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Let’s get this out of the way: if you’ve any interest in drones but have been put off by the price, buy the Syma X5C. The X5C flies remarkably well, handles smoothly and the drone is surprisingly well built. It’s not without its flaws however: the remote is poorly made, the battery life is pretty short and the camera is barely worth mentioning.

The Syma X5C can be purchased on Amazon for around $60, but at the end of this review we’ll be giving ours away! Although the Syma X5C is one of the cheapest quadrocopters with an HD camera, the Juyo Vonsan is $10 cheaper and has a resolution of 640 x 480, and the market is flooded with sub-$30 mini-drones without a camera. Syma also a cameraless X5 for around $40.

What’s in the Box

The Syma X5C comes with everything you need to start flying. In the box is the drone, two spare propellers, four propeller guards, the remote control, the drone’s battery, a charger, a screwdriver, a 2 GB micro SD card, an adaptor for connecting it to your computer, and the passably translated instruction manual.

Before starting you need to attach the prop guards and put four AA batteries in the remote.

The Build Quality

When I opened the box and removed the X5C I was shocked. The drone felt great.

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It’s extremely light but solidly built. Picking it up I was amazed at how well made it felt. Unlike many cheap products, nothing rattles or shakes when you hold it. The propellers spin freely and are perfectly balanced.

topside

Nothing about the drone screams “I cost less than fifty dollars!”

The same cannot be said about the remote. It’s light, rattles, and has fake buttons that do nothing. While the control sticks are, like the drone, surprisingly good, the overall package is mediocre. The control sticks provide about the right amount of resistance when you fly; you won’t accidentally push one too far but nor will you struggle to move one. The buttons and switches, on the other hand, are awful. It’s certainly not a deal breaker though.

The manual that comes with the drone isn’t bad at all. It’s clearly been translated into English but is still understandable. Puzzling out what everything on the remote does takes a little while — especially because some of the buttons do nothing — but it’s worth doing.

Flying the X5C

Once you’ve charged the battery and attached the propeller guards, the X5C is ready to fly. It’s small and stable so you can easily fly it indoors. Whatever you do, make sure the first place you fly it has a soft landing spot.

The X5C handles brilliantly. There’s none of the automated bells and whistles that are built into more expensive drones so you’re in full control all the time. Balancing the throttle so that the X5C hovers at roughly the same height rather than rocketing into the ceiling or plunging into the floor requires a bit of practice. You will crash the X5C at least a few times until you get the hang of the controls, but it’s built well enough to handle a few bumps.

The controls are also quite sensitive. Small tweaks to power or direction only need the lightest touch on the control sticks. Overcompensating is far more likely to lead to an out of control drone than undercompensating. Managing your own reactions and adjusting the controls carefully when the X5C is flying towards you is the second hardest thing to learn.

The hardest is that all the controls are relative to the drone. If the drone is facing towards you and you push forward on the control stick, it will fly towards you and not away. I found it best to always keep the X5C orientated so it was facing roughly away from me. This meant the controls behaved naturally.

inflight

The X5C flies better outdoors as long as there is no wind — and I mean no wind. The X5C is extremely light and anything above a slight breeze will quickly have it floating off in the direction of the nearest tree. Indoors, the propellers are powerful enough to create some turbulence underneath the drone that can knock it off course. However, this has the advantage of teaching you to respond quickly and carefully on the controls.

below

If the X5C isn’t flying stably, on the remote you can adjust the power balance to the propellers. This means you can correct any drift on the X-Z axis. I never had to.

The Camera

The X5C’s camera is fine and that’s really the highest praise I can offer. It’s got a 2MP camera that’s capable of 720p video as well. Neither the images nor the video look particularly good. If you’re interested in taking a video of the roof of your house or your kids playing football in the park then it will do. If you want to take amazing aerial photography Latest Drone Photography You Have To See To Believe Latest Drone Photography You Have To See To Believe Drone photography is an exciting new technology that allows anyone to take awesome aerial videos. This article runs down some of the best on the internet. Read More you’re going to need to invest a little more than $50.

camera

The battery lasts for about seven minutes. As it starts to die, the X5C will lose power and that’s your cue to land it before it takes on the aerodynamic properties of a rock. If you’re serious about flying it regularly, I’d recommend picking up two or three extra batteries. Changing them is easy.

Syma also offer an X5 that doesn’t come with the camera for a little less. If you’re just buying the drone to practice flying it before upgrading to something more expensive, I’d recommend you get that instead.

Why Buy the X5C

There are two main reasons to buy the Syma X5C: you interested in drone photography but want to learn on something cheaper than a DJI Phantom or you want a cool gadget to play around with occasionally. If either of these describes you, go and buy an X5C now.

The X5C is cheap — and sturdy — enough that you can fly it without any fear of breaking the bank if something goes wrong. In all likelihood, you won’t actually damage the drone even if you fly it into things, but if you somehow do you’re not out several hundred dollars. It is absolutely perfect for getting the feel for piloting quadcopters before investing in something bigger and better.

It’s also a pretty sweet gadget in its own right. If you know a child — or child-like-adult — who’s at all interested in planes, drones or cool gadgets, the X5C is a great present.

Wrapping Up

When reviewing tech products I always try to keep in mind “you get what you pay for”. Dismissing a $200 Chromebook because it can’t run Photoshop doesn’t help anyone. With the Syma X5C you don’t get what you pay for: you get far, far more.

Buy. Tremendous fun, great value, and perfect for anyone inexperienced with quadcopters.
Syma X5C 2.4G 6 Axis Gyro HD Camera RC Quadcopter with 2.0MP Camera Syma X5C 2.4G 6 Axis Gyro HD Camera RC Quadcopter with 2.0MP Camera Equipped with HD camera. Buy Now At Amazon $42.99

Syma X5C Drone Giveaway

The winner will be selected at random and informed via email. View the list of winners here.

Send your products to be reviewed. Contact James Bruce for further details.

  1. Al
    January 14, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    I flew mine a couple times and now the quadcopter doesn't even come on. Transmitter comes on but the copter lights doesn't.

    Can anyone give me some suggestions?

  2. Curt Hustad
    June 17, 2015 at 1:56 am

    I changed the blades and know it wont lift off the ground. Can anyone help please?

    • Mark Davis
      June 18, 2015 at 10:06 pm

      To allow for Yaw, the blades spin opposite ways to each other. If you have the blades in the wrong arrangement, they will push the quadcopter towards the ground instead of away from it. Check each blade is blowing air in the right direction.

  3. Brandon lee
    May 25, 2015 at 2:02 am

    When I turn on my drum the lights don’t blink any more they just stay on and it will not do anything at all what is happing

  4. Setare
    April 20, 2015 at 10:05 am

    The time is fly of X5c is very small .Just 7 minut is fly ? Just 7 .....

  5. Michael de vetter
    April 19, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Awsome (toy) must try this ...you only live once ;-)

  6. Hamza imran
    April 1, 2015 at 9:54 am

    I have wanted a drone of such type for so long, I want this so badly, I wish I win this giveaway

  7. David
    March 27, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    i WOULD LOVE THIS!

  8. Marion Weir
    February 25, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Well done winner :D

  9. Carol McCann
    February 21, 2015 at 4:27 am

    my husband almost drools when he is watching ti drones fly He wants one so bad

  10. Scott Thomas
    February 19, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Love it!

  11. Suleiman
    February 17, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Great review, if i get this, i will make a home made movie of objects running fast, filming them from top , front, back and parallel. Do I sound like cinematographer , look for me on the next Oscar awards :)

    Thanks Harry for introducing it to us. $50 is spent in a restaurant these days and quickly forgotten about it in few hours. But this drone will stay and impress.......and I hope the authorities will stay off my back lol

  12. Daniel Perez
    February 16, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Being an amateur this would be the perfect trainer both for flying and aerial photograhy.

  13. David
    February 16, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Great review, hope to win this thing and if not maybe go buy one.

  14. Edmond
    February 16, 2015 at 2:51 am

    Wow, luv ur review. Pick me, pick me! Your next winner!!! Show me the money!!! It would be a dream come true and means more to me than anyone else to win. Starving artist here desperately needs the Syma x5c to work and eat again. Winner, winnner. Chicken dinner. A life changing experience. Top of my bucket list. Thank you for the awesomeness, the contest, and generosity. Dear Santa: I’ve been nice. My X-Mas wish this year is to win this contest.

  15. Asad
    February 14, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    All Done!! Hope to win!! thanks guys for giving us chance to fun :D

  16. baldo
    February 14, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    liked and shared

  17. Louis M Castrello
    February 14, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    The Drone looks, pretty good and the camera makes it even more fun !!!

  18. Ankur Dubey
    February 14, 2015 at 5:21 am

    i also want one give this to me :)

  19. SH
    February 14, 2015 at 1:39 am

    Cool review! There are two models on Amazon: ASIN B00L811EIW and ASIN B00KI03U8Q. Any idea if these are different? Thanks!

  20. jan13
    February 13, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    Good topic

  21. Cheryl Larimer
    February 13, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Thanks for the review, looks like a great little copter. We are just starting to dabble in flying them and don't want to risk too much money flying them into our trees. We'll definitely check this one out.

  22. Jerry
    February 13, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    If you're looking for a similar product to compare, I'd highly recommend the Hubsan H107C. Its the same price, and in my opinion has a much sleeker body design. It has the same specs as this one, but the camera is integrated into the body, its crash guard goes all the way around it, and it has rubber feet that help absorb impact when landing on hard surfaces (reduces bounce). It also supports two modes, beginner and expert. It's probably the easiest sub-$100 quad to fly that I've come across.

    • James Bruce
      February 13, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      We've given Harry a Phantom DJI to play with next, but thanks for the suggestion - I suspect we'll revisit budget drones closer to the holidays.

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