Yuxiang 668-A3 Spinning Top Micro-Mini Quadcopter Drone Review @ ModSynergy.com
By: Michael Phrakaysone

 

The word drone has become a popular one worldwide. We live in an exciting generation where innovative technologies such as these are available to us to use. These unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are just one of the many technologies that we as regular citizens can enjoy. We even have examples of large companies such as Amazon and DHL using these types of aircraft to deliver goods. 

The word drone is quite a general term that has been misused. Drones down to its basic form are multi-rotor aircraft. Just as helicopters utilize a single motor, drones in the same way can utilizes as many motors as its design calls for and therefore makes them more flexible and complex. I call them a hybrid combination of airplane and helicopter giving the best of both worlds. The most popular form today is called the Quadcopter (quad meaning four, copter meaning a type of aircraft). You've probably heard of the craze that is the Quadcopter, they are a worldwide sensation in the RC (Radio Control) toy market and unbelievably fun for the young and old.

You've likely heard of the ones that cost easily over $1000, and carrying a camera that has created all the commotion regarding privacy laws. That's not exactly the one you'll be reading about today though, something much smaller and unbelievably fun is what I'll share with you today. You might even want to purchase and experience one for yourself, or for your children, this 2016.
We've already reviewed three other Drones, if you've missed those you can click on the respective links to read on the LiteHawk QUATTRO NEON, LiteHawk QUATTRO SNAP (with SD camera), and the Holy Stone F181 Universe Explorer (with HD camera)

Today continues ModSynergy's look into Drones with the YUXIANG 668-A3 Quadcopter!  Find out what I think of it and see the unique Spinning Top/Captain America look YUXIANG 668-A3 in action with insane spinning yaw mode.  Did I mention this can be purchased for under $25 USD? Let's get this review started!

About Yuxiang

There's a lot of companies making Drones in China.  Yuxiang is just one of many small companies that have been sprouting up in recent months.

Yuxiang 668-A3 Quadcopter Features & Specs

668-A3 brings out the fun with its Spinning Top inspired look with crazy spinning yaw mode that would make Captain America proud.  Unique two-piece design houses all the electronics, mechanicals and LED lighting systems in a sturdy structure. Even the rotor blades are protected! The LED's are very, very bright allowing you to easily see 668-A3 day or night and the affect is magnified with the tool-less landing legs.

Features:

  • Micro-Mini Size Sport Quadcopter
  • 360-degree 3D flips, Intense Yaw Spins, Different Flying Rates
  • One Key Automatic Return Function
  • 'Headless Function' to identify the direction of Quadcopter during yaw (spins)
  • 6-Axis Gyro provides robust stability and stronger wind resistance
  • 2.4 GHz for better anti-interference without interfering with other 2.4GHz devices
  • 4 Strong Motors Operating at 3.7V with 380mAh Rechargeable High Performance Battery
  • 5-8 minutes of Flight Time
  • Bright Colorful LED lights, great for night flying
  • Quadcopter Dimensions: 26*32*9.5cm
  • Package Dimensions:56*38*8cm
  • Package Contents: 1 x RC Quadcopter, 1 x Transmitter, 1 x USB Cable, 4 x Landing Gear, 1 x Screwdriver, 1 x English User Manual

First Impressions

Quadcopter

YUXIANG packages the 668-A3 Quadcopter Drone in a compact black accented corrugated box.  Up front we see an image of the 668-A3 in all of its glory and it looks like fun already.  YUXIANG 668-A3 is a ready to fly product meaning it comes factory assembled with Quadcopter and transmitter in the box, and is ready to fly immediately.  Extra accessories are included in the form of landing legs and propeller guards if you choose to have them installed. 

The YUXIANG logo sits at the top left of the box and the 668-A3 model name is the biggest graphic on the box.  We're told that the 668-A3 is designed for aerobatic performance, especially in the higher rate modes.  The 668-A3 reviewed today comes without a camera installed, however, a camera model does exist called the A3C.  I'd rather not carry a camera on a Drone this size, to me it only makes sense to leave cameras for the much larger Drones. 

We see an exaggerated image of the 668-A3 being a light show of sorts leaving behind a trail of light.  YUXIANG 668-A3 comes with LED's on the motor arms that emit downward, and as you'll see later on, that emit through the body of the Quadcopter.  The whole affect is accented even further if you choose to install the landing legs, with the lights illuminating the all landing legs. 

In terms of orientation for beginners, YUXIANG could have done a better job in this department.  All propellers are exactly the same color which doesn't help in the air to differentiate orientation.  Secondly, they manage to get the LED position wrong using red up front and blue in the rear.  But once you keep telling yourself that blue is the back of the Drone, orientation becomes easy. 

Going over some of the symbols you see around the box mentions that...

  • Suggested age for operation is ages 14 and over. 
  • 4CH Quadcopter in that it support movement in every direction; throttle and yaw (up/down) on the left stick, and pitch and roll (left/right) on the right stick of the controller. 
  • A picture of the rechargeable battery.
  • Digital stabilization through the use of 6-axis gyro, which uses 3 accelerometers to control and maintain its orientation and stability, despite vibrations of the motors and outdoor elements like the wind, trying to throw it off. This helps ensure that anyone can pick up the controller and fly with relative ease.
  • 2.4GHz wireless band without any worries of frequency or channel interference.  Ironically, 2.4GHz is the same frequency that most people use on their wireless internet routers and other wireless devices, so there's a possibility of interference around these areas, but most likely should not be an issue. 

Opening the box we find the following items:

Drone

YUXIANG does not bundle spare propellers with the Quadcopter, so please keep this in mind.  I would have liked to see this in the box, spares are something that should be included in every Quadcopter purchase in my eyes.  The only positive I can say is that these propellers are very flexible and not brittle, and for that reason should stand up to abuse if you were to crash or hit them against walls.  I don't see them breaking that easily. 

The included manual is written in English and Chinese.  The English is passable, but it's filled with spelling mistakes and grammatical mistakes which will surely confuse the reader.  Thankfully the Drone is simple to use and doesn't require much of reading the manual to operate.  You'll eventually figure out what everything does by reading the manual and trial and error if the manual is unclear.   

Yuxiang 668-A3 Quadcopter Visual Overview

Measurement per configuration:

  • Measuring diagonally from end to end (without propeller guards on): 8.5 inches or 21.59cm 
  • Side to side: 6 inches or 15.24cm

Measurement per configuration:

  • Everything on: 77 grams
  • Everything on, except the propeller guards: 71 grams 
  • 4x Landing legs: 6 grams
  • Everything off except the battery: 65 grams

Captain America

In terms of construction, the body is fully plastic and is translucent to a slight degree which allows the LED lights to illuminate through the whole body.  It looks fantastic at night because of this. The plastic is flexible and still strong, I can see that YUXIANG reinforced the plastic body from the inside.  Fit and finish is very good considering the cost of under $25USD.  I did see maybe one or two spots where the body had separated, but all I had to do was pinch it shut .  If I had to nitpick some more, the paint was obviously hand done, so I noticed some slight overrun and the paint for the stripes could have been laid down better.

The LED lights draw power from the battery and thus takes away flight time.  The good news is that YUXIANG gave the capability of enabling or disabling these lights through the flight controller. 

Drone Quadcopter

Also I like that YUXIANG also gave the 668-A3 a power on/off switch, I wish all Drones had this feature.

A drawback of this Drone has to be the battery compartment.  It's just too much of a tight fit to insert the battery and close it shut.  The problem is with the lack of space, you have to try to jam the battery connector inside the compartment just to be able to shut the battery compartment door completely. Its only barely possible and you'd have times where the battery compartment door comes undone mid-flight.  To remedy this I put a piece of tape to secure the battery compartment door shut. 

I wish YUXIANG gave this Drone an internal charge connector, something that I saw in the Holy Stone F181 Universe Explorer I reviewed earlier, it would prevent having to swap out the battery in and out, and with how difficult it already is to close the battery compartment door, would have been convenient to have.

LED Quadcopter Drone

A rechargeable 3.7v Lithium Polymer battery is included and is rated at 380mAh.  The battery is very similar to the one included in the LiteHawk QUATTRO SNAP I reviewed before, so they are interchangeable in that regard.  No charge/discharge rate is labeled on the battery.  A date stamp on the battery indicates that the battery was made on October 15, 2015. The Quadcopter battery uses a micro-T connector (also known as micro LOSI) which takes some getting used to when removing, as the connector maintains a very secure connection. 

The landing legs on the YUXIANG 668-A3 are of tool-less design, all you do is insert them into the respective holes on the backside of the Drone.  I found that 3 of the 4 landing legs were a tight fit, but the last was only a semi-tight fit, and therefore if you crash or hit something, the landing leg eventually falls out.  I've had this happen a couple of times already. 

UAV Drone

2.4GHz Flight Controller Overview

Drone Transmitter

YUXIANG bundles a conventional flight controller design instead of the gamepad style flight controller some other Quadcopter's come with.  It uses the 2.4GHz wireless band.  This flight controller is something I've come to really like because it allows the user the fly the 668-A3 with ease and without much struggle.  The best flight controllers are ones that allow you to focus on flying and not focusing on fighting with the flight controller. When you have a badly designed flight controller, it takes away from the overall experience of the product. Thankfully this is a really nicely designed one that is very comfortable in the hands and executes maneuvers with ease.  I can see no major flaw with the design.  I like the fact that it has an integrated handle at the top, makes transporting and carrying it extremely easy for the user.  This flight controller weighs 166 grams (without batteries) making it relatively lightweight and isn't tiring to hold. Construction wise it is made of hard plastic and feels of high quality and extremely solid.  I love that underneath the flight controller has patterned  grip sections on opposite sides where your fingers can rest and grab onto.  This flight controller is operated by 4 AA batteries.

Quadcopter 2.4GHz

The flight controller has analog sticks that stick out higher making it useful for both thumb flyers and pinch flyers (thumb and index fingers) to use. I like how the tips have cuts in them to make for grip, allowing thumb flyers to use it without fearing of slippage, while pinch flyers have grips on the inside of the stick. The movement of the sticks are excellent, does not stick in use, and offers equal amounts of spring loaded tension on both sticks.  It feels like it has wide range of motion to work with, making it very linear and very progressive in the way the command slowly ramps up over how far you move the analog sticks. This makes for more precise flights and means the 668-A3 doesn't suffer from touchy throttle or sensitive reactions. 

The power switch is smack in the center, and with the red power LED above. 

Logically placed beside the analog sticks are buttons which control the respective "trim" of the Quadcopter. I would have liked these to be ideally labeled, however, since they are so logically placed, there's really not much need as you will remember very quickly what each one is for. 

The left analog stick is the throttle and yaw stick. The right analog stick is the pitch and roll stick. 

At the bottom of the throttle stick, if you click left that will enable and disable the LED lights, and if you click right is the "return to home" function from whichever direction the Quadcopter left.  At the right of the throttle stick is the buttons for photo and video record if you got the camera version.

At the left of the pitch and roll stick is the forward/backward pitch trim, if you find the Quadcopter is going forward or backwards on its down.   Press once and more times in whichever direction to correct it, so it stays centered. Or you may purposely trim full forward to fight against strong wind and vice versa.

At the bottom of the pitch and roll stick is the roll trim. If you find the Quadcopter is moving sideways or rolling to a certain side on its own, press once or more times in either direction to make it centered.

2.4GHz

The top left button is the speed switch, for which there are 3 modes on the YUXIANG 668-A3.  The manual is incorrect in that it says there are 4 modes.  Once pressed, an audible beep differentiates which mode you are in, one beep (standard), two beeps (medium), and three beeps (high-sport mode) is straightforward to understand. 

Obviously the higher mode you are in, the faster everything will feel.  Pitch and roll ability and the degree of tilt it has when performing pitch and roll maneuvers is far greater in each of the higher modes. The YAW rate or how fast the Quadcopter will spin on its own definitely does increase with each mode, and you will have access to crazy insane spinning top Captain America shield inspired mode in the 3rd mode.  That 3rd mode is just crazy and uncontrollable if you continue to spin.  It's a bundle of fun!

The medium rate mode is still sporty, but is now controllable, this is probably the best rate.  The YUXIANG 668-A3 is just sporty overall in 2nd and 3rd rates.  In standard rate mode, everything is docile and is great for indoors, even in this mode it is possible to get good funnels.  It just flies smooth in first mode.

The top right R1 button is the 360 degree flip mode button. This is so much fun to see in action. Simply push (once) the flip button and select whatever direction on the pitch and roll stick (right analog stick) you want to flip, and the Quadcopter will flip on its own.  The YUXIANG 668-A3 flips pretty darn well because it automatically applies throttle on its own when flipping, so you don't need to manually do this like in other Quadcopter's.

I have to note that I was curious of what looks to be an antenna on top of the flight controller.  Could this really be a real antenna for something under $25 USD?  I opened the flight controller to confirm that this is not a real antenna, it's just a fake looking antenna where the real internal antenna wire sits below.

How Does The Yuxiang 668-A3 Fly?  What Are My Thoughts?  See my flights!

 

The YUXIANG 668-A3 is the most sporty Quadcopter Drone I've tested up to this point in July 2016.  It flies absolutely fantastic in my opinion, it's super smooth when it wants to be, super sporty when it needs to be, and super crazy when it wants to be, it manages to fit everything good into one package.  it's a dream to fly at night with extremely bright LED's and the effect is magnified when using the landing legs, as the red and blue LEDs illuminate the landing legs giving even greater visibility and illumination at night.  Not only that, but in the highest rate mode when performing crazy spinning yaw, the LEDs start blinking and create a unique light show.  From a performance standpoint, I'm in love with this Drone.

One of the best attributes the 668-A3 has, especially for beginners to learn on, is toughness.  It's survived all of my numerous crashes inside my home against walls, and outside at full speed descent crashes to the asphalt road.  With the design of the landing legs, it allows landing to be easily done, and its spread apart well enough that tipping over does not happen very often. 

Unfortunately, the YUXIANG 668-A3 Quadcopter Drone is not without faults.  I have to note that this issue might be this unit specific, so you might not have this issue.  There's only one fault, and it can be fixed within 15-minutes (or less), but requires that you open both the Quadcopter Drone itself, and the flight controller transmitter.
The issue I had was random drop outs and therefore poor range.  At random times the YUXIANG 668-A3 Quadcopter would "drop out" literally out of the sky.  The range was poor to say the least.  I found that these drop-outs could be fixed if you...

  • Open up the flight transmitter and remove the fake antenna cover.  Re-position the internal antenna wire to face upward (vertical).  The antenna in my unit was facing horizontal, which is incorrect.
  • Open up the Quadcopter Drone itself and re-position the wireless antenna out of the body or through a hole you can make on the top canopy.  Again with my unit, the installer left the antenna laying on top of the PCB, which is simply incorrect.  I simply routed the wireless antenna out of the Quadcopter in between the top and bottom pieces of the Quadcopter's plastic body.

Once these two fixes were complete, I had no more drop outs and considerably better range.  I chalk this up to an installer who didn't know what they were doing.  Therefore, your results may vary, you may not have any issues out of the box.  Just something to be aware of.    

 

Battery Test and Flight Times

Lipo Battery

  • Battery Label Rated Capacity: 380mAh

I experienced 5 minutes, 24 seconds flights until low voltage warning kicks in with flashing lights until 5 minutes, 34 seconds until when the Quadcopter was near the end with its throttle stick at highest position barely hanging on. I did nothing except keeping the Drone in a even hover with the flight throttle stick mostly in the center position.

Where Can I Buy One?  And For How Much?

Here's the deal.  The YUXIANG 668-A3 Quadcopter is sold on Amazon.com, however, it's about $30 more expensive than if you were to purchase it from two other well known Chinese online e-tailers.  For some of you the extra protection and peace of mind of purchasing from Amazon might be worth the extra cost. 

The YUXIANG 668-A3 Quadcopter Drone with camera is selling for $48.98 USD on Amazon.com, and the non-camera version is selling for $54.09 on Amazon.com.

 

YUXIANG 668-A3 Quadcopter sold at Lightake for $22.85USD (free shipping).

YUXIANG 668-A3 Quadcopter sold at GearBest for $20.93USD (free shipping).

Some Amazon Deals That May Interest You!

Conclusion

LED

The YUXIANG 668-A3 Quadcopter has some shortcomings, but from a performance and joy standpoint, this is a great Micro-mini sized sport Quadcopter, especially for the money (less than $25 USD).  Easily recommended!

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