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True story: I'm getting ready to shoot a short video to promote an upcoming road-rally event here in Michigan. This very morning, barely an hour ago, I woke up thinking how cool it would be to incorporate a few aerial shots.
And, then, bam: Like a gift from the heavens, this deal. Today only, and while supplies last, Woot has the refurbished Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon Quadcopter for $349.99, with free shipping for Amazon Prime members. Once upon a time, this drone sold for $1,300 -- though that price included an aluminum carry-case and spare battery. This bundle includes neither.
First things first: It's a refurb, but you get a full one-year warranty from Yuneec.
Second: This is more than just an aerial camera. The belly-slung 4K orb is removable and can be used to capture ground-based footage. To that end, Yuneec supplies the battery-powered SteadyGrip, a handheld gimbal mount. I've seen similar products designed for use with phones, GoPros and the like. They start at about $100 and rise from there. So it's a substantial value-add.
Third: How do you catch a unique drone? Yuneec up on it. Sorry, had to.
Although the Q500 is a couple years old, it's pretty advanced, offering various autonomous flight modes, a robust remote control (which has a built-in 5.5-inch touchscreen display) and geofencing. The latter is good for beginners worried about the drone flying off into the stratosphere, never to return.
From here I'll turn you over to CNET's Yuneec Q500 Typhoon review. Verdict: "A very fine 4K camera for the ground and the sky."
That review correctly noted that the Q500 is hardly a travel-friendly drone. If you want a selfie-minded flier that can ride along in a backpack, something like the DJI Spark (also $350, interestingly) might be a better choice.
But this? This is for getting serious about video, both in the air and on the ground. A larger drone should be more stable on windy days, and don't underestimate the benefit of a built-in touchscreen. One of the things I really dislike about DJI's drones (and similar ones) is having to commit my phone to the controller mix.
The Q500 still sells for around $600 new, so at $350 it's definitely worth a look.
Bonus deal: Trying very hard to be a grown-up while I talk about this deal from Amazon seller... GooBang Doo. Cough. Ahem.
For a limited time, and while supplies last, Amazon seller GooBang Doo [stifle] has the Abox T22 portable projector for $98.79. That's after applying promo code 2KX7L35B at checkout.
Normally $130, this LED-powered projector claims to offer a maximum brightness of 2,400 lumens -- quite a bit higher than many similar models in this class.
It features dual speakers and an HDMI input (and cable!), but also supports VGA, USB and microSD sources. The reviews are a little mixed, though, and there's no warranty information listed anywhere.
Even so, if you just want to set up an impromptu movie theater in, say, the kids' room or while traveling, something like this might be great to have along.
When it comes to consumer-level drones, one model rules the skies. DJI's Phantom drone, the Phantom 3 in particular, is the flying machine of choice for professional videographers, drone enthusiasts, and increasingly, mass-market consumers.
But erstwhile competitors are beginning to emerge. One of the latest comes from Chinese aircraft maker Yuneec, the Typhoon Q500 4K.
Though similar in size, weight, and price, the Typhoon is no Phantom knockoff. It's not a Phantom killer, either. Both have their strengths, and which one is best for you depends largely on what you plan to do with it. The Typhoon's camera produces excellent results, and while the drone is slower and more sluggish than others, it's remarkably easy to pilot. It's a drone for people nervous about trying to control a $1,200 piece of flying equipment.
The Typhoon looks a bit more aggressive than DJI's shining happy drones, with sleeker lines and a back end that resembles the head of the space-creatures in Alien. It's also larger than the more familiar Phantoms, and made of plastic far flimsier than I'm used to seeing. That's partly due to the fact that the Typhoon landing gear (and gimbal) can be snapped off with no special tools and stored in a much flatter package.
I tested the Typhoon Q500 4K, one of several models available. As the name suggests, it's capable of shooting 4K video and it comes with the CGO Steadygrip, so you can use the camera and gimbal on the ground as well. The Steadygrip worked well enough, but it's more of the same—somewhat flimsy plastic that might or might not last through more adventurous uses than chasing my kids around the yard. It also requires eight AA rechargeable batteries.
Unlike DJI's offerings, the Typhoon's base controller ships with a built-in screen in the form of a small Android device sporting 480p resolution. On one hand, it's nice not to have so many different parts to keep track of. But there's no way to add a bigger, clearer screen when, for example, a new iPad mini is released (the mobile device I currently use with the Phantom 3).
The screen is bright, though flying in direct sunlight remains difficult. To be fair, that's true of every screen I've ever used to fly a drone. Yuneec helpfully includes a sunshade that attaches, awkwardly, to the controller with suction cups. It doesn't completely solve the problem, but it does help.
I found the controller familiar enough to all but eliminate a learning curve. First-timers should have an easy time with it. The Typhoon's video and still image capture buttons are chunkier than anything I've used, but that makes them easier to find without looking down at your hands. The included app is intuitive enough that I never cracked the manual. The touch screen is responsive as well, which is good because some of the menus and buttons are really tiny.
The Typhoon's flight control system is great overall, it makes flying dead simple and trumps everything I've used save the new controller for the Phantom 3. My only complaint is that you're locked in. Two years from now when there are dozens of 7-inch 4K tablets for under $200, you'll still be stuck with a 5 inch, 480p screen.
Take to the Skies
It's dead simple to get started. I pulled the Typhoon out of the case, turned everything on, waited for the Wi-Fi to connect the base station and aircraft, and was airborne within two minutes. There was no calibration, and no apps to download. I read the quick-start guide, set it in the middle of field, and lifted off.
That simplicity continues in the air as well. Being primarily accustomed to flying DJI's phantom line, the Typhoon was immediately different. I started in "Smart Mode" which make the drone fly relative to what you see on the screen in front of you. That is, if you want to go up you push the left hand joystick up and the drone goes up. If you want to go side to side you push it left or right. There's no need to worry about where the front and back of the drone are, the control translates everything in terms of the display on the screen.
Flying drones is intimidating. They're expensive and often complicated. The result is that, unless you're so rich you don't care, you spend most of your learning time in a nervous sweat. At least that was my experience with Phantoms. The Typhoon, however, is a pleasure to fly right from the start.
Even after many hours of practice, I still don't feel as confident with a Phantom as I did after ten minutes with the Typhoon. The Phantom 3 comes closest to this ease of use, but it's still more nerve wracking to control in my experience.
But drone flight isn't all good or all bad; it's a series of trade offs. While I can without hesitation say that the Typhoon is easier to fly than any of the Phantoms I've used, that doesn't necessarily make it better. That ease of use is offset by the fact that the Typhoon is far more sluggish in the air. It takes longer to respond to input from the controller and it was not capable of the tight turns or the top speed of the Phantom 3. Its max flight range is also considerably less. And the Phantom 3's ability to send back live 720p feed at over a mile blows the Typhoon out of the water.
If you're just learning to fly, that "sluggishness" is a plus. It makes for a more forgiving aircraft that you're less likely to fly into a tree. If you're already comfortable flying drones, the Typhoon will likely feel like a step backward. To get some aerial shots of the Typhoon I enlisted Barrelman Productions pilot Mike Lord who was able to literally fly circles around the Typhoon with his Phantom 3.
The Eye Has It
The Typhoon Q500 I tested was the 4K video model. There are two other models: the 500+ , which shoots 1080p; and the 500, which is more or less the same but doesn't come with the Steadygrip. On paper that sounds good, but part of what makes or breaks images (and video) from drones is not resolution, but stabilization. In that regard the gimbal on the Typhon is on par with the field, which is to say that it does a good job of holding the camera still, though at times it felt a bit slower at panning.
The images it produces are 12 megapixels with pretty good clarity, though there is noticeable falloff in sharpness toward the edges. That's not unexpected for extreme wide angle lenses, but it's significantly more noticeable than the cameras on the Phantom 3. Whether its an optics problem or a shortcoming of Yuneec's distortion correction is tough to say, but unfortunately it extends to the 4K video as well.
I can recommend it, especially if you're shopping for your first drone, or just one that's easy to fly and has a capable, high-resolution camera. The slowness, range, and other faults are things that probably won't bother you until you become more experienced, and the Typhoon still has plenty to offer in the meantime.
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This Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4k review looks closely at the drone, the CGO3 4k camera, ST10 controller and Steady Grip. Also included are Q500 4k stunning aerial footage and camera settings.
Just as important we look at what comes with the quadcopter and the latest Yuneec Q500 4k price.
The Q500 4k Pro first came on the market back in Summer 2015. With it’s high specification and a number of firmware updates adding new features, the Typhoon Q500 4k is still ahead of many newer drones which have come on the market.
The Yuneec customer service is definitely well ahead of many if its competitors.
Yuneec began making remote control toys way back in 1999 from their Hong Kong factory. By 2003, they had international offices including Los Angeles, Hamburg and the UK. In 2010, Yuneec were awarded with the Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize (LEAP) prize.
In 2014, they brought their combined innovation, research and development to bring their first quadcopter to the market.
In 2015, the massive chip manufacturer Intel invested millions in Yuneec. They certainly are a manufacturer of the highest quality drones and you can see that in the Q500 4k specifications and features.
Since then, Yuneec have released a number of quadcopters which cover the commercial, professional and hobby sectors.
In 2016, they released the Typhoon H and Breeze.
Typhoon Q500 4K Review And FAQs
In brief, the Typhoon Q500 features a 4k camera, a 3 axis gimbal and the ST10 5.8 GHz controller giving long distance realtime digital video from the quadcopter back to the controller.
This drone combines a 2.4 GHz radio control transmitter with a 5.8 GHz digital video link along with a built-in Android touch screen, creating a UAV which is perfect for aerial photo and video capture.
The Q500 4k comes with everything you need to fly. All you need to do is unpack everything, charge the Q500 battery and ST10 ground station controller and you are ready to fly.
Yuneec Typhoon Q500 Drone Key Specs
Below we have all the information, features and specification on the Q500 4k quadcopter, the ST10 controller, CGO3 gimbal camera and the Steady Grip handheld. We have also some terrific 4k footage, camera settings, price information, what’s in the box and a Q500 4k review video.
What is the Yuneec Q500 Airframe Weight And Size
The Yuneec Q500 airframe weights is 3.8 lbs (1700 grams) and it’s dimensions are 16.5 x 16.5 x 8.3 inches (420 x 420 x 210 mm).
What Is The Typhoon Q500 Drone Flight Time
25 minutes of flight time and the versions with the aluminium carry case come with two batteries. So you will have 50 minutes of flying without having to buy another battery. The Q500 battery price is approximately USD 45.00.
What is the Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4k Range
The video transmission range in optimum conditions and according to the documentation – FCC Standard up to 2,624 feet (800 meters) and CE Standard up to 1312 feet (400 meters).
What Is The Yuneec Q500 Battery Type
The Q500 battery type is a 5400 mAh 3-Cell / 3S 11.1V LiPo
What Are the Typhoon Q500 4k Pro Flight Modes
The Typhoon Q500 4k Pro has 5 Flight Modes as follows:
Smart – When the Smart Mode is switched on, the Q500 4k will always move in the direction the right hand control stick is pushed relative to the pilot, no matter which way the front nose is pointed. In other words, if you push the stick to the left, then the Typhoon will always move to the left.
Angle Pilot – When the Angle mode is on, the Q500 will move in the direction the control stick is pushed relative to the front nose of the quadcopter. It is like you were actually flying from inside the Q500.
Follow Me – When Follow Me is enabled, the Typhoon Q500 4k is linked to the pilot who is holding and controlling the ST10 ground station controller. The Q500 quadcopter will then follow you.
Watch Me – When Watch Me is enabled, the Q500 4k camera stays pointed at the pilot holding the ST10 c, keeping them in focus and in frame, no matter which way the drone is maneuvered.
Return Home – Switch to Return Home Mode and the Typhoon Q500 4k will fly back towards the location of the pilot holding the ST10 ground station. It will automatically land within 13 to 26 feet (4 to 8 meters) of the pilot.
About The Yuneec ST10 Controller
The Yuneec ST10 controller with 5.5” LCD touchscreen for FPV is a remote control transmitter and receiver in one. It gives you full control over your Typhoon 4k drone while flying and lets you take photos and videos with ease. The 5.5 inch touchscreen display allows you to track live images from the Q500 camera. It is very easy to control the CGO3 gimbal and adjust the camera settings.
The Yuneec ST10 Ground Station displays real-time telemetry data during flight, including flight mode, altitude, speed over ground, distance from home, camera status, GPS position coordinates and aircraft battery status.
There are also controls to adjust video resolution and white balance. Light exposure can be controlled automatically or manually, including ISO and shutter speed. The buttons on the ST10 controller allow you to take photos and videos directly via the remote control. You can take photos, start, stop videos and adjust the camera angle.
Are There Yuneec ST10 Ground Station Firmware Updates Available
Click on this link for Q500 4k and ST10 Ground Station firmware updates.
Is There A Yuneec Q500 4k Manual
Yes. You can find the Yuneec Q500 4k manual and also the ST10 Ground Station manual on the same page as the above firmware updates.
Is It Easy To Find Yuneec Q500 Parts
Yes. It is easy. You can find many Yuneec Q500 4k parts on Amazon
Yuneec Typhoon Q500 ST10 Controller
The Q500 ST10 Ground Station is a remote control and receiver in one. It gives you full control over your Typhoon Q500 4K quadcopter and the CGO3 gimbal camera while flying. It has many setting to allow you to take photos and videos very easily.
The 5.5-inch touchscreen display allows you to track live images from the camera and adjust the camera settings among many other things.
The ST10 ground station shows realtime telemetry data on the screen during flight. The Q500 telemetry data includes flight mode, altitude, speed over ground, distance from home, camera status, GPS position coordinates and aircraft battery status.
There are also controls to adjust the Q500 camera settings such as video resolution, white balance, light exposure including ISO and shutter speed.
ST10 Controller Features And Controls
What Is The ST10 Controller Specifications
- Transmission range in optimum conditions – FCC Standard Up to 2,624 feet (800 meters) and CE Standard up to 1312 feet (400 meters).
- Number of channels: 10.
- Video link frequency band: 5.8 GHz.
- Battery: Built in Lipo 3.6v 5200 mAh 18.72 Wh.
- Screen Resolution: 854 x 480.
- Operating System: Android.
- LCD Screen: Capacitive Multi-touch 5.5 inch.
- Camera Settings: White balance, aperture, ISO, exposure time, video record resolution, FPS, record video, take photos.
Yuneec CGO3 Camera
The CGO3 camera has an integrated 3-axis gimbal allowing for super smooth aerial video in 4K / 30 FPS UHD or 1080p /120 FPS for slow motion.
You can also take stunning 12 megapixels aerial photos and store in DNG RAW or JPEG formats.
The Yuneec Typhoon CGO3 has a 115° field of view lens giving excellent image quality and no barrel fisheye distortion.
It has a digital video down-link so you can view and follow the live images from the camera via the ST10 ground station.
With the ST10 ground station, you can control the angle tilt of the camera to 90° downwards in a vertical direction.
What is The Yuneec CGO3 Camera Specifications
- CGO3 Lens: 14 mm f/2.8 without image curvature
- Field of View: 115°
- Range of Video Transmission: 1312 feet (400 meters)
- Photo Resolution: 12 megapixel
- White Balance: automatic or manual
- Sensor: 1/2.3″ CMOS
- Storage: Micro SD Class 10 (4 to 128 GB size)
CGO3 Video Resolution as follows:
- 4k at 30 FPS
- 2.7k at 30 FPS
- 2.5k at 30 FPS
- 1080p at 24/25/30/48/50/60/120 FPS
Yuneec CGO3 4k Camera Settings
Here is a nice video which show you the best CGO3 4k camera settings.
Typhoon Q500 4k Video Footage
Even better than reading about the Q500 camera settings is to see some real Q500 4k footage. Here is a beautiful Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4k footage of Slovenia. The picture quality and stability of the Q500 4k drone and CGO3 gimbal camera is superb.
This video really proves how great this Q500 4k quadcopter is. It’s a terrific video and very scenic. I’m not too sure about the music in the video but you can turn it down.
Here is another terrific video showing just how good the Typhoon Q500 4k quadcopter, gimbal and camera is. The location was the Alps and it an absolutely stunning video of the highest quality.
Yuneec Steady Grip CGO3 Handheld Camera Gimbal
The CGO3 camera can be detached from the drone and attached to the Steady Grip handheld gimbal. This ensures ground shots are as smooth as those taken from the air. The CGO3 mobile application allows Steady Grip users to capture images, shoot videos and control the CGO3 gimbal camera.
The latest free CGO4 app for Android and iOS devices is a Ground Control Station which allows you stream live images from the camera directly to your smartphone. The CGO4 app allows you to customize the photo and video settings. It has functions to control the exposure, adjust the sensitivity, white balance , shutter time and more.
There is also preset White Balance modes such as Sunny, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent, Sunset, Sunrise and Auto.
In the CGO3 settings you can configure the following;
- Video Resolution And Frames Per Second
- Photo Size – 4000 x 3000
- Metering – Spot, Center or Average
- Color Options – Nature, Gorgeous, Raw, Night
- Audio – On or off
- Histogram – On or off
- About – version number, which is v0.1.0.0062
For the CGO3 app to work on your cellphone, it must be connected to the CGO3 camera.
Yuneec Q500 4k Quadcopter Price And In The Box
The Typhoon Q500 4k price starts at around the USD 520 mark. However, there are many Typhoon Q500 4k bundle offers which will give you many additional parts, upgrades and accessories to go with the quadcopter.
When you purchase the Q500 4k Typhoon basic package, you will receive the below items;
- Q500 RTF air-frame with pre-installed CGO3
- ST10 transmitter and personal ground station
- LiPo Battery – 3S 11.1V 5400 mAh (x 2)
- Propellers/Rotor Blade (x 2 sets)
- USB interface/programmer
- 8 GB microSD card with adapter
- DC 3S 11.1V LiPo balancing charger
- AC to DC adapter/power supply (UK Lead)
- USB AC to DC Tx adapter/charger (UK Plug)
- USB to Micro USB cable
- 3S 11.1V LiPo balance connector & charge lead
- DC automobile accessory socket / cigarette lighter adapter
- ST10 LCD screen sun shade
- ST10 neck strap
- Motor holder / propeller installation tool
- Hard carry case
- ProAction SteadyGrip (included and boxed separately)
Yuneec Q500 4k Review
Now to finish off, here is a terrific Yuneec Q500 4k review video. The quadcopter has many more new features since this video as their have been a few Q500 4k firmware updates since.
Q500 yuneec 4k
.YUNEEC Q500 4K - AN HONEST PERFORMANCE REVIEW
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