Quadcopters may be getting smaller and more affordable than ever, but few can say they are perfect. At first look, Eachine E31HW is a simple, easy-to-fly drone that is capable to take photos and videos. Hopefully, at the end of my review, the list of Pros will be longer than the one of the Cons.
Eachine announced the E31 series in 3 variants. The main difference between them is the video equipment:
- E31 – No camera;
- E31HC – 2MP camera (NO FPV);
- E31HW – WiFi 0.3Mp camera.
All versions share the same design and flight characteristics. Featuring WiFi real-time image transmission, the Eachine E31HW is the “flagship” model of the series.
Eachine E31HW quadcopter review
Disclosure: I received this Eachine E31HW quadcopter as part of a product review collaboration with Banggood. Although the product was offered for free, all opinions in this article remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the partner.
As usual, DHL requested tons of papers and the delivery took longer than 3 weeks. The package also looks like it was trampled by purpose 🙁
Inside the box, I found beside the drone and its transmitter a complete set of spare propellers (2xCW and 2xCCW, all green), 1 set of blade protectors, 1 set of landing gears, phone holder clip, flight battery, USB charger, screwdriver, pack of screws and user manual (Chinese, English, and German).
Eachine E31HW drone highlights
- Wi-Fi real-time image transmission (FPV);
- 6-axis gyro stabilization;
- Altitude hole (auto-hover);
- One Key Take off/Land;
- Headless flight mode;
- One key return to home (predictive);
- Multiple control modes (RC and APP);
- Low and High-speed rates;
- About 6 minutes of playtime.
As you see in the image below, the design of the E31HW follows one of its older brother (you can read my E33W review here). They have also about the same price tag.
It comes ready to fly with attached propellers. Landing gears and propellers are optional. The camera is integrated and it has enough ground clearance without landing gears.
In order to allow better visibility on the orientation of the aircraft, the Eachine E31HW has red LEDs in front and green ones in the back.
Both transmitter and aircraft are colored black and green.
The 400mAh battery is loaded from the tail of the aircraft. The tail is also where the power switch is located.
Remote controller / Transmitter
The Xbox style remote controller is powered by 3 pieces of AA batteries.
In order to attach your smartphone to the top of the transmitter, you need to install the included phone holder clip.
Additional to the usual control sticks and power buttons you can find other 10 buttons on the front panel. No status LCD nor function labels.
By default, RC comes with a “mode 2″ layout – the left stick (throttle) controls the altitude and the way the aircraft points, while the right stick controls speed and direction.
While the left shoulder button activates the automatic Take off / Land feature, the right one enables the 3D rolling mode (360-degree flips).
Emergency stop (all motors halt) can be activated by long-pressing (3 sec) the left solder button. If you ever need this feature, 3 seconds can be an eternity…
Switching between speed rates can be done using the Left-Up, respectively the Left-Down arrow keys.
The aircraft can be also controlled through the “JAD-UFO” APP. Kids will love to pilot using the smartphone’s gyro-sensor.
Camera and WiFi FPV
The 0.3MP WiFi camera is integrated and does not allow any angle adjustment.
Under the belly of the aircraft, there is a fake SD card slot. Theoretically, photos and videos should be saved on the smartphone’s memory. I said theoretically because I found only photos under the “Drone” folder, I double-checked all the rest of the folders but no sign of any recorded video 🙁
Photos are captured with 720×576 pixels (24 bit jpeg).
FPV is nice but due to the low frame rate and noticeable latency is safe only combined with LoS flights.
Eachine E31HW test flight, control range, and playtime
Being very small, I test it first indoors. Pressing the “Take-off” button the aircraft begins to rise to about two meters. WTF, the usual take-off altitude is about 1 meter, it almost hit the chandelier. I pressed immediately the stop button and the quad crashed.
Next, try the same, climbed 2 meters then started to lose altitude till almost landed. Not good. It is possible that something happened due to the “careful” handling by those from the courier or this is a general issue of this model ??!!
Skipping over the takeoff part, I was impressed by how fast and agile is this little bird. No acro-mode, but it’s still fun to play with it.
The stock WiFi camera being mainly useless, I’m thinking to replace it with a 5.8G FPV one (the Eachine TX01S seems perfect for the job).
Just forgot to mention that the control range is about 60 meters and I got an average of 6 minutes of flight time with a fully charged battery.
Should I buy it?
I played last two days with this E31HW quad. It has decent flight time and sporty flight performance but the altitude-hold does not work like it should. Video recording also didn’t work.
It seams to take well small crashes, propellers are saved by the blade guards.
User Review( votes)
After all the above you are still interested to try it, the E31HW can be purchased from here ($36.99 including free shipping). There you can find also the basic edition (E31 without camera) that costs only $23.99.
What I liked
- Included propeller protectors;
- Power switch;
- Decent flight time;
- Sporty, Fast & Fun.
What I didn’t like
- Buttons on RC are not labeled;
- Videos are not saved (or I didn’t find them);
- Alt-hold not working well.