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Product Reviews

Aerix Nano Drones

These drones may be small, but they sure pack a lot of fun

April 28, 2017

Highlights
  • 6-axis gyro flight system
  • 20-minute quick charge
  • Extra propellers
These three gnarly nano drones from Rochester, NY-based Aerix Drones (formally Axis Drones) are perfect for both the beginner and veteran drone pilot. Falling in the former camp, I was looking to earn my wings with these little fliers before graduating to a larger class of quads. And earn them I did.
Be warned: The Turbo-X drone doesn't come with prop guards. Drew Halverson
Turbo-X

After eagerly unboxing all three of these bad boys, I opted to fly the Aerix Turbo-X first —primarily because, as a Broncos fan, I’m a sucker for the color orange. As it turns out, you can order the Aerix Nano Drone for Beginners in orange as well. Like the name implies, that’s probably the better option for the first-time-flyer — but I was smitten with the orange quad, and so the Turbo-X is where my Aerix adventure began.

The Turbo-X flies like a bat out of hell — perfect for my novice skills and confined living quarters ... or not. This little orange demon doesn’t come with propeller guards, so despite avoiding the walls, I crashed it into the carpet (you will too, don’t worry).

This drone also managed to find a rogue strand of my girlfriend’s hair. As you might imagine, hair and propellers don’t mix. The good news, however, is that the props are easy to remove. It didn’t take long for me to clear the now-very-curly strand and I was quickly back to bumping into living room furniture. The Turbo-X comes with extra props too, so you’re covered in the event of a direct wall strike.

The Turbo-X comes programmed with three speed settings. Start with Slow. As you gain confidence (and, more importantly, control), move to a larger indoor space and ramp it up to Medium. Save Fast (30 mph!) for an empty gymnasium or warehouse. The Turbo-X’s handling is both smooth and exciting, thanks to stabilizer technology upgrades and the preprogrammed 360-degree 3D Rolls N Flips algorithm.
The Nano Drone for Beginners (that's its name) is perfect for — you guessed it — new drone pilots. Drew Halverson
Nano Drone for Beginners

Now, for the drone I should’ve started with. The Nano Drone for Beginners features integrated propeller guards and removable landing skids to help prevent damage in case of the inevitable wall kiss, ceiling tickle, or floor slam. It wears one of five colors and, like the other two nifty nanos in this review, comes ready-to-fly with a 4-channel, 2.4GHz controller and USB charger. Just be sure to have a couple AAA batteries handy.

After flying the faster but trickier Turbo-X, the Nano immediately felt more natural. Thanks to its 3-Speed Calibration system, I mastered take-off, rotational yaw, directional movement, and, eventually, full flight control. To master that level of command only took a few of the quad’s 5- to 7-minute flight sessions. The skids are also
useful for landing practice.
With the Vidius HD, try not to fly too close to ceilings ... you'll know why soon. Bill Zuback
Specs
Aerix Nano drones
  • Available: Aerix Drones
  • Rotor type: Quadcopter
  • Flight time: 5-7 minutes
Vidius HD
  • Diameter: 2.4 inches
  • Weight: ~ 1 ounce
  • Price: $95
Nano for beginners
  • Diameter: 3.5 inches
  • Weight: 0.5 ounce
  • Price: $40
Turbo-X
  • Diameter: 2.4 inches
  • Weight: 0.5 ounce
  • Price: $35
Vidius HD

The new and improved Vidius HD drone is all it’s hyped to be. It flies smoothly and accurately. Dubbed the “World’s Smallest Live-Streaming HD Video Drone” by Aerix, I’m willing to believe it, because this thing is tiny. It comes with a wide-angle lens and records in 720p HD video, both improvements over the previous model. This makes flying so much cooler, as I learned when I downloaded the Aerix Drones app on my iOS device (also works with Android) and slid my phone into the Aerix VR Goggles. Complete with cockpit view and playback functions, you can even share your flights on social media via the app.

To fly without the goggles, you can forego the included 2.4GHz controller and use your smartphone instead. Also included in the box are a prop wrench and screwdriver.

Vidius comes with an Altitude Assistance Module (AAM), which helps keep the drone at a steady altitude while flying. This works quite well when flying indoors, which I highly recommend (more on that in a moment). But try to keep the drone away from air vents as that turbulence interferes with a smooth flight. I did notice that my Vidius had a tendency to hug the ceiling when it got too close. The prop guards, combined with the prop’s generated air flow, seem to create a suction effect.

A similar scene unfolded when I took the Vidius outdoors (against Tim’s strident advice to the contrary). Now, as the pilot, I take full responsibility. I got cocky, thinking I could fly the Vidius just a little higher into the crisp fall air. Not so. The brave little quad caught a breeze and started climbing. Out of range of the controller and the smartphone, it climbed 200 feet into the open blue yonder. Then my 31-year-old eyes, even with the assistance of prescription glasses, couldn’t see it anymore. So, like any decent person would, I ordered a new one. Learn from me: Keep your Vidius indoors.

Note: A version of this review appears in the January/February issue of Drone360.
Featured image: Bill Zuback