|Flying Time:||4-5 minutes|
|Charging Time:||50 minutes|
|Battery Type:||3.7V LiPo|
By Bob Hammell
A lot of our drone reviews come down to quantitative properties. Things like size, flying time, weight, and camera type.
In doing so we sometimes don’t dwell to much on the qualititaive properties, those things you can’t directly measure.
I bring this up because the latest drone we’ve picked up ranks highest in one of those un-measureable categories: how fun it it to fly.
The Estes Proto X is simply that. Its fun to fly. Its a bare bones quad with just the basic features to get it in the air but thats all it needs for us.
Looking at it you’ll notice something else right away: Its miniscule size. At a wingspan of 45×45 mm the Proto X is the smallest consumer drone available.
When we’ve talked about micro drones in the past it has been hand-sized models like the Husban X4. With a wingspan of 110×100 mm this size quad is definitely compact.
But the Proto X is bringing the standard units classifier down to the next level, the ‘nano’ scale. It fits right in the palm of your hand and weighs only a handful of grams.
The Proto X is pushing the limits on PCB design and how sensors can be arranged into a more compact fashion.
In fact the battery itself is built into the drone and should not be taken out. It is set in a position to provide the perfect balance to the quad.
Placing it next to a standard size quad makes the difference event more dramatic.
I initially though this size would be too small and more like a novelty, but after flying it for a few hours I’ve changed my mind on that.
This size drone is perfect for casually flying in doors. Its not meant for anything besides that and thats just fine.
Usually with smaller quads there is a concern about how well it can stabalize itself. Quads with larger wingspans can stay more stable in flight as the individual thrust of each motor is controlled.
With the Proto X I was really surprised with how level it hovered on its first flight out of the box. This is a really impressive feat of engineering for such a small drone and speaks to the quality sensors that it utilizes.
The drone has about a 5 minute flying time off of a single charge, which is pretty good for the size. It charges through a micro USB connection and takes about 40 minutes to charge.
It is equipped with 4 LED lights which indicate the front and back propellers which help a lot when you get into some serious spins and turns. They also provide a pretty cool look that I’m a fan of.
The controller is pretty interesting too. It keeps with the basics that the drone exhibits and is just a simple setup of two analog stick and some trim control buttons. It is powered by 3 AAA bateries which should last a while.
The controller does look a little ‘toy-ish’ but for the purpose of just short, close quarter flights it does its job well.
The Proto X is one of our new favorite drones to take out for short little flights around the house. At a price of ~$40 you can’t go wrong picking this up just to mess around with. And you’ll be able to brag that you own the worlds smallest quadcopter.