SYMA X1 Quadcopter

[threecol_two]This is a review of the SYMA X1 4 channel mini Quadcopter. It is available in 3 styles: A Spacecraft, a UFO flying saucer, and a cute Bumble Bee. Only the canopies are different. The front rotors and motor mounts are always white. The rear ones are black. Even without any external LED lights, visibility is quite well with the White rotors in the front. Among the three styles the UFO flying saucer is a little bit of an orientation challenge because it looks pretty much the same from any direction.

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Contents:
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  • The Syma X1 Quad
  • Stock Transmitter
  • One 1S 3.7v 350mAh Lipo Battery with a rigid JST connector
  • One USB charging cable with LED light
  • One set of replacement rotors (Qty 4)
  • One instruction manual

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[tab title="Specs List"]
Specs:
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  • Dimensions: 190mm x 190mm x 94mm
  • Weight: 83.73g or 95.43g with battery
  • Lipo: 1S 3.7v 500mAh
  • Motor Size: 7mm x 20mm (0720)

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The Transmitter is fairly basic, somewhat toyish feel. It does not have a charging cable, and you cannot charge a battery with the Tx. And the LCD display is not backlit. For those reasons, the Tx requires only 4 AA batteries, not 6. In addition to the control sticks are the expected 4 trim buttons for each of the channel. There are two additional buttons of the top shoulder, one on each side. The LEFT shoulder button controls the Dual Rates (D/R). The Tx defaults to Low setting when the it is powered on. The LEFT shoulder button toggles it between Low and High rate settings. The RIGHT shoulder button is for flips. SYMA uses this word called, “Eversion”. I have no idea where it came from, but it means flip. You execute flips by holding down the flip button and use the right cyclic stick to initiate the flip in that direction. Once the X1 starts to flip, you could let go of the flip button. If you repeat this routine, the X1 will do multiple flips.

IMG_2152
IMG_9710syma_x1_TX_LCD

One notable feature that is worth mentioning is that the Tx is switchable between Mode 2 and Mode 4. However, the manual describes them as Mode 1 and 2, respectively, which drove me crazy at first. But once I did the mapping, I could understand what the manual was trying to describe. Personally, I’m a Mode 2 flyer. But I know that there are certain people, especially those coming from a 3ch group, and some from 4ch coaxial, and are more familiar with Mode 4 flying. This would be very helpful to them.

Syma_X1_TX_compared_to_v949_transmitter

The Battery and the Charging Cable

The battery that comes in the package is a 350mAh Lipo. Instead of a flexible battery cable with JST at the end, the JST is molded as part of the cap. So, the whole thing is rigid. It makes battery installation somewhat easy and can be a single handed operation. The battery weight is 10.7g. It came partially charged at 3.95v (a bit high for storage). Flight time with the stock battery is over 8 minutes, more than adequate. If you like to fly the X1 with alternate batteries, just about any 1S cell in the 350-600 mAh range will fit, as long as it has a JST. I tried it with a Hyperion 550mAh, and Nano Tech 600mAh. The flight time on the Nano Tech 600mAh is just 11 minutes. In other words, by almost doubling the battery, the flight time increases by less than 50%. This is typical of what I see from going with larger capacity batteries – it doesn’t pay. Most of the capacity is wasted in carrying the heavier battery. Personally, I’d rather go the opposite direction with smaller capacity batteries, but more of them.

Syma_X1_lipo_plug

The Lipo battery has a built-in Over-Charge Protection (OCP) circuit hidden under the cap. The charging cable itself has no intelligence as to when to stop charging. Therefore, do not use it to charge any after market batteries, because if that battery doesn’t have an OCP, it will keep charging it until it blows! This is very important. The supplied charging cable should only be used with the stock battery.

Syma X1 battery

Comparing with the WL-Toys V949

WL-Toys V949 is another very popular model. The Syma X1 is similar to the V949 in many ways. For instance, it has the same size and dimension. They share the exact same footprint. The transmitters are very similar.

syma_x1_size_compared_to_v949

The motor mount and gear system is similar, but not the same. The X1 uses smaller, 7mm motors with 9-t plastic/nylon pinions. The gears are also smaller.

Syma_X1_main_gear_comparision_v949

The Weight of the X1 is 57.65g w/o and battery and the stock battery is 10.73g. With batteries, the X1 is 15% lighter than the V949. That’s quite a bit lighter.

 

Flying with the Syma X1

The Syma X1 is an incredibly stable aircraft. It has a very good gyro on board to keep it steady. Getting it into a hover is much easier than with a helicopter. The most important thing is to start it up properly by initializing the gyro on a level flat surface, because once that reference is establish, the gyro will strive to achieve that level. So, if you initialize it on an uneven surface, the X1 will fly just as uneven. Therefore, as soon as you connect the Lipo, quickly set the X1 down on a level surface, squarely on its four feet.

Both the Low and High rate settings are suitable indoor depending on your skill level. However, you have to fly it on High rate outdoor. Otherwise, the actions are too slow and the X1 is going to be pushed around by wind. If you are a beginner at this, you will love how the X1 handles. The movements are smooth and predictable. If you are an expert pilot, you may find the X1 a bit too docile for your taste.

But it is interesting to know that the X1 is actually capable of more agile flying. It is the stock Tx that is the limiting factor. When the X1 is paired with a good programmable radio, such as the FlySky TH9X, or an modified Devo 7E that supports FlySky protocol, you could significantly dial up the performance of the X1.

Another way that the stock Tx is limiting is range. The stock Tx is a little under power, and the transmitting chipset lacks a signal booster. So, using an upgraded radio will allow you to fly as far as your eyes could see, all the time. With the stock Tx, the range varies with the amount of signal interferences you have in the flying site. Sometimes, I could fly it very far. Other times, I need to keep it within 30 feet or so.

 

The Maintenance

This is a great news. First of all, the X1 is super durable. It can handle many crashes without damages. Eventually, when you need to fix something, the X1 is super easy to work on. Lastly, replacement parts are very affordable.

 
Replacement Parts: (Click to Order if needed)
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