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Cheerson CX-10W Nano FPV Drone Review

Drones are great! As a racer I have been playing with FPV racing drones this year and I hope to cover this area of racing in more depth s...


Drones are great! As a racer I have been playing with FPV racing drones this year and I hope to cover this area of racing in more depth soon. One barrier of entry is that it can cost around £300 to experience the thrill of hardcore FPV racing. So you can imagine how excited I was to discover the Cheerson CX-10W.


The Cheerson CX-10W is a nano-sized quad. It has a diminutive 62x62mm span with a 20mm height and can fit in the palm of your hand easily. Don't be fooled by the size however as the quad is a full 4 channel flying machine that has a 6 axis gyro for stable flight alongside the ability to loop.


FPV (First person view) camera functionality. 
This is the big innovation for the CX-10W. It has a 0.3MP front facing camera and the view is streamed directly back to your smartphone. (For the review I used an Apple iPhone). FPV gives you the perspective that you are actually in the quad. So you can actually look at the screen and fly around your house as if you were inside piloting the drone, Sounds cool right? So let's take a closer look!

Whats in the box?

The CX-10 comes in a very small box as it doesn't contain a controller. You need to use your smartphone to control the drone by downloading the software:


In the box you get the following:
  • The Cheerson CX-10W Drone
  • A Spare set of propellers
  • Instruction manual
  • USB charger

Getting started

The first thing you need to do is to install the software for your device. I tried the drone on an Apple iPhone and also on an Android phone and the software was reliable on both. 

Charging the CX-10W is easy as it uses a standard USB charge cable that you plug into a 5v charger or your home computer or phone charger wall plug.
Charging takes around 25 mins
The charger lights up red when the quad is charging, it take around 20-25 mins before the light switches off to let you know that the 3.7V 150 mah lipo battery is full. 
A tiny switch is located above the charge port
With the device fully charged you need to locate the tiny switch an turn on the quad. 

The CX-10W will now start flashing its lights as it is waiting to bind to your smartphone. 
You just need to find the CX-10W wifi spot
This is painless as you need to find the quad's unique name amongst your local WIFI spots and then simply select it without any passwords. Once it binds you are able to command this bird to take to the skies!

Now you need to boot up the software on your phone.

(NOTE- You should always bind the quad to your phone before running the software, you can do it with the app running but this can at times make the quad be erratic, as sometimes the controls are not centred so the quad will fly off in a crazy direction. So always bind, and then load the App on your phone to reduce any issues)

When you load the App you have the following options.

From the main menu you  have 3 main options. From left to right they are:

  • Basic instructions, 
  • Change some settings including switching to Mode 1
  • Flying the CX-10W


On the play screen you have a range of buttons options these are:
  1. Virtual stick 1 - Thrust and yaw (Rotate)
  2. Virtual stick 2 - Pitch/Roll Forwards / backwards and Pitch/Roll left /right
  3. Yaw Trim
  4. Roll FR Trim
  5. Roll LR
  6. Take picture
  7. Take video
  8. View photos and videos
  9. Drone speed (30,60 or 100%)
  10. Gyro mode (This allows you to steer the drone using the phones internal gyro, and one hand on the throttle stick).
  11. Show/Hide the UI
  12. Flip the screen
  13. Recalibrate the gyro 
  14. VR mode (for VR viewers)

Flying the quad

The quad uses Mode 2 controls by default although you can swap to mode 1 in the options. The virtual sticks are familiar to anyone that has played more involved games on a mobile phone, such as the fantastic Geometry Wars Dimensions.

I had the CX-10W set on the default 30% speed as it was just a test flight, and the little drone smoothly raised into the air and I was able to hover it around and move it around my study easily. I was actually really impressed how stable this little craft felt in flight. I was incredibly smooth and I quickly felt comfortable with controlling it at this speed with the virtual sticks.


Flying FPV

Whilst you cannot exactly replicate FPV flight with this set-up, you can look at the screen and fly the quad. One thing that I was keen to see is how quick the video updates. For any FPV based system any delay can cause issues, as you are not able to instantly see how your flight impact is changing the direction of the drone. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the actual display was updating very quickly with only a very small amount of lag. Perfectly acceptable for a gentle fly around the house or in the garden (As long as there is no wind).
This is a gif, the actual video output is around 30 fps.
Anyway, so with the battery recharged I decided to fly the quad by looking at the screen only.

It is quite overwhelming at first, as I am still more used to looking at the RC vehicle that I am piloting.  However with a little practice and getting in the zone thinking that I was playing a videogame it all started to 'click' and I was able to really get into the swing of things. I did keep it at the slower 30% setting for some time. Although I started to get a bit braver and switched it to 100% and the extra speed provided an amazing rush as I manoeuvred around  my lounge dodging the Christmas tree and scaring the dog.

Full FPV

You can actually replicate a closer FPV experience, although I have not tried this. According to some message boards The CX-10W is able to be binded to other Cheerson controllers for their standard CX-10 drones. You can then still connect via the app and see the video screen and pop the set in a cheap VR headset (Google cardboard or similar). I do not have a controller to try this, but I will aim to try it in the future.

Overall

I've had great fun playing with this little drone for the last few days. It has proven itself to be quite tough as I have managed to hit quite a few objects and performed some dramatic landings. However as long as you switch off the throttle to stop the blades spinning when you sense impending doom you should be able to save the propeller blades.

There are a few things that were not perfect. Virtual sticks will never give you the same instinctive feel as a real pair of sticks under your thumbs. Binding the CX-10W to your phone Wifi sometimes needs to be done by going back into your phone settings as it will not pair with it if you are still on your home network (Although I cant see how they can solve this easily).

Overall though the Cheerson CX-10W is a revolutionary nano quad that proves a cheap way to experience some of the buzz of FPV flight for a fraction of the price.

This is a seriously fun piece of kit!

You can buy the CX-10W in Silver (Here)
You can buy the CX-10W in Gold (Here)
You can buy the CX-10W in Rose (Here)




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