TDR Robin Standard Edition Review
Image Credit: TDR
Review by Nicholas Turner, Staff Contributor
All stock equipment
- RTF package
- 4GB microSD card included with USB reader
- Sunshade for FPV screen
- TX feels comfortable
- Video and pictures recorded on the SD card on the quad (won’t see any 5.8GHz signal interference)
- Lipo powered TX
- Easy to perform flips
- Flips are super tight
- 3 speed modes
- Quadcopter is durable
- Contrasting arm colors for orientation help
- LEDs help with orientation / indicate low voltage
- Camera has small field of view
- Quadcopter drops like a rock when out of range
- Proprietary lipo case
- Limited range
- Quadcopter battery difficult to remove
There are two editions of the TDR Robin; Standard and Pro. This review is for the Standard Edition. The Pro Edition has features and accessories not applicable to the Standard Edition.
The TDR Robin’s box doubles as a carrying case with a nice handle on the box. Inside the box everything is tucked nice and tightly in the plastic casing/housing. The TX, quadcopter battery, and quadcopter unit each have their own cavities. The lipo is taped down for added security and the TX has foam protectors on the sticks. The TX lipo, extra set of props (four props), USB microSD card reader, microSD card, and USB chargers are tucked into a single bag that is taped into its own cavity. The manual sat on top of the TX. A quick and easy inspection showed absolutely no damage, scratches, etc…
Read the manual on how to charge the two different batteries. I found the TX battery came fully charged (4.2V for the 1S 500mAh pack). I questioned this as shipping and storing a lipo at full charge can damage the lipo. Since the TX battery uses a JST connector, I threw it on my Hitec X1 Pro charger to confirm it was charged. The battery connector for the quadcopter’s battery is the same size as the one used for the Blade mCPx. So if you know the size of the lipo (which the plastic case blocks the text) then you can use your preferred charger with appropriate charging cable/board. Additional batteries are listed at being 380mAh, so I’m guessing this is the case for the stock battery. Charging via the USB cable takes 45-60 minutes, as expected. The manual states about 60 minutes, I find it closer to 45 minutes. Never over charge a lipo, so pay attention to the charging status LED.
First plug the battery into the quadcopter and set on level ground. The red LEDs on the quadcopter will flash very quickly indicating it’s waiting to bind to the TX. With the TX lipo plugged in and the quadcopter on, turn the TX on. When the TX powers on without a link/bind to the quadcopter the screen will show static and the TX battery level and beep while waiting to bind. The VTX appears to transmit prior a link being established, even though there may be an image on the screen wait until all the beeping is done on the TX before trying to fly. Once bound, the LEDs on the rear arms of the quadcopter will stop blinking.
Once bound, I increased throttle and away she went. For the first bit of my maiden flight I kept it LOS (line of sight) and didn’t use the monitor as I wanted to get the feel of the quadcopter. Always maiden any aircraft LOS before attempting FPV. I found the default speed of speed one to be lack luster and really tamed for my preference. A click appropriate spot on the left shoulder trigger button the TX beeped twice to indicate speed two mode was activated. Speed two felt better response wise, but still a little lack luster so I enabled speed 3. Now I was cooking and felt comfortable with the quad. The quad will flip in each speed mode, flips are activated by pushing the appropriate spot on the left shoulder trigger then pushing the right control stick in the desired direction. The flips are super quick and tight. Due to the limited field of view on this camera, true FPV flying is difficult. I have a fish eye smartphone camera lens I plan to attach to the front to it easier to FPV. Still pictures are 2MP at a size of 1600x1200, when taking still pictures I recommend moving to speed 1 and ensuring the quad is very still/stable. Otherwise the picture will be blurred.
Video recording is easy and simple it records at 720p30 in AVI format. Unlike the Hubsan X4 FPV, no special software is needed to convert the recording from an odd format. Video footage looks decent, just keep in mind it’s a 2MP camera, so even at 720p30 it’s not going to be really true HD. Size wise it has the same footprint as the Hubsan X4 FPV quadcopter and flies the same way, better in the flip department. When low voltage is detected by the quadcopter, the rear LEDs will start to blink. I always land at this time as continued flying in this low voltage can and will damage the lipo, but if you don’t, the quad will land itself. Speaking of landing itself the manual states the quadcopter will auto land if out of range of the TX. However, I found this is not the case. My unit drops like a rock when out of range. If it comes back into range you can continue flying, if it stays out of range it’ll crash. One such case happened to me and bent the front left prop shaft significantly. I’ve bent it back as best I can, but it’s not perfect but still flies. I’ve also ran into wooden playground obstacles without breaking a prop or the quadcopter. In one case the battery did pop out. The first several flights I found removal of the battery difficult as the little plastic tension tab on top of the battery case didn’t want to push in much for me. But as I got more flights on the quadcopter it has gotten easier to remove.
I found the TX to be quite easy and natural feeling in my hands. I was afraid the wider than I’m used to TX would bother me, but it doesn’t. The rubber grips on the side are nice touch and very comfortable feeling. The sunshade for the screen works very well and the screen is really nice with good quality. If the TX detects the TX lipo is at storage charge/low voltage it will flash low battery on the screen and then shut off. I found I can get around 30-40 minutes of flying with a single TX battery charge. The manual indicates around one hour of flight time on the TX charge. The quadcopter flight times average around 5-6 minutes. You can get more if you are not as aggressive or running on speed mode three much. I don’t recommend relying on the return to home feature. The manual warns the quadcopter will hit obstacles and it’s an attempt to fly back home, not guaranteed. In my opinion and experience, you’d be better off cutting throttle and letting the quadcopter crash instead of trying to let it fly home by itself. In my opinion return to home should be GPS driven and not trying to remember the course of flight.
I really like the TDR Robin and am extremely impressed by the unit. In comparison with the Hubsan X4 FPV H107C unit I have, the TDR Robin performs as well in flight as the Hubsan. The TDR Robin out performs the Hubsan in video quality and recording of camera footage. The TDR Robin will be one I throw in the car with me to grab flights at lunch, especially since I can charge the quadcopter battery via a portable USB power bank. Just be aware of the range issue I observed.
Is this for beginners? Absolutely
Is this fun? Absolutely
Would I recommend this quadcopter? Absolutely
Is this for professional use? No, the image quality would need be higher in megapixel count
Can I race FPV with this? If you are comfortable looking at the ground and having a limited field of view.