XK X380 GPS Quadcopter
I received some useful critics on the RC Groups forum regarding my previous quadcopter review and thanks for this. I kindly ask all my readers, in case they find incorrect facts or just some mistyped words in my XK X380 review or in any of my articles to notice me. I never claimed that I’m a professional writer or a quadcopter specialist but I’m trying to do my best to help others to find out about the latest quadcopter models.
My goal through the product reviews that I do is to provide as many useful details as I can, not necessarily to convince my readers to buy them. I’m always trying to make my reviews as honest as possible and to share not just the positive but also the negative facts regarding the products. Taken into consideration the bad experiences of others with this X380 quadcopter I was very skeptical regarding the final conclusions of my review.
Before my first flights with a new toy, especially with a complex GPS one, I read many blog posts and forum threads about the drone. I know it’s a bit time consuming, but I always find some useful recommendations. Real user experiences are the best way to find more about a product beyond the manufacturer’s “dry” specs. Also, it is cheaper to learn from other’s mistakes then from your own. For example, many owners reversely connected the Gimbal to the X380 and they burned out the receiver board.
The XK DETECT X380 family has 4 models, the only difference being the video equipment:
- X380 – basic setup, no gimbal or camera;
- X380-A 1080P – HD Sports camera with built-in 1 axis gimbal;
- X380-B 1080P – Mobius alike camera;
- X380-C HD – GoPro alike camera with 2 axis brushless gimbal.
Already having some compatible action cameras and a cheap 2D Gimbal I decided to order from GearBest the standard model. I was very disappointed when after 4 days of posting, the parcel was returned back to China because some “security issues”. After GB resend it to me I receive it in 2 weeks. I had luck with a friendly customs officer and I didn’t pay any extra charges. He asked only what’s inside the box, I said a “quadcopter“, he asked again “a kind of drone” I smiled and said Yes. After only 40 minutes of picking up my package, I had the X380 finally in my hand to review it. (it takes 30 minutes the way from the postal office to home).
XK X380 review – First impression
Both, aircraft’s and transmitter’s build quality is surprisingly good, no cheap material as I expected. Everything in the box was well arranged to prevent any damages during the overseas shipment.
Besides the X380 quad and its remote controller the package contains the followings:
- X380 user manual;
- 5400mAh 3cell 11.1V LI-Po battery (20C);
- Balance Li-Po charger (suitable for 2s and 3s batteries);
- 220V to 12V 2A power adapter;
- USB data cable for firmware upgrade and interfacing with ground station;
- Camera mount with dumping balls;
- 1set of propellers (2pcs CW and 2pcs CCW);
- Tools for installation of the propellers.
The aircraft comes with pre installed landing legs but, in order to make my first fly, I had to install the propellers by myself. Both the blades and the arms of the drones are marked with the correct order of the propeller installation. Just a quick note: the white color props are for the front and red ones for the back.
A big multicolor LED light in the rear of the quadcopter marks the status of the flight controller. In the X380’s user manual (page 6) there is a table that explains the meaning of all the possible color combination (sequences). I recommend to consult this table before and during every flight.
In the front part of the airframe there are two bright LEDs that look just like a vintage motorcycle’s headlights. The battery is loaded from the front, not from the back like as in other multi-rotors that I have. Compared to the WLTyos V303, this model has a bigger battery compartment to accept the high capacity 54000mAh Li-Po.
On the belly of the aircraft there are 4 screw holes that serve to secure the camera mount or brushless gimbal to the aircraft.
There are 3 connectors on the bottom of the Quad that allow features extensions:
- micro USB connector for firmware upgrade and interfacing with ground station;
- 12v power port (JST), that allows to power up gimbals or any other extension modules like FPV transmitters;
- 3 wire Gimbal connector, GND, +5V and control signal.
Unfortunately, there are no pin-out marks on the connectors and it is very easy to accidentally reverse the gimbal wires. Unfortunately, this ends usually with bricking the X380’s mainboard.
XK X380 review – Transmitter
The 6 channel remote controller is quite large and has a pretty professional look. By long pressing the “stick mode” button, the transmitter can be switched between mode1 and mode2 control modes. The “Take OFF” beginners oriented button allows to easily take off and land the aircraft. To switch between regular and headless flight mode can be made by a 2-way switch that is located on the top-left side of the RC. The “Return to home” function can be activated with the second 2-way switch, which is on the top-right side.
A radial dial button located on the right side near the LCD screen allows to fine tune the gimbal’s position. Regardless the fact that a 2D or 3D gimbal is installed, only one axis can be controlled through the remote controller.
XK X380 review – First flight
After I fully charged the X380’s battery and loaded 6pcs of AA batteries in to the transmitter I went out to test this bird.
In order to make the first flight I proceed with the magnetic sensor calibration. This is an essential step to prevent flyaway and crash-lands. I know, these circle movements with the aircraft in your hand can be confused with some voodoo dancing by the ones that are not from the business :).
After I finished with the calibration I preceded with installation of the propellers which can be done easily and takes only 2 minutes.
When everything was set up, I placed the X380 Detect quadcopter on a flat ground with flying indicator (status LED) pointing to me, switched ON the transmitter and I plugged in the battery’s connector. In just a minutes the red and yellow flashing of the status indicator was turned on green flashing. The two green and one blank sequences mean the Quad is ready for safe flying and it has GPS signal from more than 6 satellites. The aircraft can be armed in two ways, both sticks down to outer position or by long pressing (least 2secs) the “take off” button.
My maiden flight was smooth and lasted around 27 minutes with 3 take off/lands. I tried only basic flight movements without testing the max altitude, headless mode or the one key return to home function (RTH). When the green status light is changing into fast red flashing it is recommended to land a.s.a.p..
XK X380 review – Conclusion
The XK DETECT X380 is a beginner and aerial filming oriented quadcotper with extremely good control range and flight time. Lack of the full manual mode (without GPS) was a bit disappointing for me because it can’t be flown inside zones with pour GPS coverage. Nevertheless, for half price of the DJI Phantom 3 Standard, it can be considered a good deal for those who don’t want or can’t invest $700 in this hobby. Something that you should take into consideration in case you are thinking of purchasing this quad is that, from my estimation, a full FPV upgrade for the XK DETECT X380 can rise up to $250.
What I liked
- Stable flyer with good wind resistance;
- Excellent control range;
- Impressive play time, 25-30 minutes without accessories and 15-20 minutes with gimbal and camera;
- Precise altitude holding;
- Two level low battery warning;
- 10 inch prop compatible;
- micro USB port for firmware upgrade.
What I didn’t liked
- Bad experiences of others with this Quad;
- Only GPS mode, can be flown in large indoor spaces;
- No pinot marks on the gimbal connector;
- Can control only one axis of the Gimbal;
- Circle hovering only by firmware upgrade;
- NO telemetry, the aircrafts battery can’t be monitored remotely.
XK X380 quadcopter upgrades and hacks
You know, nothing is perfect out of the box and we can always add some nice new features to our toys. Bellow you can find a list with some of my plans for the X380 Quad:
- Uploading the latest firmware with circle hovering;
- Adding Li-Po battery to the transmitter;
- Installing 2G brushless gimbal and HD camera;
- Adding 5.8GHz FPV system (600mW TX and 7″ LCD).
In case someone lost the XK Detect X380’s user manual, it can be downloaded from here:
Just returned from the field after my second flight with the X380 Quad and I was impressed how stable was even in moderate wind. Due to this fact I could call it “The Wind Fighter” because it maintained easily its position like a model for a photo shooting.