Even smaller than the toy drones are the mini ones. These are portable drones that often fit in the palm of your hand with teeny tiny propellers, impressively small motors and the remarkable ability to fly.
For people who wish to try out a drone for the first time and don’t want to risk damaging anything, these little monsters take to the air and come with their own portable controller that together are the size of a portable gaming console. Impressed yet?
Please look through our review below of the minuscule FQ11 portable drone:
FQ11 Mini Drone Main Features:
– FPV over Wi-Fi connection – Digital camera 0.3 megapixel – Headless navigational option – Single button return to base – Gyroscope on six axis – Night-ready LED lighting – 220mAh Li-Po battery – Flight duration: up to 10 minutes – Colors: Rose, Black, Silver or Gold
The basic product is available without the Wi-Fi capability or with the Wi-Fi option built-in. The mini aka nano drones are really in their own class here. They fly better than one would expect and are not only a good way to practice flying but actually take some decent basic photos too.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX
Given that this is a portable drone, it is packed down compactly when the package arrives. There are the drone and its controller, and the basic charging cable, but also a holder for your smartphone to be used as a screen for navigation, some screws to put it all together, and a screwdriver too. The battery cover is the only part that needs to be screwed down once the batteries are fitted, other than that, the screwdriver is unused. The package is already pre-assembled, so there is no time lost to the preparation of the drone before taking it for a spin.
The first thing one notices is the compactness. Both the handset and the drone are small. The drone has propellers which are neatly produced to fold down so that the drone slots inside the handset for easy transport. The design is ideal and takes up very little space. The total size of the product in this configuration is small enough to fit inside an enlarged pocket like one in a pair of cargo shorts, so it’s possible to take the FQ11 on a long walk and use the mini drone in unusual locations along the route.
Perhaps because of the tiny size of this drone, it doesn’t have legs that extend out to act as landing gear. These types of legs are made of cheap plastic that tend not to offer any buffering when landing and often break from the impact. Instead, the FQ11 uses the approach of rubber inserts to support landing which acts to reduce the vibration during the landing procedure and avoids damaging the drone body or its equipment. The different design approach is likely to make this drone far more durable than comparable models. One other benefit of this design is that it avoids the drone flipping onto its side or back when landing which often happens with the small plastic leg designs of other pocket drones.
There are some useful LED lights fitted to the drone, so night flights from the back garden or when out for a stroll are possible without worrying too much about the risk of losing the drone in the pitch-black darkness. The LEDs are bright enough that one doesn’t lose sight of the flying machine.
The flight duration is certainly one area where the nano drones don’t stand up to scrutiny. In the case of this model, the included 220mAh Li-Po 3.7V battery provided delivers a reasonable 8 minutes of flight time. The time in the air is lower when the battery is not fully charged, when there’s wind buffering the drone, or when frequently changing course during the flight. These are good results for a drone this small. The batteries are not removable or replaceable unlike a set of AA or AAA batteries would be. Should the battery have issues, then it’ll need to go back to the manufacturer. There is an easy to reach charging port down the left side of the drone to plug it directly into the battery charger. The charging time is about an hour to 80 minutes to get the battery back up to 100%, so frequent short flights are possible with a little bit of patience.
When flying in the open air with no buildings or other impediments, the flight range is an unimpressive 20 meters or less. The distance is actually about average for this size of drone model. Before being too disappointed, it is worth noting that given the diminutive size of the FQ11, being so small it would become increasingly difficult to keep your eye on it other than at night if it was able to fly out further. For advanced flyers, a change of antenna might offer an extended range.
PERFORMANCE IN THE AIR
The navigation is done using the controller with its two joysticks and attaching a mobile phone to the controller to use for on-screen navigation. The FPV real-time image is useful for beaming over Wi-Fi which tends to be a congested communications frequency. The controls allow for fluid, comfortable control of the drone which flies true due to its nicely balanced power to weight ratio. Flying over objects or in a circle in easy to perform without needing a program to achieve it. The responsiveness is improved over almost any large drone because even with the tiny motors, the lightweight mini-drone moves quickly through the air. It also performs well both indoors and outdoors.
The pocket-sized FQ11 is a lovely portable model which delivers a lot of bang for its buck. It flies smoothly and changes direction quickly. There is only a slight adjustment needed to go from flying larger drones to this nano one. The inclusion of rubber landing material makes for more stable landings too. As a little indoor or tiny outdoor practice drone, this one is great fun.