Yuxiang 668-A3 Spinning Top Micro-Mini Quadcopter Drone Review @ ModSynergy.com
The term "drone" has gained significant popularity worldwide, representing a generation of innovative technologies that are now accessible to regular citizens. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) like drones have become widely used, even by large companies such as Amazon and DHL for delivering goods.
However, the term "drone" has often been misused and is actually a broad term referring to multi-rotor aircraft. Unlike helicopters, which typically have a single motor, drones can have multiple motors, making them more flexible and complex. They can be considered a hybrid combination of airplanes and helicopters, offering the advantages of both. Among the various drone types, quadcopters have gained immense popularity. They are four-rotor aircraft and have become a sensation in the RC toy market, providing enjoyable experiences for people of all ages.
While you may have heard of expensive drones equipped with cameras that have raised concerns about privacy laws, this review focuses on a smaller and incredibly fun drone. It's something you might consider purchasing for yourself or your children in 2016. If you missed our previous drone reviews, you can find them by following the respective links to the LiteHawk QUATTRO NEON, LiteHawk QUATTRO SNAP (with SD camera), and the Holy Stone F181 Universe Explorer (with HD camera).
Today, ModSynergy presents a review of the YUXIANG 668-A3 Quadcopter! Discover my thoughts on this unique Spinning Top/Captain America-look drone in action, featuring an insane spinning yaw mode. And the best part? You can purchase it for under $25 USD. Let's dive into this review and see what the YUXIANG 668-A3 has to offer!
China has experienced a surge in the number of drone manufacturers, with numerous companies emerging in recent months. Yuxiang is among the many small companies that have entered the market to meet the growing demand for drones. This trend highlights the vibrant drone industry in China, characterized by the rapid establishment of new companies. The competitive landscape offers consumers a wide selection of drone options from various manufacturers, including both established players and emerging startups.
Yuxiang 668-A3 Quadcopter Features & Specs
The Yuxiang 668-A3 drone stands out with its exciting Spinning Top-inspired design and an exhilarating spinning yaw mode that would impress even Captain America. Its unique two-piece structure incorporates all the essential electronics, mechanical components, and vibrant LED lighting systems in a durable and robust framework. The rotor blades are thoughtfully protected, ensuring enhanced safety during flights. The brilliantly bright LEDs further enhance the visibility of the 668-A3, making it easily noticeable during both day and night operations. The tool-less landing legs add to the overall aesthetic appeal and functionality of the drone.
The Yuxiang 668-A3 Quadcopter Drone comes neatly packaged in a compact corrugated box with black accents. The front of the box features a captivating image of the 668-A3, showcasing its exciting design. As a ready-to-fly product, the 668-A3 is factory assembled and includes both the quadcopter and transmitter, allowing for immediate flight. The box also includes additional accessories such as landing legs and propeller guards, which can be optionally installed.
Prominently displayed on the box are the Yuxiang logo and the model name, 668-A3. It is highlighted that the 668-A3 is designed for aerobatic performance, particularly in the higher rate modes. While the reviewed version of the 668-A3 does not come with a camera, there is a camera model available called the A3C. However, given the size of the drone, the absence of a camera seems sensible, focusing on the fun and agility of flight.
The box features an eye-catching image of the 668-A3, depicting a trail of light, emphasizing its dynamic nature. The quadcopter is equipped with LEDs on the motor arms, which emit downward and through the body of the drone, creating an impressive light display. This effect is further enhanced when the landing legs are installed, as the illuminated lights accentuate the legs.
In terms of orientation for beginners, Yuxiang could have provided clearer visual cues. All propellers have the same color, which can make it challenging to differentiate orientation while in flight. Additionally, the LED positioning is incorrect, with red at the front and blue at the rear. However, by mentally associating blue with the back of the drone, orientation becomes easier to grasp.
Various symbols on the box convey important information, including:
- Suggested age for operation: 14 years and above.
- 4CH Quadcopter: Supports movement in all directions, with throttle and yaw controlled by the left stick, and pitch and roll by the right stick of the controller.
- An image of the rechargeable battery.
- Digital stabilization through a 6-axis gyro system: Utilizes three accelerometers to maintain stability and orientation, compensating for motor vibrations and external factors like wind. This feature ensures easier control and stability for pilots of all skill levels.
- 2.4GHz wireless band: Operates on a frequency that minimizes interference and channel conflicts. While there may be some potential interference in areas with many wireless devices, it is generally not a significant concern.
Upon opening the box, you will find the following items included.
It's important to note that the Yuxiang 668-A3 Quadcopter does not come with spare propellers, which is a consideration to keep in mind. Including spare propellers is generally expected and appreciated in any quadcopter purchase. However, the propellers included with the 668-A3 are made of flexible material and do not appear to be brittle. This suggests that they should withstand crashes or impacts against walls without breaking easily.
The package includes a manual that is written in both English and Chinese. While the English portion of the manual is understandable, it contains numerous spelling and grammatical mistakes that may confuse the reader. Fortunately, operating the drone is straightforward and does not require extensive reading of the manual. Through a combination of reading the manual and trial and error, users will eventually grasp the functions and features of the quadcopter, even if the manual is unclear at times.
Yuxiang 668-A3 Quadcopter Visual Overview
Measurement per configuration:
Measurement per configuration:
The Yuxiang 668-A3 Quadcopter features a fully plastic body construction, which has a slight degree of translucency. This allows the LED lights to illuminate the entire body, creating a fantastic visual effect, especially at night. The plastic material used is both flexible and strong, indicating that Yuxiang has reinforced the body from the inside. Considering the affordable price of under $25 USD, the fit and finish of the quadcopter are very good. While I did notice a couple of spots where the body had separated slightly, they were easily fixed by pinching it shut. There were some minor imperfections in the paint job, such as slight overrun and inconsistencies in the paint for the stripes, which can be attributed to the manual painting process.
One thing to note is that the LED lights draw power from the battery, which can affect the flight time of the quadcopter. However, Yuxiang has provided the option to enable or disable these lights through the flight controller, allowing users to conserve battery life if desired.
One feature that I appreciate about the Yuxiang 668-A3 is the inclusion of a power on/off switch. It's a convenient feature that I believe all drones should have, as it provides an easy way to control the power without having to disconnect the battery.
However, one drawback of this drone is the battery compartment. It is quite tight, making it difficult to insert the battery and close the compartment securely. The lack of space in the compartment requires some effort to jam the battery connector inside in order to fully close the compartment door. This tight fit can result in the battery compartment door coming undone during flight. To address this issue, I resorted to using a piece of tape to secure the battery compartment door shut.
In addition, I wish Yuxiang had equipped this drone with an internal charge connector, similar to what I saw in the Holy Stone F181 Universe Explorer that I reviewed earlier. This would have eliminated the need to repeatedly swap out the battery and would have been more convenient, especially considering the already challenging task of closing the battery compartment door.
The Yuxiang 668-A3 comes with a rechargeable 3.7V Lithium Polymer battery, rated at 380mAh. This battery is similar to the one included in the LiteHawk QUATTRO SNAP that I reviewed earlier, so they can be used interchangeably. Unfortunately, there is no label indicating the charge/discharge rate of the battery. The battery itself bears a date stamp indicating it was manufactured on October 15, 2015. It uses a micro-T connector (also known as micro LOSI), which provides a secure connection but may require some practice to remove.
As for the landing legs, they feature a tool-less design. Simply insert them into the designated holes on the backside of the drone. However, I noticed that three out of the four landing legs fit tightly, while the last one was only a semi-tight fit. As a result, in the event of a crash or impact, the landing leg tends to fall out. I have experienced this a couple of times already.
2.4GHz Flight Controller Overview
Yuxiang has opted for a conventional flight controller design for the 668-A3 instead of the gamepad style controllers found on some other quadcopters. The flight controller operates on the 2.4GHz wireless band, ensuring a stable connection. I personally appreciate this flight controller as it allows for easy and intuitive flying without much struggle. A well-designed flight controller should enable users to focus on flying rather than fighting with the controller itself, and this one does just that. It is comfortable to hold and executes maneuvers smoothly. I couldn't find any major flaws in its design.
One standout feature is the integrated handle at the top of the controller, which makes it convenient for transportation and carrying. Despite its solid construction using hard plastic, the controller remains relatively lightweight at 166 grams (without batteries), ensuring it doesn't become tiring to hold during extended flights. The grip sections on the underside of the controller, with their patterned design, provide a secure and comfortable grip for your fingers. The flight controller operates on 4 AA batteries.
The flight controller of the YUXIANG 668-A3 features analog sticks that are designed to accommodate both thumb flyers and pinch flyers. The sticks protrude higher, providing a comfortable grip for both flying styles. The tips of the sticks have cuts for added grip, ensuring thumb flyers can use them without slippage, while pinch flyers have grips on the inside of the sticks.
The movement of the sticks is excellent, with smooth and responsive controls that don't stick during use. The sticks offer equal amounts of spring-loaded tension, maintaining a consistent feel. They have a wide range of motion, resulting in a linear and progressive response to inputs. This allows for more precise flights and prevents the 668-A3 from being overly sensitive or having touchy throttle responses.
The power switch is centrally located on the flight controller, accompanied by a red power LED above it. The buttons for controlling the trim of the quadcopter are logically placed beside the analog sticks. Although they could ideally be labeled, their intuitive placement makes it easy to remember their functions.
The left analog stick controls throttle and yaw, while the right analog stick controls pitch and roll. On the bottom of the throttle stick, clicking left enables or disables the LED lights, while clicking right activates the "return to home" function, causing the quadcopter to return to its takeoff point. On the right of the throttle stick, there are buttons for capturing photos and recording videos (in the camera version of the quadcopter).
To adjust the forward/backward pitch trim, there is a button located to the left of the pitch and roll stick. Pressing it once or multiple times in the desired direction corrects the quadcopter's tendency to move forward or backward, ensuring it stays centered. Alternatively, you can intentionally trim it fully forward to counter strong winds or vice versa.
At the bottom of the pitch and roll stick, there is a button for adjusting the roll trim. If the quadcopter tends to move sideways or roll to a particular side on its own, pressing the button once or multiple times in the appropriate direction helps center it and correct the unwanted movement.
The top left button on the flight controller is the speed switch, which allows you to switch between the three available modes on the YUXIANG 668-A3. Contrary to the manual, there are actually three modes, not four. When you press the button, an audible beep indicates the mode you are in: one beep for standard mode, two beeps for medium mode, and three beeps for high-sport mode. The number of beeps helps you easily identify the mode you have selected.
Each mode offers a different level of speed and responsiveness. As you switch to higher modes, everything will feel faster. The pitch and roll abilities, as well as the degree of tilt during maneuvers, increase in the higher modes. The YAW rate, or the speed at which the quadcopter spins on its own axis, also increases with each mode. In the third mode, you can experience the crazy and uncontrollable spinning top inspired mode, reminiscent of Captain America's shield. It's a bundle of fun, but requires caution as it can be difficult to control when spinning continuously.
The medium rate mode strikes a balance between sportiness and controllability, making it a favorable choice. The YUXIANG 668-A3 exhibits a sporty behavior overall in the second and third modes. In standard mode, everything feels more docile and is suitable for indoor flights. Even in this mode, you can perform enjoyable funnels. The quadcopter flies smoothly in the first mode.
The top right button, labeled R1, is the 360-degree flip mode button. This mode is incredibly fun to watch in action. By pushing the flip button once and selecting a direction on the pitch and roll stick (right analog stick), the quadcopter will automatically execute a flip in the chosen direction. The YUXIANG 668-A3 performs flips well because it applies throttle automatically during the flip, eliminating the need for manual throttle adjustments as required by other quadcopters.
Regarding the antenna-like structure on top of the flight controller, upon inspection, it was discovered that it is not a real antenna. Instead, it is a decorative element designed to resemble an antenna. The actual internal antenna wire is located beneath this fake antenna structure. It's surprising to find such a feature on a quadcopter priced under $25 USD, but it serves an aesthetic purpose rather than a functional one.
How Does The Yuxiang 668-A3 Fly? What Are My Thoughts? See my flights!
In July 2016, I had the opportunity to test the YUXIANG 668-A3 Quadcopter Drone, and I must say it was the most sporty drone I had experienced at that time. Flying this drone was an absolute pleasure, as it offered a perfect balance between smoothness, sportiness, and sheer craziness. It delivered an exceptional flying experience, combining different flight characteristics into one impressive package.
One aspect that stood out to me was its performance at night. The drone's bright LED lights illuminated the entire body, creating a fantastic visual display. The effect was even more pronounced when using the landing legs, as the red and blue LEDs illuminated them, enhancing visibility and adding to the overall night flying experience. Additionally, in the highest rate mode, the LEDs would blink and create a captivating light show while performing crazy spinning yaw maneuvers.
One of the drone's greatest attributes, particularly for beginners, was its toughness. It survived multiple crashes against walls indoors and high-speed descents onto asphalt roads without any significant damage. The landing leg design played a crucial role in making landings easier and preventing frequent tipping over.
However, it's important to note that the YUXIANG 668-A3 was not without its faults. I encountered an issue specific to my unit, which affected the range and caused random dropouts during flights. To address this, I performed two simple fixes that significantly improved the situation. First, I opened the flight transmitter and repositioned the internal antenna wire, ensuring it faced upward (vertical) instead of the incorrect horizontal position it was initially in. Secondly, I opened the drone itself and rerouted the wireless antenna, allowing it to extend outside the body or creating a hole in the top canopy. After these modifications, I experienced no further dropouts and noticed a considerable improvement in the range.
It's worth mentioning that these issues might be specific to my unit, and other users may not encounter them out of the box. However, it's something to be aware of and a relatively easy fix if needed.
Battery Test and Flight Times
During my flights with the YUXIANG 668-A3 Quadcopter Drone, I typically experienced flight times of around 5 minutes and 24 seconds before the low voltage warning would kick in. At that point, the LED lights would start flashing, indicating that the battery was running low. I would then have an additional 10 seconds of flight time until the Quadcopter reached its limit.
Throughout these flights, I didn't engage in any aggressive maneuvers or push the drone to its limits. Instead, I maintained a steady and even hover with the flight throttle stick mostly in the center position. Despite this cautious approach, the flight duration was relatively short, and I had to be mindful of the remaining battery life.
It's worth noting that flight times can vary depending on factors such as flight conditions, wind speed, and the intensity of maneuvers performed. Additionally, the actual flight time may differ between individual units or batteries. Therefore, it's essential to monitor the battery level and land the drone safely before it reaches a critically low voltage to avoid potential damage or loss of control.
Where Can I Buy One? And For How Much?
The YUXIANG 668-A3 Quadcopter is available for purchase on Amazon.com, but it comes with a higher price tag compared to two other popular Chinese online retailers. The drone with a camera is listed at $48.98 USD on Amazon.com, while the non-camera version is priced at $54.09.
Although the price on Amazon is higher, some customers might prefer the added protection and peace of mind that comes with purchasing from a reputable platform like Amazon. The reliability of their customer service and the assurance of genuine products could be worth the extra cost for certain buyers.
However, if price is the primary consideration and you're willing to explore other options, the same Quadcopter can be found at a lower cost from other well-known Chinese online retailers. It's important to compare prices, read reviews, and assess the reliability of the sellers before making a decision.
Ultimately, the choice between purchasing from Amazon or alternative platforms depends on individual preferences, budget constraints, and the level of trust one has in different sellers.
Some Amazon Deals That May Interest You!
Despite its shortcomings, the YUXIANG 668-A3 Quadcopter proves to be a fantastic micro-mini sized sport drone, particularly considering its affordable price tag of less than $25 USD. From a performance and enjoyment perspective, it delivers a great flying experience that is worth recommending.
While there may be some areas where improvements could be made, such as the tight battery compartment and the lack of spare propellers included in the package, the drone's overall performance and the joy it brings to flying enthusiasts outweigh these drawbacks. It offers smooth and sporty flight capabilities, allowing users to enjoy precise maneuvers and even perform flips with ease.
Moreover, the drone's durability is commendable, as it withstands crashes and collisions, making it suitable for beginners and those who are still learning to fly. The inclusion of bright LED lights adds to the appeal, especially when flying at night, creating an impressive visual experience.
Considering its price point, the YUXIANG 668-A3 Quadcopter offers excellent value for money, making it a worthwhile choice for those seeking an affordable and enjoyable drone flying experience.