If you’re prepared to shell out big bucks for a quadcopter with aerial photography capability, you expect it to do everything but brew a great cup of coffee. Happily, the 1,000 senior engineers intuiting the next generation of quadcopter designs at the Walkera factory in Guangzhou, China, would be happy to brew a pot to your taste. Walkera wants to keep its U.S. market presence strong, thus management will do whatever it takes to stay at the top of Quadcopter Mountain.
- Weight:6.2 lbs
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 11.1in x 11.1in x 7.1in
- Flight Speed: ~12m/s
- Flight Time: 12 minutes (depending on battery)
- Experience Level: Intermediate/Advanced
- Flight Controller: Transmitter
One of the company’s goals is to produce models so sophisticated, hefty price tags won’t phase consumers, but along with the tab come expectations that are equally lofty: when quadcopter owners express dissatisfaction over bad engineering and performance, they tend to get vocal. Weigh all aspects of your QR X350 investment before you take out the plastic and you won’t suffer a sky-high case of buyer’s remorse.
Features and Benefits
It’s a laundry list of cool stuff: Altitude sensor, one-key return home feature, built-in GoPro camera mount, LiPO battery powering brushless motors and the unit comes complete with a 2.4Ghz LCD transmitter/receiver that resembles spaceship controls in an early Sci-fi film. The GPS altitude hold system is popular with hobbyists, but don’t plan on ordering one for your best bud if he’s assigned to the London office: due to international and federal regulations, the Walkera QR X350 can only ship within the 50 states. This bird is ready to fly out of the box so no fiddling with tools to get it moving. At 7.1-inches high, 11.1-inches wide and 11.1-inches long, no worries about losing sight of it when you’re at the controls, either.
The Flying Experience
Phrases like, “much easier to fly than I expected,” abound when communicating with QR X350 owners. One avid photographer proclaimed his aerial wildlife and nature shots remarkable and used words like fun, reliability, easy to handle and competitively priced to describe his satisfaction. Plenty of experienced operators provided quick fixes when they encountered glitches and went on to extol the virtues of this flying craft. Many agree that as long as the operator undertakes protocols that prime the craft for proper flying–like performing all of the calibrations recommended in the literature–problems can be short-circuited. This obviously doesn’t encompass off-the-factory-line components that slip through the QC process or the aforementioned victims of postal service mishandling. One handy tip offered by someone satisfied with his QR X350 experience could help you avoid problems before your maiden flight: employ 3-inch wire ties to secure areas that call for chunks of foam tape to keep appendages in place and enjoy a stress-free launch.
An advantage of the Walkera QR X350 is that it’s almost literally ready to start snapping pix or video from the moment you lift the unit out of the box. Attach the landing gear and props, juice up the battery and anticipate as much shooting time as the battery allows (according to Walkera, that’s around 10 minutes) before bringing her home and flipping out the battery for a freshly charged one. The multi-rotor craft hovers nicely so you can frame up your image fairly quickly and once you get the hang of the experience, use the craft to venture into all types of aerial photo, video and FPV adventures that can give you access to everything from unique views of sporting events to real estate ground assessments. Tailor your flight plans for undertaking all sorts of projects— after you become comfortable maneuvering the craft in a variety of situations.
Secret to Success?
Yet Critics Complain
It’s hard to say whether people whining and complaining about the Walkera QR X350 have taken on too much when they picked this craft and they’re looking for someone to blame when they crash and burn from the get-go. Consider these complaints up front so you know what you could be getting into. For starters, folks who adore reading instructions say they’re frustrated because they can’t get a grip and plead with the Walkera folks to find a decent English translator to make the step-by-step operational information easier to understand. One owner directly blamed unintelligible instructions for his crash! More than a few express anger because batteries simply underperformed and another dude was ready to give the QR X350 five stars—until he declared his charger to be “DOA.” Ouch. The mother lode of dissatisfaction came from a hobbyist who opened two new QR X350 boxes in a row and found the drone broken, but persisted by repairing switches only to give up after accusing the postal service for their part in his saga.
There’s no getting around the fact that the price on the Walkera QR X350 quadcopter can be the catalyst engendering more complaints than one finds attached to less expensive drones, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore cautionary tales. Factor out hobbyists ill-equipped to operate this craft and you’re left with those who know what they’re doing and have come away from their experience giving props to the Walkera-branded craft. We recommend this bad boy for intermediate to advanced levels. This really isn’t made for beginners because you really need to be in control at all times. However, if you’re used to flying an RC helicopter, then this could work for you.