In Brief: A Training Quadcopter to Get Started

By Norman Chan

The smallest quadcopter we've seen.

I reviewed the HeliMax 1SQ mini quadcopter late last year, which is a good starter quad for getting the hang of flight orientation and maneuvering using standard RC quad controls. At $100, it's much more affordable than a full-size DJI Phantom and still has a built-in camera. But I was just made aware of the Estes (yes, the model rocket company) Proto X, a $40 RC quad that's even smaller and just as fun to fly. Inventern finalist and photogrammetry expert Brandon Blizard brought it by the office the other day and convinced me to order one immediately. Like the 1SQ, it has gyros for stabilization, a rechargeable LiPo battery, bundled transmitter, and replaceable propellers. You can even 3D print propeller guards with free files from Thingiverse. The company that actually makes it is Hubsan (model H111 in the UK), and a minor step up is the Hubsan X4, which has a more advanced transmitter and auto-flip commands. I've ordered one and will be testing it in the near future.