UDI RC U845 Voyager FPV Review
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Review by Nicholas Turner, Staff Contributor
- TX with monitor
- Hexacopter in UFO body and camera attached
- 1S lipo and USB charger for TX
- 2S lipo and USB charger for the hexacopter
- 1 set (6) extra props
- UFO body is cool looking
- 2S lipo for hexacopter
- Bright LEDs
- TX is surprisingly comfortable
- Monitor has sunscreen
- Monitor can playback video/picture from TF card
- Easy to use and reach buttons on monitor
- Easy to see monitor
- Easy to see indicator light on both USB chargers
- Adjustable camera lens angle
- TX beeps for aircraft and TX low battery voltage
- FPV not compatible with other goggles
- Easy to lose orientation with shape
- LEDs only visible from the bottom
- Flips are limited to first half of flight time
- Easy to mistakenly enable headless
- Screw for TX lipo compartment
- Battery compartment on the hexacopter can be a little difficult to open at first
- Camera adjustable by hand
The UDI U845 Hexacopter was sitting inside a plastic keeper within the labeled box. A small piece of foam is put on the top of the UFO body to help protect it. A clear plastic layer was on top to keep everything in place. Removing the top layer plastic and the hexacopter unveiled the transmitter and under the transmitter was the bag of props, screwdriver, two USB chargers, and manual. The lipos were preinstalled in the hexacopter and TX. I found everything to be in superb condition all nicely tucked away.
My first complaint with the hexacopter showed up at charge time. The USB charger for the TX lipo has no additional lead, thus the length of the lead is limited to that which is on the battery. Which if charging via a laptop, this is not an issue. But if you use a wall wart or a tablet whose USB port is more than an inch higher than the surface it is sitting on, you will put undue stress on the battery lead. The stress will wear the wires and potentially lead to the wires breaking. I did find the charge indicator LED is easy to see (red when charging, green when done) on both chargers. The charger for the hexacopter's battery is larger and has a longer lead. The long lead is nice, but the larger sized charger gets in the way of running something in a USB port beside it or stacked on top. Doing so puts a strain on the USB connector.
To fly, install both batteries accordingly. Here I recommend leaving the screw for the TX battery compartment out, as you'll have to pull the battery out frequently to recharge. I found leaving the screw in will bump and potentially damage the TX lipo. First turn on the hexacopter via the power switch on the bottom, then turn on the TX. Once the hexacopter's lights stop blinking, move the left stick (altitude aka throttle stick) up and down to arm the motors. To take off press the button on the back of the right control stick, then push up on the left stick to gain altitude. By default the hexacopter is in the flight mode with the most limitations speed wise. This is great to get the familiar with the aircraft. In order increase speed/change flight mode pushdown on the left stick (altitude and yaw), the TX will beep to indicate which speed mode you have entered (2 beeps for fastest, 1 beep for slowest). For sport flying I found I prefer the fast speed mode. If the battery in the hexacopter is fairly fresh (flying time is less than 3 minutes) the hexacopter will do flips by pushing the right stick down, then the direction to flip on the right stick (forward, backward, left, or right). Once the battery gets low enough the system will not let flips happen. I've managed to get 3 or 4 flips in a row at the start of a fresh pack.
The hexacopter flies more stable than a quadcopter, and not as fast. If you desire, there is a button on the back of the left stick to press and this enables headless mode. I can't stand headless mode as I'm a traditional r/c modeler who can reverse controls as needed and headless mode screws me up. But due to the location of the button, one can inadvertently enable this flight mode. I believe I had this happen to me a few times. My recommendation here is to keep the finger well away from that spot on the grip.
The FPV system works well. The field of view on the camera is large enough to make using it to fly with easy. The monitor has buttons to increase and decrease brightness, which is really nice. I found even on a sunny day at full brightness and the sunshade, the monitor is easy to see. To record video or image from the hexacopter, first ensure the SD card is pushed in accordingly on the aircraft. Once at altitude and pointing at what you want to see, press the appropriate button on the left side of the monitor to take a still image or to start/stop video recording. The hexacopter will record to the memory card. Videos don't contain audio and are at a resoultion of 720x1280 30fps with an aspect ratio of 16:9 as a JPEG (both video and still). I found the video quality to not be terrible, but not the greatest either. The video quality is mid-range and on par for the systems within the same price point as the UDI U845. I will say that overly bright conditions causes some bad washout with white. I didn't notice anything terrible transitioning from bright to dark areas. Unfortunately the video feed did not work with my Eachine FPV goggles.
There is a range limitation on the aircraft of about 150 feet, at which point the aircraft will shut down and fall out of the sky.
While flying the TX will beep at low voltage indicating it is time to bring the hexacopter back and land. If for some reason the TX battery should get low, the TX will also beep to indicate. Landing the aircraft is as easy as lowering the altitude and then pressing the button on the back right of the transmitter or landing right side up on the ground. As cool as the UFO body looks, orientation is really hard. There is not a unique shape or bright color indicating the front when flying line of sight. Even though the LEDs are bright, they are only visible when looking up at the hexacopter.
I found flying the UDI U845 Voyager fun and entertaining. The FPV monitor having buttons and being able to playback from the SD card is a treat. The video quality is fairly decent (1280x720 30fps) and actually usable. The limited range means you probably won't be going much above house top or small trees. I had some serious doubts about the transmitter, but was surprised at how well and natural it felt in my hands. The buttons for the FPV monitor are easy to reach and I found all the buttons to be easily reachable. I don't like the headless mode button being on the back of the left grip. Given how the UFO body is shaped, the props are well protected and I won't have a reservation to let a stranger fly this hexacopter. I did try the hexacopter indoors, it's a little large for small spaces. But I was able to just gently cruise around the open floor plan of my downstairs. I was disappointed to find out my FPV goggles would not work with the video feed from the hexacopter. It would be nice to have a camera lens angle controllable from a button on the TX, but setting it manually and flying line of sight until you are at the spot you want for photography purposes is not a deal breaker. I don't think someone looking for an entry level hexacopter will go wrong with this hexacopter. But if someone is looking for a high performance photography platform for cheap, they'll be disappointed. It is fun to fly a UFO shaped aircraft around and it'll certainly catch some eyes. The way the UFO body sits definitely helps protect the props.
Is this for beginners? I'd say so, it's an RTF system that won't break the bank and is very stable. Is the video quality good? I'd say decent to fair at 720x1280 30fps. More megapixels and better handling of bright lights would help out. But compared to some other micro FPV quadcopters I have, the video quality is good. Is it an aerial photography platform? No, nothing under $300USD has proven to come close to the expectations a DJI Phantom has established for aerial platforms. Do I recommend the UDI U845 Voyager? If you want a cheap, inexpensive hexacopter or to try a hexacopter for the first time, yeah I recommend it. If you want a more durable, more capable hexacopter then no. But to fool around in your yard or large indoor flying facility, it's fun.