The recently released Ares Chronos CX100 Co-Axial helicopter has been touted as the 'Easiest, most affordable way to shoot video with RC'. One found its way to my office to be reviewed for RCUniverse and I can confidently say this little helicopter does what it's meant to do. Ares is no newcomer to the world of RC. They have a better than average customer support base and know their product line very well. I found the Ares CX100 to be stable, VERY easy to fly and VERY easy to use. From Ares' Website, "With all of these features in one affordable package, shooting video or taking photos from a RC heli has never been this easy! Even if you've never flown before, you'll be flying like a pro and taking videos and photos in no time." Let's open 'er up and see what's inside!
Length: 10in (255mm) Height: 4.5in (115mm) Main Rotor Diameter: 8.9in (225mm) Weight (with battery): 1.9oz (55g) Main Motor: Micro coreless (2 installed) Radio System: 2.4GHz 4-channel (Included)
2GB Micro SD card
250mAh 1S 3.7V LiPo battery
Dual Port 1S 3.7V LiPo DC USB
Spare rotor blade set
Additional Items Required:
The Ares Chronos CX100 arrived in a heavy cardboard outer box with a colorful, sturdy "pretty" box which doubles as a carrying case.
Inside the box I found the Chronos CX100: a beautiful little RTF Coax helicopter (complete with Camera), Compact sized Transmitter, spare blades, Lipo battery and charger, screwdriver, manual and 4 'AA' batteries. Everything was neatly packaged, intact and ready for use right out of the box. A 2GB Micro SD card is pre-installed inside the inflight camera and ready for use. I removed everything from the box for some photos and a quick look, everything appeared to be of high quality and fairly well made. I did notice some extra wiring included with the charger and realized Ares has done something I wish more manufacturers would do: they provide a method of charging the flight battery WITHOUT removing the canopy. I often fly smallish helicopters indoors at our local gymnasium, not all have canopies that are easy to remove. I really like to have the ability to recharge the battery without removing it, since there is little need to re-trim.
After removing the canopy, I was surprised to notice there were NO servos installed. Ok, it took me a minute for my brain to work out 'the math'. OF COURSE there are no servos! This is a three channel Co-axial helicopter! Increasing Throttle causes both main motors to spin faster; Rudder control causes one motor (and one main rotor blade) to spin faster while the other motor slows down. Torque then causes the heli to yaw. For Pitch control, there is one additional motor mounted on the tail, with its blades pointing UP instead of to the side as with a single rotor heli.
USB powered charger was more than I expected as well:
it can charge two single cell batteries at the same time.
I was faced with the decision to either charge the battery
with it installed in the helicopter (in which case we
use the included wire adapter) or to remove the canopy
and charge the battery directly. For testing purposes
I chose to use the adapter. After about 15 minutes, the
light on the charger went out, indicating charging was
complete. I unplugged the charger and got out the transmitter.
The transmitter is smallish, but don't let the small size
fool you. It has some features you'd normally find on
a much more expensive unit. Dual Rates, stick position
indicators, trim indicators, Camera info (video or still)
just to mention a few. As with almost all 2.4 GHz systems,
always turn on the transmitter FIRST, then turn on the
heli. Shutdown procedure is the reverse, first switch
off the Heli, THEN turn off the radio. The Transmitter
will beep continuously when it's turned on. Connect the
battery, switch on the Helicopter and the beeping will
stop. All in all, I was relieved to have no surprises.
The instruction manual is very well written, including all the details for setting up the heli, taking and saving inflight video footage and still images. Ares has left nothing for you to figure out.
Since I had already checked out the CX100 at home on the
bench, I was ready to go when I brought it to the local
high school's gymnasium one cold weekend morning. I turned
on the transmitter, placed the CX100 flat on the floor and
turned it on. The Transmitter will beep continuously unti
the heli is switched on and linked. Within moments I had
throttle control and was ready to fly. Here is where I realized
the marketing material for this helicopter is not simply
marketing hype. I truly did find it to be the easiest piece
of video footage I've ever created. To take a still image
using the transmitter, press and hold the upper left hand
button. To record video, press and quickly release the same
button. That's all there is to it. You should see that if
you're taking a still image, the transmitter's LCD screen
will display a camera icon, if you're taking video, it will
display a video camera icon. The 2GB Micro SD card is easily
removed from the onboard camera; simply insert it into your
computer (note: most modern smart phones have a slot for
a micro SD card too!) Copy the file and distribute it however
was impressed with the advanced features this little radio
sports. Dual rates, a nice big backlit LCD screen and easy
programming all helped make the first flight go very smoothly.
(Most of the video footage is from the first flight, including
the onboard video footage) the Chronos CX100 is a three
channel helicopter; I had forgotten this minor detail shortly
after taking off for the first time. The building's furnace
kicked in, the blast of air caused the helicopter to drift
sideways a bit and I was suddenly perplexed as to why I
could not get it to stop drifting. Geoff who was running
the camera gently noted "Don't forget, this is only a three
channel" which snapped me back into reality. I turned the
heli toward the air vent (causing the heli to drift backwards)
and easily stopped the drifting. After flying around for
a couple of minutes, I noted the heli is indeed VERY stable.
I pushed the photo button a couple of times and took some
still images, then pushed and held the button and started
taking some video. The hardest thing about shooting video
was locating the included 2GB Micro SD card! (after a 10
second search, yup, it's where the manual says it is!) This
was absolutely the EASIEST onboard video footage I had ever
shot. Push one button to start shooting, push the same button
to stop. I was certainly having fun with this little Heli
Although I was impressed to have features like dual rates, I found the heli didn't have enough control
authority on the default (LOW RATE) setting. After switching to high rates, I found the CX100 to be very well mannered and very easy to fly.
We flew and shot video, took some still pictures, flew some more and shot more video.
Flight times averaged 6 - 7 minutes, and using the video or still camera did not have an impact on flight time.
I was surprised to find I had shot 20 minutes of video footage and still had well over half the 2GB remaining on the SD card!
We flew the CX100 all morning. I got aggressive with it and managed to bang it off the wall a couple of times. I was relieved (but not surprised) to discover no damage. I picked it up, double checked that everything still worked properly and off I went to shoot more video.
All in all I was very impressed with this little Coax. Its price ready to fly is affordable by almost everyone; it's VERY easy to fly and is capable of taking some very nice still images and video. The Ares CX100 truly is the easiest heli from which to shoot video that I've encountered.
Check out the video to see the Ares Chronos CX100 in action!
Marketing folks certainly got it right: this was the EASIEST,
FASTEST way to shoot airborne video I've ever experienced.
The little CX100 behaved wonderfully with great flight times,
was very simple set up, generally easy to use and very easy
to fly. Grab one from your Local Hobby Store or buy directly
from Ares RC!
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.