Over the past few years, a variant of the helicopter has become very popular - the Quad-copter. These aircraft can hover and fly similarly to helicopters, but forego most of the mechanics and moving parts. They rely on electronic inputs, multiple motors and small diameter fixed-pitch rotors for flight.
When quad-copters started flying, most were fairly large in size - spanning several feet in diameter, and they were VERY expensive! They required experienced pilots and lots of equipment to get them to fly at all, let alone be controllable. These designs have always intrigued me, but their expense was my main deterrent from getting into them.
There have been vast improvements in the last few years in areas like gyros, 4-in-1 mixing boards, and GPS systems. One of the largest improvements is also the smallest - all of the technological advancements have been "micro-sized"! Along with their small stature, the costs involved have decreased substantially.
So, without any further rambling, I want to introduce you to the new Blade mQX. Utilizing micro-technology, Blade has been able to put together a quad-copter that is easy to fly, and WON'T break the bank! Available in both Bind-n-Fly (BNF) and Ready-to-Fly versions, the mQX should appeal to most everybody - regardless of your personal choice of radio systems! Add to that the fact that the mQX can be flown indoors, I think Blade has a real winner on their hands. Let's open the box and see what we've got!
Width: 7 in (178 mm) Main Rotor Diameter: 5.5 in (140 mm) Length: 11.5 in (292 mm) Weight: 2.65 oz (75 g) Height: 2 in (52 mm) Radio Used: Spektrum DX7 Battery Used: Included 3.7 V 1S 500 mAh LiPo Channels Used: Four Flying Time: 9-10 Minutes
Items Needed To Complete:
A 4+ channel DSM2 or DSMX transmitter
Like the rest of the Blade series, the mQX arrived in a sturdy cardboard box with foam inserts. The nice part about these boxes is that they double as protective carrying cases for the products! The quad-copter comes with a Celectra, single cell LiPo charger and a battery. There were also some spare rotors included along with a Phillips screwdriver (not pictured).
The mQX is equipped with the AS3X Stabilization System - all of which is incorporated into the single, small board under the canopy. I'm not sure how they get so much out of one small piece of hardware!
At each of the four corners, you'll find a rotor, motor, and a gear - the gear is protected by a plastic guard that doubles as a "leg" for the landing gear.
As I mentioned earlier, the Celectra charger and battery are included with the mQX, as well as an A/C charger cord and an adapter lead for the battery.
Getting the mQX ready for flight is very easy. Simply charge and install the battery, then bind the quad-copter to your favorite DSM capable transmitter. For this review, I used a Spektrum DX-7.
Binding is a little different than with other aircraft. During the process, you will choose which mode to fly the mQX in - holding the rudder stick to the left is for the "x" mode, and holding right rudder puts the quad-copter in the "+" mode.
Once the mQX was bound to the transmitter, it was time to fly!
The manual is just what I expect from a company such as Blade - first rate! The illustrations are clear and the written instructions are easy to read and understand.
With the charging and binding done, it was time to fly the mQX.
It was a bit on the late side, but I decided to make a short "hop" in my basement. Now, the area I have to fly is roughly 6' x 8' - not very big! But the mQX took off and hovered easily in this small area, thanks to the 3-axis stabilization system!
With the limited room, I did little more than hovering, but I was able run the mQX for approximately 10 minutes on its first flight.
When it came time to shoot the video, I used the gymnasium at my church - this was more than ideal for the little "quad". I started in the "+" mode, which is a little more forgiving than the "x" mode - this is due to a slightly wider stance for the four rotors, which are faced like the four corners of a compass. There was plenty of power for taking off, as well as flying around. Even in the "+" mode, the mQX is still very nimble, and can be flown quite aggressively. But, re-bind the transmitter in the "x" mode, and the quad really comes alive!
Flying in the "x" mode proved to be slightly more difficult than the "+" mode, but it was still easy to control the mQX. When I banged the sticks around, the quad came to life and was a lot of fun!
Due to its design, aerobatics are limited. But, given enough space, loops and rolls could be done by advanced pilots.
Check out the video to see the Blade mQX in action!
All-in-all, I found the mQX to be quite easy to set up and fly, as well as a lot of fun! With the 3-axis stabilization, almost anybody can fly the little quad-copter. I suspect that I'll be hanging onto this one for a long time!
Blade definitely has another winner on their hands!
The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.