The Blade Nano QX RTF is a simple, easy to fly and a lot of fun quadcopter. Designed to be flown indoors, this inexpensive drone is stable enough for beginners but agile enough for acrobatic flight. Thanks to its sturdy construction and careful design, the Nano QX is not likely to break things or break if it breaks down. While not on our list of the best drones, the Nano QX is a great choice for the first-time drone pilot who wants to get a feel for the complex process of piloting a quadcopter.
The Blade Nano QX is an RTF (âready to flyâ) quadricopter: to fly it, all you need to do is charge and insert the battery. The design of the quadcopter is simple, with a frame made of a single piece of plastic and a single printed circuit board. The canopy clips onto the top and the battery fits securely below. This frame is made of lightweight plastic, but it’s tough enough to withstand most crashes.
A really nice touch is the inclusion of propeller guards – small pieces of plastic that extend from the frame past the four rotating propellers. If you’re flying sideways into something (as you inevitably will), these guards keep the blades of the fast-spinning propeller from hitting it, protecting them and anything else you hit. However, they’re not foolproof: if the Nano QX flips over and hits something, the blades can still get stuck. And the guards won’t stop a curious person from sticking their fingers through the blades, either. Although you won’t lose a finger, such a maneuver will definitely cause the drone to crash.
The battery is a small 150mAh lithium-polymer pack that provides approximately 7 minutes of flight time. It is recharged with a USB powered charger. We found that it took about 25 minutes to fully charge. Replacing the batteries is simple: simply unplug the power cable, slide it out of the quadcopter base, and reverse to replace it.
The Nano QX uses a two-stick remote, designed to resemble an Xbox controller. It fit well in my hand, the sticks falling naturally under my thumbs. The aileron control (which tilts the drone left and right) is on the left stick, and the rudder (which turns the drone left and right) is on the right. The throttle control (for raising and lowering) and elevator control (for moving left and right) can be switched between the up and down of both sticks, depending on your preference.
The throttle stick required very little force to move; in fact i found it a bit too easy to accidentally drop it and send the quadcopter spiraling. Between these two sticks is a power switch that turns the controller on or off, as indicated by a single red LED. There are also knobs around the stick ring that allow you to cut the sticks to adjust their sensitivity. The remote control uses four AA batteries.
The Nano QX is fun to ride. It can climb and turn quickly, moving at a decent speed, but the company offers no maximum claims. It responded quickly to the controls, so fairly precise flight is possible once you get used to the controls.
When you connect the battery for the first time, the blue LED of the Nano QX will blink until you place it on a flat surface. After detecting that it is on the ground and still, this light turns solid blue and you can activate the throttle to take off. The Nano QX uses this same level sensing, which it calls Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope (SAFE), to try and hover when you’re not touching the controls. It works well: the Nano QX will try to hover if you let go of the controls, but it won’t save you if you take your eyes off the quadcopter and let it zoom out. SAFE can be turned off by pressing the left joystick, but it’s best to leave it on unless you’re an expert pilot.
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The included remote has a range of around 40 feet, which is enough for a small quadcopter designed for indoor flight. The Nano QX does have its drawbacks, however. While its light weight (just 0.58 ounces) makes it zippy and maneuverable, that also means it’s easily vented – even a slight breeze will send this ultralight quadcopter out of its way.
Repairability and safety
It is inevitable that a drone will crash sooner or later, so it is important that it is easy to repair. The Nano QX includes four aftermarket rotor blades (the most frequently broken components) and a spare canopy, both of which are easy to replace. It doesn’t require any tools; the rotors easily tear off the motors and the canopy simply clicks into place. You can order other parts, but with a cheap quadcopter like this, buying a brand new quad is easier in the event of a serious accident.
The Nano QX has a fairly short battery life. We measured it at just under 7 minutes – a little less than the 8 minutes the company claims. It’s pretty typical for small drones like this; few can handle double-digit flight times. We measure the battery life of drones by testing how long they can maintain a stable and hovering position, so your flight time may be shorter if you zoom in a lot.
The small 150mAh battery does not last long, but the spare parts are cheap; you can buy a four pack for less than $ 20. These are recharged with the included USB adapter, which typically takes around 25 minutes to fully charge a battery.
At the end of the line
The Nano QX is a fun little device that’s a snap. Battery life is short, but aftermarket batteries are cheap enough that you won’t break the bank. In short, this is a great first quadcopter for the aspiring pilot who wants to try one out before spending a fortune on an expensive drone, as it will teach the basics and forgive the inevitable crashes.
The rotors: 4
Type of engine: 6mm brushed cordless motors
Battery Size: Ploymer to litium 150 mAh (quadcopter), 4AA (remote control)
Battery life: 7/8 minutes of battery life (tested / claimed)
Cut: 5.5 x 1.97 inches
Weight: 0.58 ounces in flight weight