Battery: Replaceable 380 mAh (3.7 volt)
Flight time: 5-7 mins (depending on attached accessories)
Charge time: 80-90 mins
Transmitter rates: 3 (variable yaw rate)
Transmitter compatibility: ?
Headless mode: Yes
Competitors: Daming DM007, Syma X5 (and derivatives)
What is this “LVC warning” you keep talking about?
Low Voltage Cut-off warning is an indication (most commonly in the form of flashing lights) that the battery of the aircraft is about to run out, giving its operator some time to get it back and land.
It’s not unreasonable to draw parallels between the Super-S and the DM007. They are both examples of the not-quite-mini-not-quite-micro in-between size class of mini-minis (or is it micro-minis?). At the same time, there are fundamental differences between them: While the DM007 is notable for being a 2 cell direct drive aircraft, the Super-S instead uses the more traditional geared 1 cell configuration. This in turn is reflected in things like propeller size, where there are certainly no similarities.
If you watched my recent review of the DM007 you may remember I was approving, though not exactly blown away: Definitely interesting, but with some glaring design oversights and perhaps too limited in its area of use. Mould King is not exactly famous for its top quality products, in fact I can’t remember seeing a single favorable review of a Mould King multirotor. Have they finally gotten their stuff together and the Super-S is the model with which they turn it all around by delivering on some of those promises the DM007 left unkept? Let’s find out!
While the form factor may be borrowed from the DM007, the design inspiration for the Super-S seems borrowed from the DJI Phantom product range: There’s the white body, the signature red stripes on the arms and the high angular landing gear. There is of course no mistaking the two: The Super-S is much smaller, very light (because it’s mostly hollow) and coated by a thin, bendable plastic that conveys an unmistakable feeling of cheapness. I think even for a toy grade multirotor, this is sub-par. Build quality aside, the Super-S isn’t likely to go down in the history books for its design either. It’s inoffensive, but I’d be hard pressed to come up with a more generic looking craft.
The quadcopter comes with a 380 mAh battery that slides into a slot underneath, big enough to possibly allow for a longer but not much wider or thicker replacement. There’s no on/off switch, instead the craft springs to life as soon as the battery is connected. Luckily, the connector is conveniently placed so there’s no fidgeting required in order to start flying. The battery – by the way – is charged with an included USB charger, a process which takes 80-90 minutes.
Once powered, the first real advantage of the Super-S over the DM007 reveals itself: The LEDs on the quadcopter are very bright and shines through the white body so as to make them clearly visible from all possible angles (I guess that’s the upside of it being built from such flimsy plastic). In combination with the fact that the lights are also color coded (green in the front, blue in the back), it makes the Super-S not only suitable, but almost recommended for night flying. Note that there’s also a black version of the quadcopter available and since I haven’t tested that I don’t know if it allows for the same transparency.
Design aspects inspired by the DJI Phantom doesn’t end at the Super-S itself but extends to its transmitter as well. It’s a cleaner look than your average hobby-style transmitter with shorter sticks that feel more like thumb pads on a video game controller, which I happen to like but some may not. All the trim buttons are found in the lower right area for some reason and there are four shoulder buttons, used to cycle between rates, perform flips, start and stop video recording and take photos. The camera-related buttons can also be long-pressed for headless mode and return-to-home functionality.
There’s a slight slipperiness to the transmitter finish (casing and sticks), but apart from that (and how cheap and hollow it feels) I like it: There is good resilience in the sticks and there is a lot to hold onto! It’s a minor detail, but I also like that the power switch is an actual button with two physical positions instead of a switch or something you should hold down to power the transmitter on and off.
Right out of the box though, I did have a problem with mine where the sticks were wedged by the transmitter case, which would make them unruly and prone to getting stuck in a non-centered position. I’m not big on tinkering but – luckily – was able to fix this by widening these holes that the sticks protrude through with a sander tool (that’s why you may think my transmitter looks a little different). I saw at least one other review commenting on this which could mean it’s a more general issue, in turn supporting my previous hesitance regarding build quality.
Apart from quadcopter and transmitter, my box included: A set of prop guards (which I haven’t tested) including a screwdriver and a set of screws for them, a 2 megapixel camera with a 4 GB micro SD memory card that can be attached underneath the quadcopter (more on this in the flight test), two puzzling pieces of foam and an instruction manual in the form of a single folded A4 sheet. Note that no spare propellers comes with your purchase.
In the air, it quickly becomes clear that the Super-S is not competing with the DM007 for the same strengths. While the appeal of the DM007 – to me – was well defined as its reliability and easiness to fly, the Super-S has a broader ambition, seemingly trying to “do it all”. Consequently the spectrum of pitch and yaw covered by the three available rates are much greater, ranging from about the same as the lower of the DM007’s two rates to something quite extreme, normally seen on a sports flyer.
I realize there’s a certain measure of machoism or bravado associated with extreme rates to some pilots, but to me the highest rate of the Super-S isn’t entirely successful due to the simple fact that it’s not very convenient to fly with. The pitch is so deep that – on full stick input – you can’t keep it from descending even with full throttle. Similarly, the yaw is so fast it becomes very difficult maintaining any smoothness or precision when maneuvering (though it does provide that wow-factor of the likes of the JJRC H8). What’s a super-extreme rate like this doing on a camera quadcopter anyway? Well, I let you decide whether to accept this as a valid criticism or brush it away as saying more about my style and skill as a flyer.
I ended up using the middle rate, which – surprise, surprise! – lands somewhere in-between the two previously mentioned in terms of pitch, roll and yaw, most of the time and the low rate when shooting video, busting out the high rate only in those “Hey, you wanna see something cool?” scenarios. Although I came in skeptical, I admit the Super-S won me over! It’s largely successful in maintaining the easy-to-fly aspect of the DM007 while injecting some excitement in the rates for those more experienced pilots.
Speaking of shooting video the Super-S supposedly does so with the included 2 megapixel camera, but I initially had a lot of trouble getting this to work. Finally, after a lot of re-formatting, re-attaching and general retrying, I was able to capture this footage. As you probably see for yourself, it’s pretty bad with washed out colors and lots of weird video artefacts. I also tried attaching my 808 keychain camera with some Velcro and captured this footage. I think you would agree that – while still far from perfect – it’s at least miles better. Surprisingly considering those large propellers (but then, what do I know of aerodynamics?), the Super-S seemed to require a greater effort to lift the camera than the DM007, although both were able to do so and still fly fine.
Depending on what configuration of accessories you use (camera, landing gear etc.), my experience is that you can expect between 5 and 6½-7 minutes of flying. Unfortunately, the LVC warning on mine seems broken or at least completely unreliable, often triggering long (over 2 minutes in some cases!) before flight time’s actually up. Once this happens, you can no longer perform flips. At least the Super-S won’t eventually turn off the engines, instead it’ll just get weaker and weaker until it can’t fly anymore.
What have I forgot to mention? Let’s see: Range seems fine, headless mode seems fine (for what it is), flips are also fine. I guess that’s it!
In summation, my impression of Mould King hasn’t changed with the Super-S. It feels quickly slapped together and exactly as cheap as it happens to be. The quality of most components and accessories is unsatisfactory, feeling flimsy or not always working properly. I wouldn’t have minded seeing this taking another few rounds through quality assurance.
The Super-S does have one feather in its cap though: Despite its flaws, it flies very well. This doesn’t completely justify all the negatives, but whether you’re a total beginner or have experience and a need for speed you’re likely going to feel at home flying the Super-S. Myself? I’m sticking to my trusty old Syma X5.