Not sure if this Syma X5C quadcopter with camera will be more popular with kids or their dads!
Not to be mistaken for an expensive drone, as this Syma X5C is just a toy with an advertised range of only 50m, but it packs a lot in for the sub-$60 price tag. It’s a hugely popular item on Amazon with more than 800 5 star reviews and an average rating of 4.3/5 stars.
You might be wondering: Why are these so popular?
The main reasons mentioned by owners are:
- Flying performance
- On board camera (quite good quality – 1280×720 at 30 frames/sec)
This is a cheap and cheerful product from China so expecting all the frills is likely to disappoint, however this also extends to a lack of instruction manual which needs to be downloaded (link below). Not to worry as all the key info can be gleaned from the Amazon reviews of the latest upgraded model, with the highlights listed here:
- Flight time is around 6-10 minutes so spare batteries are recommended.
- Put a strip of bright red tape on the back to tell which way it’s facing from a distance
- Camera control is via the up/down trim control switch on the left side of the controller – push up to take a single frame photo (1 red blink on camera LED), push down to start video capture (red blinking). Push down a 2nd time to stop and save the file (must do before turning off or video won’t be saved)
- Advanced flying mode button on top left of controller makes the copter react faster to controls (for experienced pilots!)
- Blurry image can be caused by the lens shifting during transport. Mark the edge of the lens/housing for a reference point and carefully turn the ring to alter the focus.
- Keep it clean and check all 4 rotors spin down at the same time when stopped. If it has 1 slow rotor check the gears are clean from dirt etc.
- Let the battery cool down before charging (about 10 mins)
- Setting the correct time/date stamp for videos. Use notepad (or another text editor) to create a file on the micro-SD card named “time.txt” with the following content on one line, with a carriage return to start a new line:
yyyy/mm/dd hh.mm.ssExample: 2015/04/07 15.30.00
- Up/Down (no spring return) – throttle
- Left/Right – rotate left/right
- Up/Down – fly forwards/backwards
- Left/Right – fly left/right
For more information the full user manual can be found here.
There are a quite a few sellers on Amazon, with prices varying by where the product ships from. You can save a few dollars by buying direct from China, but the one below is shipped from Amazon’s warehouse so delivery is faster and any returns would be simple.
Given the relatively short flight time you may want some extra batteries, and if you plan to travel you can buy a specific carry case for the Syma X5C.
Original Syma 500mAh battery
2 x high capacity 600mAh battery (note, may require minor modification to battery compartment to fit)
4 x high capacity 600mAh batteries with 4-way charger
Carry Case for Syma X5C (click pic to enlarge)
Finally, here is a Syma X5C review from YouTube.