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Dec 31, 2017, 12:00 AM
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DM95 Visitor Foldable RTF Quadcopter Mini Review


Quadcopters – or drones if you prefer – are becoming more affordable with each passing day.

Such a quad is the very affordable DM95 Visitor from GearBest.com. Here’s a terrific little model for which not only delivers great overall performance, it does so at a budget-friendly price.

Actually, “friendly” is too mild a word. A basic version with a 0.3-megapixel camera is available for US$35.99 while the two-megapixel version I’ll discuss can be had for a mere $7.00 more. Yes, a whopping $42.99 nets a foldable brushed quad with a 2.4GHz radio system, Wi-Fi video/FPV and model control and even barometric altitude hold.

Contents:

Aside from the fully assembled model, the box contains the following:
• Four-channel 2.4GHz transmitter with digital trim tabs, screw-on smartphone holder, stick extensions and neck strap
• Clip-on propeller guards with separate covers which install in the arms when not in use
• Two spare propellers
• 900mAh 3.7V lithium polymer battery with USB charger
• Illustrated instruction manual in both English and Chinese
• Instruction sheet for the app with QR codes for downloading

Required to fly:
• Four AA-cell alkaline batteries for the transmitter

The matte black finish with silver and gold accents do a good job of imitating a more expensive folding quad. The arms swing out and rigidly lock in place but are easily refolded.

Doing a considerably lesser job of imitating an upscale unit is the transmitter. It is, without question, the cheapest looking unit I’ve ever seen and believe me, I’ve seen a lot of transmitters. While it only has two fake buttons, it also has the most laughably ugly (and wrinkled) foil stickers imaginable. The larger of the two goes so far as to show a faux LCD status display while the smaller simply reads “SUPERIOR.” At least the press-on extensions give decent stick feel which translate well to the model’s excellent control. Adding insult to injury is the neck strap. Somehow, I find the thought of wearing a neck strap made from baby blue satin ribbon less than appealing, but to the manufacturer’s credit, at least a strap was provided.

Speaking of which, no manufacturer’s information is printed anywhere. The name “TOMITO” printed on top of the model doesn’t correspond to anything online except as an incorrect spelling of “tomato.” No parts are listed anywhere on the internet under “DM95 Visitor,” but research turned them up under a different brand name. It’s available through GearBest as the Tianqu XS809W (you’re welcome!) and parts are not only plentiful through GearBest and other sources, they’re incredibly affordable. It’s definitely a good idea to pick up an extra Tianqu battery or two when ordering a DM95. Extra props for beginners may be a good idea as well since only two spares are provided.

Flying:

The free app turns the DM95 into a surprisingly good camera platform; a pair of smartphone goggles will also turn it into a beginner’s FPV platform.
Charging the flight battery takes about 90 to 120 minutes, but the light on the USB charger doesn’t go out when charging is complete, at least on my example.

From there, I suggest having the manual handy since no functions on the transmitter are marked. Beneath the tacky exterior lies a full function radio with a wealth of controls including one-key takeoff and landing, flip function, etc.

The manual suggests calibrating the gyro after binding and before takeoff, easily done via the left stick. Once armed, the DM95 takes off by simply advancing the throttle. Since the model has a barometric altitude holing feature, neutral is at center stick. Pulling down fully places the model in automatic landing mode and after landing, shuts off the motors.

The maiden flight took place outdoors, so I switched to the highest of the three flight rates via the button on the top left of the radio and I was off.

Here was an inexpensive, no-name model which flew beautifully. Control was smooth and accurate, greatly aided by the altitude hold. Speed wasn’t lacking, either. On high rates, it was above average for a 3.7V system with brushed, geared motors. The altitude hold also helped with the automatic flips. They were fast and clean with no loss of altitude. If there was a problem, it was with the lighting. There are green LEDs in front and red ones in the rear augmented by a pair of high intensity red LED “eyes” up front. In bright sunlight, the eyes are the best possible way to keep oriented.

Another pleasant surprise was the quality of the Wi-Fi recorded video. The 2MP camera showed its stuff well, but there were quite a few latency issues. Non-FPV versions have a slot for a micro SD card; the slot on my example has no receptacle. Having SD capability on the 2MP version would have been a welcome addition. Even with the likelihood of a reduction of video quality, it’d be welcome.

This is where I ran into a real problem. Getting an Apple iPhone 6+ to talk to a Dell PC with Windows 10 is not exactly a match made in heaven. The video and photos go to files within the app and there seems to be no way to export them for email, cloud or Dropbox. My phone connects with iTunes just fine, but File Explorer doesn’t see it. Once I solve the issues, I’ll post edited video.

Conclusion:

For such an inexpensive little RTF, the DM95 Visitor performs much better than one might expect and is worth considering for new users playing around with introductory FPV and aerial photography. Those mixing an Apple phone with a PC may have problems uploading video for editing, something to keep in mind for use on YouTube videos. It may be worthwhile to consider the 0.3MP version for online videos or to simply match, say, an Android phone with a PC or an iPhone with a Mac.
What I thought was a lack of parts and that tacky transmitter were going to earn the model a much lower final rating than it might otherwise deserve. Whether one calls it Tomito, Tomato, or Tianqu (you’re welcome again!), the DM95 gets 1 3/4 thumbs up thanks in no small part to parts availability under the Tianqu brand. The problem I encountered with the app dinged my rating a quarter point.

My sincere thanks go to Anny over at GearBest who offered this model for review.
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