Battery: Removable 220 mAh, 3.7 volt
Flight time: 5-6 min
Charge time: 30-60 min
Transmitter rates: 3 (variable yaw)
Transmitter compatibility: FQ777-124
Competitors: MJX X900, JJRC H20C
Summer is back! …and with that, the need for a hassle-free, portable multirotor you can take with you when you venture outside. Until now, one of the better choices have been FQ777’s model 124, a fun-to-fly and reliable nano quadcopter, but in a recent and somewhat confusing move, FQ777 has decided to challenge themselves with another model, the 126C. It’s still a nano and still portable, but this time a hexacopter and with a camera. How does it fare? Let’s find out!
Going of pictures the 126C hexacopter looks very much like FQ777’s previous model, 124, only with a different aircraft. It would be natural to assume they would be the same size, right? Nope, a rough estimate says the 126C transmitter/case thingy is actually about double the size of the 124’s transmitter/case thingy and the same goes for the aircrafts themselves.
Because it’s an FQ777 product, the 126C’s design isn’t its strong suite with a look a little bit on the boring side and matte black plastic (though it also comes in white and red, with the red – in hindsight – looking the coolest by far). It also doesn’t diverge much in terms of size and weight from other nano hexacopters, weighing in at a little under 30 grams including battery and memory card.
To say the 126C is feature-rich may be an understatement. FQ777 have really gone for the toy hexacopter equivalent of a Swiss Army knife here: Carry-along storage – check! On-the-go charging – check! Removable battery – check! 2 megapixel sensor resolution – check! Adjustable lens angle – check! Headless mode – check! Return-to-home button – check! Flips – check!
Let’s have a closer look at some of those check marks!
The idea of using the transmitter for storing and charging the – in this case – hexacopter is an idea that was already present and basically fully formed with the 124, which was one of the first quadcopters to pull this off well. This big hatch in the front is for the hexacopter and the much shallower hatch in the back is for the charging cable and whatever accessories you may want to bring with you. Like with the 124, you can even charge the hexacopter while it’s being stored inside the transmitter! …though it’s still kind of a “ghetto tech” solution involving snaking the charging cable all the way around the transmitter.
Charging the 220 mAh battery with the transmitter for me takes around an hour, which is kind of long considering the 5 minute flight time, though FQ777 have also included a regular ol’ USB charging cable which does the job slightly faster, in around 40 minutes.
One thing the 126C has which definitely wasn’t present on the 124 is a removable battery. Yes, despite being a straight-up (or at least close to) nano in terms of size, the 126C sports a removable, replaceable battery. Before you get too excited though, it should be noted that the battery polarity is supposedly reversed and its slot is rather tight-fitting, meaning the only batteries likely to work are the ones produced specifically for use with this hexacopter.
I think it was generally agreed that one of the weaker points of the 124 was the transmitter: It wasn’t comfortable to hold, all its unlabeled, identical-looking buttons gave it a rather cryptic impression and – the main offense – its sticks were too short, slippery and just plain weird. FQ777 haven’t done much if anything about the first two objections (you still get that unfinished, industrial vibe and they’ve even added more unlabeled, identical-looking buttons), but I’m happy to report they seem to have listened to the feedback regarding the sticks and included a set of longer, more proper-feeling alternates.
Otherwise the transmitter is basically a scaled-up version of the transmitter from the 124 with some added window dressing. It even uses the same protocol, so you can switch one for the other (whatever purpose that would serve). The upside of FQ777 not switching things up too much with the transmitter is that the positive things about the original also carries over: It’s reliable, the range is good and – perhaps most noteworthy – thanks to some clever design, you can turn it upside down for mode 1 (right-hand throttle) use.
The FQ777-126C is a read-to-fly deal… and I mean ready-to-fly! It comes with two chargers (one USB and the one built into the transmitter), two sets of sticks, one set of – admittedly flimsy looking – prop guards, one full set of spare propellers, one 4 gigabyte memory card, one USB memory card adapter and one screw driver for installing the batteries into the transmitter. The instruction manual is just a folded dual-language printout, but for the most part well written and covers all you need to know.
It feels like this channel has had a lot reviews lately that’ve turned out pretty negative-sounding. That’s why it’s such a relief to have the FQ777-126C deliver in a major way. In short I found it to fly well with hardly any – and certainly no major – issues to speak of, though that’s not to say it’s going to be the perfect choice for everyone.
The 126C has a sporty attitude with its three (as opposed to the 124’s two) rates set pretty high. I think even the lowest is enough for most to feel perfectly happy with, leaving another two for those who wish to crank things (both pitch and yaw) up further. While I think it can be flown by practically all skill levels, a little bit more experienced flyers are probably the ones who will get the most out of the 126C.
Nobody’s perfect though and while the 126C may fly well, it’s not without flaws… or at least annoyances. The biggest one for me is the sensitivity of the throttle, which makes it unnecessarily difficult to hold a hover with and one reason why I feel it wouldn’t be perfect for a beginner. Me? Partly I just got used to it, but I also transitioned into flying outdoors (where I’d say it belongs, anyway) where you don’t have to worry about hitting the ceiling.
I had so much fun just flying, I almost forgot to test out the camera. As stated, it’s supposedly a 2 megapixel sensor and sure enough: the output video files are 720p… but is that the native resolution or is this actually the result of some sneaky upscaling from a lower resolution? I let you judge. We can probably all agree it’s not the crispest of 720p footage, but otherwise the video looks fine, especially considering the size and price. Another positive about the camera is that the hexacopter certainly doesn’t feel burdened by it, as has been the case with other small camera multirotors I’ve reviewed.
As basically every toy multirotor ever manufactured, the 126C does automatic flips. These work fine, but it’s one of those that overcompensates and ends up gaining altitude each time (so again, watch out if flying indoors!) It also does headless mode and return-to-home, which can help if you’re starting out and find it difficult to keep track of the aircrafts orientation when flying. As most if not all implementations of the feature in this price range though, it tend to lose track of the orientation itself if you play around with it too much.
Lastly, it should be noted that the 126C is no night flyer. It has only four LEDs and while they are color coded, they don’t show especially well when flying. I also found with all these features it’s not always clear to me what’s being communicated. Is it indicating I’m recording, that headless mode is active or that the battery is low? I’m sure there’s method to this madness, but unless you fly a lot you’re going to have a hard time remembering it.
My impression of FQ777 is that – while their products may fall short of perfect – they care enough to maintain a somewhat consistent level of quality you simply can’t expect from a lot of other manufacturers (*cough* JJRC *cough*).
This holds true for the 126C as well. It has its share of annoyances and minor shortcomings (most notably the LEDs and some throttle stick wonkiness), but it’s certainly no bust and if you fly it as it wants to be flown, it can really deliver.