Horizon Hobby & Blade's 350 QX With Firmware V2.0 with Safe Technology Review

This is one of the most impressive RC products I have ever reviewed and can truly be enjoyed by a beginner, an intermediate pilot or an expert. Read why inside.

Splash

Introduction


Diagonal Dimension: 22.8"
Rotor Type: Quad-Copter
Rotor Diameter: 22.8"
Flying Weight: 24.3 oz.
Rotor Blade Clearance: 8.27"
Length: 18.3"
Height: 5.43"
Width: 18.3"
Flying Weight: 20.5 ounces
Approximate Flight Time: 10-15 Minutes
Assembly: No Assembly Required
Number of Channels: Four
Experience Level: Intermediate (Per Horizon Hobby)
Completion Level: Bind-N-Fly, RTF
Transmitter: 2.4 GHz Spektrum DX9
Receiver: 2.4 GHz
Flight Battery: 3S 11.1V 2200mAh 30C LiPo battery
Motor: (4) 1100Kv Brushless Outrunner motors
ESC: (4) 10 Amp Brushless ESC
Rotor Blades: 1 CW + 1CCW gray, 1 CW + 1CCW red 350QX blades
Charger: 2-3SLiPo Balancing DC Charger, 0.5-3A
Recommended Environment: Indoor/Outdoor
Manufacturer: Blade
Available From: Horizon Hobby and Fine Hobby Stores Everywhere
Price: $419.99 BNF
Price: $469.99 RTF

Blade 350 QX Upgraded with Firmware 2.0

This started as a review of the Original Blade 350 QX BNF and then Blade Upgraded the Blade 350 QX with Firmware 2.0. I acquired a Blade 350 QX RTF with Firmware 2.0 and so I discuss both BNF and RTF versions in this review. Since the original Firmware is no longer being sold, the review has been upgraded to Review 2.0. There are only three main changes to the Firmware and one to the charger per the announcement and my RTF version. These three changes are listed here and are discussed in the course of the review. 1) There is now a second way to start the motors. 2) There is a new Flight Mode: AP Mode with altitude and GPS lock and soft self-leveling. (Agility mode now requires a DX6i or higher transmitter and end point adjustment.) 3) There is a now compass and GPS Error detection (Proximity to a magnet affects the compass and now there is an orange blinking LED if there is a problem.)

All new Blade 350 QXs coming from Horizon Hobby are now equipped with Firmware 2.0 and the included charger now plugs into a car's 12V DC accessory power outlet rather than having alligator clips. Horizon Hobby is also offering a firmware update to Firmware 2.0 for those with the original Blade 350 QX Firmware. The update is coming in May. It is optional and need not be installed. The update is being offered free of charge but a cable is needed for the owners to update to Firmware 2.0 in their 350 QX after downloading it onto their computers. I will be updating my original 350 QX but I got a new RTF 350 QX with Firmware 2.0 to complete this review as quickly as possible.

Original Introduction

In my first minute at the park with my new Blade 350 QX quadcopter I was asked by a stranger: "What is that and what does it do?" Having just written part of this review I asked him: "I can tell you, but do you really want to know?" He replied: "I really want to know!" The following is pretty much what I said and I thought it made for a reasonable introduction.

This is the Blade 350 QX quadcopter sold by Horizon Hobby. It can be purchased RTF with an included transmitter or if you have a Spektrum or Spektrum compatible transmitter you can buy a Bind N Fly version like this one and use your own transmitter. As you can see it has four motors and four propellers. The motors are brushless outrunner motors and each motor is controlled by its own Electronic speed controller that receives electronic commands from the receiver equipped Mother Board that receives commands from my transmitter. Two motors run clockwise and are diagonal from each other and two run counter clockwise and are also diagonal from one another. The motors have the corresponding propeller for clockwise and counter clockwise rotation. This makes for a relatively stable hands off hovering flying system. They call the system SAFE Technology which stands for: Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope and these sensors include a compass board, a GPS receiver with a GPS antenna and altimeter. There are built in accelerometers and a stabilization system that allows the pilot to command and direct the quadcopter yet help keep it stable in flight and allowing it to fly more smoothly even in windy conditions and provides multiple modes of flight to allow the pilot to select the amount of flight assistance desired. It is powered by a LiPo battery that can be recharged and it includes an anti vibration camera mount for a GoPro camera that mounts under the main body of the unit between the front portion of the legs. It has built in LEDS that help with pilot orientation of the unit both in day, evening or night flying. I can fly her in any direction of the compass, rotate her 360 degrees in both directions and climb up high into the sky and when the camera (purchased separately) is on board I can take still or video pictures. I can give a single command and she will fly back to me on her own. That and more is the Blade 350 QX multirotor.

He of course had a lot more questions but I suggested he hold his questions and watch and see if I could fly her successfully as this was going to be my first attempt to fly her. At that he went from standing over her and looking down to behind me ready to use my body as a shield if need be and I was already more than 15 feet back from my 350 QX for Smart Mode.

I backed up a few more feet and was about twenty feet away. I powered her up and then I was a bit naughty and made her wobble and look a bit out of control for a couple of seconds while she was responding perfectly to my commands. I threw in a couple of: "Whoa ... Whoa!" and in seconds I was alone and had a very nice flight lasting about six minutes. She landed, I switched to Stability Mode and was about to start some additional testing when the question man returned after he saw (from a distance) that I could really control the 350 QX and I directed him to a local hobby shop to place an order or see if they had a RTF in stock. (He bought a RTF version.) In the course of flying my 350 QX for this review I have five confirmed spectators that have bought the 350 QX and a couple of probable buyers. Now on with the review.

Included Items With The BNF Version of the 350 QX

Included Items

  • 350 QX ready to bind and fly
  • 3-Cell 2200mAh 30C LiPo battery pack
  • 12V balanced charger for the Lipo battery pack
  • Camera mount parts to assemble and hold a GoPro camera
  • 4 Spare propellers
  • Instruction Manual
  • Three Allen wrenches
  • Lithium Ion Battery Safety Guidelines

With RTF Add

  • DX5e transmitter
  • 4 AA batteries for transmitter

Blade Promoted Key Features

Key Features

  • SAFE™ technology provides three flight modes with the flick of a switch
  • Smart mode with GPS/altitude lock, stick relativity and the innovative SAFE circle
  • AP Mode with softer self-leveling characteristics
  • Stability mode with flight envelope protection and GPS hold
  • Agility mode for aerobatics and aggressive flying
  • Return home - automatically lands at the home position
  • GoPro® compatible anti-vibration camera mount included
  • Intelligent motor control automatically stops the propellers upon impact with an object
  • Bind-N-Fly®; out of the box with a 3S 2200mAh LiPo battery and charger

The Blade 350 QX incorporates Horizon Hobby's SAFE Technology

SAFE Stands For:

  • S Sensor
  • A Assisted
  • F Flight
  • E Envelope

The Blade 350 QX incorporates the SAFE technology. It allows for various safety assists in the three different Flight Modes. The SAFE technology places limits on what the aircraft is allowed to do in different flight modes. It also corrects for deviations in flight caused by gusty winds and other none transmitter requested movements of the aircraft. I have found the SAFE technology to be extremely helpful in teaching beginner pilots to fly the Delta Ray twin engine electric trainer plane. Also the little Nano copter and now the Blade 350 QX both benefit from the SAFE technology. The flight mode conditions relating to this technology will be discussed below in connection with the discussions of the four flight modes. I am naturally skeptical of claims relating to improved flight controls, especially those aimed at the beginner pilot. I am no longer skeptical about SAFE technology! I have had total beginners fly my Delta Ray airplane successfully as well as my Nano quadcopter and now my Blade 350 QX in Smart Mode. Simply put: IT WORKS!

Below is a general video on the SAFE Technology from Horizon Hobby.

SAFE™ Technology (1 min 35 sec)

Unboxing And Assembly of the BNF Version

Horizon Hobby and Blade have made some very nice videos describing their product and I have incorporated them into this review for your convenience. The first of these is their Unboxing and Assembly, You Tube video posted below. I have also incorporated some of their flight videos into my review. I have confirmed the various maneuvers performed are accurate depictions of how the 350 QX flies and the quality of the GoPro video stabilization is also accurate in calm conditions, but NOT all conditions. I also have videos shot by my friends, my wife and myself of my 350 QX for this review.

Blade 350 QX Unboxing, Assembly and Startup (11 min 3 sec)

Technical Notes (I found this information very helpful! Read it twice.)

Maximum Yaw Angular Velocity (Rotational Speed)

  • Smart/Stability Mode: 200º/sec
  • 3-axis mode: 380º/sec

Maximum Tilt Angle

  • Stability Mode: 45º
  • Stability + Pressure sensor (Mode 0 without GPS): 30º
  • Smart Mode (Mode 0 with GPS): Position controller allowed up to 30º
  • Agility Mode: No limit

Maximum Ascent/Descent Speed

  • Smart Mode: 2 m/s
  • Stability Mode + Pressure sensor: 3 m/s

Maximum Flight Velocity

  • Only applicable in Smart Mode: 4 m/s

Attention: if you plan on using the Spektrum® DX5E radio with a 2 position flight mode switch, you will not be able to access more than two modes of the 350 QX. A Spektrum 6 channel or greater transmitter is needed to access all modes.

My Assemble Experience

Both of my Blade 350 QXs (BNF & RTF) arrived ready to fly as advertised. I received the recommended battery as well as a 12-Volt battery charger for the Lipo battery. I got out my 12-Volt converter and connected the supplied charger to it. I plugged the balanced charging jack from the battery into the charger and set the switch for 3-cell and the dial a little past 2.0 for the 2200mAh battery. I turned on/plugged in my voltage converter and charged the battery pack.

Setting Up my Spektrum DX9 Transmitter for the Original BNF version of the Blade 350 QX

I received the Blade 350 QX about the same time I received the Spektrum DX 9 for review so I knew I would be using the Spektrum DX9 transmitter for this review. I had multiple sources of information available for programming the transmitter for the 350 QX. 1) Programming is in the included Blade 350 QX instruction manual. 2) There is a videotape for programming the Spektrum DX 9 for the Blade 350 QX that I found on the Horizon Hobby website. 3) Downloading the setup program listed in the DX9 website for the Blade 350 QX and installing it into my DX9 using the SD memory card that came with the transmitter. All three options were tested and worked. The method you chose will depend on your transmitter and your personal preference.

A Horizon Hobby Programming video for the original Firmware, viewable portion of the video is only 5 1/2 minutes long.

350 QX - DX9 Radio Setup (15 min 13 sec)

This is a short video of me pointing out the control switches I used on my Spektrum DX9 for flying the Blade 350 QX with the original Firmware.

Spektrun DX9 Programmed for the Blade 350 QX Quadcopter (2 min 2 sec)

Bind-N-Fly? NOT SO FAST!

There is not one way to Bind-N-Fly the 350 QX but FIVE ways to Bind-N-Fly the 350 QX. The different binding processes involve holding one of the two control sticks in a particular direction during the binding process or for normal binding, not touching the control sticks at all.

Ways of Binding the 350 QX

  • Normal (Don't touch the control sticks during the binding process.)
  • Bind with GPS Enabled (Hold the right stick to the left during the binding process.)
  • Bind with GPS disabled (Hold the right stick to the right during the binding process.)
  • Bind in compass calibration mode (Hold the left stick to the left during the binding process.)
  • Bind in pressure calibration mode (Hold the left stick to the right during the binding process.)

My binding has included, normal, GPS enabled and GPS disabled for indoor flying as it could not get a GPS signal in the building. I did bind once for QX Pressure Sensor Calibration (Used a freezer per the video below.) to see if that changed the altitude holding of my 350 QX in Smart Mode and it did seem to tighten it up by about 1/2 a foot best estimate. I did bind once for compass calibration and all of the rolling of the 350 QX in my hands that that bind requires. That was done after shooting a video for the DX9 on binding and I accidently placed the 350 QX by a magnet that started it to give off the warning beeps and flashes on the compass on my original BNF model. That corrected the problem. The instructions explain how to do the different bindings in the front of the manual and the videos on Horizon's Website and the discussion in the back of the manual give the how and why. They also made it clear to only do one binding code at a time and that you MUST HAVE ALL CONTROL TRIMS IN NEUTRAL WHEN BINDING.

The Binding Process

  • Install and connect charged battery and place the Blade 350 QX on a flat level surface.
  • Turn on the power switch on the bottom of the 350 QX and allow the 350 QX to initialize.
  • Wait until the blue LED on the quad flashes rapidly indicating it has initialized and is ready to bind.
  • Make sure the throttle is down and the throttle trim is in the neutral position.
  • Hold the proper control stick in the direction for the desired bind or hold no stick at all.
  • On my DX9 I held down the binding button (Transmitter in binding mode) and turned on the transmitter

When doing a bind and holding a control stick to either side the 350 QX makes a constant, rapid beeping sound. My DX9 talks me through the bind and if it is successful or not.

Videos explaining how and why to recalibrate different functions on the 350 QX

QX Compass Calibration: A Horizon Hobby Video

I have tested the Compass Calibration Binding method. The first time was after I accidently exposed the compass to a strong magnet and the warning Beeps started. When I was done the beeps were gone and she flew fine. Bind outside and away from metal.

350 QX Compass Calibration (2 min 17 sec)

QX Pressure Sensor Calibration (uses your freezer): A Horizon Hobby video

350 QX Pressure Sensor Calibration (2 min 16 sec)

QX Accelerometer Calibration: A Horizon Hobby video

350 QX Accelerometer Calibration (2 min 47 sec)

New Compass and GPS Error Detection with Firmware 2.0

The Firmware 2.0 update prevents GPS and compass errors from causing adverse flight conditions. The status LED blinks orange if the compass senses a magnet or metal object nearby. I did not have this activate by accident on my 350 QX with Firmware V 2.0. So I decided to intentionally expose the compass to a magnet to set it off. I got a flashing orange warning light. Binding in Compass mode as described above cleared it.

Operating the 350 QX

With the 350 QX now bound to my transmitter there is still a protocol to follow to start flying the 350 QX.

Flight Preparation and Shutoff Protocols

  • Throttle stick down, throttle trim at neutral, set to Desired Flight Mode, turn on the transmitter.
  • Install and connect fully charged battery into 350 QX with switch OFF.
  • With 350 QX on level surface move the switch under the 350 QX to on position, allow it to initialize.
  • Wait for the GPS signal to be acquired, 30-90 seconds, rear LED will be solid color when ready.
  • Place 350 QX in desired starting position and MUST BE 15 feet away from transmitter in Smart Mode.
  • There are now TWO Options to start the motors:
  • Original Procedure: At zero throttle, move the rudder stick full left, then full right, then back to center.
  • New Procedure: Move both sticks into the bottom inside corners, then back to center.
  • The rotors will start to spin. The starting location is now the home position for GPS and the 350 QX is ready to fly.
  • At the end of flight lower throttle AND throttle trim tab to power off the props.

To acquire a reliable GPS signal the 350 QX MUST HAVE a clear exposure to the sky!

Some of the LED CODES

  • Rapid flashing blue: Bind Mode
  • Rapid flashing red, green blue every 3 seconds: Low Battery
  • Rapid Flashing Red: Return Home Activated
  • Solid Green: Smart Mode
  • Slow flashing green: Bound but GPS off in Smart Mode
  • Green flash, flash, flash, pause:Lost GPS in Smart Mode
  • Solid Purple: AP (Aerial Photography) Mode
  • Slow flashing purple: Bound but GPS off in AP Mode
  • Solid Blue: Stability Mode
  • Slow flashing blue: Bound but GPS off in Stability Mode
  • Blue flash, flash, flash, pause: Lost GPS signal Stability Mode
  • Solid Red: Agility Mode
  • Slow flash red: Bound but GPS off in Agility Mode
  • Red flash, flash, flash, pause: Lost GPS signal in Agility Mode

The video below shows low voltage LED flashing: red, green, blue and how to stop the props after landing by lowering the throttle trim tab.

Blade 350 QX Low Battery Warning (0 min 43 sec)

The Return Home Function

This feature is available in all of the flight modes and will probably prevent a number of lost 350 QXs by beginners. With the flick of a switch the 350 QX flies back to where it was launched and lands. (The Return Home function does not recognize the Smart Mode SAFE Circle and may fly right through it if its line of flight goes through the circle to get back to the start position.) I tested the Return Home feature both with and without my Go Pro camera attached and there was a difference in the accuracy of the 350 QX in returning to the starting location depending on whether or not the camera was attached.

In the course of a dozen measured landings using the Return Home function with no camera attached I had landings as close as 6 inches to the starting point to a maximum of 6 1/2 feet away from start with most landings being from 2-3 feet away from the starting point. (Results may vary depending upon where you fly and the location of GPS satellites in relationship to your location but I believe my results are pretty typical for Northern California as I have flown at three locations that are from 50-100+ miles apart and had good results at all three locations. Curiously all landings that have not been directly in line with the way the 350 QX was lined up for start have been to its right with none to the left thus far. The distance forward to back from the starting position has not been off more than two feet thus far and even or within 12 inches is the norm. The distance to the right has been up to 5 1/2 feet. (This has been regardless of the direction I had the Blade 350 QX facing when I turned it on to initialize for the flights and it has been in all four directions.)

With my Go Pro camera attached the results were good but not as good as without the camera attached. In 12 measured returns I had one land 18 inches away with most landings being about four to seven feet from where I started with one at 12 feet and one landing as far as 21 feet away. All of these were acceptable results in my opinion as I was starting the return home process for these tests from a minimum of 300 feet away and sometimes relatively high and other times relatively low. I was able to take control of my 350 QX during this process when desired. I found the returns without a camera to be closer to my starting location than I could obtain with my other multirotors with a return function. Really excellent Return Home results for the Blade 350 QX.

Blade 350 QX Return Home Function (1 min 24 sec)

WARNING: If the 350 QX is indicating low battery do NOT activate the Return Home function! Land the 350 QX immediately!

Beginning and Ending a Flight

It is really important to remember

  • Throttle trim tab must be up in the neutral position
  • Must use one of the two ways to start the motors spinning
  • After landing must lower the throttle trim tab to shut off the motors
  • I have been guilty of trying to start with the trim tab still down from the previous flight. DOOH!

The Flight Modes

Original Blade BNF 350 QX

With BNF Blade 350 QX (Original Firmware) I have three available Flight Modes: Smart Mode, Stability Mode and Agility Mode. My BNF is still on the original firmware and those are three modes available to me. When I upgrade it to Firmware 4.0 I will be able to fly with AP Mode as the second mode and Agility Mode will require some reprogramming on my DX9 transmitter.

Blade RTF 350 QX with Firmware 2.0

My new Blade 350 QX is the RTF version with Firmware 2.0 and came with a DX5e transmitter. With it I can fly Smart Mode, AP Mode and Stability Mode. It handles the same as my original Blade BNF in Smart and Stability Mode. I could not tell any difference in the handling in those two modes. I also flew it in AP Mode and that is covered below. If I bound it with my DX9 I could fly it in four modes as to fly Agility Mode with Firmware 2.0 requires a 6 or more channel transmitter.

Blade and Horizon Hobby have supplied some detailed descriptions of the flight modes and capabilities of the Blade 350 QX. I have directly quoted those claims from their promotional materials below and then reported the results I obtained in testing those claims and documented some of my results with video taken of the Blade 350 QX. But let's start this section with Horizon Hobby's video of the flight modes with the original Firmware which I found to be accurate based upon my testing with my Blade 350 QX.

This Horizon Hobby Video gives a good and accurate review of the three Original Flight Modes!

Blade 350 QX Flight Modes (5 min 17 sec)

Smart Mode: Green Light Operation

Smart Mode Description

"In Smart Mode, SAFE technology engages the innovative SAFE Circle which prevents the 350 QX from flying too close to its pilot. When in a hover, GPS and altimeter sensors keep the quadcopter in a consistent stable position."

Smart Mode Review Test Results

There is more to Smart Mode then the items mentioned in the quote above. I found five specific items of control in Smart Mode starting with the 30 foot diameter "Safe Circle."

1) The Safe Circle kept the Blade 350 QX approximately fifteen feet away from me, or more accurately away from the transmitter. It would come up to fifteen feet away but no closer. I was able to fly a circle around myself and that circle had about a 30' diameter. This prevents the beginner from flying the 350 QX into themselves or anyone standing next to or immediately behind them. It worked as advertised and is a good safety feature for beginners. If I was not the required distance away the rotors would not start turning which was a mistake I made by a couple of feet several time.

Blade 350 QX Smart Mode's Safe Circle Demonstrated (0 min 46 sec)

2) Stable hover due to GPS and altimeter sensors was the second specific item of control in Safe Mode. I found even in a fifteen mile an hour breeze that my 350 QX held a good hover remaining over the designated spot, while maintaining the same altitude and facing the same direction. It was buffed a bit by the wind but did an excellent job of making corrections to stay in the same position and at relatively the same altitude and heading.

Blade 350 QX Smart Mode Hover (1 min 0 sec)

3) Limited amount of pitch and roll was available in Smart mode and that makes it excellent for the beginner. Even if I gave full forward on the elevator or full reverse the 350 QX would only tilt a limited amount in any direction. This kept speed down and kept turns from being too sharp. There was no way to flip the 350 QX in this mode. This again is excellent for the beginner and is a good choice for videotaping relatively stationary or slow moving items as the 350, and its camera platform, remains pretty stable.

Limited Pitch and Roll is demonstrated in the Smart Mode video below as part of the general flying.

4) Smart Mode Altitude Control: The altitude is relative to the throttle stick location. Low throttle stick and it remains on the ground. Raise it a bit and you have a low hover. Half throttle is hovers at about 20-25 meters and at full throttle it holds at the 45 Meter height limit. While in Smart mode there are throttle related limits to how high the 350 QX is allowed to be and that is 45 meters. Once it gets to that height it stops climbing and ignores attempts to force it higher by playing with the throttle. Normally throttle lets us control rate of climb or descent. In Smart mode it controls the actual height of the hover. Move the throttle stick in an even and controlled fashion as that is good training for the other flight modes. Move the throttle for most quadcopters from full up to off would cause them to fall like a rock. Not the case with the 350 QX in Smart mode. Instead of plummeting it descends in a controlled fashion. This is another helpful feature, especially for the beginner.

In this video I show the affect of killing the throttle in Smart mode at 45 meters up.

Blade 350 QX and left stick controls Altitude in SMART Mode (1 min 12 sec)

5) "Stick Relativity" is always on in Smart mode and it is only available in Smart mode. It is a great feature for the beginner and even the experienced pilot who might be flying far enough away from themselves to become slightly disoriented from where the 350 QX is facing. With stick relativity it doesn't matter which direction the 350 QX is facing as it turns based on the pilot's (actually the transmitter's) start up location. Push the stick forward and the 350 QX flies away from the pilot no matter which direction the 350 QX is facing. Give it a command to go right and it goes to the pilots right no matter which way it is facing. Since pilot orientation with the aircraft is frequently the biggest problem a beginner pilot has, this is a great feature for the beginner. Especially when flying a quadcopter where orientation of the direction it is facing can become a challenge. This is a great feature for the beginner!

As much as I like Stick Relativity for the beginner I wished I could turn it off and use the other Smart Mode features while flying the 350 QX in a normal manner based on its orientation as that is what I am used to doing with almost all of my other aircraft. There is no such option and with the original firmware there was really nothing close. The AP Mode in Firmware 2.0 is close. Its features will be discussed below but it basically answered my wish.

Feeling Flying:Feels like it is on low rates with exponential in all horizontal directions.

Flying Video in SMART Mode

Blade 350 QX in Smart Flight Mode (5 min 9 sec)

As mentioned above the Original 350 QX must have GPS enabled and be receiving GPS signals to use Smart Mode. Without GPS Enabled and a signal, it will default to Stability Mode (described next) but the 350 QX will still be capable of altitude hold in Smart mode even without the GPS signal.

AP Mode: Purple Light Mode (Firmware 2.0)

AP (Aerial Photography) Mode Description

Aerial Photography mode gives the 350 QX softer self-leveling characteristics to ensure the best footage possible from the on board camera. AP mode also activates position holding capabilities allowing the 350 QX to lock into a desired GPS and altitude when the sticks are released.

AP Mode Review Test Results

In AP Mode the pilot flies the 350 QX with his head in the quadcopter as there is no stick relatively. It hovers in place and locks onto altitude altitude just as nicely as it did in Start Mode when the sticks are in neutral position. This was the combination I wanted with my original 350 QX so I am very happy to have this new flight mode. Climb is now unlimited and the throttle is a true throttle but liftoff requires about 90% full throttle and then lowering the throttle after it slowly starts to climb to maintain the desired altitude. The climb and descent rates are slower than in Stability or Agility Mode. Horizontal directional movement is also slower than Stability Mode and much Slower than in Agility Mode. The 350 QX remains more level when stopping directional movement or changing directional movement than when in Stability Mode.

The AP Mode is designed to keep the Blade more stable whether in a hover or when flying so as to make the 350 QX a better camera platform. It has in my opinion done this to some degree. The holding of position in a hover is a big improvement in my opinion over how it did in Stability Mode. It's improvement in flight is a slight improvement. It is not intended to correct for wind shifting or buffeting. A new version is coming out in Late May or June with gimbals and a camera and that will hopefully improve the picture taking in the wind but at a substantially higher cost. For now and the 350 QX the AP Mode is an improvement for the reasons stated.

Feeling Flying:Feels like there is Low Rates and a lot of Exponential. Small movements initially but greater movements the further out the right stick is moved in any direction.

The video below has three clips of and from the Blade 350 QX in AP Mode on a WINDY day. AP Mode helps avoid the vibration from the motor. It does not prevent wind buffeting. An aerial video later in this review shows the GOPRO in calm and less windy conditions. This video shows the effect of wind. First clip is the 350 QX flying with a GoPro camera with a wind from behind its starting position. Second is the 350 QX without the camera. Third clip is from the 350 QX shot at the same time as the first clip.

Blade 350 QX in AP Mode in the Wind (4 min 45 sec)

Stability Mode: Blue Light Operation

Stability Mode Description

"In Stability Mode, SAFE technology limits the flight envelope of the 350 QX and enables self-leveling characteristics for consistent level flight even when pilot input is abruptly removed from the stick controls. In Stability Mode, GPS Position Hold is active when the pilot stops providing right stick input."

Stability Mode Review Test Results

Let me start by saying that Stability mode is my favorite mode and it is the mode I will use for the vast majority of my flying even when using my Go Pro Camera. Here there is no Safe Circle so it should not be used by complete beginners. Only pilots who have mastered orientation of the 350 QX should move up to this flight mode. Stability Mode is for: advanced Beginners, Intermediate pilots or above and is very good for taking videos, especially videos that involve some tracking of the object. The 350 QX in this mode has more response to pitch and roll commands and thus can fly faster in all directions and turn more sharply but is still prohibited from flying loops and rolls and other full aerobatics. It does a nice steady hover when no commands are being given with the right stick (Mode 2) but it now needs throttle to control the height and instead of hovering in one spot in a 3D map is is more like a vertical column on that 3D map. It can fly above 45 meters (Go as high as you want while being a responsible pilot.) and still does a good job of remaining s

Feeling Flying:Feels like there is Mid Rates with little Exponential. Responsive from the start but limited total movement at full range.

A video of the Blade 350 QX in Stability Mode at Kingdon Air Park

Blade 350 QX Flying in Stability Flight Mode (2 min 28 sec)

Agility Mode: Red Light Operation

Agility Mode Description

"The 350 QX utilizes AS3X flight characteristics to deliver a robust flight experience. While flying in Agility Mode, the 350 QX can perform aerobatic maneuvers with extreme stability thanks to SAFE technology.

Agility Mode Review Test Results

On my first flight in Agility mode I found the Blade 350 QX to be scary fast! With practice I still find it to be a high energy experience for me (A RUSH!) and although I gotten somewhat use to the speed and mobility I still remain on heightened awareness when flying in this mode.

Agility Mode is for Advance pilots only! The Blade 350 QX can be flown very fast and can perform a number of stunts in agility mode. I have flown flips both forward and backward as well as stationary rolls and initially by accident a sort of aerial roll in forward travel. For the inexperienced pilot it can be an expensive proposition as the Blade 350 QX can be quickly crashed and possibly damaged in this mode. But while it goes where directed it has to be commanded to stop or it will keep going in that direction as if in a slide. Despite the need for counter commands to stop some actions I found the 350 QX to be very responsive and actually very precise in obeying my commands. I have performed loops, rolls and some other basic aerobatics on several occasions. I believe that if I pushed the envelop of my flying skills I will get better and better in performing aerobatics with the Blade 350 QX. I was impressed at how fast she was and yet how she remained controllable. However, my budget is limited and my skill such that I suspect that if I pushed this envelop too much, too soon, I might make an expensive pilot error. So I decided to go slow in my use of the Agility Mode even though I had no reason to question the control or the response of the Blade 350 in Agility Mode. The only thing holding me back is my confidence and an occasional dumb thumb. I can do most of my Agility flying with my smaller and less expensive Blade Nano quadcopter. The ability to challenge one's skills and expertise is definitely there in Agility Mode but I caution newer pilots to tread lightly and develop your skills wisely.

Now just because a pilot can fly aerobatics in Agility Mode doesn't mean the pilot has to fly aerobatics. With smaller stick movements I have been able to fly slow and very controlled flights in this mode. Despite that, and partially because I don't trust myself, I have made a decision to not fly in this mode with my Go Pro camera attached. I use the Smart or Stability Modes for camera work and save Agility for fun flying. Since I might out fly my skill level doing stunts in Agility Mode I am only willing to risk my 350 QX and not my Go Pro camera as well. I can get blurred shots with fast pirouettes in the other modes so it is a personal decision I have made. It was not until the end of this review that I had any piloting troubles in Agility mode and it was pilot error close to the ground and I knew better.

Feeling Flying:Feels like it is on high Rates with no Exponential. Very Responsive from the start with a full range of movement for aerobatics.

AUTHORS NOTE: As I was wrapping up this review I violated my own rules and in Agility mode I flew too fast, too low, and too close to a pole/backstop. My Blade BNF 350 QX paid the price for my dumb thumb. I slid into the pole at the park. It very badly damaged one motor mount and the motor mount arm. I decided to replace the body rather than to try and repair the destroyed motor mount. I ordered a replacement body and I discuss the replacement procedure below.

The Agility Mode can be a real rush and unfortunately I rushed my BNF 350 QX into a pole that was part of a fence. It was all fun and games until the crash and now I am back to flying in the stability mode (at least for awhile).

GPS & Altimeter Technology

As discussed above the GPS & Altimeter technology are both used in the Smart Mode. When I took my hands off of the sticks my Blade 350 QX would hover in one place in the sky and did a very good job in staying in that spot. In Stability and Agility Mode the GPS would keep it over one spot but the Altimeter was off and I would have to use throttle control to maintain the height I wanted or to fly her up and down over that one spot as if in a column. Finally the Return Home Mode has made good use of these features. These were tested over and over in the course of this review and always worked well for me.

AUTHORS NOTE: I have learned through reading about GPS in general that the accuracy of the GPS function for many devices varies based on the actual location where the testing is performed and the number of GPS satellites the device is in contact with and where they are located in the sky. The excellent Return Home results I obtained here in the central valley of Northern Ca may differ with results obtained elsewhere. I have not had a chance to do more testing or reading on the subject. I can advise that the average results I obtained in testing my 350 QX would have won the Return Home Function Test at the 2013 Multirotor Challenge in San Diego county last year. I will be interested to hear what the results are this year.

Flying in the Wind

Most of my test flights for this review were in windy conditions and the Blade 350 QX handled wind very well in wind of up to a steady 15 mph. I flew in steady breezes of 8-10 mph for the Smart mode videos and she would hold her spot in the sky as seen in the video very well. She did just as well in a 15 mph wind when the camera wasn't on board. I had no concerns about flying her in breezy conditions thanks to the SAFE technology as the 350 QX would correct for deviations caused by the wind or any other source not directed to it by my transmitter. In a steady wind of 20-28 mph she remained relatively stable in the air but she drifted with the wind. She did not hold her space in a hover and required some transmitter input directing her into the wind to hold a hover in that wind. That said; I would rather fly my 350 QX in wind over any of my planes and all but one my helicopters. The 350 QX was that stable in the wind!

The 350 QX is GoPro Compatible

The kit includes parts to assemble an anti-vibration camera mount for a GoPro camera. The mount is secured to the underside of the 350 QX with four supplied Allen head screws and the camera can be quickly attached and removed while leaving the mount in place if desired. While the camera mount was included in the kit the GOPRO CAMERA WAS NOT INCLUDED.

The basic assembly involves installing the four rubber dampers in between the two supplied plastic plates. I installed four into one plate. The process was simple as I got part of the rubber retaining circles started into the holes and then pulled on the edges lightly and worked them all the way into the holes. It took me about five minutes to install the four rubber dampers into the first plate.

With the four rubber dampers installed in one plate I repeated the process on the second plate working on them one at a time while holding the plates together. Installing into this second plate was slightly more effort but was not hard and I was done in under ten minutes.

To install the assembled anti-vibration camera mount I simply turned my 350 QX upside down and screwed the four supplied screws through the mount and into the 350 QX.

To mount the camera I just placed the camera on the bottom of the camera holder and pulled the sides and top over the camera. (Shown in previous pictures.) I fitted the camera holder into place under the camera mount and secured the camera in place with the special supplied hand screw seen in the pictures below.

While I have been able to take some technically good video thus far with my GoPro camera mounted on my Blade 350 QX they are not (in my opinion) as visually exciting as those made by Horizon Hobby. So I have posted one I made with two clips and two much more interesting ones from Horizon Hobby's, You Tube for the 350 QX. There are also a growing number of videos by Blade owners on You Tube that you may find interesting. I will vouch that I got acceptable results with my Blade 350 QX and my Hero 3 Silver GOPRO camera. The clip of the RC plane in my video was with a wind from 6-8 mph while at the park it was calm.

Authors video from a local Stockton park and Kingdon Air Park in Lodi. I have deleted the sound as the motors were tiresome to listen too. Calmer conditions allowed for smoother video than the first aerial video shot in windy conditions posted above.

GOPRO camera on my Blade 350 QX Demo at Nelson Park (1 min 43 sec)

Blade 350 QX Aerial Photography video

Blade 350 QX Aerial Photography (2 min 13 sec)

Blade 350 QX Action Show Reel

Blade 350 QX Action Show Reel (2 min 12 sec)

As seen in the videos the camera mount and the GoPro camera do a good job together and provides a very acceptable result in calm flying conditions. The mount is designed to reduce vibration. It is not intended to work as multi-axle gimbals and stabilize the camera from motion while the 350 QX is traveling or being bounced a bit by wind. However, if you need quality video in those conditions than Blade will soon have you covered with their new 350 QX2 AP that has recently been announced. Below is a video announcement for this product coming in late May (summer 2014). The included camera and gimbals, as was well as WIFI video broadcast to smart cameras have me very interested in this new "Coming Soon" version of the Blade 350 QX2 AP. I am sure we will learn more about this new version before it hits the street. It may even be possibly to upgrade my current Blade 350 QX with the new camera and gimbals as there are some unused connections on the mother board inside the 350 QX..

350 QX AP Combo RTF by BLADE (1 min 40 sec)

Spare parts and Hop Up Parts

Horizon Hobby has an excellent reputation for supplying post purchase service to their customers and carrying spare parts for their products. The Blade 350 QX has a complete list of spare parts so if there is an accident and parts are needed they can be ordered through your local hobby store or from Horizon Hobby directly. I have benefited from their service many times in the past and near the end of this review I needed them once again. I ordered a new body for my 350 QX as a result of a fence pole attacking my 350 QX as I did a high speed fly bye when the pole jumped up and whacked one of the motor mounts. There are few things worse then having a helicopter or quadcopter that is grounded due to a lack of parts and Horizon Hobby strives to keep the parts in stock to prevent that from happening. The new body and the DNA Green skin were at my home the third day after I ordering them.

Installing the Guts of my 350 QX into a New Body

While I was not at all happy about hitting a pole with my 350 QX at high speed, I did get some hands on experience I can share about installing the components into a new 350 QX shell. The instruction manual has a short guide for the process and experiencing the process was a great teacher. Three Allen wrenches come with the Blade. The small one removes the bolts holding the body together. The middle size one is for the bolts that hold the props on the motors. The largest one is for the bolts securing the motors to the plastic. I have listed the steps in the process that I found significant.

Significant Items For installing the 350 QX into a new body

  • Removed the electric compass and the runner it was mounted on, kept it away from magnets.
  • Removed the props and then the bolts holding the body together.
  • With body top off removed the top of the battery box with the GPS unit and Antenna & unplugged it.
  • Removed the information LED and its plastic cover from the back of the 350 QX body.
  • With a sharp knife I carefully cut the glue securing wires to the sides of the body.
  • Unbolted the brushless motors and removed the four screws holding the motherboard to the body.
  • Unplugged the 4 LEDs from the four arms of the 350 QX
  • Pulled up the 4 ESCs held in place with two sided "tape" but left everything connected.
  • Noted how everything was arranged including the wires and transferred it all to the new body.
  • Secured the motherboard in the new body with the four screws that held it in place in the old body.
  • Secured the green/blue/red LED into the back of the fuselage along with its cover.
  • Motor mounts have two pins that align the motors in position, I secured each motor with one bolt.
  • Secured the four LEDs in their holders by the motor mounts, pushed and they snapped into place.
  • Secured the four ESCs using the same "tape" that held them in place in the first body.
  • Properly positioned the wires of 350 QX, placed the battery cover in place, plugged in GPS unit.
  • Ran the the compass wire into the body and connected it to the mother board
  • Tested to make sure the 350 QX properly initialized when turned on.
  • Bolted the top of the body to the bottom of the body.
  • Secured the motors to the motor mounts.
  • Secures the propellers in place with the bolts.
  • Installed the Tall Optional landing gear runners in place under the new body
  • Transferred the 3 remaining LED covers the motor areas on the first body to the new body.
  • The complete process took me about 2 1/2 hours.

I took my 350 QX outside and rebound it in GPS mode and test flew it and it was as good as new. I did not need to do any of the recalibration binds shown in the Blade videos above after this accident. Only the body had been damaged in the collision with the pole. The body kit included mounting bolts to join the body together. It did not include LED light covers for under the motors nor the red battery compartment cover.

Taller Leg Option

The standard legs have the bottom of the 350QX 88mm up from the surface or 3-3/8". The optional taller legs rise the body up an additional 2" to 5-3/8" above the surface. This gives more clearance for camera gear or anything else you might have your 350 QX carry in flight. To switch legs one screw per leg must be removed with a supplied Allen wrench and the electric compass requires unscrewing two very small Phillips screws.

New Skins for the 350 QX

I think the 350 QX looks nice as sold but if you and several of your friends get one they can be hard to tell apart as sold. Blade has a ready solution with a number of optional skins that sell for just under $20.00. I liked a number of them but I bought the DNA Green and installed it on my original Blade 350 QX. They can be found as options for the Blade at the Horizon Hobby website.

Carbon Skin Hop Ups for the 350 QX

Skull Skin Hop Ups for the 350 QX

DNA Skin Hop Ups for the 350 QX

Macro and Jinx Skin Hop Ups for the 350 QX

The DNA Green Skin I purchased.

New Aluminum Carrying Case

I like to keep my quadcopters with their transmitters and other supplies in a carrying case and that way I have everything I need at the field or park. With the longer legs attached mine didn't fit in its original box. I purchased the Aluminum carrying case for my Blade 350 QX with the taller legs. It is big! It fits my 350 QX as shown and holds up to six battery packs and my E-Flite Tool Kit along with the charger and transmitter and my Go Pro camera and the camera mount as well. The price is $139.99.

Power Adaptor for Chargers with FirmWare 2.0 Models

This allows the DC charger to charge the battery from a wall outlet. It sells for $18.99.

Is This For Beginners?

Horizon Hobby recommends for Intermediate pilots and above.

I know that Beginners can fly her! The Smart Mode is very easy to fly. My only caution is the Beginner needs to show some restraint and take their time to learn. When they progress to Stability mode they need to use small stick movements until they get their head into the 350 QX. They need to avoid Agility Mode until they have completely MASTERED Stability Mode and even then they should take it slowly.

Picture Gallery

Conclusion

During the course of this review at least five people have gone out and purchased or ordered their own 350 QX after seeing me fly mine. The number is probably at eight or more but I am counting only confirmed sales. It is no surprise to me that Horizon Hobby keeps selling out as more and more people see how well the 350 QX flies and how easy it is to fly. The 350 QX in Smart mode really is impressive for the person that has never flown RC! There is no question in my mind that almost everyone 14 and older can successfully fly the 350 QX in Smart Mode. Three of the people who purchased bought RTF versions as this is their very first venture into any type of RC flying and in two cases, for anything RC. I have never before seen any RC item I have reviewed generate so many purchases by strangers seeing me flying it in the park and my answering their questions. The fact that the cost is over $450 makes this even more amazing to me. The interest level has been incredible and the ease of control in Smart Mode makes it truly beginner friendly.

The AP Mode is good to let the pilot get their head in the 350 QX and control where it is going based on the direction it is facing and not the point of flight origination. This mode is the best for taking still or video pictures in most situations as the camera remains steadier than in Stability Mode.

In Stability Mode with small stick movements even a relatively new pilot can start improving their piloting skills and with full stick movement an intermediate pilot can have a very fun flying experience. The maximum tilt forward, backward or to either side is limited to help maintain control. Rolls and loops are not possible in this mode. I would call this a true intermediate mode. I personally found this flight mode to be the most pleasant for me and an acceptable mode to use for shooting video when tracking or following something fast.

The camera mount does a good job with anti-vibration in stable flight but in windy conditions the camera moves with the 350 QX and the image can sometimes be a bit shaky. Over all I have been impressed with the stills and the video I have with my GOPRO mounted to my 350s.

Agility Mode is for the advanced pilot ONLY! I was going to limit my flying in Agility Mode and only make small movements but WARNING! I have found it ADDICTING! I found Agility Mode could be a real rush! There is faster movement in horizontal travel as she can be banked much more steeply and even rolled for loops and aileron rolls. However, this rush can also be expensive so be aware of that when flying in this mode. My dumb thumb slid mine into a poll as discussed above.

I still have Agility Mode on my original Blade and by adjusting the end points I can obtain it on my new model with Firmware 2.0 using my DX9 transmitter. (DX6 or higher required to get Agility Mode on Firmware 2.0.)

The SAFE technology and the four flight modes (Depending on transmitter) allow a completely beginner to be able to fly the 350 QX. The AP Mode allows a beginner to start to improve as a pilot and take control of the 350 QX as well as take relatively good videos with optional GOPRO camera. The Stability mode gives the learning pilot a chance to further improve and challenge their flying skills while still in a relatively controlled manner. The true intermediate pilot should find this is very enjoyable and pretty relaxing ride. The Agility mode allows the Advance pilot to put the 350 QX through her paces with high speed climbs, dives, turns, rolls and loops. The 350 QX can be the quadcopter for all pilots.

A Few Items I Have Been Asked About During This Review

B Propellers

I have put in hours of flight time in the course of this review. I crashed into a post as discussed above but I have had no damage to my B propellers during this review. A couple pilots who have started flying after seeing me fly mine have had no problem with their standard B propellers either. I have not experienced anything negative with the propellers. However I have only done about 15 minutes of agility flying where they most likely are under more stress with quick directional changes.

Any Problems Flying with the GoPro Camera?

My GoPro is the Silver model with no WiFi. I do not have a Black model and have only flown with my Silver GoPro. I have had no problems with control of either of my 350s Original or with Firmware 2.0. While flying with the camera attached I noted two changes: 1) in regards to the Return Home function. It was about three - four feet less accurate less accurate. 2) reduced flight times of about 20% due to the heavier load.

Any Problems with the Compass ?

Yes & No! When shooting a binding video during my review of the Spektrum DX9 I had the 350 QX and the transmitter at my office. I put my 350 QX on a desk and while shooting the binding video it gave off the audio warning of a compass problem. I checked and found a fairly strong magnet under some papers on my co-workers desk where I was shooting the video. Outside I rebound the 350 using the compass calibration binding method of rolling it to establish north and then the other directions. The warning beeps went away and she has flown fine. I suspect that orange LED warning signal in Firmware 2.0 was added for a reason but I have not experienced a problem with compass other than due to that magnet.

Any Problems with Flight Control?

I had no problems with signal or loss of control. Flying with winds 20-28 mph I had some drift in Smart Mode with the wind and a good deal more drift in Stability Mode with the Original Firmware. I was able to control the 350 QX but I didn't have hands off hover in that wind. I did have hands off hover in winds of 15 mph and less on other days. I have not flown my new 350 QX with Firmware 2.0 in winds above 15 mph during this review as such winds have not blown when I could fly.

Pluses & Minuses

Pluses

  • Came ready to fly out of the box
  • Three different sources of information to program my transmitter for the 350 QX BNF
  • Return Home Feature works very well
  • Smart Mode is excellent for the beginner or anyone wanting a relaxed flight with the 350 QX
  • AP Mode is good for pilot wanting to advance to have their head in the 350 QX to improve flying skills
  • AP Mode is best for taking videos
  • Stability Mode is good for intermediate flying
  • Agility Mode lives up to its name with a variety of aerobatics possible
  • The shape of the landing skids helps with orientation
  • Taller optional landing skids helps with camera clearance
  • Available skins make it easy to make your Blade stand out from others
  • LEDs make twilight and night flying possible
  • SAFE Technology works and allows for proven controlled flight in winds up to 15 mph
  • Parts are available for replacement and options
  • Anti vibration camera mount works well in calm or mild conditions

Minuses

  • I originally wished I could turn off stick relativity in Smart Mode (Non issue now with AP Mode)
  • Included camera mount handles vibration acceptably but not buffeting in high wind
  • With camera mounted the Return Home function is slightly less accurate per my testing

My Future Blade Quadcopter Plans

I plan on buying the upcoming Blade 350 QX Version 2 with gimbal and camera. I have been impressed with my current 350 QXs and want to step up to the new model and expect to see improved video and FPV on my Smart Phone. I also plan to buy the smaller Blade 200 for aerobatic flying. From their video I like how it performs and only risks half as much of an investment if I get dumb thumbs again.

Last edited by Michael Heer; Apr 09, 2014 at 10:19 AM..
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May 21, 2014, 12:14 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
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This space saved for possible future information by author. Michael H
May 21, 2014, 12:53 PM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Funny story:

I had the opportunity to fly one of these at the local hobby shop about a month ago. We thought the flight aids were switched off so that I could fly it manually - but they weren't. It tried to do everything except respond to the sticks!

However, once we figured out what we were doing wrong, the GPS kept it rock solid and later in full manual control, it flew quite well. Nice little sport quad in that mode.
May 24, 2014, 02:41 PM
Registered User
Michael, You did a fantastic review of the 350 QX. It helped me a lot.
TeeVee
May 25, 2014, 03:04 PM
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Thanks TeeVee! Glad it was of help! Mike
May 26, 2014, 02:12 AM
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ESCmaker's Avatar
it looks great
May 26, 2014, 01:43 PM
Learning is worth the effort
Very nice review Michael. Am getting my 350 QX tomorrow. Also enjoyed your DX9 review. Learned a lot from each one. Am looking forward to your next review.
May 26, 2014, 06:12 PM
"Aircraftus Fragmentum"
kydawg1's Avatar
Awesome review.
Jun 04, 2014, 02:04 PM
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Great review, I like it, but I'm going to purchase its little brother 200QX
Jun 07, 2014, 02:22 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
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Hi Jason:
I am in the process of reviewing the 200 QX and I just want you and everyone to know that it is a great little quadcopter. Just be aware that it has no GPS so it has no smart mode. You have to know how to fly because it has no smart mode and no return home function. In a breeze it doesn't hover in one spot unless the pilot corrects for the drift with constant control input. E-flite recommends it for intermediate pilots and above and so do I. In contrast because of Smart mode I was able to recommend the 350 QX for beginners on up. Mike Heer
Last edited by Michael Heer; Jun 07, 2014 at 11:34 PM.
Jun 08, 2014, 09:23 AM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
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A side by side size comparison of the 200 and the 350.
Jun 09, 2014, 01:28 AM
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Return to home


Why do you think the RTH is less accurate with the GoPro mounted? Is it just the weight or some kind of interference from the camera?

I wasn't really very impressed with your video. Way to much buffeting and the quality was not that good. Have you had any better results in other flights. Horizons video was shot at very low altitudes so that may have made it look better. Video and FPV would be my main reason for getting the 350 and I wouldn't buy one after seeing your video.

I currently fly a LaTrax Alias and plan on replacing it with a Blade 200 because of the brushless motors it has.

I was convinced I wanted a 350 for aerial videos but after seeing your video I am going to wait and see what the QX2 will do. I thought I had seen better videos with the 350 but not sure now.

Comments?
Jun 09, 2014, 11:09 AM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
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Dear hrosee:

As to your first question I can only quess why the accuracy was slightly less but I think the weight's location as the camera is not in the center of the quad is why it was a little less accurate. The difference as stated was minor but was pretty consistent. I think the accuracy of the return home for the price is excellent.

My videos were to demonstrate accurately what results I was getting . I have had some more impressive videos since then for my and my family's enjoyment. They were shot in relatively calm conditions. I think the 350 does a very nice job in relatively calm conditions flying high and low. As I pointed out in discussing one of my videos I didn't think it did a very good job in higher wind conditions and showed the bouncing and buffeting for just that reason. If it could handle wind we wouldn't need the 350 QX2. I found there are a number of really enjoyable videos on You Tube shot with the 350 and a GoPro camera and I suggest that you check them out to get a better idea of what is possible.

I also am looking forward to the 350 QX2. I think the gimbal on it should be very helpful in improving the quality of videos that can be shot, especially in breezy conditions and when flying and not just hovering. Time will tell. There is a reason people buy the gimbals for their camera setups. Good luck in your search. Mike H
Last edited by Michael Heer; Jun 09, 2014 at 01:35 PM.
Jun 14, 2014, 01:52 PM
hs1
hs1
Registered User
I installed the firmware update into my QX 350 and also moved and taped the GPS antenna as shown in the instructions. It locks on to GPS in about the same time (30 sec). In the Safe Mode it holds position perfectly even in a fairly strong wind, just as it did before the firmware mod. In AP mode (solid purple light) it does not hold position in the same wind, it drifts without control input. I thought the AP mode was able to hold position when you let go of the stick.
Jun 16, 2014, 04:24 PM
Random Flier
Michael - you mention your GoPro Silver does not have WiFi - but if it's the GoPro 3 in the photos (or 3+) then it does... well my 3 Silver does although I've not tried it yet. And for sure will not be using it when flying

Nice review. I might get a skin for better visibility, and the longer legs (grass is always taller than you'd like!). For a 350v3 though I'd recommend Blade try and fit collapsible landing gear to reduce the carry/storage depth - they should be able to engineer something that clips securely for hard landings but also allows the quad to pack smaller.

I find the 350 much easier for AP (usually in Smart mode especially in confined launch areas) than my fixed wing planes. Doing AP shots of people's houses is always popular (and great for surveying blocked roof valleys etc). For wildlife AP I will need to add FPV though - something presumably that could be done in the 350AP with its wireless camera.

Again something the Blade folks will presumably consider for a v3 would be integration of the quad sensors to a camera OSD with the option of replacing a small FPV cam with a GoPro or similar....

Anyhow, all great fun!


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