Up until the start of this year, the Hubsan X4 was regarded as THE best entry-level quadcopter drone. It was recommended by beginners and veterans alike, and was affordable to add to the appeal.
However, more and more quadcopter drone makers started pushing nano and micro quadcopter drones by late 2014. The Syma X11 ‘Hornet’ happens to be one among these, and as I found out during the review of the X11 Hornet, it is one of the best entry-level drones — certainly better than the Hubsan on a couple aspects.
But, how good exactly? Lets find out in the Syma X11 review!
Syma X11 Review: Specifications
|Model||Syma X11 Hornet|
|Camera||NA (X11C available with camera)|
Syma X11 Review: Unboxing
Syma X11 Review: Build Quality
The build quality on the Syma X11 is excellent. It is by far one of the best built toy-grade quadcopter drones that I’ve flown! Plastic quality on the drone itself is nice and far from brittle, something you really want to see on an entry-level quadcopter drone since it is expected to take a few crashes and drops. The prop guard, on the other hand, is an excellent addition to give beginners some margin for error. The prop guard feels a little more flexible and rubbery, which is in fact a good quality also.
I (consciously and by mistake) hit my house walls multiple times, and the blades are still in great condition and look like they still have it in them for a few hundred flights!
Another thing that impresses me is the fact that the blades/props are secured to the motors using screws, and aren’t just the snap-on type of attachments like you’ve seen on a lot of other drones. In fact, the DM007 NightHawk (which is actually bigger than the Syma X11) suffers from this problem of blades coming off in-flight, which in my opinion sucks completely.
The controller too is well built and has a little heft to it. A downer, however, is in the form of the joysticks — they’re made for thumb control, and ‘pinchers’ like me have to have a hard time getting used to them. Of course if you’re comfortable with home hackery, you can make the sticks longer and remove the thumb pads to make the controllers pinch-able.
Also, the controller isn’t really great with range. around 30m is the best that it can do, after which you’ll start getting the sense of the X11 going out of control.
I’d give the X11 a good 8/10 for the build of the flier!
Syma X11 Review: Flight Characteristics
The Syma X11 isn’t the most agile quadcopter drone around. This means that although the size allows for it to be flown around the house, the lack of precise and agile moves means you’ll be hitting into walls and such more often than you’d like.
The prop guard does give the quadcopter drone some added safety and stability, but then again, agility and maneuverability take a hit… and so does flight time.
There are two flight modes on the Syma X11. If you’ve ever flown a drone before, or if you’re a fast learner, you will almost immediately want to move to the higher rate. To put the X11 into the higher rate flight mode, you need to pres the button on the top left of the controller (Pro tip for gamerheads – L1).
But obviously, the X11 also does flips… but unfortunately, they aren’t really tight and the quadcopter drone seems to lose a lot of altitude after each flip, which it tried to compensate for. So, if you do want to perform flips on the Syma X11, make sure you’re at least 6 feet from the ground.
Syma X11 Review: Outdoor Flight Demo
Syma X11 Review: Battery
Putting a little cello tape around the battery makes it easy to remove it from the canopy
The X11 comes with a 200mAh battery, which takes around 35 minutes via USB to get charged to 100%. When using a standalone charger (for eg., from a phone), the charging rate is quicker, but I don’t really recommend doing that because it will harm the battery in the long run.
In general, the quadcopter drone returns around 7 minutes of flight time (more or less than that depending on the conditions) after every charge. Now, compared to some other drones of this size, this is pretty impressive. If you’re wondering how the X11 manages that, let me tell you: the motors powering the blades aren’t as big as motors on other quadcopters of this size. Syma actually use a gear mechanism to achieve the ‘grunt’ to drive the quadcopter drone.
Syma X11 Review: Conclusion
The Syma X11 Hornet is easily one of the best entry-level quadcopter drones in the market. If you’re a season drone pilot, there might not be much in the Syma X11 for you.
ALSO SEE: Syma X13 Review
On the other hand, if you’re just starting with the drone hobby, the X11 is perhaps the best bet at the moment. It has a great flight time, decent build quality, and also doesn’t cost much — it is just $29 shipped.
Thanks to GearBest for shipping the X11 for review!