flip the quad no matter how hard you work the elevator sticks... whereas on PRO mode, the quad will flip when push the aileron/elevator stick to full. (Will elaborate in the flight section).
I've expected the X100 to be a good flyer since it was first announced, so I had a lot of anticipation as I plugged in the battery. Binding took a bit longer than expected..but it wasn't unacceptable. After I flew it out of ground effect and started to hover it around eye level, the quad was almost stationary with only throttle input. I first flew around in NORM mode and it seemed to have a little more momentum than the QR Ladybird (It IS bigger and heavier, so that is expected). It's not a bad thing, just something to get used to. The 3 axis gyro+ 3 axis accelerometer combination really does a fantastic job of keeping the quad steady. In PRO mode, the quad flies almost as stable as it does in 6 axis mode. If you want to flip, give it full aileron or elevator (or press the function key). If you flip during ascent, the flip will look instantaneous and composed. Flip from level flight and the X100 will lose a decent bit of altitude...so like I said before, planning ahead is the name of the game.
It's got plenty of power throughout the flight (8 minutes or so for me) and the low voltage cutoff will kick in if you push the flight time... so try to have plenty of batteries available instead of flying one til' it quits. It might catch you by surprise.
If you are thinking about flying outdoors, I recommend that you wait until the wind dies down. The 6 axis system tries to compensate for the quad's movements that are caused by the wind. This really annoys me as it tries to take control constantly...so it's not really that pleasant to fly outside (in my opinion).
Landings are very easy as with most quads. The blades keep turning for a bit longer though so landing on your hand may not be as great of an idea as it is with other quads of it's size.
(This photo was taken with my iPad in one hand and TX in the other...if THAT won't convince you it's stable...nothing will!)
There are 4 LEDs in total mounted on all 4 motor units. The ones on the front arms flash between blue and red while the LEDs on the rear arms are constantly white (even though they look blue in the photos).
Night flying takes a bit of getting used to if you haven't flown at night before. It's all about orientation and stick memory. Don't rely completely on your eyes... try to remember where the quad is heading at all times. You will increase the probability of regaining control of the quad if you lose eye contact with it.
I will upload a video of the X100 flying at night soon. Orientating with these lights is not hard, but it does take some getting used to, as all of my night flying aircraft have standard navigation lights... that said...after a bit of practice, I felt no difficulty flying it far away and at altitude.
The X100 is definitely one of the best quads of it's price range. It is ridiculously stable and is a great tool for the beginners and the experienced alike. The transmitter's ability to switch from mode to mode means that anyone would be able to fly this quad.
Things I don't really like include: The dual rates switch and the function (flip) button are located in an awkward position and are hard to reach if you are operating the quad, and I think the throttle limiter is of little use. The binding could be a little quicker..but I think that's just me being picky.
All in all, I love it! It's more than what I expected...in durability, build quality and performance.
The aliens have landed indeed!
You can find the X100 at www.banggood.com's quadcopter section.
Pros & Cons
+ Sturdy structure
+ Ridiculously stable
+ Motors do not bind like the Ladybird's.
+ Walkera battery plug
- Slow binding
- Hard to reach function keys during flight
- Motors take a while to spin down (may be dangerous)
- No LCD screen on transmitter
With this review I would like to introduce a standardized system in which future micro quadcopters could be measured against. It is not completely objective, but I hope it's one step in a right direction towards an unbiased look at the new aircraft.
Video: JamesChen072's Alien Encounter
Will be on Youtube shortly.
Updates and corrections
*Brandigan's comments on the throttle limiter
There actually is a use for the throttle limit dial. Turned right down, you hover on about 80% throttle and still have power available to go and fly up and about. With it dialed up full, you hover on about 50% throttle with loads of power available above that. What this means is that on the lower setting the throttle range is spread over a larger stick movement, which makes it even easier for you to find that 'sweet spot' where it sits there like a hummingbird. You can even use the dial to fine tune it further to get it completely rock solid.
Last edited by jameschen072; Aug 31, 2012 at 08:59 PM.
@FyreSG, Thanks! I hope you enjoyed it my friend!
@GetterDragun, There really isn't a "Right" forum for these micro quads yet...some are pushing for one to be formed (I'm looking forward to it)..but as of now the micro helis forum is the most fitting place for micro quadcopters. I hope you'd enjoy reading my review nonetheless. Spent a lot of time writing it!
p.s. If you still think this is the wrong forum and you want to do something about it, please report all of the micro quadcopter threads in the micro helis page and have them moved! That'll probably expedite the creation of a micro quad forum!
Last edited by jameschen072; Aug 28, 2012 at 06:30 PM.
Please vote in the new poll posted by Jim Graham as the next step to add a subforum for better Mini and Micro Multicopter organization!
New Mini and Micro Multirotor sub-forum to Multirotor forum Please Vote!
Quadrocopter and Tricopter Info Mega Link Index
Great review as usual James! (plus, I am glad you basically support my statement of this being probably the overall best micro quad if you look at its characteristics AND its price! - IMHO the LadybirdV2 ... which is comparable in price ... is clearly inferior due to its "downgraded" electronics, plus it "looses" the transmitter verdict ... for me anyway)
Thanks for putting the time into creating these, as I know all too well, how much time such an effort consumes (and my efforts pretty much pale in comparison to yours)
Now they have the gyros. They know how to make helis. The price is right. Now i want something from these guys: flybarless.
Back on topic, I wonder if you could bind one of these with the F45 transmitter, and how it would perform. Then, a BNF version would make sense.
Great review, just got home to find my MJX X100 sitting waiting for me too.
I agree completely with everything James has said and would also like to add a few details I discovered in the two quick indoor flights I've done with it (on my 250mAH U816 batteries while the X100 300mAh one was charging ):
1) Quick binding takes place when you move the throttle to full and back down, or it will bind itself after about 10 seconds anyway (the U816 also does this). If nervous about doing this, put a finger on the top of the quad canopy to hold it down and do this to the throttle twice a few seconds apart. On the second go the quad should respond, even though the Tx hasn't finished beeping yet.
2) After an initial ? I've decided I like the delayed throttle down response. Initially it's a bit weird that it takes about a second to fully stop spinning when you land, but I think this is what helps to contribute to the stability in flight. And it is ridiculously stable compared to my U816. It doesn't seem to have the same delay in throttling up, or if it does, it's shorter. One quirk about the throttle is: holding the quad down and slowly increasing the stick, for the first few (very soft and not annoying) clicks there is nothing, then it starts at a medium slow speed. Then backing off a few clicks and it slows down but does not actually stop until I shut the throttle off completely - past where it was not spinning on the way up. I haven't found this affects flight in any way other than positively, so I only mention it as a 'whatever'.
3) In Pro mode it does Yaw faster than in Normal mode, which the U816 doesn't in it's 'higher' mode, so makes nicer pirouettes which will also presumably translate into better manoeuvrability outdoors. I flipped it indoors by mistake being a bit ham-fisted with the sticks and throwing it left/right, forward/back in Pro mode, so I'll wait until it stops raining to try this outside again.
4) There actually is a use for the throttle limit dial. Turned right down, you hover on about 80% throttle and still have power available to go and fly up and about. With it dialed up full, you hover on about 50% throttle with loads of power available above that. What this means is that on the lower setting the throttle range is spread over a larger stick movement, which makes it even easier for you to find that 'sweet spot' where it sits there like a hummingbird. You can even use the dial to fine tune it further to get it completely rock solid.
5) The dual rate and the flip button placement.... It could be better, but: if you are doing flips with the button, all you can do is use the throttle to fly upwards, or hover, so it's no biggie to take your right hand off the stick (Mode 2 assumed, YMMV if you're weird ) If you are flying forwards and decide to go into Pro Mode, then you are probably not using the throttle much, so you can afford to take your thumb (I fly thumbs, if you're a 'finger person', YMMV again) off the Left stick, change modes, push the right stick to do the flip, then Left thumb it back into Normal mode. Yes, it would be easier with shoulder buttons, but it's still possible to have more fun than with the U816 controller, which has both the Flip and Mode buttons below the Right stick.
Only very tiny Con I found - and actually more of an observation than a Con - was it gives off a slight high pitched whine (above that made by the props and different to the U816, which is only prop noise), which I think I found - by tapping various bits - is something rattling at very high frequency in the feet, maybe the LEDs.
I also found it didn't die suddenly when the battery was done, but gradually over about 10 seconds just lowered itself to the ground. Initially I automatically countered this with more throttle, but once I realised what was happening, it was perfectly controlled.
Now waiting for the batteries to charge, so I'll explore it a bit more later.
Edit: included part of the listing info from the Banggood site, as you may not spot it immediately, as the image is so large it takes ages to load. With no English manual, it's nice to know how to do flips.
Edit: Added a video.
Last edited by Brandigan; Sep 06, 2012 at 06:26 AM.
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