Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot in the news about a new RC gadget called a quadcopter. After constantly hearing about these, I could no longer hold myself back from buying one.
Since the price had such a drastic range from only $20 all the way up to $2,000 I had to do a lot of research before I picked which one I want.
I didn’t want to spend too much as I knew there would be a learning curve and I didn’t want to crash a thousand dollar piece of equipment.
In the end, I decided it was probably in my best interest to start out small and keep my budget under $100 dollars.
There was a large selection of quads in that price range but the UDI U88A had all the characteristics I wanted at an affordable price.
With the quadcopter, you also receive a 3.7V 500mAh LiPo battery and the transmitter which takes 4 AA batteries. When you open up the box, all of the assembly is already done for you and all that needs to be done is charge the LiPo battery.
It takes about 2 hours to receive a full charge and I quickly learned that it doesn’t usually provide more than 10 minutes of flight time.
I would highly recommend investing in 1-2 extra batteries so you can fly for longer periods of time and not have to wait 2 hours in between flights.
This seems to be a common complaint about most quads though as 10 minutes is the maximum flight time no matter what battery you use. Maybe eventually a newer technology will come out that allows 30+ minutes of flight time!
Even in mild winds, around 10 mph or less, the UDI U818A flies strong and stable. Any stronger winds than that though will carry it away pretty fast as this is still a very light and small machine.
I quickly figured out that this quadcopter is a very well built and strong piece of equipment. Being the beginner that I am, I have put this quad through a bit of hell and it seems to be handling a lot more crashes than I anticipated.
Within the first week that I was flying, I got it stuck in a tree and I was able to maneuver my way off the branch but then it fell the rest of the way down and landed pretty hard on the ground.
After smacking every branch in its path I was sure this thing was going to be toast. When I went to look at it, there was barely even a scratch and it was flying great immediately afterward!
To avoid potentially fatal situations like that though, I began flying indoors a little more because it seems to handle a bit better.
With no winds, the stability was flawless and I was able to practice my aerial photography a bit more. This U818A comes fully equipped with a video camera that shoots 640×480 AVI.
Because this quad is already equipped with a video camera, there is no extra tinkering needed to set up first person view. There is a four channel function that provides easy operation and the ability to fly in fpv.
This isn’t something that I’ve attempted much because I know it’s much easier to crash when flying in that mode but it is a great capability to have for when I become more advanced.
The remote control that is included is a 2.4 GHz 4 channel remote controller that also has an LCD panel display. On the screen, you can see things such as remote battery life, throttle settings, camera settings, etc.
Unlike other lower end quads, this actually comes with a controller that fits comfortably in an adults hands! I didn’t feel like I was playing with my son’s toy at all.
There are also a couple pretty cool buttons on the controller that will help with tricks. When you’re first starting out, there is a 360 inversion button that you can tap to make it do a quick flip.
Once you are a little more advanced, there is a button on the top left that begins to beep when you press it. Then you can tap the rudder controls in any direction and it will do a flip however you want.
This is much more fun than just pressing the 360 inversion button but it takes a little more skill.
When doing flips of any kind, be sure you have reached a decent altitude and you are ready to hit the throttle again in order to avoid running your quad right into the ground. I’m speaking from experience here.
After playing around with this quad for quite some time, I am still very happy with my purchasing decision.
There were so many options to choose from and I chose this one kind of on a whim, hoping it would perform like it was promised to.
Not only did it do everything as advertised, it excelled at most things and I had very few minor complaints. The structure is sturdy, it is camera ready, and it has over a 30m range; what more can you ask for?
If you’re looking for a beginner RTF quad in this price range, take a look at the Heli-Max 1SQ. This one sports a better camera and slightly longer flight time. I’d recommend it over the U818A for those reasons.
Must-Have Accessories for UDI U818A
I own this drone for months now, and I can really recommend the following accessories to make your flying days more pleasant and long.
With maximum 9 minutes flying time, extra batteries is what you want to have. Better buy a pack of 5 pieces and keep them charged.
Fast Battery Charger
Now that you have five batteries, how about charging them as the same time? If you don’t like to wait, this accessory is a must.
Is this your first drone? Then you must know one thing: it’s freaking easy to bend a propeller. Don’t get caught without spare parts.
Wanna keep the UDI safely stored when traveling? Check this case, cheap but effective. The foam inserts are shaped for the different quadcopter components.
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