REVIEW – Remote control devices are always a big hit with kids. I have purchased a ton for my kids over the years… cars, robots, pets, airplanes, and of course, drones. So the GPX Quadcopter Drone with Wifi Camera caught my eye. It not only has a budget price of $49.95, it has a camera that purports to record pictures and video, and you can use either the controller or your cellphone to control it. I’m in. So let’s find out if my inner child was satisfied!
What is it?
A budget quadcopter drone that has a camera to capture video and pictures. You can use either the included controller, which looks like an X-box or Playstation controller, or your cellphone with the free Skyrider app for either iPhone or Android.
- 360° flips & tricks
- 6-axis gyroscope
- 3 speeds: low, medium, high
- Adjustable angle Wi-Fi camera
- 4GHz remote control
- 4-channel direction control
- Control distance: up to 328 feet
- Headless mode
- LED navigation lights
- Stream live video to your smartphone or VR goggles
- DC battery power: removable, rechargeable lithium polymer battery
- Operating time: 6-8 minutes (per battery)
- Charge time: 120 minutes
- DIMS: 11.8″ x 11.8″ x 4.21″
- Remote control: requires 4 AA batteries (not included)
- Phone holder
- USB cable
- 4 replacement rotors
- 30-Day Limited Warranty
- User’s guide
What’s in the box?
The drone, 4 extra blades, 4 blade guards, 2 legs to attach to the bottom as a stand, a small owner’s manual, a controller with a clip attachment for your cellphone, several small screws to attach the leg stands and blade guards, and a USB power cord to charge the battery.
Design and function
My past experience with drones, from cheap ones to expensive ones, has been spotty at best. My favorite thus far was the Parrot drone, and it performed the best of them all. But even that expensive one that I paid almost $300 for would behave erratically from time to time. But the kids and I had a blast with it. And I have also purchased cheap, bargain basement toys that purported to be drones and they did actually fly, but controlling them was but a dream.
The GPX Quadcopter is somewhere in between those 2 scenarios I think. At a price of $49.95 I think it is worth the price to have a toy that can fly and you can control it with either the included controller or your cellphone.
First, let’s talk about the design of the drone. It is incredibly light. The plastic leg stands and blade guards that you assemble when you open the box are pretty cheap. I can see where it won’t be difficult to break these pieces of plastic. The GPX offers extra blades, blade guards (called blade cages), and batteries for sale on the website if you needed to purchase more. I would also say that the blade guards don’t really provide that much protection. I ran the drone into walls, furniture, trees, etc, and the blades usually smacked into everything because I wasn’t the best pilot and often tipped the drone sideways where the blades would touch things. So the blade guards don’t really offer protection from everything.
There is a small door on the bottom that opens to reveal the battery compartment and a removable battery. Included in the box is a USB cable with a special connector that attaches to the battery. I charged it using the USB port on my laptop and when the little red light on the USB connector went out, it was fully charged. Attached to the middle of the bottom of the drone is the camera unit. I found that the camera would often come loose from the bottom when I crashed the drone a little too hard. It became a little annoying actually having to constantly reattach it to the small clips on the bottom of the drone. Under each rotating blade are indicator lights, 2 blue, and 2 red, that you can use to visually orient yourself to the front (blue) and back (red) of the drone. Although a button on the controller labeled ‘headless’ allows you to disengage the ‘front’ and ‘back’ orientation of the drone and simply fly it in whatever direction you want using the right control stick.
Using the controller was a much better experience than using the interface in the Skyrider smartphone app. After a few minutes of using the app, I gave up because it was really hard to make it do what I wanted it to do. The controller is much, much better to use. If you are new to using a flying drone, it is going to be challenging getting used to controlling the height, yaw, pitch, and rotation all at the same time. It takes lots of practice, so really young children won’t find this drone much fun. I think it is more geared toward teenagers who have some patience to learn the controls. And yes, I just used the words patience and teenager in the same sentence.
The best way to use the smartphone is to attach it to the included clip that attaches to the controller, and then the smartphone displays the image from the camera on the drone by connecting via wifi to the drone. There is a row of buttons across the top of the app interface that allows you to perform certain functions like taking pictures and recording video. One of the problems I had with the drone was that the buttons to take a picture and record video did not work. I tried everything and nothing was able to get those buttons to work. I eventually gave up and emailed tech support on their website and have yet to hear from them. And I found that I had to concentrate so much on flying the drone with the controller that has the smartphone in the clip so I could see the LIVE video shot wasn’t very useful because I didn’t want to take my eyes off the drone to look at the screen. Oh well.
After a few practice sessions, I became pretty good at controlling the drone and making it go where I wanted it to go. I was able to use all the features of the drone like spinning it around in circles, flying really fast, doing flips in the air, and taking off and landing. From time to time it would drift and I would have to use the required buttons on the controller to re-calibrate the drone’s gyroscope. I also found that it was a challenge to maintain the height of the drone while flying. It was really easy to let it drift higher and higher and then over-correcting downward and having it rapidly drop to the ground.
Finally, I should mention that GPX clearly states in the specs that the battery only lasts 6-8 minutes, and I can confirm that is true. Buying an additional battery would give you double that time to play with it, but it takes at least 30-45 min to charge the battery. So you won’t be playing with it very long before it dies.
What I like
- Decent value for a budget drone
- Very fast!
- The controller is very responsive
What needs to be improved
- The battery is very small and only lasts 5-8 min at most.
- It is a little difficult to control the height of the drone
- The camera pops off easily and the image is not that impressive
- The smartphone app isn’t very useful.
For the price, this drone isn’t that bad as a flying toy. It is fairly easy to control with some practice, and it has varying speed settings that you can use to make this drone fly really fast. But the downsides are that the camera on the drone isn’t that good, and the smartphone app wasn’t that useful. And to keep the weight down the battery has to be small, which means you only get a handful of minutes to play with it. I can’t say that I recommend the drone highly unless you want an entry-level drone to get your feet wet, but to get a better drone with better features you’ll have to go up in price.