Walkera QR X350 Pro Quadcopter
The Walkera QR X350 Pro drone is an entry level and ready-to-fly that is aimed at the multi-rotor market niche. At the time of its release, it was a revolutionary drone concept, popular with multicopter drone enthusiasts looking for expensive drone features at fairly affordable pricing.
It packs plenty of features that you would traditionally associate with the premium end drones. The drone also features various other improvements that will make flying super fun such as the Walkera G-2D gimbal, the Devo F12E transmitter and the Walkera iLook+ camera. The array of rich features and advanced functionality gives this drone a good edge over many other drones in its class and offering the same price range.
The Walkera QR X350 Pro drone is fully optimized for First Person View (FPV) use that for a high degree of precision in flight aerial photography.
The drone has a fairly impressive flight time that many drone flight enthusiasts will appreciate. On average, it hits a flight time of 25 minutes when it is on a stock power system. The drone design also features the advanced DEVO-M flight controller which will assure you of better stability and GPS positioning. However, the type of onboard flight controller may change depending on the configuration that you purchase.
The QR X350 Pro also has a plug and play compatibility with the Walkera G-2D brushless camera gimbal that you can use to capture smooth footage when flying your drone.
Overview of Features
The Walkera QR X350 Pro drone has the following features:-
- This is a ready-to-fly (RTF) drone so no elaborate assembly required to launch this bird into the air.
- It has precision flight control system for an enhanced flight performance
- Built with failsafe technology that minimizes crashes and ensure your drone always returns home, even if it is about to run out of juice. This is effected through the single key Return to Home function as well as smart landing feature.
- Has an advanced GPS position holding functionality
- The high capacity 3S 5200mAh LiPO battery gives you an impressive flight time of up to 25 minutes.
- The drone is designed with both an altitude and compass sensor.
- Has excellent voltage protection functionality
- You can easily achieve a stable mode thanks to the GPS and altitude hold function.
- It utilises the DEVO 10 programmable transmitter that has a control range of up 2km.
- Get better camera stabilization thanks to the G-2D camera gimbal. This is also compatible with the GoPro Hero 3 and the iLook.
- Fitted with brilliant LEDs so you will easily see the drone even over long distances.
The Walkera QR X350 Pro is an improvement over the previous QR X350 version. The previous version had a 2200mAh 3S LiPo battery that gave a flight time of 8 to 10 minutes has been upgraded to a 3S LiPO 5200mAh battery that will give you a flight time of up to 25 minutes. This is a massive performance boost that puts it in the same class as many of the other higher end drones.
The manufacturer has also introduced the APM flight controllers with greater capabilities for control and autonomous flight. The landing legs are higher up over the ground and the Pro version has been made with a tough and durable plastic body sob it will take a few hits and still survive.
Walkera QR X350 Pro Kits
You will notice that the QR X350 Pro multicopter comes in multiple configurations which can make shopping for this model a little confusing. One point of confusion can be in the different kinds of transmitters that the drone can be equipped with.
The manufacturer can ship it with a Devo F7, a 10 or the F12E transmitter and all of these have different specifications. Some of the QR X350 PRO drones will come with a gimbal or even a camera but in most instances, you will have to buy these separately.
A note of caution, though. The Walkera QR X350 Pro looks strikingly similar to the previous first generation version, the QR X350 so you need to pay close attention to ensure that you are not confusing the two. The first generation version has somewhat watered down specs and will not give you the desired flight performance with its lower flight time and less powerful flight control system.
The APM Flight Controller
A central feature of the Walkera QR X350 is the APM Flight Controller. This is a powerful and super-versatile open source flight control firmware which gives this a drone excellent functionality and operational performance that is almost at par with premium drones such as the DJI Phantom drones.
Multicopters are generally highly reliant on the flight controllers for smooth operation so if the firmware is top notch like in this case, you can have a multicopter with great capabilities and which you can use to execute a lot of functions and superb flight performance.
The X350 Pro flight controller can be configured by plugging it to a computer using a USB cable before you begin working on the configuration. Initially, this will require a little tweaking so the drone is not 100% RTF. The APM Flight Controller has been updated from the previous version so expect to find lots of new features.
These features include a mission planning functionality that also allows you to chart out waypoint navigation with the help of Google Maps. If you are a serious multicopter enthusiast, you should be excited about this new feature due to the ease and simplicity that it adds to the flight. However, you will first need to download the Mission Planner application online which you will subsequently use in plotting out the waypoints for your drone flight.
Here is a look at some of the key features of the APM Flight Controller:-
- The flight controller offers the best auto altitude and auto level control. This will allow you to fly the drone level and in a straight line. It also has the “simple flight” mode which makes the QX X350 PRO multicopter one of the easiest to fly. With this high-powered flight control system, you don’t have to worry about constantly keeping an eye on the drone. You can sit back and enjoy flying your multicopter while letting the computer figure out and manage some of the more challenging flight functions. You simply push the control stick in the desired direction and the drone autopilot will calculate the desired orientation using the magnetometer installed on board. You will not have to worry whether the quad is facing the front or back. Simply push the stick and the drone will automatically interpret your desired orientation. In the smaller drones, this is not always easy and you have to track the direction manually by looking at the direction of the drone’s LED lights.
- The APM flight controller does not require any programming to make it work accordingly. You simply download and install the software via a desktop utility and you will be good to go with a firmware that offers you a varied set of complex functions among them a ground station option, visual displays and a point-and-click mission planner.
- The flight controller allows you to carry out very delicate and complex flight operations with its hundreds of GPS waypoints. The number of waypoints that you can have access to will depend on the type of hardware that you are using. With the APM flight controller hardware, you have access to up to 127 waypoints. However, there are certain flight controller hardware options that can support numerous more waypoints allowing you to carry out very neat and complex flights. Plotting flights on the waypoints is quite easy. All you have to do is point and click the waypoints showing on the Mission Planner that you wish to execute. Once you do that, the drone will simply fly on its own through these waypoints just like in an aircraft autopilot. It will be a completely autonomous flight with no limits on the distance over which you can fly the drone. This autonomous flight function allows you to script out every aspect of the flight or a complete mission including actions you wish to take during the flight such as camera control.
- It has the Return to Launch functionality. With the flick of a switch, you can simply return the drone to its original starting point automatically.
- It also has an automatic take-off and landing function. You simply press the switch and it will perform these functions autonomously flying to the desired destination and flying back to land at the starting point.
- A two-way wireless connection allows you do all the required mission planning including functions such as mode changing, waypoints and shifting the gains in all the drone’s control functions.
- A combination of the GPS function and the altitude sensors allow the drone to hold its position. You can use this function to hover your drone flight.
There is a Learning Curve to Mastering the APM Flight Controller
The upside of having a feature rich APM Flight Controller is that you have a rich set of features that you can use to carry out various complex flight functions. The downside is that mastering all these features will involve a slightly steep learning curve.
Before you begin deploying these features, it is recommended that you spend sometime reading up information from the company website in order to fully familiarize yourself with its capabilities and operational features before you begin tweaking its functions using the Mission Planner.
If you rush into making tweaks on your Mission Planner without a good idea on what you are doing, you may end up creating even more difficult problems in your flight controller that will not be easy to solve. Misconfiguration may result in you crashing the drone and possibly damaging critical and costly components or damaging it for good.
The Drone Battery and Flight Time
The Walkera drone has a high capacity battery of 5200mAh capable of giving you fairly impressive flight times. Without a payload on the drone, you will get a flight time of up to 25 minutes. However, this reduces when a payload is attached to the drone. The bigger the payload, the shorter the flight time will be. If you attach the iLook+ camera and the G-2D gimbal for example, you can expect a flight time of only 15 minutes.
The flight time is also affected by how you fly the drone. With a more aggressive flying, you can expect the flight time to reduce considerably. Flying the drone at a very high speed or in fairly windy conditions will also reduce its flight time considerably. Warmer temperatures may also lengthen the battery life and flight time although the effect is mostly negligible. The other factors have a more pronounced effect on the flight time.
The QR X350 Pro Camera and Gimbal
Need the best quality drone photography? You will certainly get it with the QR X350 which is designed with a First-Person-View (FPV) for precise and up close shooting and flying. You can capture clear drone footage without worrying about the “jello effect” thanks to the drone’s brushless gimbal. It also comes with a quality camera that delivers high quality footage.
You can pick from three main types of transmitters depending on your requirements namely, the F7, 10 as well as the F12E transmitter. The Walkera QR X350 gimbals also come in two main types: the G-2D and the G-3D gimbals.
With the G-2D gimbals, you can get a rotation in the two axes of roll and tilt. The G-3D, on the other hand, will give you a rotation in three main axes. However, the G-3D is not often recommended for solo operators.
You will likely optimize its potential if you have another operator focusing exclusively on the camera as you focus on flying the drone.
However, with the G-3D gimbals, you are assured of a superior performance with a stable video shoot as the movement of the camera has been buffered on all the three axes including the pan, tilt and roll. This will deliver much smoother footage. The G-2D still offers good stabilization but the movements or vibrations are not dampened on all the axes so if there is some vibration in the pan axis, it will be visible on your video footage. Another disadvantage with the XR350 is that its skids are not retractable and they will show in the video whenever the camera is panning.
The drone is also compatible with various kinds of cameras that gives you the flexibility to deploy various camera options. Almost all of the Walkera QR X350 Pro FPV drones will have seamless compatibility with the GoPro Hero 3 as well as the Hero 4 action cameras.
This is made possible due to the fact that the Walkera gimbal stabilizers were actually built to be compatible with the GoPro cameras. However, in order for you to transmit the video footage to the transmitter FPV screen, you will need to separate the video transmitter that is connected to the GoPro camera used to capture footage. A 5.8Ghz video transmitter may form part of the package when you are purchasing the drone although in many instances, you will have to purchase this separately.
The quality you get with the GoPro cameras is satisfactory. However, if you would like to elevate your photography game a notch higher and capture crystal clear images, you can buy the Walkera iLook+ camera. This is a great camera for drone photography because it is specifically designed for aerial photography. It is also a cheaper than the GoPro models and has useful features such as a detachable antenna and a built-in video transmitter.
The iLook+ setup is also largely fuss-free. You don’t have to grapple with parts and cables that will be hanging about and making things messier. The iLook+ camera also gives you excellent video quality which is comparable to what you would get in the best GoPros. Whether you are planning to shoot with a GoPro or an iLook+ camera, prepare to get professional and highly stabilized footage that will surpass your expectations.
The Walkera QR X350 Pro is a lower priced drone with high specs. It has some complexity so there will be a bit of learning curve involved before you fully master flying this drone. The drone comes in a ready-to-fly RTF package although you will need to do a little tweaking to prime it up for optimal performance. If you don’t take your time to master its features, you are likely going to crash it within a very short period of time. Once you are comfortable with the controls, you can get a performance quality comparable to that of premium drones such as the DJI Phantom 2 Vision.
It has a high capacity battery and longer flight time of up to 25 minutes. It uses a highly sophisticated control that gives you lots of flight functions and flight automation features. The QR X350 Pro also has good compatibility with the GoPro and iLook+ cameras which will give you excellent footage if you are planning to capture some aerial cinematography. The only problem is that you are most likely going to buy the camera kits as they will likely not be part of your RTF configuration. The advantage with this is that it gives you the opportunity to pick the camera of your choice.