Choosing Your First Micro Drone: What’s the Best in 2019?

Choosing Your First Micro Drone: What’s the Best in 2019?

It’s no secret Micro Drones have exploded in popularity this year. With the increasing demand for brushless models, there are lots to choose from. We’ll explain the pros and cons of the hottest models out right now and help you choose what’s best for your flying style.

What’s new?

The most popular brushless models have now released HD versions of their flagship models. The unbeaten Mobula7 by HappyModel has been refreshed with a new HD version suitably dubbed the Mobula7 HD. It sports a flashy 1080p 60fps Caddx Turtle V2 which allows for HD recording straight into the onboard micro SD card.

The addition of an extra large camera presents its own issues, however. The DVR (Digital Video Recorder) board contributes to the weight of the quad, requiring more powerful motors and often a larger battery to compliment.

The current trend in Micro Drone purchases suggests 2S Brushless is the best investment right now if you don’t require HD recording. We recommend either sticking to the traditional 65mm frame quads and 0802 motors for lightweight and zippy flying – such as the BETAFPV Beta65 Pro 2 or try a build perhaps more suited to outdoor flying with a larger frame such as the original Mobula7.

‘1S’ or ‘2S’ Capable 

Referring to the battery cells in series configuration, these terms determine the highest battery voltage a drone can handle. The majority of brushed motor quads are limited to 1S which has long been the standard for micro quads. The 2019 new wave of quads has presented us with more options including many 2S and even 3S capable quads.

1S Drones – Despite our best attempts flying outdoors with 1 cell quads, we’ve never found the ‘perfect’ outdoor/indoor quad. If you plan on regularly making outdoor flights, we recommend making the switch to 2S.

2S Drones – A recent development in AIO (All-in-one) flight controllers has made 2S micro drones much more accessible and now sits proudly in the top features of almost every 2019 brushless quad. On top of that, most of these flight controllers also allow for 1S batteries too (See the Beta65 Pro 2 and Mobula7). If you’re buying a micro drone in 2019, we highly recommend sticking with 2S for maximum customisability. Plug-and-play motors (plugs for accessibility and ease) make it easier than ever to swap between KV motors to find your perfect match.

08XX or 11XX motors?

These two brushless motor sizes are the go-to for manufacturers right now. Although new and still rather experimental, every new 65mm and 75mm features these sizes. We’re yet to decide what we like better – they’re both demonstrably high-performance options. Our experience shows a preference for 08XX motors when flying in close proximity locations such as a house while 11XX motors exceed in more open areas such as a large hall or the local park. That being said, after testing both outdoors we had no issues flying full acro and didn’t notice any wind effect even on the Beta65 Pro 2 with a 65mm frame.

The 2019 Top 6 Micro Drone Line-Up

BETAFPV Beta65 Pro 2 Drone
BETAFPV Beta65 Pro 2

Top Features:

  • 0802 12000KV motors
  • 2 x 300mAh 1S batteries (Run together for 2S power)
  • Smart-Audio VTX
  • F4 Processor
  • 65mm Frame
  • 31mm Propellers
  • Integrated FrSky receiver
Top Speed
70-80kph
Features
Customisability

Comments:

The Beta65 Pro 2 is well suited to racing both indoors and outdoors. For such a small package it packs an incredible amount of power and has quickly become a favourite here at KiwiQuads. Having the benefit of many 31mm propellers options and canopy designs was a huge plus for us. The rear-mounted dipole video antenna was a great choice from BETAFPV and allows for an upgrade to a Micro AXII circular antenna

kiwiquads mobula7 2-3S
HappyModel Mobula7

Top Features:

  • 0802 16000KV motors
  • 2 x 300mAh 1S batteries (Run together for 2S power)
  • Smart-Audio VTX
  • F4 Processor
  • 75mm Frame 
  • 40mm Propellers
  • Integrated FrSky receiver
Top Speed
80-90kph
Features
Customisability

Comments:

With the exception of a larger frame/propellers, the Mobula7 runs a similar configuration to the Beta65 Pro 2. We enjoyed the slightly faster motors of the Mobula7 at the cost of a shorter flight time. The exposed video antenna at the top of the quad was not the best design choice however and leaves little room for upgrade. 

emax tinyhawk
Emax TinyHawk

Top Features:

  • 08025 15000KV motors
  • 450mah 1S Battery
  • Smart-Audio VTX
  • F4 Processor
  • 75mm Frame
  • Emax 31mm propellers
  • FrSky D8 receiver
  • FPV Starter Kit available
Top Speed
50-60kph
Features
Customisability

Comments:

The TinyHawk has proved immensely popular with beginners and is available in a fantastic starter kit. The 1S 450mah battery works well and surprisingly doesn’t feel too heavy considering the size.  The 1S limitation however is a deal-breaker for some and penalises it while racing with its 2S counterparts. The design choice to exclusively support Emax brand propellers was unfortunate and largely limits the customisability.

kiwiquads mobula7 hd
HappyModel Mobula7 HD

Top Features:

  • 1102 10000KV motors
  • 300mAh 3S Battery
  • Smart-Audio VTX
  • F4 Processor
  • 75mm Frame
  • 40mm Propellers
  • Integrated FrSky receiver
  • 25/200mW Video Transmitter
Top Speed
90-100kph
Features
Customisability

Comments:

The Mobula7 HD is the newest offering from HappyModel. The new Caddx Turtle V2 camera provide beautiful 1080p 60fps footage recorded to the onboard camera. This micro drone is perhaps the very first 3S 75mm model to the market. The amount of power packed into this small frame is incredible. With the option to use a 2S or 3S battery, it’s by far our favourite HD model. Be warned though, it’s not quite suitable for indoor flying.

BETAFPV 75X Drone
BETAFPV Beta75X

Top Features:

  • 1103 11000KV motors
  • 350mAh 2S Battery
  • Smart-Audio VTX
  • F4 Processor
  • 75mm Frame 
  • 40mm Propellers
  • External FrSky receiver
  • 25/200mW Video Transmitter
Top Speed
80-90kph
Features
Customisability

Comments:

As the big brother to the Beta65 Pro 2, the 75X mirrors the look and feel of its 65mm counterpart. The exception being of course the larger 1103 motors and 40mm propellers. The added 200mW capability makes the 75X well-suited for long-distance flying and freestyle setups while remaining a small form-factor for the race track. The 75X includes two camera mounts with varying angles for both freestyle and racing. It excels both indoors and outdoors.

kiwiquads f4 pro
KiwiQuads F4 Pro

Top Features:

  • 7x16mm 17,500KV motors
  • 260mah 1S Battery
  • Smart-Audio VTX
  • F4 Processor
  • 65mm Frame
  • 31mm propellers
  • Integrated FrSky receiver
  • 25/200mW Video Transmitter
Top Speed
40-50kph
Features
Customisability

Comments:

Brushed motors were given a bad rap in the past from too many models which were largely underpowered. The F4 Pro defies this stigma by providing a punch well-matched for the indoor arena. Running an F4 Processor and 200mW capable VTX, this quad boasts features usually only seen on dearer models. For indoor exploring and racing, we would choose the F4 Pro in a heartbeat.

Our Top Picks

If you’re still undecided on what’s right for you, we selected our favourite quad for each category. 

Best Overall Quad:

BETAFPV Beta75X
BETAFPV 75X Drone
BETAFPV Beta75X

Best For Beginners:

Emax TinyHawk
emax tinyhawk
Emax TinyHawk

Best for Indoor Racing:

KiwiQuads F4 Pro
kiwiquads f4 pro
KiwiQuads F4 Pro
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