Battery: Built-in 150 mAh (3.7 volt)
Flight time: ~5 mins
Charge time: ~50 mins
Transmitter rates: 3 (fixed yaw rate)
Transmitter compatibility: ?
Headless mode: No
Competitors: MJX X900, JJRC H20
Ever since the MJX X900 appeared on the scene, there’s been a surge of nano (or at least micro) sized hexacopters. JJRC have two models on the way (the H18 and H20), WLToys apparently got a model called the Q272 on the way… and then there’s the Revell Nano Hex. To me, Revell is primarily known for plastic model kits. They’re at least not a big actor on the toy multirotor market and I don’t know how the Nano Hex has come about, if it’s a rebranding or if it’s an original product… but instead of meditating on how it came to be, let’s find out if it’s any good!
Welcome to this review and flight test of the Nano Hex nano hexacopter from Revell!
The Revell Nano Hex seems well-built and definitely feels like a cut above your average Chinese toy multirotor, but I haven’t had the misfortune of any major crashes so I can’t confirm whether this translates into actual durability. With its simple, symmetrical design it looks quite unremarkable, although they have made an effort with the swirly paint job and yellow-on-black color scheme. There is also another paint job/color scheme combo available. In terms of size, it’s up there among the absolute smallest. Here it is compared to the MJX X900. I’ll let you be the judge on which is actually smaller. It’s a close call anyway.
This is the first time I see landing gear included with a nano multirotor. I initially suspected they were an ad-hoc fix for a design oversight where the aircraft rests on its center rather than the arms when they’re not installed, but there are actual, proper mounts for them on the body. They were clearly always intended to be a part of the design, but I’m genuinely perplexed as to the purpose they’re meant to serve. The landing gears are thin and – one might say – flimsy, I don’t think they affect flight performance significantly. The hex can be flown with them off, just make sure to have it level when taking off as to not confuse the calibration process.
Another curios detail not immediately evident is the color of the LEDs. While it is commonplace to have lights in contrasting colors in the front of the aircraft versus the back to help distinguish direction, I think this is the first multirotor I’ve come across with LEDs in three different colors. While this may seem industrious of Revell, it confuses – at least me – more than it helps. Let’s say you find yourself in a tight spot, look up and see these lights. I don’t think you’ll be able to process the information this conveys in that split-second you have to make a decision. Of course, preference and habit both play a role here as well.
The transmitter should look very familiar to anyone who owns or have flown a nano multirotor. The only differences I manage spot are the Revell stickers and these non-functioning shoulder buttons that have no “click” to them and don’t do anything. For anyone not familiar with this type of transmitter, they tend to rest just above the line of acceptability in terms of precision, ergonomics and general usability. This one uses mode 2, takes 2 AAA batteries and has trims for pitch and roll as well as clicking sticks for changing rate and performing flips. It beeps to indicate when it’s on, binds successfully and when you change between the rates (one beep for low, two for medium etc.)
The included USB charger tops up the built-in battery in around 50 minutes, which is quite long considering the capacity is only 150 mAh. It has an indicator light and mine turns off when charging and on when charging is complete. Once fully charged, expect around 5 minutes of flying time including a generous LVC warning. The instruction manual is very well put-together and in stark contrast to what usually comes included with Chinese toy multirotors. Included with the aircraft is also – as always – a set of spare propellers.
In the air, the immediate impressions of the Revell Nano Hex are those of power and agility. The aircraft is overall stable and can hold a steady hover, but doesn’t feel subdued thanks to a surprising responsiveness in the controls. There is undoubtedly less cushioning of stick inputs going on here than on your average toy multirotor. This should be welcomed by experienced flyers, at the cost of making the aircraft less accessible for beginners.
As opposed to some other smallish hexacopters I’ve tried which felt somewhat underpowered, the Revell Nano Hex has no problem with thrust and handles maneuvers like rapid ascends or flips with ease. The backside of this power is that it’s a little difficult to descend. With the battery fully charged, it feels like 75% of the thrust input range results in different rates of ascent, 20% in complete motor stall and – in-between – a thin slice of input range which actually makes the hex descend. Indoors it’s easy to fall in to a yoyo-pattern where you’re about to hit the ceiling, want to descend but end up shutting off the motors, over-compensate with too much throttle and end up almost hitting the ceiling again. Outdoors, this does not become an issue.
The Revell Nano Hex has three rates ranging from quite slow to quite fast. The yaw has a fixed rate somewhat faster than you’d expect, but still very much manageable. In combination with the small transmitter you may have to practice a little before pulling off those smooth, gracious turns though. There is no headless mode that I’m aware of. Flipping – as I said – is not a problem (apart from the one instance during this recording it apparently decided to freak out). Likewise, outdoor flying is not only possible (in up to moderate wind) but actually recommended considering the aforementioned flight characteristics.
In summation the Revell Nano Hex is a great nano hexacopter, in the right hands. An experienced flyer will find it powerful and responsive, while a beginner will probably call the same traits finicky and unforgiving instead. Viewed this way, it has successfully found a vacant niche for itself alongside the MJX X900 as the more exciting (as opposed to safe) nano hexacopter option.
Regardless of its pilot though, you cannot get away from the fact that the Revell Nano Hex is a competent aircraft. It’s reliable, well-built and thought-through. Looking over this review, I realize most – if not all – of my reservations has to do with – not technical or quality issues – but seemingly very conscious decisions taken by Revell when designing the product.
It’s capable, it’s probably not for everyone and that was the plan all along.