RadioMaster Zorro review – Conquer the Sky!

RadioMaster Zorro

From my point of view, the selling point of the RadioMaster Zorro transmitter is its big screen. When you are over 40 years old, you are losing the focusing ability for near vision and due to that, the lens inside your eye becomes less flexible. My actual radio controller has a small LCD that makes the configuration part quite complicated as the menus are hardly visible.

In a nutshell, a radio control system consists of 2 components, the transmitter you hold in your hands along the receiver you place within your drone. These two parts need to talk the same ‘language’. While in the past you had one radio for each protocol, now there are universal multi-protocol transmitters that can cover your whole fleet. In addition to the three built-in radio options, the RadioMaster Zorro has a Nano expansion bay for external TX modules. Furthermore, the Zorro is compatible with both popular RC operating systems, the EdgeTX and OpenTX.

RadioMaster Zorro features

  • Cool game-controller style design with big status screen;
  • Three built-in TX module options (CC2500, 4in1, or ELRS);
  • 16 configurable independent channels;
  • ELRS / TBS Nano Crossfire compatible Nano bay;
  • OpenTX and EdgeTX opensource R/C radio OS-compatible;
  • Adjustable Hall Gimbals (without disassembly);
  • Audio out and DSC port;
  • 18350 internal battery + external 2S power source support;
  • Foldable antenna;
  • DIY attachment point for future upgrades.

Radio Master Zorro hands-on review

Disclosure: I received this drone transmitter from RadioMaster in order to test it and do an in-depth review. Although the RC was offered for free, all opinions in this article remain my own, with no influence from my partner.

Unboxing

From the five versions available, I opted for the ELRS edition. Besides the transmitter, the box included the following accessories: LCD screen protector, USB Type-C data cable, XT30 to 3Pin JST power cable, battery cable protector, and two battery velcros. The review kit should have also included two ELRS EP2 Nano receivers, but mine arrived without them. Due to some EU regulations, they could not provide batteries in the box.

The printed manual has only a few pages. If you need more details, the digital version provides a lot more info.

At a glance

The RadioMaster Zorro looks extremely good. It is fully black with some silver design elements. The gamepad-style controller measures 174x86x157.5mm and weighs about 360 grams without batteries. On the center of the RC are the load speaker, trim switches, and neck strap hook. The NANO TX extension bay comes with a cover that protects the connection pins. The antislip finish on the handlers provides a good grip but acts as a dust magnet.

Grip with anti slip finish

Above the 2.6″ monochrome LCD is a foldable antenna. It has six DIY attachments points for future accessories such as FPV screens or Antenna reflectors. Each gimbal has spring adjustment screws (two on each side). They allow toggling between mode 1 (throttle on right) and mode 2 (throttle on left) without taking it apart, quite a handy feature.

Folding antenna

On the top, behind a protective flap, there is a micro SD slot (loaded with a 256MB card), USB Type-C port (for FPV simulators), 3.5mm DSC port, and 3.5mm headphone jack. On the opposite side, at the bottom also behind a flap, there is a 2S battery plug and a second USB Type-C port for charging.

LCD screen

Out of the box, the RM Zorro comes with EdgeTX v2.6.0 (codename “Santa”), which is the first release that includes human-readable settings format (YAML) and a new improved themes file and folder structure.

Controls (Buttons and switches))

Switches and Buttons

While the RadioMaster Zorro is intended to be a budget entry-level radio, dedicated to the younger generation pilots who are used to game consoles, it has a traditional stick/controller layout that normally is available on larger full-size transmitters. It has tons of buttons/switches on the front panel as well on the top. It has two dials (one on each side), but they don’t have a mechanical center.

  • 2x 3-position switches
  • 2x 2-position switches
  • 2x sliders (dials)
  • 4x momentary switches (two on back and two on top)

 RadioMaster Zorro: Power options

The RadioMaster Zorro can be powered by two pieces of 18350 type batteries loaded into the transmitter or via an external 2S LIPO pack. The built-in charging circuit can charge only the internal batteries. The external battery can be connected directly to the Zorro RC via the 2S balance port or using the 2S to XT30 cable. There is included a plastic cover that secures the power cable from accidental removing during usage. With the included straps you can secure the LIPO pack to 4 attachment rings at the bottom of the transmitter.

Power options

Personally, I test it using two UltraFire 18350 3.7V 1200mAh cells which provided about 2 hours of working time. Theoretically, the transmitter could be also powered from an external power bank via the USB Type-C charging port.

Price options at RadioMaster.com

Price, availability, and options

The Zorro controller is available with 3 types of built-in radio modules. If you are new in the field I would recommend getting the CC2500 version for only $79.99, because it is compatible with FrSky receivers (D8 and D16) that are commonly used in BNF FPV drones. For extra 20 bucks, the 4in1 radio version also supports FrSky plus many other toy drone protocols such as WLtoys, Hubsan, and Hisky. The ExpressLRS enabled Zorro shown in this review is priced at $99.99. RadioMaster also offers an ELRS starter set with two included EP2 Nano receivers for $139.99. The CC2500 TBS Nano Crossfire combo kit will cost you $149. A pair of compatible 900mah 3.7v Li-ion 18350 batteries are priced for $8.99.

RadioMaster Zorro: User experience

Initially, I thought that is a good idea to have a native ELRS radio receiver, but what I found out when starting to use it, is that it’s quite limiting, especially since half of my drone fleet still uses FrSky. I also have a couple of FlySky drones too. For me, the 4 in 1 option would have been a much wiser choice.

RadioMaster Zorro test with BetaFPV Meteor65 ELRS

Firstly, I tried to pair the Zorro with the little SPI ELRS-enabled BetaFPV Meteor65 drone. I tried all possible settings but unfortunately without success. I’m still trying to figure out why the binding process fails every time. Using an external ExpressLRS TX module I managed to pair it in just 2 minutes.

RadioMaster Zorro with Nano TX ELRS

With the stock firmware, the internal ELRS power was fixed to 100mW, without letting me select other values. After I updated the firmware, I managed to toggle between 10, 25, 50, 100, and 250mW.

The ELRS firmware can be upgraded using the ExpressLRS configurator either via the USB port or wirelessly through a WIFI connection. Remember that after the update you will need also to update the LUA script (accessible under the Tools menu) by copping it into the SD card. Even the latest APP version (v1.3.8) does not include an official release for RadioMaster devices. You need to select ‘GIT Branch’ than ‘Master’ to have access to RadioMaster Zorro 2400 TX firmware.

ExpressLRS Configurator

When is connected via USB to your computer, you can opt for a USB Joystick / Game controller (HID), USB storage (SD), or USB serial (Firmware upgrade / Debug).

I liked the sound scheme, it is more clear and more natural than any of my OpenTX controllers. From the ‘special functions’ tab (10/12) you can customize and assign voice confirmations. The 128×64 LCD screen has a backlight that provides a crisp, bright image even in sunny conditions. It uses hall-effect gimbals that are smoother and last longer than cheaper potentiometer gimbals. The big metal roller provides precise control and easy navigation through the menus. All the controls (buttons and switches) are labeled but not with a contrasting color.

  • Price/value ratio
  • Design and build quality
  • Ergonomy
  • Features
  • Controls (Buttons/Switches/Sliders)
4.2

Summary

The Zorro is a fully-featured radio transmitter with a cool ergonomic design. RadioMaster did a great job to fulfill the needs of the most demanding FPV pilots. Besides the plethora of switches, it comes with a DIY attachment point for future upgrades such as an FPV monitor.

Pros

  • Huge status display;
  • Tons of switches and configurable buttons;
  • Multiple built-in radio options;
  • Ergonomic gamepad style design;
  • Dual-power possibility (internal 2 x 18350 or external 2s LIPO).

Cons

  • Didn’t managed to use the internal ELRS (yet)
Sending
User Review
3.8 (5 votes)

Radio Master Zorro line-up comparisson

Versions CC2500 4in1 ELRS  ELRS Starter Set CC2500 + TBS Nano Crossfire Combo  
 
Physical Dimensions

170*159*108mm

Weight

350 grams

Operating Frequency

2.400GHz-2.480GHz

Internal RF Options CC2500 multi-protocol 4-in-1 multi-protocol ELRS CC2500 multi-protocol  
Supported Protocols Module dependent Module dependent ELRS Module dependent
RF Power CC2500: 20dBm max. 4-in-1: 20dBm max.  Up to 250mw ( CE & FCC Versions will be available) CC2500: 20dBm max.
Antenna Gain

Folding 2db

Operational Current

160mA@8.4V

Operational Voltage

6.6-8.4v DC

Control Distance > 2km @ 20dbm > 2km @ 20dbm Receiver and Power Output dependant > 2km @ 20dbm
Operating system

OpenTX / EdgeTX Compatible

Control channels

Maximum 16 (Rx dependent)

Display 

128*64 Monochrome LCD

Battery

2 x 18350 (Not included)

Charging

Built in USB-C Charging

Gimbal

Hall-effect

Module Bay

Nano Size (Compatible with TBS Nano Crossfire / Nano Tracer / IRC Ghost)

Firmware Upgrade Method

Via USB or SD card 

Price $79.99 $99.99 $99.99 $139.99 $149.99

RadioMaster Zorro vs Jumper T-Lite

Radio Master Zorro alternatives

Jumper T-Pro and iFlight Commando 8 are two of the biggest rivals of the RadioMaster Zorro. All three feature a cool gamepad-style design, multiple built-in radio options, and a Nano extension bay. At the same time, all are available with an integrated ELRS radio module, if you prefer this new protocol.

7 Comments

  1. Anonymous June 30, 2022
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