After seeing all those FPV (first-person view) quad videos, I decided I'd have to check this whole quadcopter thing out.
Everyone recommends getting a micro copter for your first quad; they're light, relatively cheap, easy to maintain, tougher to break, and fly exactly like the bigger ones (which is good since the controls are counterintuitive). So, I asked for (and got) a Blade Nano QX RTF (Ready-To-Fly) from my girlfriend for Christmas!
Here's the underside with the tiny battery. Flight time with a 150ma battery is about 7 minutes or so, depending on how aggressive you are with the throttle. The little "body" is just a thin flexible plastic shell over the control board.
The transmitter works great, although I'm still getting the hang of the controls, especially in an enclosed indoor space. My dining room, which is pretty big for New York City, is about 15'x25' and this thing zips around from one end to the other very quickly.
For scale, with a standard-sized beer bottle. Don't drink and fly kids. This thing is a handful stone cold sober if you're just getting started like me.
It also comes with a spare canopy in green and a set of spare propellers. Not sure what the piece of double-sided foam tape is for.
Most sites seem to recommend starting with either of the Ready-To-Fly (RTF) versions of the Hubsan X4 (107L is the newest version) at $45-60 or the Blade Nano QX at $90. I got my brother a Hubsan X4 for Christmas with the optional prop guard, and it's a really nice little device. It's heavier, so its flight times are about a minute or so shorter, but it flies a little smoother and is less aggressive so it's nice for beginners. The LEDs are also nice for figuring out which way it's pointing.
However, this Blade is a cut above in terms of construction, ease of maintenance, materials, and maneuverability. And it should be, since it costs about twice as much!
The integrated prop guards work great and it's WAY easier to swap motors since they plug into the control board (we accidentally broke a motor wire on the Hubsan X4, which required resoldering two teeny-tiny wires with tweezers). Also, this thing weighs substantially less than the Hubsan, and it freaking screams. I've been learning how to hover and fly in circles in my (relatively large for NYC) apartment, and this thing is definitely fast and very maneuverable. I run out of room very quickly!
Regarding durability, it has been repeatedly crashed onto hardwood floors, into walls, into chairs, and deflected violently off a metal bed frame into a tangle of cables without incident.
This is because quadcopter controls are a little counter-intuitive. The right stick tilts the quad in the direction you point, causing it to fly in that direction. Pretty simple. The left stick's up/down axis controls throttle, which makes the quad climb or lower. Also pretty simple.
However, in addition to controlling the throttle on the up-down axis, the left stick's left/right axis turns the quad's heading. This makes balancing the throttle and doing turns while keeping a consistent altitude very tricky!
I just ordered a few more spare batteries so I can get some additional flight time, some replacement propellers, and a pair of motors as backups. Can't wait to take it out to a field and really see what it can do.
Neat! Will it be powerful enough to handle any extra weight, like a camera of some sort, or do you need a bigger one for that?