I have wanted a drone for a long time now, but for someone who has never flown a drone and not quite sure what he wants to do with it when he gets it, well, I tried to keep that beast at bay. Last month was my birthday, though, and my wife got me the perfect gift – the perfect quadcopter for a newb like myself.
The UDIU818A HD+ by USA Toyz is the updated version to the U818A. This one packs a 720p camera that will let you record videos and take photos while in flight. The quadcopter is constructed entirely of plastic. The propellers are guarded, which saves you from replacing propellers after every other flight. (You will crash this guy!) The box includes 2 sets of replacement propellers and a set of replacement gears. The box also includes 2 batteries and a USB charger.
The transmitter is pretty basic stuff. It takes 4 AA batteries, which are not included. It has an LED panel that shows you the percentage of battery left on the batteries in the transmitter. It also shows you how much throttle you’re giving the quadcopter. The left stick is for orientation and throttle. The right stick is your directional one. The bumper buttons serve very different purposes. The left bumper preps your quadcopter for flips. You will hear a beeping sound and then you use the directional stick to identify which direction you want the quadcopter to do a 360 degree flip. The right bumper simply turns on and off the front LED light.
You can operate the camera from the transmitter. There are separate photo and video buttons. The photos taken from the camera leave much to be desired. The video, despite being only 720p, the footage captured by the tiny camera is actually pretty usable. You won’t be producing any commercials for golf courses with it. The image quality isn’t the greatest, but the footage can be quite stable. The real challenge is in keeping the unit steady enough to produce usable footage.
The U818A HD+ is a blast to fly, but it will take some getting used to. The controls are very sensitive and the wide frame makes it difficult to keep steady on a breezy day. The guards around the propellers are not removable. They help guard the propellers against crashes, but they also make it pretty difficult to get the unit out of a tree outside of climbing the tree or using a long pole to rescue the unit. If you really want to get the most out of the UDIU818A HD+, do yourself a favor and fly it in a place with wide open spaces. When flying a drone, trees are your enemy.
The battery life of the UDI U818A HD+ is okay. The stock battery is 500 mAh. This provides for a flight time of about 8 minutes. Two batteries are included in the box. This flight time varies since it is dependent upon factors like wind, whether the camera is recording, etc. When the voltage gets low, the LED lights on the quadcopter begin flashing and there is a beep from the controller alerting you that it is time to start thinking about landing. Replacement batteries are available on Amazon. There is a 6 pack that has 650 mAh batteries. The extra 150 mAh punch should increase your flight time by a few minutes.
Overall, the UDI is a great starter drone for those with tiny pockets. You aren’t going to capture the most stunning visuals with it, but you will be able to capture some usable footage to share with friends or splice in as B-roll on one of your YouTube videos. With such a low cost and a not so intimidating learning curve, I give the UDI U818A HD+ a solid recommendation for those looking to dip your toes into the hobby. Keep in mind that while FAA registration is not required for a quadcopter of this size, please use common sense when operating these devices.
The UDI U818A HD+ by USA Toyz is currently listed on Amazon for $99.99. It is available in a variety of colors. (I have the black model.) USA Toyz also has an updated version that includes an FPV WiFi feature for about $50 more that works with both Android and iOS.