The new XBM-55 drone from Xiao Bai Ma (hence the XBM name) is an interesting looking quadcopter that looks very similar to many of the newer Hubsan models. It’s a brushed quad that features Altitude hold, FPV, and a 720p wide angle lens.
At $70 shipped, it’s quite an appealing choice for first- and second-timers. We decided to take one for a spin, and here’s what we think about the XBM-55!
Get the XMB-55 drone from Geekbuying.
XBM-55 Drone Review
The drone comes packaged in a nice sized box with very good graphics and labels. The aircraft itself is quite nice and feels well built. The blue and white color combination looks nice as well, but then that could be subjective.
The XBM-55 is also quite light, weighing in at only 170g so it doesn’t require an FAA registration number in the USA. It comes with a full extra set of propellers, a screwdriver, Kingston 4GB microSD card (and a microSD card reader) and a USB cable for charging. The battery is charged inside the quad via the USB port on the side.
Flight Times & Impressions
The battery is a 1s 3.7v 800mAh LiPo that takes several hours to charge. You can expect a flight time of nearly 8 minutes especially if you turn off the LED’s.
However where the XBM-55 really shines (no pun intended) is its LEDs! It features beautiful LEDs under each motor pod (green front, blue rear) and also has two white LED’s in the nose above the camera. The LED’s are visible during the day but look stellar at night. Only drawback there is you can’t fly by FPV at night, but then that’s true for almost any quad.
The 720HD wide angle lens camera is ideal for FPV flying and the XBM-UFO app (used to control the drone) is quite nice. The FPV feed however is choppy and can get quite laggy which isn’t uncommon for 2.4GHz WiFi FPV feeds. The app does have an option to use a 720HD FPV feed which is very cool for a toy grade drone but as expected the 720 feed is VERY laggy and choppy so it is not advised. Thankfully XBM does warn that the 720 feed may experience severe lag. The 720 FPV feed does look great, it’s just a pity that it’s hardly usable.
The biggest downside to the camera however is the picture quality. The colors look good and when filming video; there is no jello which is very uncommon in a toy grade quadcopter. The props are visible in the top portion of the video but it’s not bad and I found it to not be much of a distraction.
However the loss of detail and noise in the pics and videos is poorer than similar priced drones. The video does film in 720p but only at 20fps so when flying at full speed the video can get choppy due to the low frame rate. Below is a picture I took with the XBM-55 at sunset. Overall it’s not a bad pic considering it’s a toy grade drone. The colors are natural but there’s more detail loss than you would expect.
XBM-55 Drone Review: Controller
The controller for the XBM-55 is rather unique. It comes with an adjustable smartphone/tablet holder. This actually works quite well and the fact it can hold a small tablet is also a huge plus. The controller’s buttons are also well-labeled. It features auto takeoff/landings, headless mode, one-key return and 3 rates that are controlled by pressing the speed button.
You can also turn the LED’s on/off which is nice battery-saving feature. There’s also an emergency motor kill button which is nice safety option. However, these 4 buttons can sometimes be kind of hard to reach. I’d like to have seen them use larger buttons for these features.
The controller feels nice in your hands and with a smartphone inserted it’s still easy to use and isn’t top heavy due to the phone/tablet being centered in the middle of the controller. The only downside to this is it makes the controller sticks very far apart which many be uncomfortable for some pilots.
Now that I’ve discussed the basics of the XBM-55 let’s move on to my full table and flight review of it where I discuss all the finer details including use of the “XBM-UFO” app and a full flight of the XBM with the on-board video included.
Summing it up…
- FPV flyer with altitude hold
- 720p wide angle lens
- No jello in videos
- No FAA registration required
- Powerful LED’s under the motor pods and above the nose
- Long flight time of nearly 8 mins
- Auto takeoff and landings
- Nice app that overall works very well
- FPV feed can be choppy and laggy especially when using the 720HD feed
- Battery is proprietary and must be charged with it inserted into the drone
- Camera is poorer quality than expected with excess noise and detail loss
Overall the XBM-55 is a very nice flyer with fantastic looking bright LED’s and an impressive flight time. The controller with a phone/table and the app work well together. Unfortunately the video feed is a bit too choppy at times even in SD resolution but since that’s extremely common in WiFi FPV drones it’s hard to deduct too many points for that.
The biggest drawback in my opinion was the camera, which drops too much detail despite having fairly good colors. The XBM-55 can be purchased from Geekbuying.