Nine Eagles Galaxy Visitor 3 Quadcopter from Eachbuyer.com Review

Not only are white and black the new fashion in the sky, flying is a "life style!" Or so the box told me.

Splash

Introduction

Rotor Diameter:5.7" (147mm)
Main Body Dimensions:7.59 x 7.59 x 3" (193 x 193 x 78mm)
RTF Weight with Camera:4.7 oz (132g)
Construction:Hard plastic body with flexible plastic skids and propellers; nylon drive gears
Camera:1280 x 720, 1.3 MP 30 FPI .avi video; 1280 x 720, 96 DPI .jpg photos
Transmitter:Nine Eagles 2.4GHz four-channel SLT-compatible with LCD display and digital trims
Receiver:Nine Eagles SLT-compatible with three-axis gyro and three-axis accelerometer
Battery:Nine Eagles 1200mAh 3.7V 30C lithium polymer with JST connector
Motors:Four 8.5mm brushed coreless
Minimum Skill Level/Age:Beginner; 14+
Typical Flight Duration:15 minutes
Manufacturer's Catalog Number:NE-MASF12
Manufacturer:Shanghai Nine Eagles Electronic Technology Co., Ltd., 818 Fengrao Road, Ma Lu, Jiading District, Shanghai, 201801 China
Available From:Eachbuyer.com
Price (USD):$139.99 with free shipping

Multirotors of all sizes continue to be the hot item in model aviation. Add a video camera or FPV system and things really start to sizzle.

After my review of the Cheerson Flying Egg for the folks at Eachbuyer.com, marketing director Sami Luo asked if I'd be interested in something a bit more sophisticated. Eachbuyer, it seems, wishes to penetrate the hobby market with more upscale, hobby-grade offerings.

Heck, who am I to say no to such an offer?

I have the pleasure of presenting the Nine Eagles Galaxy Visitor 3 RTF quadcopter which, as sharp-eyed readers will no doubt notice, is identical to a quad which Nine Eagles provides to another distributor. While waiting for my sample to arrive, I learned that the other version was scheduled to have a review of its own. In fact, that review went public the day I received my GV3.

No matter which label it's wearing, the Galaxy Visitor 3 is a remarkably feature-packed model with selectable functions one might expect to see on a larger, more expensive model.

These include:

  • A return-to-home function
  • A "headless" function which causes the model to move in the direction of the transmitter sticks in relation to the pilot no matter what its orientation happens to be
  • Altimeter controlled maximum height function
  • Beginner throttle function; the setting makes the throttle non-linear with the goal of keeping a new pilot from cutting back too much power
  • Throttle "braking" which immediately stops the model when the right stick is released

Those potentially add to the fun depending on the user's skill level. So too does the transmitter controlled digital camera. A push of one of two buttons on the transmitter starts and stops .avi format video or takes .jpg still photos recorded on the supplied 2GB micro SD card.

Speaking of transmitters, the GV3 uses a Secure Link Technology or SLT radio system, meaning it can be flown with other readily available SLT transmitters or SLT-adapted transmitters.

I'll skip ahead and say this is a terrific little quad - if one keeps its limitations in mind - and one to which I can add my own feedback.

Eachbuyer is not only offering it here for only US$139.99 with free shipping, RCGroups.com members and readers can save an additional 10% on all Eachbuyer.com R/C products by entering promo code "RCGeachbuyer."

Let's begin!

Contents

The Galaxy Visitor 3 is ready to fly with the following accessories:

  • Fully assembled model with preinstalled camera
  • Four-channel 2.4GHz transmitter
  • 1200mAh 3.7V lithium polymer battery
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Spare propellers
  • Variable rate charger with AC adapter
  • 2GB micro SD card
  • Micro SD card USB reader
  • CD-ROM with instructions in English in .pdf format
  • Printed manual and quick start guide...in Chinese

Needed to get flying:

  • Four alkaline AA-cell batteries for the transmitter; my unit was missing the included batteries
  • Windows-based computer with CD-ROM and open USB port for the instructions and SD card playback respectively

Nine Eagles has come up with an attractive display box which announces white and black are the new fashion and that flying is a "life style" amidst some machine translated English. I have experience in broadcast marketing and while I might have never used such a term to describe a product like this, the claim isn't far off.

The black-and-white shell with its matte finish, red accents, flexible black plastic landing skids, high-intensity orientation LEDs and indicator LED made for a truly good-looking model. It would seem the good folks at DJI started a styling revolution when the Phantom first hit the shelves.

However, Eachbuyer's shipping department did pretty much the same thing with this model as they did with the Cheerson Flying Egg, namely wrap the display box in plastic before shipping. No shipping box. Again. The result was some doinked corners and a punctured lid, but the contents survived nicely.

Sami Luo was definitely not happy with his shipping department and I have a really good feeling that the problem will be addressed if it hasn't yet been.

The all-white transmitter (sound familiar?) is typical Nine Eagles fare with its all-purpose LCD display, bright blue power indicator and reversible stick assembly. Yes, Mode 1 fans can rejoice since all it takes to switch over is to remove the four screws holding the stick assembly in place, removing the assembly and plugging it back in upside down. Result: The LCD display will now show "MODE 1" and the sticks will operate correspondingly. Four AA-cell alkaline batteries were supposed to be included, but weren't. No matter. I keep a stash of the things on hand for just such an emergency. There's a charger jack block-off plug on the lower left side of the unit, but unfortunately, there isn't anything behind it.

I did some homework before I received the GV3 and I was a bit surprised to learn that it utilizes 8.5mm brushed coreless motors and nylon gears to spin the props. Kind of a throwback in this day and age, but then again, the Galaxy Visitor operates on a single-cell li-po. It's the biggest one I've ever seen with its massive 1200mAh rating and the resulting flight time of around fifteen minutes, but it's still a single cell with the typical full charge of 4.17 - 4.19 volts according to my computerized charger.

The remainder of the accessories are very nice, consisting of a CD-ROM with a .pdf file of the instruction manual, a set of extra propellers, a variable rate charger with AC adapter, a 2GB micro SD card for the camera (it will accept up to a 32GB card), a phillips jeweler's screwdriver for replacing the props and an extremely cool micro SD card reader which plugs into a USB outlet. The card slips into the plug itself and the reader is then ready to be plugged into a computer.

Forget about the printed manual and what I presume to be a quick start guide unless one happens to read Chinese. Also in Chinese was the warning label affixed to the bottom of the camera. Google was my friend; the label simply instructs the operator to insert and remove the SD card with the flight battery unplugged. As far as an English manual is concerned, the CD-ROM labeled as camera driver software actually contains a .pdf file of the manual. It'll get the job done despite a few bits of badly translated English.

Once the flight battery was charged up on the supplied charger which topped it off in about twenty minutes, it was time to get the GV3 in the air!

Flying

Getting underway isn't difficult at all. The transmitter is first turned on and, because of some of its special features, should be left undisturbed for a few seconds. Likewise the GV3 itself; the battery should be plugged in before it's inserted into the model. Once the LED "taillight" glows a steady red, it's time for the fun with the default "expert" mode.

The manual instructs the pilot to put the quad through a series of "tests" before takeoff, something its rebadged cousin's manual doesn't discuss. I've never tested an RTF quad in that manner, so I skipped the steps.

The maiden flights took place in my living room since it was too windy to fly outside. The gear-driven propellers spooled up smoothly with a decidedly different sound than I was used to. My larger quads have brushless motors and some of my micros have coreless motors which directly spin the props. By comparison, the Galaxy Visitor 3 has smooth but definite gear noise.

There's no question whatsoever that I was flying a model aimed at beginning pilots. Most quads will shoot straight up at what a beginner might call an alarming rate, but not so this quad. It rose off the floor in a smooth but leisurely manner for a few circuits around the room on the default low control rates. Switching to the high rates is typical Nine Eagles, i.e., the right stick is pressed in. A high-pitched beep is emitted from the transmitter signifying high rates; a low-pitched beep signifies low rates. Orientation certainly wasn't an issue between the taillight and the LED strips beneath the radials. The red strips are in the front and the white strips are at the rear. I don't know why Nine Eagles chose to install them in that manner, but swapping the strips means swapping the corresponding opposite motor since the motors and strips are soldered together as an assembly.

Experimenting with a couple of the flight aids was next.

The altitude hold seemed to work well. The living room has a high ceiling, so I had plenty of room to give it a try. It went up maybe ten feet and held there no matter how much throttle I added. Interesting function and one which might serve well both as a training aid and for the camera function.

Slightly less interesting was the beginner mode. Trying to take off wreaked havoc with the accelerometers and altimeter since all it wanted to do was bounce on and off the floor a few inches. Some more throttle input helped, but gone was the linear throttle feel; it had become a sort of on-off switch. I had to literally chop the power to get the model to land.

Switching between modes definitely requires a printed manual at first since the modes are indicated by different flashes of the taillight. It took a few tries to finally get the quad out of the flight aid modes and back to full manual control.

The camera proved to be a lot of fun. Not only does it shoot video, it does so with sound, although the sound was out of sync, incomplete or both. Not that one would hear anything more than the motors, of course, but it's a nice touch. I flew around the living room once more, dodging boxes and other stuff since my wife and I were in the process of moving. The resulting video was sharp and clear even in ambient light and with the automatic iris stopping down whenever I flew toward a window.

The next morning brought perfect, dead calm flying weather. I fired up the GV3, brought it outside, selected the high rates and let 'er rip.

Comparatively speaking, that is.

Four gear-driven props powered by 8.5mm coreless motors and a single-cell battery don't equal a whole lot of power in a model this size. I quickly discovered that while it will turn in sharply on high rates, it doesn't have the power to compensate with the throttle, a necessary step with any multirotor. The results were a couple of minor crashes in which it came down fairly hard on the skids, but with no damage. The Galaxy Visitor 3 might not have a lot of oomph, but it's still a tough little customer.

I simply had to remind myself that I wasn't flying one of my high-performance Armattan quads or tricopter. With that in mind, I proceeded to spend nearly fifteen minutes smoothly flying around the front yard under full manual control and high rates. Not terribly fast given the relative lack of room, but smoothly. The three-axis gyro system does an excellent job of keeping things stable in hover, almost hands-free. It might not be the fastest or most agile quad in the hangar, but it makes for a heck of a nice beginner's camera platform when the wind is calm.

A subsequent flight in a light wind through which virtually any quad of similar size would have easily flown wasn't quite as smooth. The gyros tended to overcompensate, leading to throttle surges and yes, a couple of unscheduled landings.

What I really wanted to do was to get video while my videographer friend Ken Alan shot video of the model in flight at the same time at Southwest Community Church in Indian Wells. As seen below, his video turned out fine and it does a great job of showing off the GV3. Problem: The onboard video froze! All I got was the initial lift off and then nothing but a still shot of grass as the sound played on. Research shows this to be an all-too common problem with this particular camera, but since I had another 2GB card on hand, I decided to try my luck with it.

I've shot a lot of outdoor video while starting and stopping the camera a number of times during flight with the new card in place. I've yet to have the video freeze up on any of the multiple files which result. Same when stopping the video, taking some stills and then restarting video. I still have problems with sound synchronization - the sound often ends before the video does - but that's not an issue as far as I'm concerned. All one can hear in playback are the motors and anyone editing a video montage will almost definitely mute the sound and add music as I did.

Conclusion: Don't fly the GV3 in windy conditions, do replace the SD card (remember that it will accept a card up to 32GB) and don't worry about recording sound.

Special Flight Performance

While Nine Eagles limited the power, they compensated with some interesting functions, such as the automatic return, altitude compensation and beginner modes. Trouble was, I couldn't seem to get any of them to work properly in subsequent experiments save for the altitude hold. The beginner's mode completely fouls up the throttle curve for an experienced user which in turn resulted in some very hard landings.

Later outdoor flights in calm conditions in full manual mode, careful stick input and high rates turned out well. This is simply not a machine which can be flown with a lot of aggression. It isn't designed as such.

Is This For a Beginner?

Absolutely! Gentle power and the aforementioned flight aids make the GV3 as beginner-friendly as possible. That said, I freely admit that I'm less than enthusiastic about most of the flight aids, although I like the altitude hold function. It's no fault of the model; I am simply of the belief that such aids either slow the learning curve, instill dependability on them and/or cause confusion when someone switches from, say, the headless mode to full manual.

Flight Video and Photo Gallery

While I wish that I could have gotten onboard video at the same time this was being shot, I'm still quite happy with it:

Nine Eagles Galaxy Visitor 3 from Eachbuyer.com (1 min 43 sec)

I was lucky to have gotten some calm weather in an otherwise windy area. These are some of the famous wind turbines in the San Gorgonio Pass north of Palm Springs, California. I simply pointed the GV3 in the direction I wanted and hit the shutter button on the transmitter. The results speak for themselves:

As for the video taken at that same location:

Nine Eagles Galaxy Visitor 3 from Eachbuyer.com Onboard Video (1 min 33 sec)

Here are a few pictures taken at Palm Desert Soccer Park in nearby Palm Desert. The park was closed for maintenance, but the sidewalk leading to this practice field wasn't:

This picture was a happy accident. Seems I hit the shutter button when the GV3 was on the ground at Southwest Community Church, but I loved the composition. The complex in the background is the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, home of the BNP Paribas Open and the Desert Lexus Jazz Festival:

Finally, a few beauty shots:

Conclusion

In order to best understand what the Nine Eagles Galaxy Visitor 3 quadcopter is, we must first examine what it isn't.

It is not a high performance, atmosphere shredding quad capable of accelerating form zero to 60 in less time than it takes for some motorcycles. It is not the kind of quad which requires assembly, soldering, programming or what arcane terms like "Multiwii," "SimonK" or "KK 2.1" are supposed to mean.

What it is is a nice, gentle, lightweight, damage resistant flyer which will do a good, reasonably forgiving job of teaching the basics of quadcopter flight to anyone with the desire to learn and with minimum fuss. Just fly it and forget it. The time it takes to get from the box to the air is limited only by the time it takes to charge the flight battery. Repairs? Easy enough. Motors and propellers are easily replaced, but the motors are slightly more expensive than usual since each motor incorporates one of the LED strips under the shell. Other high zoot electronics such as the altimeter are on the pricey side, but experience tells me that Nine Eagles builds pretty dependable electronics.

I admit that I'm somewhat prejudiced since I do in fact fly some fast sport quads, a fast sport tricopter and I've built two quads from the ground up, soldering and all. I wanted more power, lots more, but power isn't the issue. This isn't a machine aimed at someone with multirotor experience but rather at those who wish to gain that precious experience.

So, the GV3 gets a two thumbs up for its combination of ease of flight and rugged construction. It's a heck of lot of fun when flown within its limits.

My thanks once again go to the delightful Mr. Sami Luo of Eachbuyer.com for his offer of the Galaxy Visitor 3. Sami told me that our review of the Cheerson Flying Egg helped to make that little quad the number one selling item on their entire site! Here's hoping this review will give it a run for its money.

Angela Haglund is our intrepid administrator, the conduit through which all of our reviews flow to you, dear reader. Thanks for stopping by!

Pluses and Minuses

Lots of pluses, beginning with:

  • Attractively designed; one of the best looking RTF quads on the market
  • Extra long flight times
  • Lightweight and damage resistant
  • Excellent battery charger
  • SLT radio system allows the model to be flown with other SLT transmitters
  • Lots of fun to be had with the camera
  • Propellers and most parts are affordably priced; all are readily available
  • An excellent platform for a casual user to learn the basics of quadcopter flight

As for the minuses:

  • Underpowered, sometimes resulting in a lack of control if flown aggressively
  • Camera video tends to freeze when using the supplied micro SD card
  • Doesn't handle well in wind, even a light wind
  • Switching in and out of the various flight modes is more complicated than need be and can be confusing to use as well
  • Brushed motors are a throwback in an age of affordable brushless motors
Last edited by DismayingObservation; Aug 17, 2014 at 11:16 PM..
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Sep 18, 2014, 06:49 AM
Registered User

I am planning to buy GV3


How high it can fly and how was RTH feature???
Sep 21, 2014, 01:32 AM
Registered User
It can fly up pretty high. I'm thinking 200 meter or so. You see it safely land despite me having lost it up in the sky and turning off the transmitter. The rear left motor wasn't working anymore which i presume caused it to start spinning.

Nine Eagles Galaxy Visitor 3 - Day 1 : Falling Out of The Sky (13 min 43 sec)
Sep 25, 2014, 02:17 AM
Registered User
wow pretty nice review! Thanks for the review
Sep 25, 2014, 02:33 AM
ultra cheap pilot
ican3d's Avatar
In horizontally distance how far it could fly? What happen if the radio transmitter signal is lost will it RTH or hover down slowly? RTH is GPS or compas driven?
I might pick one if the above satisfied me because i'm a big fan of coreless driven FPV quads.
Sep 26, 2014, 10:30 AM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by ican3d
In horizontally distance how far it could fly? What happen if the radio transmitter signal is lost will it RTH or hover down slowly? RTH is GPS or compas driven?
I might pick one if the above satisfied me because i'm a big fan of coreless driven FPV quads.
Hi!

It isn't an FPV but rather a small beginner's quad with a camera. I never lost radio signal, but if it were to lose signal, my guess is that it would simply quit and fall to earth.

The RTH function is directional and depends on the signal from the transmitter. It has to be pointed at the model and then the quad will follow that signal back to the pilot. No GPS and likely no compass either.
Sep 26, 2014, 10:40 AM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanflyer
How high it can fly and how was RTH feature???
That first one is a question I hear a lot.

Like any model aircraft, "how high" depends on a number of factors. You never want to fly higher than you can see for orientation. On top of that, you might encounter stronger winds the higher you fly and this little machine probably won't be able to compensate. I don't even take my big sport quads up much higher than 30 or 40 feet (9 - 12m) or so. No camera platforms, no GPS, just fast flight. I have excellent distance eyesight, but even a larger quad is hard to keep oriented when it's too high or too far down range.

I found most of the functions such as the RTH to be really cumbersome and I never could get it to work properly. I intentionally flew it quite a way down range and I was able to maintain control and orientation, so I personally don't need it. It's a nice idea in theory, but in this case, not so nice in practice.
Oct 08, 2014, 03:06 PM
Registered User

Auto-return


Quote:
Originally Posted by DismayingObservation
Hi!

It isn't an FPV but rather a small beginner's quad with a camera. I never lost radio signal, but if it were to lose signal, my guess is that it would simply quit and fall to earth.

The RTH function is directional and depends on the signal from the transmitter. It has to be pointed at the model and then the quad will follow that signal back to the pilot. No GPS and likely no compass either.
I have recently bought the GV3 and after activating the auto-return the copter flies away from the transmitter instead of coming back. Can someone expain this?
The auto-return depends on a "magnetic" sensor, could it be broken?
Oct 08, 2014, 08:49 PM
Registered User
I think I remeber seeing you off of N. Indian Canyon rd. a few weeks ago flying that thing.

Looks like fun.
Oct 08, 2014, 11:17 PM
Registered User
Benedikt has a nice video on transplanting the motors and pinions to get a lil umph in the much needed power section, check out his transplant surgery but summary is the quad is a tank and just weighs too much to really be useful for any real flying.
Oct 12, 2014, 03:04 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by dwstats
I have recently bought the GV3 and after activating the auto-return the copter flies away from the transmitter instead of coming back. Can someone expain this?
The auto-return depends on a "magnetic" sensor, could it be broken?
From reading the instructions it's the initial alignment of the quad with the transmitter when turning them on that's important for this and other options to work.The intelligence mode would not work on mine initially and then realised it was the way I was activating it was incorrect.I recently purchased a GV3 and for the price it's good value if you don't expect it to do more than its designed for.
Oct 15, 2014, 07:39 PM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don 2416n
I think I remeber seeing you off of N. Indian Canyon rd. a few weeks ago flying that thing.

Looks like fun.
Yup, that had to have been me! I was on Avenue 19 just west of North Indian Canyon near the FedEx office.
Oct 15, 2014, 07:43 PM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by fly4fun6719
From reading the instructions it's the initial alignment of the quad with the transmitter when turning them on that's important for this and other options to work.The intelligence mode would not work on mine initially and then realised it was the way I was activating it was incorrect.I recently purchased a GV3 and for the price it's good value if you don't expect it to do more than its designed for.
That's exactly right. The problem I had was one of confusion whenever the model did moves I wasn't expecting it to do.

It really is designed for smooth, gentle input and gentle flying conditions. I still wish it had a bit more power, but it is what it is. In fact, I'm going to pick up another battery soon.
Oct 16, 2014, 04:39 PM
Registered User

Limited mode 1 quads available


Chinese manufacturers don't seem to cater much for flyers on mode 1 and that was one reason I steered towards the Gv3 plus I have other Nine Eagles products and the quality is not to bad.I originally was looking at the Syma X5C as they advertised a mode 1&2 but further investigation found that their mode 1&2 was not the accepted standard for these modes.
Oct 16, 2014, 11:20 PM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Thread OP
I just looked at the transmitter. As with other Nine Eagles products, the stick assembly can be unscrewed and remounted upside down. This will electronically as well as mechanically switch it to Mode 1. It's a neat little secret that isn't often mentioned in the manuals. I tried it just for fun on my Heli-Max 1SQ soon after I bought it a couple of years ago and sure enough, it worked. Even the display read "MODE 1" after that.

Good luck!


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