What a beast! And I mean that in the good sense of the word. The Yuneec Typhoon H Hexacopter is a big machine (for a consumer uav) but awesome to fly!
As you probably already know I just did a review of the Phantom 4 and then got to fly the Typhoon H not too long after that. And as they are competing for a similar market I’ll probably end up comparing them a bit from time to time in this review.
But let’s talk about Yuneec a bit before we go to the review. A lot of people that are new to drones don’t really know much about Yuneec, even though they are the second biggest producer of consumer UAVs (right after DJI). Recently they have secure funding from Intel (as well as cooperation with Intel) and tthey’re trying hard to make up the difference in market share. Although they still have a way to go, they seem to be gaining ground.
So if you’re new to drones, rest assured. Yuneec is a well established player in the market.
Yuneec Typhoon H my experience:
First of all, it’s complete. When you get the Typhoon H you also get the controller with a build in device. So there is no need to buy an additional device like with the Phantom 4 (yes, I know you can use most phones but most people end up buying a dedicated tablet for it anyway). The controller also comes with a sunscreen so right from the start you’re good to go.
After I took off and retracted the landing gear (yes! No more landing gear in the shots) I got about 20 minutes of flight time. It’s less than advertised but that makes sense as the advertised flight time is always measured while hovering in ideal conditions. So all in all it’s not too bad. But, like with all other UAVs I’ve flown I’d definitely recommend getting at least 1 extra battery to extend your flight time with the Typhoon H between having to recharge.
While hovering GPS hold was fine although it didn’t seem exactly as accurate to me as the GPS hold on the Phantom 4. Then again, I tested both about 10ft (3 meter) off the ground and the Phantom also has VPS at lower heights. So it’s to be expected that the DJI Phantom 4 would perform a little better here as it uses different technology.
One thing that I found to be a bit confusing was the orientation of the hexacopter while flying. With a hexacopter it’s a bit harder to figure out what the front of the machine is. Yuneec seems to have anticipated that though as they have a big arrow, at least big enough, on the screen that shows which way the hexacopter is facing. I’m sure that’s something I’d get used to but for now I was happy to have the arrow on the screen.
Then I tried the one feature that I had heard of but had never seen in action: Curved cable cam. And it’s amazing. Yes, you have to fly the route first and set way-points. And yes, it might be more convenient to be able to do that through the app. But then, after you have set the way-points it’s just awesome!. You set the points and the route gets smoothed out all by itself.
So as soon as it’s set you can just fly up and down the route while having full control of the camera and not having to worry about controlling the path of the drone itself. You have full freedom to focus on your shots which makes them nice and smooth.
On that note, the camera rotates 360 degrees, continuously. So unlike some other cameras that only rotate 360 degrees before they force you to rotate back, this one can keep spinning and spinning. This means you don’t have to worry about getting stuck halfway through your rotation. Obviously, you can’t even compare this to the cameras that don’t rotate at all.
Charging the battery might take a bit longer than you’re used to. It took somewhere around 1 hour and 50 minutes for me, give and take 5 minutes either way as I forget to check the exact time when I started to charge. Given that it’s such a big battery it makes sense but still, let’s hope Yuneec (or somebody else) will either release a charging hub or a charger that can simultaneously charge multiple batteries. I suspect that will make waiting take away the frustration some people may experience while waiting for the battery to charge.
At the beginning, I mentioned that the Typhoon H is huge. And it is indeed big when it’s been set up and is ready to fly. But thanks to the foldable arms it’s conveniently sized for transport. I expected it to be a lot bigger but was pleasantly surprised with the size when it’s folded.
But I’ve left one thing out, why a hexacopter? With a hexacopter you get some redundancy. If you lose a propeller, whatever the reason for that may be, you can still land a hexacopter while a quadcopter will come tumbling out of the sky. The video below is a great example of this
Aside from that a hexacopter is more stable in flight which is great for video stability. Although in stronger wind this stability will be offset a bit again by the larger size of the Yuneec Typhoon H. When I flew it in light winds it was remarkably stable though.
Yuneec Typhoon H flight modes
- Smart: the Typhoon H will always fly as if the front is facing away from the controller. So moving the stick back will make it come back, moving it forward will make the Typhoon go away from you, even if it is facing towards you.
- Angle: the Typhoon will take stick inputs relative to it’s own position. Moving the stick forward will make it go in the direction the front of the Typhoon is facing
- Orbit (me): circles the controller
- Point of Interest: circles a point you select
- Curve Cable Cam: allows you to follow a preset route where the turns have been smoothed out.
- Journey: Typhoon H will go up and out, as far as 150ft, and capture the perfect aerial selfie.
- Follow Me: as expected, follows the controller
- Watch Me: keeps the camera pointed towards the controller
- Dynamic Return to Home: Typhoon will come to you, regardless of where you’ve taken off, and will land within 26 feet (8 meter) of you.
- Auto Take Off: this one is pretty self explanatory
There is so much more to say about this machine that I could go on for a whil. But I don’t want to keep going on forever so I’ll just mention one more feature for the videographers; Team mode.
So in short, I think I just fell in love with the Yuneec Typhoon H hexacopter. I know what I’ll be saving up for now. And I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a UAV to take photos or make video. It might be my favorite UAV so far. Although, when flying indoors, the Phantom 4’s VPS could be a bonus so keep that in mind if you do a lot of your flying indoors. And although I love it that doesn’t mean the Typhoon H is for everybody. Use the comments below to let us know how you feel about it and why.
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Oh, and I unfortunately didn’t get to test the wizard. It looks cool but I can’t really say anything about it. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to use it in the future at which time I’ll update this article.
And I forgot to mention something else. The RealSense obstacle avoidance module is not available yet but that should make obstacle avoidance even better than it is today. When it’s available I’ll definitely add the information here.
*edit: Yuneec has released the Intel RealSense module and looking at the first videos I have to say it looks amazing. The Typhoon H navigates around trees by itself while the subject it’s tracking walks in between them.
I hope to be able to test the Typhoon H with RealSense for you soon.
See the video below (warning, it’s a bit long and might be boring to some) for a demo of RealSense obstacle avoidance: