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Product Reviews

Blade Nano QX2 FPV

The drone for those learning to fly with in first-person view

June 20, 2017

You all know that I was a fan of the original Blade Nano QX. It was a great little quad for learning to fly. The design was solid enough (with minor modifications) to spawn the Nano QX 3D, and now the QX2 FPV.

It only makes sense that the Blade would take the agility of the QX 3D, add an integrated 25mW 5.8GHz micro camera up front, and make an entry-level first-person view (FPV) quad. As you’d expect in a bind-n-fly (BNF) package, the QX2 includes a 3.7V 500mAh LiPo battery and USB charger, spare props, and a user manual.
System Specs
  • Blade Nano QX2 FPV BNF
  • Available: Horizon Hobby
  • Rotor type: Quadcopter
  • Camera: Tactic DroneView Wi-Fi HD FPV
  • Diagonal: 7.2 inches
  • Weight: 1.8 ounces
  • Flight time: 6 to 8 minutes
  • Price: $129.99
Before flying

Because the QX2 FPV is a BNF quad, you’ll want to make sure that you have a compatible Spektrum DSMX controller — the DXe works wonderfully — and go through the setup process. Compared to other quads I’ve flown, the QX2 setup is a breeze.

Charging the included battery takes about an hour. I hear the complaints all the time: It takes so long to charge the battery, and I don’t get very much time in the air. All I can say is get used to it. In this hobby, flight times come at a premium. Add the additional weight and power draw of an FPV camera, and you start to reduce flight times even more. The best thing you can do is pick up a couple of extra batteries and have them charged and ready to go.

Of course, the whole point of FPV is to feel like you’re sitting inside the drone while piloting it. If you have yet to invest in goggles, that’s OK. While you don’t need goggles to enjoy the QX2, you will eventually want them. A pair of inexpensive Fat Shark Dominator V3 goggles runs about $350. (Nowhere and at no time did I say this was going to be a cheap hobby.)

The QX2 has two flight modes: Stability and Agility. In Stability Mode, the LED inside the copter shines blue. Bank angle will be limited and when you release the sticks, the QX2 will level out. In Agility Mode, the LED turns red (you know, to help keep you calm), and the bumper pads come off. There aren’t any limits to banking and you have to level the quad on your own. Rates and expo are your friends here.

Basically, if you haven’t flown a quad before, or this is your first foray into FPV, then stick with Stability Mode. If you want to pull flips and rolls, Agility is where it’s at, but the only person who can decide what you’re ready for is you. And if you’re gonna go all aerobatic, then make sure you’re outside or a big, open indoor space. You’ll need the room.
OK, the Blade Nano QX2 FPV drone isn't a racing drone. But it is a great intro into FPV, which is a big (and fun) part of drone racing. Bill Zuback
Into the blue

There’s no arming the Nano QX2 FPV; as soon as the transmitter and drone are linked, the throttle is active. So don’t bump your throttle as you’re pulling on your goggles.

The QX2 benefits from agile controls. It’s very responsive, even in Stability Mode, and it can be surprising how quickly you can move from one end of a room to the other. You can adjust the tilt of the camera to suit your preference and flying style, but there isn’t a huge range. If you cruise around at top speed, tilt the camera up. If you’re a slow to moderate flier, having the camera positioned dead front should be fine.

I experienced intermittent static via the FPV feed. It was nothing more than I would normally expect, and definitely nothing that affected my ability to fly or diminished my enjoyment.

The blade guards may look fragile, but they’re stronger than they appear and can take moderate bumps and scrapes. The only difficulty I ran into with them is the fine ends of the feet getting stuck in the tightly knit carpet at the office. It’s not a big deal, but if you’re flying off that sort of surface, just be aware of the possibility.
Highlights
  • Easy-to-use FPV micro camera
  • Spare propellers
  • Compatible with Spektrum DSMX transmitters
  • Two flight modes
Final thoughts

There are a lot of FPV quads out there screaming that they’re just right for you to start FPV racing. While the Nano QX2 FPV isn’t a racing drone — not in any serious capacity — it is definitely an entry-level quad you can learn to fly FPV  on. As your skills improve, you can head outside and start playing with Agility Mode and learn how to pull flips and rolls like a pro.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the March/April 2017 issue of Drone360 magazine.
Featured image: Drew Halverson