Cheerson CX-10C Review

Quick facts:

Battery: Built-in 120 mAh, 3.7 volt
Flight time: 2.5-3 mins (depending if camera is used)
Charge time: 15-20 mins

Transmitter rates: 3 (fixed yaw rate)
Transmitter compatibility: CX-10, CX-10A?
Headless mode: No

Competitors: HT F803 (available), YiZhan i6s, JJRC H20C, GW009C (upcoming)

FAQ:

Is there a way I can see what is being recorded live?

No. This is called FPV (First Person View) and the Cheerson CX-10C doesn’t support it since it does not transfer anything back from the aircraft to the transmitter.

Is it possible to fly several CX-10C at the same time?

Yes, as long as you bind them separately this should be no problem!

Is there a mode 1 (right hand throttle) version?

At the moment, no (though I incorrectly imply that this is the case in the video review).

Video review:

Transcript:

The Cheerson CX-10 nano quadcopter hit the market in the summer of 2014, a little over a year ago. At the time of release, it was the world’s smallest quadcopter. This combined with the fact that it was pretty reasonable in all other regards (like flight characteristics, price and durability) made it wildly popular and – soon – one of the staples of the toy multirotor market.

Six months later Cheerson tried to repeat their success with the CX-10A. The same product in all respects but with added “headless mode”, a function which tries to keep track of the orientation of the aircraft so the person controlling it doesn’t have to. Despite with this addition being easier to fly than ever, the CX-10A wasn’t met with the same overwhelming demand, possibly because the update felt too insignificant to warrant another purchase for most people.

Another half year have passed and now Cheerson releases a third variation: The CX-10C. Again, the same product in all respects but one, but this time – in a nano quadcopter first – it’s a built-in camera. This more significant update should warrant a look even from initiated enthusiasts already owning the original CX-10 or CX-10A. Whether you’re one of these people or new to the hobby though, there are likely two main questions of interest to you: How does it compare to the original CX-10 and what’s the camera like? In this video, I’ll try to answer these questions.
Welcome to this review and flight test of the CX-10C nano quadcopter from Cheerson!

Before talking differences, let’s begin by appreciating how little has changed externally despite the substantial update internally. Length and width of the aircraft, as well as distance between the rotors are the same as on the original. The propellers are also identical meaning whatever spares you’ve already got from any of the older models should work on this one as well. At least theoretically, the fact that all significant measures are unchanged should mean that accessories like prop guards will also work on the 10C without modification.

The differences come in both subtle and obvious forms. In terms of the latter there’s the more elaborate paint job (the quadcopter currently comes in two colors: orange and black), the new apparent logo (which is quite literary a flying eye) and – of course – the camera. More subtle changes include the increased height compared to the older models (supposedly to house the camera module), the fact that the on/off switch and charging port has been moved from the back of the quadcopter to its side and the inclusion of a microSD card slot on the opposite side.

Just as on the older CX-10 models, there are four moderately bright, clearly visible LEDs (one on each motor mount) in two different colors (blue in the front, red in the back) in order to tell direction when flying in a dark room or outside at night. …but the CX-10C also has another – not quite as bright – light to indicate the status of the camera. This will go on when ready, flash when capturing photos or video and stay off when no microSD card is inserted.

The CX-10C comes with a typical nano transmitter – in fact identical to the ones of the older CX-10 models – which, although being a little small for my hands and taste, works adequately. Mine uses mode 2, which means throttle and yaw are controlled with the left stick and pitch and roll are controlled with the right stick, but from what I gather there’s also a mode 1 version out there. You click the left stick in order to cycle between rates and the right in order to perform flips, the camera is operated via the roll trim buttons.

The transmitter not only looks the same but also uses the same protocol as the older CX-10 models. I was able to successfully bind and fly the CX-10C with my CX-10 transmitter and vice versa. I really want to commend Cheerson for this spare part compatibility: If something breaks, whether it’s the propellers, the transmitter or the USB charging cable, you either already have a drop-in replacement gathering dust at home or – at least – won’t have to wait months for spare parts to become available.

Except for the already mentioned quadcopter, transmitter and USB charging cable, the CX-10C comes generously equipped with a full set of spare propellers, a screwdriver (which serves no clear purpose), a microSD card USB adapter, a 2 GB microSD card and an overall clear and concise instruction manual.

I had forgotten how well the original CX-10 flies, but got a pleasant reminder as I dusted mine off in preparation for this review. Very stable, quite snappy and actually relatively powerful (which – I know – sounds like an oxymoron talking about nano quadcopters).

The CX-10C definitely maintains the stability of its predecessor and while not feeling as powerful was something I expected considering the added components, I was sad to notice both pitch and yaw had been dialed down. Especially the fixed yaw rate, which was not especially fast on the original and now among the slower of the quadcopters I’ve flown. It’s not too big of a deal (it is a camera quad after all!), but it definitely makes it better suited for indoor than outdoor flying.

Something that does feel like more of a big deal is flight time. This is advertised as 2½-4 minutes and I pretty consistently get 2½ minutes when recording and 3 minutes when not (this includes the around 20 second long LVC warning). This is short even for a nano quadcopter and something that is likely to put people off. There’s always the possibility something’s up with my USB charging cable (which tend to be unreliable regardless off manufacturer) causing it to not top up the battery completely between flights. Also, the battery is listed as either 80 or 120 mAh, depending on if you choose to believe the box or the information online. If it’s the former, this could also explain the short flight time.

A very positive surprise was the quality of the camera and the footage it captures. It obviously won’t impress compared to a more proper, external camera, but then again that can’t be attached to and flown with a nano quadcopter. The video quality is just as good as I hoped it would be with no distracting vibrations, weird artifacts or file corruptions. Pretty darn good for a built-in toy multirotor camera, let alone a nano and perfect for capturing whatever hijinks you can come up with this thing!

In conclusion, it’s quite impressive what Cheerson has achieved with the CX-10C. What many people – including myself – would have doubted to even be possible is now not only a reality, but an affordable, easy-to-fly, overall well-functioning reality.
The CX-10C does leave some room for improvement though. Most notably the slow, fixed yaw rate and the short flight time. Still, if you’re anything like me don’t let that detract you from one of the coolest leaps for nano quadcopters to happens since – well… – nano quadcopters!

9 thoughts on “Cheerson CX-10C Review

  1. please let me know – how does the image quality compare with Syma x11c? (not just the megapixels, but actual images & videos)

    1. Someone else asked me this in the Youtube comments, here’s my reply:

      I have no experience with the Syma X11C’s camera, but just put up a raw video sample you can check out for comparison. To me, it looks like the X11C wins in resolution and exposure while the CX-10C wins in stability and “video smoothness”.

      Overall, the video quality of the CX-10C is to be considered very good (considering its size) in my opinion.

  2. Did you have to do any preprocessing with your video before uploading it?

    All my videos have audio static and choppy video when uploaded.

    1. The CX-10C’s video encoding seems quite esoteric. You might want to try re-encoding the resulting video file into a more Youtube-friendly format before uploading.

      If nothing else, the freeware VLC media player can supposedly do this for you (Google for guides).

  3. Desperate for camera instructions. Photo is obvious. But how to video. Can you take a video during video. How can one keep track if video is recording or not. Is it a good guess?

    1. To start/stop video recording, just press the right trim button. The indicator on top of the quadcopter will blink continuously when recording is in progress. I don’t believe you can take a photo while video is being recorded. Hope this helps and sorry for the late reply!

  4. Hi there
    I’ve recently ordered this nano quad copter
    And would like to know if it can save straight to an iOS device like the 10w?
    My regards Phoenix

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