Blade Inductrix FPV Review

Quick facts:

Battery: Removable 200 mAh, 3.7 volt
Flight time: 1-4 min (See review)
Charge time: 25 min

Transmitter rates: 2
Transmitter compatibility: DSM compatible transmitters

Competitors: Blade Inductrix, JJRC H36, Nihui NH010

Video review:

Transcript:

Seeing as the Inductrix – at least up until the recent attack of the clones – has been an essential component in every Tiny Whoop build, Blade has no doubt benefited from the craze. At the same time, the company certainly hasn’t fully capitalized on the opportunity either, leaving the door open for other actors swoop in and seize the market for spares and the other components. Furthermore, despite being the best positioned to take the next logical step, releasing something resembling an official, ready-to-fly Tiny Whoop, they’ve neglected to do so. That is until now.

So the the Inductrix FPV makes sense from Blade’s point of view, but does it make sense from a consumer point of view? If nothing else, the Inductrix FPV should appeal to the previously untapped group of people who are either intimidated or simply put off by whole build process. If you want to avoid reading up, sourcing parts, soldering etc., now you can just pick one of these up instead. No assembly required! Provided you’re starting from scratch anyway, the added cost versus just the corresponding Tiny Whoop parts is at least not a complete rip-off.

Of course, this all assumes the Inductrix FPV is as good as the Tiny Whoop in all other regards. Is this the case? Could the Inductrix FPV even offer some advantages over the Tiny Whoop? Let’s find out!

True to the modification that inspired it, the Inductrix FPV – overall – feels more like an evolution of the original than something entirely new, designed from the ground up: Both frame and propellers looks to be exactly the same as on the original and while the motors have apparently been upgraded to cope with the weight of the added components, they still use the same plug-in system to connect to the board.

Staying close to the original is a double-edged sword: On one hand it means existing parts and accessories carries over, on the other that the flaws of the original does so as well, most notably the fragile motor supports and mediocre lights (though these admittedly become much less of a concern on an FPV craft).

Yes, the Inductrix FPV comes fully FPV enabled thanks to a pre-installed camera and video transmitter combo. It has an output power of 25 mW (standard for this size class) and supports several channels (including raceband) accessible via this button, though – probably as a cost or space saving measure – uses a dipole antenna instead of the cloverleaf variety otherwise generally favored in 5.8 Ghz FPV.

Also worth mentioning is the nice looking canopy protecting the entire FPV setup from becoming damaged or dislodged, a scenario familiar to many Tiny Whoop owners (though – yes – there are now 3D printed protectors addressing just that).

To compensate for the added power consumption of the camera, video transmitter and more powerful motors, the Inductrix FPV comes with a bigger capacity and higher discharge rated battery. 200 mAh is not enough to deliver the full 6 minute flight time of the unmodified original, but – if Blade’s advertising is to be believed – still a respectable 4 minutes (more on this in the flight test).

The Inductrix FPV uses the DSM family of protocols, same as – not only the original Inductrix – but most (if not all) Blade multirotors. I’m reviewing the “Bind-N-Fly” version which doesn’t include a transmitter, but understand that the “Ready-To-Fly” kit contains the same MLP4DSM transmitter as the original. Not fancy, but big enough to hold comfortably, with good resolution and sticks that accommodate pinch as well as thumb flyers. A clear cut above your average toy grade transmitter!

The “Bind-N-Fly” version of the Inductrix FPV comes with quadcopter, battery, USB charger and a stack of multilingual instructions and legal inserts in a tiny box that also works very well re-purposed as a carrying case. I don’t know why, seeing as they must cost them next to nothing, but Blade seems insistent on not including spare propellers. Then of course you could argue they shouldn’t break or come off as easily thanks to the ducted design.

The “Ready-To-Fly” version – which I don’t have – supposedly also includes the already mentioned transmitter, a basic 4.3 inch FPV monitor with built-in video receiver and battery as well as a mount for securing one to the other. The FPV monitor does tie things up to a nice all-in-one package, but – as I’ve already said in a previous video – I strongly recommend flying FPV using a pair of goggles or glasses. This is offered, but only via an optional “headset conversion adapter”.

In terms of flight not much has changed with the Inductrix FPV versus the original, which may sound disappointing but is actually a great compliment: With its seemingly impossible combination of stability, precision and agility, the Inductrix is still one of the better handling crafts on my list and now that goes for the Inductrix FPV as well.

Like the original, the Inductrix FPV sports two rates and a so-called “acro” or “rate” mode, which is difficult to explain in a single sentence but is basically a less restricted, less assisted mode of flying. Unlike most toy grade multirotors, there are no automatic flips, though manual flips along with many other tricks should be possible via said acro mode with – more than a little bit – of practice.

The more basic video transmitter antenna does not seem to significantly affect range, which instead seems perfectly fine both in terms of FPV and transmitter. Video quality checks out as well, with the only immediately noticeable difference versus the FX 797T I have mounted on my Tiny Whoop being higher contrast.

There is one nasty surprise though and it concerns the same Achilles heel that seems to be the main thing holding all micro FPV multirotors back for the moment: flight times. For the Inductrix FPV, Blade is claiming 4 minutes which may not sound like much, but for this category of crafts is actually not bad.

As you might’ve figured though, the Inductrix FPV in my experience does not deliver on this claim. In the beginning I was getting 2½-3 minutes out of mine, but after only 10-15 flights this has dropped closer to 2 minutes, half of the advertised flight time. Looking online this seems to be a general problem, with a majority of owners reporting similar results.

At the time of this review, the consensus seems to be that the cause is either cheap connectors and wiring or related to the Low Voltage Cut-off warning. I’m happy to see that Blade included a LVC system, but it seems unreliable sometimes triggering only halfway into the flight. Check the RCGroups forum thread for the latest theories and proposed workarounds regarding the flight time issue.

In conclusions the Inductrix FPV in most respects works neither better nor worse than the Tiny Whoop, but what it adds in convenience it lacks in acceptable, reliable flight times. Of course, this could very well be addressed in future revisions. Even now not all owners report being affected by it, but a big enough majority for me to recommend holding off on the model until a fix is in place.

On paper the Inductrix FPV is such no-brainer. With its non-existent assembly process, attractive Ready-To-Fly and Bind-N-Fly kits and reasonable price point it has the potential, both to become a real hit and to make micro indoor FPV more accessible than ever. It’s just unfortunate that it, despite doing so many things so well, trips on the finishing line with the flight times.

Summary, Blade Inductrix FPV

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