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Apr 28, 2018, 07:59 AM
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Emax Hawk 5 - "Bird of Prey" or "Sitting Duck"? (review)

Lately I've been much more involved with 3 inch FPv quads, as these currently offer close to 5 inch performance, but in a lighter and more compact "package". However, 5 inch still has some attraction, the sound of the bigger props and motors, are still impressive. So it was a pleasant surprise to see an Emax Hawk 5 being sent this way. I had heard some good things about this, and also enjoyed the new 3 inch BabyHawk-R, so checking out it's "dad" seemed very interesting.

Disclaimer: I don't get paid, or in any other way make money with reviews like these. Product specifications and quality may vary at the manufacturer's discretion, and are beyond my influence. I cannot guarantee you will get a product that performs exactly the same as seen and described in this review. There is always room for a general discussion on the reviewed item, feel free to comment, but if you are planning to add a long review, instead of some summarizing remarks, it would be appreciated to put these in a new review topic or on your RCG blog page. And please, no affiliate links!

Note: When clicking a link that is posted in this review, some text or numbers might be added to the link, making it appear to be an affiliate link. However, all links I post in the review are clean, and this addition is done automatically by your browser and forum software, so sadly beyond my influence. If you dont want this to happen, copy the link, then paste in an address line of a fresh browser window/tab.

For easy navigation, here's a list of contents:

1: Specifications (posting #1)
2: Unboxing (posting #1)
3: Preparing for 1st Flight (posting #1)
4: Flying Performance (posting #1)
5: Camera & FPV Performance (posting #1)
6: Suitable for a Beginner? (posting #1)
7: Preliminary Verdict (posting #1)
8: Additional Tuning, Modifications & Other Info (posting #2)
9: Suggestions for Improvements (posting #2)

1 - Specifications:

First, let's start with a picture and a link:

BnF generally comes around 253 euro and the PnP for around 207 euro. This price difference seems a bit odd, as basically you only get an XM+ receiver as extra with the BnF, and that isn't worth 46 euro. On the positive side, the BnF has also been on sale for a price just below 200 euro.

2 - Unboxing:

The Hawk 5 arrived in a classy looking box, from thick cardboard:

Inside we find the quad held securely with a pre-shaped foam insert:

Here are all the contents spread out:

The frame uses removable arms. Also notice the extra plates on top, apparently to strengthen the top plate:

Motors are rated 2206 2300kv:

The wires have ample length to allow transfer to a bigger frame:

Overall the assembly looks pretty neat, but here and there some parts that have been fully tightened down:

3 Preparing for 1st Flight:

This sample came with XM+ receiver installed. However, since it's only suppored on the soldering pins, pressing down the bind button can be tricky. To help, I put a little foam between the bottom of the receiver and the flight controller, to support the area below the bind button:

The FC is identified as OmnibusF4, and comes flashed with BetaFlight 3.2.2 firmware. Many settings have been changed, and it's likely that Emax spent some time tuning this quad. A CLI dump of the stock settings can be found attached to the second message in this thread.

So not too much time was needed to get it ready to fly, most changes I made were personal preferences, such as flight modes. Naturally fail safe was tested, as well as some other basic things, such as motor direction.

For the first flights, a 3S battery would be used, which was assumed to be powerful enough to fly the Hawk 5.

4 - Flying Performance:

Due to near constant rain, LoS flying was skipped, and the first flight was to be FPV right away. Please check the next chapter for flight footage and comments.

5 - Camera & FPV Performance:

Featuring a Foxeer micro camera, apparently the same as used on the BabyHawk-R series, it can be expected that the image quality will be really good. The mounting spot allows a wide range of camera tilt angles, so it should be easy to set it to most FPV pilot's preferred angle.

The VTX is small and also appears to be the same as used on the BabyHawk-R. It came already unlocked, so out of the box it was possible to select each of the available frequencies and power setting. It comes with sleeved dipole antenna installed, but in the box there is also a second lead, with SMA connector, which can be snapped upon the micro connector on the VTX, and 2 Emax Pagoda antennas.

Since the BabyHawk-R already showed excellent signal stability with a dipole, I left that antenna on for the first flights. Taking it easy, a 3S battery was used, and this is footage from the first flight:

Emax Hawk 5 - First Test Flight (*) (3 min 55 sec)

On a different location, a new test flight was made. While flying very smooth, the quad felt somewhat underpowered, which later turned out to be caused by battery voltage sagging:

More testing with the Emax Hawk 5 (*) (4 min 11 sec)

6 - Suitable for a beginner?

While well tuned, and overall great quality, the Hawk 5 is also rather fast. So despite it's durable frame, it would be tricky to fly it with limited experience.

7 - Preliminary Verdict:

The Hawk 5 sets a new benchmark for the RTF 5 inch quads. It's got smooth and powerful motors, a well designed frame, good image quality, a clean VTX signal and has been very well tuned too. It ticks all of the boxes, so there is very little to fault with it. A few small nitpicking things could be the lack of LEDs, and not having firmware on the RX to show RSSI. But those are minor things compared to the long list of positives.


- Good camera
- Very clean FPV signal
- 8 props, including 4 spares
- Very well tuned
- Strong frame with removable arms
- BetaFlight OSD
- XM+ receiver


- No Leds

(to be continued)
Last edited by SoloProFan; Sep 30, 2018 at 02:27 PM.
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Apr 28, 2018, 08:00 AM
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8 Additional Tuning, Modifications & Other Info

9 Suggestions for Improvements:

So far it seems the only thing that could be a bit better, is the VTX.
Last edited by SoloProFan; Sep 30, 2018 at 01:56 PM.
Apr 29, 2018, 07:30 AM
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Added pictures and other content.
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Apr 29, 2018, 05:21 PM
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Interesting they keep bundling the motor wires up like that like they did in the babyhawk R. I'd think the 2206 2300kV we would go very nicely with some 6" arms and props as a simple arm upgrade as with the 2.5" babyhawk R
Apr 29, 2018, 06:31 PM
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Indeed there is a lot of slack in the motor wires. Since the arms are removable, it is possible to replace these with longer ones.
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Apr 30, 2018, 03:34 PM
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Made a first test flight, link to video in the first message in this topic.
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Sep 30, 2018, 02:26 PM
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As first flights revealed the first battery I used wasn't able to cope with the current draw of the Hawk 5's motors. A fresh Multistar 1400mAh "Gold Spec", while heavier than the first battery, spiced up performance considerably. Here are some videos of flights made with this battery:

Emax Hawk 5 - Flying with a higher performance batttery, part 1 (3 min 38 sec)

Emax Hawk 5 - Flying with a higher performance battery, part 2 (*) (3 min 22 sec)

Acro flying on a sunny day with the Emax Hawk 5 (*) (3 min 51 sec)
Latest blog entry: For the love of the hobby!

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