If you've been thinking about getting into FPV droning, the CX-30s might be your ticket. It offers a quality, low-latency FPV system that is rarely found on sub-$100 drones. As good as the FPV is at this price, there are some other features that don't shine as well.
As with other Cheerson quadcopters I've tried, this one is built well. The transmitter (remote control) does feel a little cheap, but so far it has been working fine. The FPV LCD monitor seems to be high quality for the price.
The little door that holds the battery in came off in my hands the first time I opened it. It doesn't appear broken, it snaps right back in. But it looks like it is supposed to open on a hinge and not just pop right off – but maybe that is what it is actually designed to do.
I managed to break one of the props on my very first flight. Not sure if it is an indication that the props are a little on the brittle side, or if I just happened to “land” it at a bad angle.
When I stuck one of the included replacement ones on, the drone would not take off. I realized the replacement was the wrong orientation and swapped it for another one. The CX-30s happily launched back into the air and so far I've avoided any further mishaps.
Of course it was only after this incident that I found the little graphic showing the correct prop placement.
I've been getting around 5 minutes of flight time when I have the FPV camera running. The camera easily unclips from the belly of the drone and doing so will increase flight time by a few minutes. However, the real reason you'd get this quadcopter in the first place is to play around with FPV flying. The battery goes to a full charge in a respectable 60-90 minutes.
When flying this drone, it acts like it is heavy. It is a little on the sluggish side and anything but minor directional adjustments cause it to lose altitude. It definitely takes getting used to, it is not nearly as responsive as you might expect for its size.
The FPV camera unit is fairly large and I feel like perhaps the motors are a little underpowered for the weight of the camera. Just be ready to constantly adjust the throttle as you make directional changes.
Control range is about 30 meters, but you loose a good FPV signal after about 15-20 meters – so stick to under 20 meters if you are flying purely by FPV.
You can increase the range of this drone with a simple mod suggested by SeByDocKy over here at RCGroups.com. Basically, you need to open up the remote and slip the antennae through one of the sound holes on the front (which you need to enlarge slightly).
You'd be hard pressed to find a competitive low-latency FPV camera and LCD monitor on another quadcopter that costs less than $100. For pure FPV flying, the CX-30s offers a fair value – but when you can find it on sale for around $50, you are getting an incredible value!
As mentioned, the remote feels a little cheap. I'd love to see a small LCD on the remote that shows the trim levels and other useful info. You can find that on drones costing half as much as the CX-30s, so I believe it should come standard on any drone priced in the $90 or more range. You do get a bit of on-screen info displayed on the FPV monitor. It displays:
- Signal strength
- Remote battery life
- Recording indicator
- SD card indicator
- Drone battery life