This has been the year of the drone. They have been talked about more this year than any other in my opinion. Amazon wants to use them to deliver packages while others are using them for harm whether flying them into or near buildings such as the White House or interfering with planes. I think ultimately the good can outweigh the bad if used correctly.
Society will continue to form their own thoughts on them till they get their hands on one and see how they actually tick. Luckily Yuneec was able to provide us with one of their new TYPHOON Q500 4K models to review and may have headed sway the minds of those around me.
The TYPHOON Q500 4K is a quadcopter and doesn’t look like some of the typical drones you may be accustomed to seeing. First thing that popped into my head is looks like some crazy fighter jet ready to wreck the world with its large frame or even some of the drones seen in the past couple Terminator movies. I personally like it as it stands out from the crowd of drones that most are accustomed to seeing.
Packing for the Typhoon 4K alone is pretty slick as it comes in this massive lock and key crate with everything inside. You have the Typhoon 4K drone, 2 sets of rotor blades(8 in total), remote control(with optional sun shield), two 5,400mAh Lipo batteries, balancing charger that can be using with either ac adapter or car adapter(both included), rotatory blade installer, 4K gimbal camera and Steady Grip. There are extra pieces for other things inside if you need those as well. But from the looks of all this you are pretty well equipped.
The huge ST10+ remote control reminds you of those old controllers you’d see back in the day with the extra-long antenna. Luckily there isn’t one on there and it does have a large display which can be used to see what the camera is targeted on . The ST10+ remote is running a version of Android so if you happen to have a smartphone you might be familiar to the layout. The remote gives you access to just about everything such as altitude, GPS, camera quality, as well as buttons for picture and video recording.
Up Up & Away
So one thing you should know with this drone is it has FAA restrictions on it. What this means basically is that if you live or frequent an area where planes are landing or taking off (low altitude) you won’t be able to fly it. It’s a safety precaution and completely understandable. I happen to live in an area that is smack dab in the middle of two airports. So I had to venue out into another part of town to get clearance to use the device.
Once you do find a nice area (I use MapBox No Fly), you want to take the time to assemble your drone if you haven’t already. Once you get the hang of adding and removing the rotatory blades you will be a natural. After that you want to start-up the remote first and then your Typhoon 4K drone afterwards. Hold that red start button about 3 seconds, see those propellers fire up and launch that puppy into the air. It’s always fun to do especially when you have new people watching the first time around.
The Typhoon 4K drone is packed with options and features most if not all can be achieved from the ST10+ controller. While in flight you can put it in Smart Mode, Angle Mode, or Home Mode. With Smart Mode enabled you can use features such as Follow Me and Watch Me. This is great if you want to keep track of your drone and don’t want it to sway too far as it will always keep you in sight (actually tracks the controller). I think Smart Mode is good for beginners that have never used a drone before and can help you adapt. Angle Mode is where you can better control and can use both sticks for better functionality. I used it mostly my 3rd time around and felt the control was better. If you ever have trouble landing your drone or feels it’s too far out “Home” is an awesome feature. I use it to land my drone and I will use it when I feel like I have almost lost sight of my drone. I will turn it on to get close then back off to the other modes. Great thing about the Typhoon 4K is that when the battery is dying out it will switch to this mode automatically no matter what. The Typhoon 4K goes up to 400 feet in the air and no further than 300 feet in front of you it seems.
This was my first time using an actual drone (those little pocket minidrones don’t count) and was a pleasant experience. While some may think the Yuneec ST10+ controller is big, I think it helps give you total control over your drone and the included screen is a plus. Other controllers rely on your smartphone which can be a disadvantage if the device decides to freeze, crash, etc. Battery life was pretty on point getting about 20-25 minutes of fly time. I think time varies on if you are recording footage and also how high you maybe in the air. All the video I recorded was in its highest quality in 4K and I was amazed how clear and steady the video was even with all the crazy maneuvering I was doing with the Typhoon 4K. You can also record with audio but I opted not to and just put sound over the videos. The engine is pretty loud so using it would be rather pointless in my opinion. I do notice in some camera shots and video too you will get some orange lens glare over in the corner. It’s not a ton of pictures but I guess depends on much the sun is shining into the camera.
If this is the first time you are handling a drone I don’t think you can go wrong with the Typhoon Q500 4K from Yuneec. It’s easy to learn, comes with a big remote control with a great display, and comes equipped with accessories such as car charger, extra battery, SteadyGrip, carry case and an assortment of other stuff. I think my only gripe would be to make a slightly smaller carry case. Lugging that thing around can attract some unwanted attention and is heavy in general. Pricing is set at $1,299 for both batteries and carry case or $1,199.99 for one. For the extra $100 it makes sense to just get the more packed model.
If that price range is a bit steep their 1080p camera models start at around $1049.99 and up.