Wow that box had one heck of a trip to Oz , if only it could speak ! I'm glad to say all the contents got here safe and sound . For review I have the WLtoys V959 quadcopter with onboard video camera , product page . When offered the opportunity to review the V959 by Banggood.com I simply could not say no , especially as the V959 has onboard video , and I love helicopters as well as photography , so combining the two just makes the V959 twice as much fun for me . Just a quick note on the video , its QuickTime Movie format @ 640x480 ( 15fps and 6041kbps ) . I get almost right on the money six and a half minutes flight time with the camera active ( taking video ) and file size is right around 959meg or just under one Gig in size . I got a Micro SD card ( 2Gig ) and card reader ( micro SD ) that looks a little like a USB drive . The 2Gig micro SD card is plenty large enough to record a flight , and I have as yet not tried other larger micro SD cards .
Here is a nice view of the camera
Rear view - That's where the micro SD card goes
The camera can move up and down ( lens ) , manually.
The motor wires come awfully close to the blade hubs .
A look at the guts
On the left is the old V911 Tx and the V959 Tx is on the right . ( A lot more buttons )
V959 Tx still has the cover for the old charging port that was on the V911 Tx( not functioning )
6 x AA batteries required for the Tx
Here is what the buttons do , pre set rates , as well as turning on and of the running lights . Or taking a stills image ( photo )
Top button on left side Turns on and off the video recording , and the right button ( some how ) allows the V959 to do a flip ( haven't tried it )
I think ( printing on battery is ? ) the battery is rated 500mAh , when I got it , I cycled the battery and the most I saw was 452mAh doing a discharge to 3v . Charging the battery I see anywhere from 390mAh to 420mAh going in . I'm not sure what the C rating is , but the throttle is a little ( turbo lag comes to mind ) slow to respond , and this has seen me bounce quite a bit ( bounce of the ground ) . When the temperature is around the 20deg C the battery does not get overly warm , but once you get to a 30Deg C ambient ( Today ) , the battery does get a little on the hot side ( heat is bad ) so you may wish to or not , extend the life of the battery by not flying when its really warm ( ambient temperatures can make a difference ) .
The transmitter looks very similar to the older V911 Tx , with some obvious upgrades . The buttons are there to make it easy to do stuff , like chose how much control you want over the V959 , I personally found the default ( always starts at 40% ) setting to be not enough , not even indoors . Either 60% or 80% indoors seems to be about right with this sample , and 80% to 100% outside ( for the more experienced 120% would be sweet ) .
You also get to turn on and off the running lights VIA the Tx , as well video or take stills on the fly . Now I haven't attempted it yet , but apparently the top right button is for doing flips , you chose 100% and then something else ( I will have to read the instructions more carefully ) and then when you hit the button the V959 supposedly does a flip ( or roll ) , but as I said , I haven't attempted any such thing as yet .
Along the lines of the V911 the V959 is very light weight, and due to such is able to absorb a lot of punishment that most budding pilots are going to dish out . I dare say the V959 will most likely survive longer in open areas with a nice grass field ( soft ground ) . Now its very important to power up the V959 and lay it down flat before the lights go out or the gyro will initialize off canter so to speak , and the V959 will want to wander ( varying from how far you were from being perfectly level ).
The set up of the V959 is rather good , and the plastic body shell looks to protect the electronics quite well ( I've flipped it onto its back so many times ) . My only concern is the exposed wires at the motor ends ( pictured above ) as they may be some what vulnerable to damage ( something to bear in mind ) .
Video format is QuickTime Movie @ 640x480 ( 15fps - 6041kbps ) , with the camera running I get almost exactly six and a half minutes of flight , and the resulting file size is about 959meg , or just under one Gig . I was supplied with a 2Gig micro SD card , which is ample to record a single flight . I have not as yet tried larger capacity SD cards ( micro ) , but plan to do so shortly , I have one Class 10 card ( faster recording ) and hopefully it might see even better video quality ( I hope ) .
To activate the video recording , you just press once the left top button and that's it . If you press it again it will stop recording video . To take a picture or still image , press the right side bottom button once , last time I tried it I got 3 images ( sort of like a 3 round burst ) . The quality of the still is ? , interesting but some one might be happy with it ( being a amateur photographer ) . On the other hand the video quality is acceptable , I posted a sample on YouTube :
Please forgive the poor video presentation , I'm a video Noob , and I'm still learning the ins and outs of video editing . Also excuse the poor flying or tentative flying as this was the first outdoor flight , and just when the battery was depleted the big winds started up ( been a windy year so far ) . I had to wait till another day for my second outdoor flight : ( once again a early 8am flight to try and beat the wind ) . Now the camera does have audio , but I have avoided it as its recording 4 motors and the result is rather nasty .
In video 3 ( 3rd Flight ) I have included some of the onboard audio , now you will have to excuse me for replacing most of it with High Brow Elevator music , but that's the only royalty free audio I could find in my 5 minutes of searching .
The default 40% control setting ( when you turn on the Tx ) is not really good enough ( not enough control input ) , 60% for indoors is much better as is 80% better again . 100% works well outside , but I would have liked to have seen 120% for the more experienced pilots ( no not me ) . Now due to the light weight of the V959 it really gets pushed around by a breeze , you can see the V959 shudder when a breeze hits it , even a light one . And if there is a reasonable wind about it can be very challenging to keep in the air , or from being blown away for that matter . One of my pet hates is up and down drafts , and the V959 is affected by them , I had the V959 suddenly shoot up a good 20 feet or more as I was decreasing power , and I was almost at 0 throttle before it began to come down again . And once it begins to come down , you really need to come on the power earlier than you think , I'm used to 450 class helicopters and they have power to spare . If you hit the throttle on a 450 , man that bird is gone , instantly . Not so with the V959 , it really needs forward thinking on the throttle as it takes time for things to happen , you need to be a good 1 to 2 seconds in front of what's going on with the V959 , you cant react , you need to predict , and that will take some time ..
I was able to get in my 4th outdoor flight today , but its breezy , and it was challenging . A school hall , or some sort of indoor venue would be simply fantastic for the V959 , as you could factor out the wind ( for us Quad Noobs ). This would allow one to concentrate on throttle control and flight prediction . Now don't get me wrong , the V959 is just great , and in fact possibly a lot better than a lot of fixed pitch micro helicopters , but its no wind buster ( unless you carry a lot of speed ), and just like the FP micro heli's , some time its better to play inside . The downside is the V959 begs space so you can hot dog . Experienced pilots will be able to fly in the wind better as they can keep momentum going , and momentum will help stability in flight .
The V959 will fly through a decent breeze , but try hovering . I was trying to hover and @ 100% ( control ) had about 50% forward stick to maintain the hover in a light wind , which is by far better than say a V911 which in the same light wind would be hovering backwards ( flying backwards ) . Now pushing the stick forward 50% means the quad will tilt forward , and once it does that it will dip and shoot of forwards and towards the ground , so you pull back on the elevator and it skims along and begins to gain altitude , it will climb to a hover and then the wind will push it back to where you started , and then you need to push the elevator forward and it all begins again . Seriously , I haven't had this much fun in a long time ! ( wind like this would push my V911 into the neighbors yard and there was nothing I could do about it ) .
When you have to pack up your FP micro to go inside , the V959 can keep going . The more experienced quadcopter pilots will get more from this quad when conditions get to the point Noobs pack up. Also if your considering helicopters as a hobby , the V959 is probably a better choice than a FP micro heli . It offers more control ratio's ( 40-60-80-100% ) , better stability , and can tolerate more weather. Its just as crash resistant as the FP micro , costs about he same money ( a little more as it has more options - like a camera ) , and offers just about the same flight experience ( learning curve ) . I've never flown a quad before now , and it is easier to fly than a FP micro , is more rewarding ( crash less ) , and inside is far more precise . You can actually pic a spot , fly over to it , hover above it and land on it with very little trouble . Now this does not mean you cant get into strife , because once it starts moving , it can bump and crash just as easily as a FP micro helicopter , in fact sometimes it actually seems easier as the V959 is capable of far more speed .
Throttle Lag - just because you hit the throttle don't mean something is going to happen straight away ( think Turbo Lag )
Descending Hover - The V959 tends to rock from side to side when you throttle down in hover ( altitude ) you can see this in video 3
Wow so many things , Inbuilt Camera , Flies better than a FP micro heli , Crash survivability , Control rates , running lights that can be turned off , Price ( $69 at time of review ), Indoor or outdoor capability , auto shut down ( motors ) to prevent damage when bumping into things , probably a faster learning curve ( learning to fly ) , just a Ton of fun ! When was the last time you flew , and walked away with a silly grin ? rather than something to repair .
I would like to thank Banggood.com for sending me the V959 for reviewing , this quadcopter has put a smile on this old dial . Not only do you get to fly but the onboard video allows you to share your exploits . In fact I also got to learn a lot along the way ( Sony Vega - Hmm how much $$ ) . The WLtoys V959 is a great quadcopter , can I say a real great toy that has given me some serious fun the last couple of days . And even with the all the bumps remains in mint condition ( have I put 10 to 12 batteries through it or more ? ) , well , I've failed to break it . In fact I just went over it carefully , and not even a scuff on the rotor blades ( propellers ) .
If you looking to get into the hobby , then the quadcopter could be for you .
Thank you Dimas , the most fun I have had in a long time ..
I have two V 949 quads and one V959 quad. No matter how I handle the sticks I cannot get any of them to hover. I connect the battery on a completely level surface, but they still have a tendency to fly off in a sideway direction. What is the secret to getting them to take off straight up? I have tried to compensate by adjusting the trims, but it doesn't seem to make much of a difference.
Another problem is that I cannot install the battery all the way into the battery holder of the V959. It will go about half way and then something prevents it from going any further. Is this the way it is supposed to fit?
I am beginning to think that I must qualify for the 2013 Stupidity Award from The Quadrocopter Lovers Of America.