Battery: Built-in 100 mAh (3.7 volt)
Flight time: ~5 mins
Charge time: ~20 mins
Transmitter rates: 3 (fixed yaw rate)
Transmitter compatibility: ?
Headless mode: No
Competitors: DHD D1, FQ777-124
My first experience with multirotors was the Cheerson CX-10. After the initial “wow”-factor of actually controlling my very own aircraft, my fascination quickly turned to its size. This thing was so tiny I could potentially carry it around in my pocket. I could fly it anywhere! At work, on the subway, while waiting for the bus… Only, I couldn’t.
While their size certainly allows for it, nano sized quadcopters are fragile creatures. Just popping one in your pocket will probably end in bent or broken propellers, possibly even a cracked body. More recently however, this realization seems to have reached the toy quadcopter designers resulting in a number of more-or-less portable models, like the Lian Sheng LS-111 and the WLToys v292. Here’s the logical conclusion of this line of thinking. The always-with-you, fly-anywhere quadcopter – or that’s the claim anyway. Welcome to this review and flight test of the Poky nano quadcopter from Jamara!
Right now, most – if not all – of you are probably scratching your heads, asking: “What the heck is a Jamara Poky and why should I care?”
Let me start by answering the “what”: Jamara is apparently a German company specializing in RC. I won’t lie to you, I’d never heard of them until I came across a review by Youtube quadcopter extraordinaire Flyin’ Ryan of something called the Pocket Quadcopter (click the thumbnail to see it in full). This caught my interest, but by the time Ryan’s review had made the rounds on Youtube the product had apparently already sold out. Then someone in the comments pointed out that it looked strikingly similar to a German product. I hit up German eBay and sure enough! After examining Ryan’s video and comparing it to the Jamara Poky I received (boy do I hate saying that name already), I feel confident in my assessment that these are the exact same product. Jamara has just slapped their logo and a silly name onto it while Ryan’s is the unbranded, Chinese original.
Now for the “why”: What makes the Jamara Poky special? What made me send for it from Germany? The Jamara Poky’s main – possibly only – claim to fame is how everything needed to operate it (the aircraft itself, transmitter and charger) can be fitted into a form factor about the size of your average wallet. How is this achieved, you ask? Well, by cramming quadcopter and charger into the transmitter of course! Imagine if you will two modes: flight mode and carry/charge mode. When in flight mode, it’s pretty much business as usual. You got your CX-10 style nano quadcopter (possibly the tiniest bit smaller) and your transmitter (weird looking as it happens, but never mind that for the moment). It’s when you’re done flying for the moment and enter into carry/charge mode the magic happens!
See, the transmitter opens up like so to house the quadcopter inside it. The landing feet of the quadcopter fits in these holes to prevent it from sliding around. There’s even room for the sticks in here! Once everything’s in place the transmitter is closed back up and “voila”! It’s not the prettiest of solutions, but for the most part it works. I say mostly, because the propellers tend to get kind of bent when you store the quadcopter inside the box. Gently bending them back into shape by hand is possible, but I’ve found there’s no need as this generally doesn’t affect flight performance.
Holding the quadcopter in place is also this nozzle thing, which is actually the charger. That’s right, the quadcopter charges directly from of transmitter, with no other option provided. This is a neat feature which also raises concerns: For one, what about the battery life of the transmitter? It only takes four AA batteries, for goodness sake! Well, they haven’t run out on me yet after the 10+ charge/flight cycles I’ve put them through while compiling this review. Not too shabby!
What about another very reasonable concern about having to leave the quadcopter plugged into the charger the entire time you carry it around? See, the case doesn’t quite come together unless the nozzle is actually plugged in. This is something Ryan’ brought up which worried me as well (I think anyone in the toy quadcopter game has had enough bad experiences with included Chinese chargers to develop a healthy distrust for them). I contacted Jamara and they assured me I had no reason to worry and that this was taken into account in the design. Since then, I’ve felt more comfortable leaving the charger plugged in during transport and Jamara’s claim seems correct.
Before moving on to the flight test and – finally – my conclusion, let’s go through some practical details. Despite its compact size, the Jamara Poky has almost all the comforts you’d expect from a nano quadcopter: The aircraft itself has moderately bright, differently colored LEDs to facilitate flying in the dark (green in the front, red in the back). Its transmitter has changeable rates as well as buttons for flips and trims. Unfortunately it also makes a horrible, horrible sound when operated: Just listen to this! Sounds like if you just gave an incorrect answer on a game show. The quadcopter comes assembled into carry/charge mode inside a tiny box with a full set of spare propellers and an equally tiny instruction manual in German and actual, intelligible English. No prop guards this time.
Alright, with that out of the way, let’s move on to the flight test!
Alright, this is going to be a fairly brief flight test segment, simply because there’s not a whole lot to say. With regards to flight characteristics, the Jamara Poky is as ordinary as nano quadcopters come. Not at all bad, just… a little hard to get super excited about. Think of the aforementioned Cheerson CX-10 and you come pretty close to how this handles.
There’s three rates, ranging from slow enough to be suitable for beginners to fast enough to be suitable for flying outdoors or in wide open spaces. The yaw rate isn’t variable and instead stays set at a pretty good compromise, at least according to me. Much like any other quadcopter it also flips and does so just fine in all four directions. Nice, quick flips.
The built-in battery has a capacity of 100 mAh and provides around 5 minutes of flight when fully charged. Standard flight time for a nano quadcopter. Also standard, the charging process involving the charger built into the transmitter takes around 20 minutes.
One curious detail you’ve probably already noticed is that the front set of LEDs flashes rapidly whenever there is throttle. When the battery is running low the both sets are blinking, so there’s still a way to tell even though it’s a little bit easier to miss.
In summation, the Jamara Poky is the most portable quadcopter although not through the most elegant means. If you’re really crazy about the form factor, by all means get it! It flies just fine and the solution as a whole works. If you’re not in desperate need of the portability, give it a pass. The ins and outs of charging, assembling and disassembling the transmitter will probably annoy you more than you feel you could be bothered with for those run-of-the-mill flight characteristics.
“Should I get it?” The answer, as it so often, is: “It depends”.