Battery: Built-in 180 mAh
Flight time: ~5 mins
Charge time: 30-40 mins
Transmitter rates: 3 (variable yaw rate, auto-flips on 3rd)
Transmitter compatibility: MJX X600, MJX X800
Headless mode: No
Competitors: Revell Nano Hex, JJRC H20
What’s the difference between the MJX 900 and the MJX 901?
The MJX X900 comes with the DualShock style transmitter shown in my review, which has “gravity control” (basically a Wii style control option). The MJX 901 (often sold cheaper) instead comes with a more traditional nano transmitter. Also, the packaging differs.
Can it be flow with the MJX X600’s transmitter?
Yes, at least all MJX hexacopter transmitters uses the same protocol. You can even fly the MJX X600 in “gravity control” mode with the X900’s transmitter!
Not too long ago, this was announced. Some people got excited, some people where more critical and asked: What’s the point of making a nano hexacopter? Admittedly I think it makes very little practical sense. It’s a novelty, which is true about nano multirotors in general. What was the point of making nano quadcopters? What was the point of making toy quadcopters at all? Like with so many things we humans do, I suspect the answer is: It was possible, and there was money to be made. But what happens in terms of flight characteristics, durability and battery life when you go from this, to this? Welcome to the review and flight test of the X900 nano hexacopter from MJX!
First off, I really dig the design of the MJX X900! Apart from adorable, it looks pretty much like a shrunk down version of the MJX X600 (which I showed earlier). Entirely black (or white if you get the that version) with just a simple logo on the back. The LEDs are discreetly placed all the way out on the motors. To me this is a humble, minimalist design approach you otherwise seldom see in the world of toy multirotors. Good job! The only negative thing I can think of is that – while a marvel of tiny engineering – it doesn’t give an impression of great sturdiness or durability. While not speaking from any experience, I wouldn’t bet on this thing surviving a major crash.
The battery is non-removable with a capacity of 180 mAh, which provides around 5 minutes of flight on a full charge. Since its built-in you have an on/off switch in the back along with what I assume to be a proprietary charging port. You charge the hexacopter with the included USB charger, a process which takes around 30-40 minutes. The instruction manual says the charger should light up when charging is complete, but mine actually seems to work the other way around: lighting up when it’s charging.
So what about the size? The MJX X900 is no doubt the world’s smallest hexacopter, well within the nano size classification of multirotors. Here’s a comparison with a Cheerson CX-10, which still holds the record for smallest quadcopter if I’m not mistaken. As you can see the X900 is not quite as small, but it’s not terribly far off. Here’s also a JJRC JJ-1000 (which I recently reviewed), as an example of the micro size classification of multirotors. The MJX is indeed definitively closer to the former in terms of size.
The transmitter of the MJX X900 is overall very good, if somewhat odd:
The design of this thing is clearly more than a little “inspired” by the Playstation DualShock video game controller. I have one here so you can see the obvious resemblance. The analog sticks have switched place with the D-pads and buttons which in turn have been replaced by the trims, but otherwise it’s almost a 1:1 likeness. It even has all the four shoulder buttons. One of them’s for flips, one’s for turning the LEDs on and off (which is a nice touch), but one just beeps and doesn’t seem to be doing anything while the last one doesn’t do anything all. This is a little strange considering you actually click the sticks for certain commands, why’d put that there when they had real buttons left to assign? The same goes for the rates, which are controlled by the on/off switch, which is not ideal as you risk turning off the transmitter altogether when going from higher to lower rates.
You click the right stick to activate the “gravity control” as it’s called, which – also not unlike certain video game controllers – lets you maneuver the hexacopter by tilting the controller back and forth. More on this in the flight test.
The transmitter takes 6 AA batteries! I thought this was a little bit excessive until I noticed it has a USB port at the bottom, meant for charging the hexacopter through. I haven’t tested this extensively, but it seems to work as intended. The only catch is that you have to turn the transmitter on to charge, so it’ll beep and blink and probably waste more battery than necessary when you charge. Honestly I’m a little hard pressed to come up with scenarios where this’ll actually come in handy with all the power banks, car adapters and whatnot available today, but it’s nevertheless a nice touch.
Also worth noting regarding the transmitter is that you, just like on the MJX X600 transmitter, got buttons here in the middle for controlling which of the sticks does what, effectively switching modes. Let’s just say that if you’re used to mode 2, you needn’t bother with these.
In the box you also get a full set of replacement props (mine are white for some reason) and an instruction manual which is actually relatively clear and well written. Notice that no prop guards are included. I’m assuming they couldn’t figure out a way to pull this off payload-wise. Also, you get no screwdriver which you need to open up the battery compartment on the transmitter. The box itself is reusable with a plastic mold inlay that protect the hexacopter if you want to bring it with you when you go out.
Now let’s have a look at how it flies before I conclude with a summation of my thoughts.
Since the MJX X900 is the first ever nano hexacopter it would be reasonable to assume that it would be a poor flyer. It’s the first time something like this is ever attempted, the art hasn’t yet been perfected. Heck, there might even be a reason why no one has tried building a nano hexacopter before this! It might not be physically feasible! At least this was my reasoning beforehand, but – in fact – nothing could be further from the truth.
The MJX X900 shares many of the flight characteristics with its full size counterpart, the X600. It’s extremely stable, easily holding a nice hoover. The input responses are more smooth than twitchy with the transmitter allowing for really precise maneuvering. Unfortunately, the rates are also exactly the same as on the X600. This means that the low rate is too slow to be useful for just about anyone and the high rate flips on above 95% stick input, which is extremely annoying. Instead, I think the mid-rate will be the go-to rate for most flyers. This is well-rounded with a moderately fast yaw and a not too extreme pitch (but then again, who expected this to be a sports flyer?).
I mentioned earlier the motion controls, or “gravity control” as it is called in the manual. I expected this to be a worthless gimmick, but was surprised how well it works! When active, you tilt the transmitter in the direction you want to go (altitude is still controlled through stick input). It’s still a gimmick mind you, but feels natural, responsive and is very fun to use. Since precision is naturally reduced, I would advise against using it indoors on anything other than the lowest rate. The motion controls are nothing I will be using extensively, but I’m still glad they choose to include this instead of some half-assed headless mode no one wants which seems to be the trend otherwise.
Of course, as with any multirotor, there are some criticism to be raised: One is that the X900 is not a good flipper. It starts of good enough when the battery is fully charged, but as it drains during flight the flip recovery gets worse and worse to the point where it’s not possible to flip indoors without crashing. I don’t know if this is something that could have been remedied through modifications by MJX or if it’s physically inescapable with the added weight from the extra motors and bigger battery. The crashing brings me to my second criticism of the X900, which is that the propellers seems very prone to flying of whenever it crashes. The is partially a natural consequence of having no prop guards, but I seldom use those regardless and have never lost props at this rate before. This is a potential problem, as the prop could go flying anywhere and you only get one replacement set included.
In summation, it feels like MJX has made a very real and honest effort at a quality product with the MJX X900. It’s a great flyer – just don’t expect it to be a great stuntcopter – with several original features that actually work and work well. In the end though, I doubt it will ever become the same smash-hit phenomenon as the Cheerson CX-10 (the world’s smallest quadcopter). This mainly because of its higher price point and more fragile nature, it’s simply too expensive (at least at the moment) for most people to take a gamble on and by the time your average Joe have learned to fly it he’d probably already broken it. Instead I think it’s more likely to go down as a fun curiosity, which is a shame because the MJX X900 is so much more than that.