The Hubsan X4 is the perfect entry level quadcopter for children and beginners. The drone is cheap yet doesn’t sacrifice performance. It’s packed with surprisingly high-level technologies for its price point. Its small size makes it extremely portable.
If you’re interested in buying the Hubsan X4 quadcopter, keep reading our in-depth review below.
Hubsan X4 Overview
The Hubsan X4 quadcopter is small, compact, and lightweight. At just 28 grams without the battery, most consider it a micro-drone. The overall size is only slightly larger than an iPhone 6.
Because of the small design, it’s best to use the Hubsan X4 in calm weather. Even though its controls are aggressive and responsive, it’s easily buffeted in even a mild wind. Fortunately, the drone is so small you can easily fly it indoors.
The Hubsan X4 packs a remarkable number of features into its small body. The top specs to keep in mind while considering this drone include:
- Ready to fly right out of the box
- Durable one-piece frame
- High-capacity 3.7 lithium battery
- USB charging port (charge with your laptop!)
- FPV (first person view) 720×240 resolution camera
- Built-in MircoSD card for HD video recording
- 4-channel 3.4 GHz transmitter with integrated 4.3 LCD screen
- Roughly 328-foot flight range
Hubsan X4 Features
Let’s take a look at a few of the Hubsan X4’s top features in more detail to see what they’re all about:
Learning to use the Hubsan X4 is simple thanks to its intuitive controls. In fact, the controller/transmitter looks a lot like a modified PlayStation controller.
The controller features two joysticks to control the drone. An LCD screen at the center of the controller gives you important in-flight diagnostics in real-time. Trim buttons balance out drifting while flight mode buttons allow you to increase the sensitivity of the receiver. The power button lets you turn the controller on and off.
The LCD screen is perhaps the most noticeable feature on the controller. One of the stats it displays is real-time battery life. A simple telemetry system alerts you that the battery is low and you should plan on landing.
The Hubsan X4 camera isn’t exactly the drone’s strong suit but it does a passable job for the drone’s price.
Video is recorded in 720×240 yet is displayed on the controller’s LCD screen in 720×480. Unfortunately, the camera only has 640×480 resolution with a 0.3MP sensor.
Basically, this means the in-flight video is different from the recorded video. You’ll need to stretch recorded footage with a converter program so it appears as 480 instead of just 240.
Normal and Expert Modes
A switch on the controller lets you quickly toggle between two flight modes.
Normal mode limits the sensitivity of the receiver, reducing joystick travel by 50%. This is the ideal setting for beginners and children.
Expert mode, on the other hand, increases receiver sensitivity. Full joystick travel is activated for complete control.
Available only in expert mode, the anti-flip mode feature of the Hubsan X4 is discussed often. As its name implies, it simply prevents the drone from flipping during flight.
The Hubsan X4 has a robust battery for such a small drone. A single charge lasts for about 10 minutes of flight time. Of course, an aggressive driver will wear the battery out quicker while a passive driver will wear it out slower.
The battery itself is a 3.7V 240mAh lithium polymer battery. It’s easy to recharge the battery with the provided USB charging cord. Unfortunately, the battery takes over 40 minutes to charge. We recommend buying a few extra batteries if you want to fly the drone for more than 10-ish minutes in a single session.
Using the Hubsan X4
As we mentioned above, the drone should only be used in calm weather. Despite its six-axis stabilization and auto-leveling feature, the quadcopter is prone to being blown around even in minor wind. If the wind picks up even a little more, it’s unlikely you’ll get the Hubsan X4 off the ground.
The craft’s lightweight also translates into minor drifting in calm conditions. Try to hover the Hubsan X4 indoors and it will likely drift slightly from side to side. The trimming button on the controller helps but doesn’t eradicate this problem.
Something we were surprised with was the live video feature. The LCD screen is remarkably clear and the video quality is high. First person view flying is possible with the Hubsan X4 as long as you’re flying in an area with interference.
Speaking of video, we’re not as fond of the video recording. For whatever reason, video is recorded in 720×240 rather than the 720×480 displayed on the LCD screen. This means you have to convert the recorded footage if you plan to use it.
Finally, the range on the Hubsan X4 is top notch for such a small drone. You can get by with going around 328 feet away, although the closer you keep the craft, the better it performs.
Is the Hubsan X4 right for you?
In our opinion, the Hubsan X4 is a great quadcopter for children and those just getting started in drone technology. It’s a solid introduction to FPV flying for an affordable price.
The pros of the Hubsan X4 include:
- Portable (easily take it anywhere)
- Built-in telemetry
- Decent range
- FPV functionality
- Intuitive controls
The cons of the Hubsan X4 include:
- Too light for use in even minor wind
- Slight drifting even when used indoors
- Recorded video quality isn’t best for any uses other than FPV flying
- 10-minute battery life
There’s no denying that the Hubsan X4 is a toy drone. It’s made of fairly cheap materials and doesn’t implement any robust features. Yet that’s no reason not to buy it.
Of course, experienced drone enthusiasts should opt for a quadcopter of a much higher quality. But beginners and children will have a lot of fun with this model. It’s a great introduction to flying a drone before moving onto a more expensive model.