EMAX BabyHawk PNP 2S Brushless 85mm Micro Drone Review
4 - 4
Review by Adrian Apodaca, RealRCReviews Owner
- BabyHawk PNP
- Taranis X7
- FrSky XM+ SBUS Mini Receiver
- Team-Legit 2s 350mAh battery
- Fun as shit (yeah I said it!)
- Looks great
- Flies BIG
- RX install can be difficult
- Camera is not great
- Tons of users have had issues with their Baby Hawks
- Emax customer service takes a while
Like most things in the technology world, things seem to start small, get big, then get small again...kinda like cell phones. The quad world seems to have followed the same trend. Things got big and fast, and now we are on a swing to the small stuff. I'm sure new drone laws blanketing large parts of Europe and North America have fueled the trend as most micros fall under size and weight restrictions these laws have put into place.
As the Whoop became the "goto" micro FPV racer, of course most guys started thinking, "We need something SMALL AND BRUSHLESS." In the last several months, we started seeing micro sized (but not as small as a Whoop) brushless quads enter the market. Oddly, the majority of these micro brushless quads had price tags well over $200. Not only that, but many of them were made by brands that I have never heard of, and many of these companies didn't even have offices state-side. Then Emax announced their BabyHawk. Many of us have trusted Emax for years using their escs, motors, servos and everything else they make. It was great to see a micro quad coming from them and ever greater seeing that the PNP was going to sell for $99!!! I followed EMax-USA's page waiting for the moment to place a preorder. Team-Legit was the first company to take pre-orders so I ordered from them along with a few extra batteries.
Unboxing and Set-Up:
My BabyHawk arrived nicely packaged. The product box itself is heavy duty and there is plenty of foam inside to hold and protect the quad and a few batteries. It makes a pretty good carrying case if you really like to protect the bejesus out of your stuff. There is a manual, but like most quads, there isn't a ton of literature in terms of navigating through BetaFlight. Luckily it is already tuned so you shouldn't have to do anything in BetaFlight aside from assigning your switches/flight modes and setting your end-points.
I decided to go with FrSky on this one because the Spektrum installation looked way to complicated. One of the gents from Emax recommended the FrSky XM+ min rx, so that's what I ordered. Installing this requires you heatshrink it a little for protection, then spreading the pins on the board out a little so you can slip the pins through the holes on the receiver. It was fairly easy, but it reminded me that I need to get a smaller precision soldering iron. The bad thing about this rx is the length of the antenna. I had to wrap them around the camera base a few times and used a small rubber band to hold them pointing up. Just a reminder, you'll need to have your battery plugged in when you are doing your end-points, otherwise BetaFlight won't acknowledge your stick inputs. For safety, please remove your props before setting up.
Flight | LOS:
Now for the fun part...flying! As mentioned in my Pros, the Emax is fun as shit both FPV and line of sight. As is my custom, I always fly new quads line of sight first. Even though the BabyHawk doesn't have any LEDs, I didn't find myself losing orientation on the quad. Might have to do with the fact that you keep it relatively close based on it's size. The BabyHawk is plenty fast, especially for only being on 2s. I cycled through angle, horizon and acro modes and felt the BabyHawk's performance was excellent in all of three. I found myself forgetting that I was flying a twerpy 85mm micro drone. With the tune and the power, it really feels like you are flying a larger quad. The punch out is solid, and after flips and rolls there is no loss of altitude like you see on a lot of the brushed micro quads. After getting familiar with the flight characteristics of the BabyHawk, I was ready for FPV!
Flight | FPV:
Holy SHIT!!! Even more fun here! LOL. The weird thing is I used to think it was amazingly fun to fly my Inductrix based Whoop around my parking lot and trees. Looking back, I can't believe how slow it is compared to the BabyHawk. I know they aren't in the same class, but the BabyHawk is small enough that you know you aren't going to damage property or people so it's pretty safe to fly around the neighborhood. I wouldn't call it a house racer, unless you have a pretty big house. It is perfect for a gym or something like that. For me, it is now my designated yard racer.
Anyway, back to flying. In my opinion, the camera is not great. My other VTX combos seem to have better clarity and better reception. This isn't a deal breaker, the VTX is sufficient and well, let's remember, the quad costs $99. Again, flying in every mode was fun as hell. I am not the best full acro pilot, but the Emax flies enough like a large quad that you can use it for practicing techniques you'll use on your larger quads. Heck, who needs a simulator when you can use the BabyHawk as a real life simulator. I have had so much fun with this baby bird...when I'm not flying it, I am thinking about the next time I can fly it lol.
As far as durability, the quad itself holds up well and the props are well protected. If you have a hard crash and your quad starts acting weird, be sure to open the quad up and check all the connections, the health of the receiver, and that the flight controller is very well adhered to the frame. If it is loose or wobbly, you can get some erratic behavior from the quad.
If you want to check out the videos, the first one below is my line of sight maiden, the second is my FPV maiden, and the third one is my full acro/durability flight.
I had been pretty positive about this quad at first, forgiving Emax for skimping on a few items to for the sake of selling this at $99, but at this point, with some good friends and good pilots having quality control issues with this quad, I would now recommend you proceed with caution. The Blade Torrent 110 blows the Emax away in pretty much every way. It costs more but you have an awesome quad and an awesome company backing it up. After having issues of my own and working with Emax to get them resolved. I still enjoy flying it, and it definitely has it's place in the market, just be aware that you may have some issues with it. I know FlightTest just gave it a sparkling review, but they always do that. Take it from an unsponsored reviewer that paid his own cash for this quad, I'll always give you the straigh truth...always