There isn’t anything like flying a 5″ FPV quad. You have seemingly endless power and maneuverability. They float one minute and zip and cut the next. I love tinywhoops, but you just can’t replicate the feeling you get with a full 5-inch drone. Choosing the right one to start with can be a challenge, so I have a few suggestions.
Choosing the right FPV quad
Most people would recommend you build your own first quad. It is an excellent idea and there is a lot of merit behind doing so. You’ll learn a lot about how it goes together and gain some appreciation for what goes into putting it together. However, not everyone is mechanically inclined. Not everyone has the tools or the time to do so. I’ve done it and honestly, I’d say start with a pre-built drone to start. You’ll end fixing it at some point and get a bit of the know-how without having to put the hours in. If you decide you want to dive deep into the hobby then build your second quad. You’ll understand more of what you want and it will actually be a lot easier.
Don’t start with a 5″ quad
I don’t suggest the first time you leave the ground you do it with a 5″ drone. They are big, powerful and potentially dangerous. I highly recommend using a simulator to practice and/or a tiny whoop. You’ll get a better feel of how to fly and you won’t have to fix after every crash. You will crash your drone, and eventually, it will break. There aren’t a lot of drone repairmen running around so that guy will likely be you. Minimize the repairs by learning to fly before you fly.
So, what is the best drone to start with?
Now that you’ve figured out how to fly you’ll need a drone. Really you can start with any old 5″ drone but there are three that I’d suggest you look into. The Emax Hawk 5 Sport, Eachine LAL5 and DJI/iFlight DC5 are three excellent options and each have their separate advantages.
My favorite drone
My favorite drone is my DJI iFlight Titan DC5. I built it myself, but you don’t have to. It has the DJI Air Unit on board and once you go digital, you won’t go back. The digital FPV feed is absolutely fantastic and light years better than analog. However it comes with a hefty price. The all in one package that includes the drone, goggles and remote will set you back $888. That is a lot but the equipment is top-notch. The goggles and the feed is spectacular, but so is the remote. The DJI link is nearly as good as Crossfire so you’ll be able to fly and see your quad if you want to do some long-range flying.
Best Bang for the buck
I understand that not everyone has the cash for a DJI system. Flying analog can be just as exhilarating and if you want HD footage you can always strap on a GoPro. Emax is probably my favorite drone company as they have come up with countless good drones. Their Hawk 5 lineup is no exception. I love the Hawk 5 Pro and the Hawk 5 Sport might just be the best bang for the buck you can get with a 5-inch quad. The 2400KV version is great for a 4S but I’d actually recommend the 1700KV 6S version. You can fly the 6S version on either a 4S or a 6S. The Hawk 5 Sport will cost your $190 whereas the Hawk 5 Pro will set you back $230.
If you are looking for something a little bigger that can capture HD video without breaking the bank take a look at the Eachine LAL5. It is a big and powerful quad that can handle a 4S-6S battery. It has a switchable VTV from 25-800mW. However, the jewel of this drone is the Caddx Tarsier camera. You get a great dedicated FPV camera as well as an HD camera that will record your drone antics onboard. The gigantic 2507 motors are big, powerful and smooth. The LAL 5 currently is on sale for $230.
What other equipment would I recommend?
I’ve used a lot of different goggles and remotes and if you are going to fly analog I have two recommendations. The Taranis QX7 is an excellent remote. I’ve switched back and forth from the X-Lite but I’ve come back to the QX7. The gimbals are excellent and you can bind D8 and D16 drones. The Skyzone O2C goggles are definitely the best value you can get for a good low profile goggle. The Taranis costs around $120 and the Skyzones are around $250. Using the Taranis and the Skyzones with the Emax or Eachine will set you back $565-605 and that isn’t cheap but still less than the $888 of the DJI system.
You’ll need batteries and extra props. I really like these batteries from Amazon. They aren’t too expensive and have worked well for me. Check out these 4S batteries and 6S batteries. Propellers are a personal preference and you’ll need a handful. These props are some of my favorites.
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