National Geographic Quadcopter
Interesting Quadcopter for beginners but experienced fliers probably won’t like a lot of the features.
I can’t believe that we are testing another quadcopter but when National Geographic asks you to test their new drone you do it. 🙂
Obviously if you follow my blog or my youtube channel you know that we have tested quite a few different quads all with different abilities, different learning curves and different price points. This is definitely a lower price point quadcopter and it would seem that it is geared more toward a beginning flyer but it is not without its issues.
The packaging on this is great, it has a nice handle and if you are planning on giving this as a gift for a birthday or a Holiday it would be rather impressive right off the bat.
This quadcopter includes some extra blades, a charging cord, some extra small screws and screwdriver and landing gears that you can add on (we will get to these later), pretty much all of the stuff that you expect when buying a quadcopter. One thing that would have been nice to include is an extra battery, there is only one and it comes already installed in the quadcopter. One of the biggest complaints you will hear pretty much no matter what type of quadcopter you buy is that the battery life is short and this one is even a little shorter than a lot of other ones we’ve tried, it lasts only 7-10 minutes. Once you’ve used up your 7-10 minutes it is going to take quite a while for that battery to charge so it is always good to have at least 2 batteries on hand. The nice thing about this quadcopter though is that it has a quick charge port on the quad so you don’t have to keep taking the battery out every time you have to charge it, the down side of this is that a quadcopter takes up a lot more room than a battery so you are going to need more space near your USB. Also, don’t forget that you are going to need “AA” batteries for the remote, so, if you are getting this as a gift make sure you pick up (4) AA batteries, it’s just a nice thing to do. 🙂
The one thing that as a mom I really appreciated and that is standard with National Geographic “toys” is that it came with an informational booklet that showed all the different ways that quadcopters are used and lots of interesting facts that I personally thought was really neat.
The remote for the quadcopter is nicely labeled which is another reason why this is nice for a beginner. When your are ready to sync this there is a light on the remote that will indicate when it is ready to sync and when it has actually been synced. Then, here is where my husband was thrown for a loop, typically when you sync a quadcopter you just push the throttle up and you are flying and he couldn’t figure out why this wouldn’t fly, silly me read the instructions (go figure) and noticed that there is a “take off/land button” this is what you need to press to start flying. Again, this is nice for a beginner but not for an experienced flyer.
There are speed controls on the remote and they default on level two and go from 1-4 and these also light up for easier reading. You will have to pop the landing gears on before you fly and be warned they are not going to stay on. As a matter of fact my husband suggested that you glue them on there permanently if you don’t plan on storing this in the box because they are going to be lost very quickly while flying, we almost lost them while testing this. These are something that you are not going to want to lose because if they are not on there you can damage the quadcopter easier and since this is geared towards beginners you are going to want your drone protected as much as possible. You will notice in the video part of this review that it was a big issue for my husband.
This is a headless drone which means this: Typically when you are flying a quadcopter when you are behind it you use the controls as if you were driving forward and when it is facing you, you drive them the opposite, kind of like driving in reverse. Because this is headless no matter which way it is facing the controls stay the same, again, good for a beginner but not an experienced flyer. Also, at least during initial testing, my husband had a lot of issues with the controls, he adjusted the trim and the speed but no matter what he did the controls were not very accurate which he found frustrating. For someone who has tested and flown as many quadcopters as he has it should be easy for him to fly a beginner one this one just didn’t want to do what it was told.
One thing that it does do with ease is flip. This has a one-button 360° flip which beginners will really like, especially kids. It can be a little tricky when you’re starting out to do flips with a standard quadcopter because you have to push a button and a direction and younger kids might have issues with it but the fact that this is one button makes things easier. The other good thing for beginners is the altitude holding system. When you typically let off the throttle of a standard quadcopter the quadcopter will just drop and quit flying but that is not the case with this one, it hovers.
We couldn’t get the home button to work properly, it seemed like it flew away from us rather than towards us but that might have been because we were not in an as open of a space as we should have been, this might work better in a field. Also the land button didn’t work very well with us, it seemed to make it pop up rather than land (there might be something in the instructions about this but I wouldn’t want to do something silly like suggesting we read those again).
So once again, like almost all quadcopters this has its good and bad points. This is not for anyone who has been flying quadcopters for a while this is definitely for kids/ extreme beginners and even then it has a lot of issues that will frustrate people. The landing gears need to have a better solution. The 1 button flip is quite possibly the highlight of this drone from a beginner stand point, the price point isn’t bad either but like most things you get what you pay for.