JJRC H37 ElfieUnder $40
The JJRC H37 Elfie is a light and ultra-portable drone. JJRC claims this to be the world’s smallest folding drone. It has about the same footprint as an iPhone 7 but is about twice as thick and a little bit lighter.
The Elfie is designed to take selfies. “Dronie” is actually the new term for taking selfies with a drone. So if you are sick of stretching your arm out, or want to ditch the selfie stick then you should pick up an Elfie.
Watch our Analysis of the Elfie
We’ll take the Elfie for a spin and snap a few more pictures with the camera.
The image quality of the Elfie isn’t HD. The camera shoots 0.4 megapixel images and produces 480p quality video. The images are OK in well-lit areas but fall well short of the quality you get our of any modern smartphone camera. It is hard to expect much better for under $40. The images it takes are comparable to those taken by the under-powered Cheerson CX-10W micro drone and not as good as the pictures taken by the larger Syma X5C. We wouldn’t mind spending $10 more for a selfie drone with a better camera.
The camera angle on Elfie can be manually adjusted before taking off, which is a nice feature that more drones should utilize. The field of view is narrow, so you’ll have to compensate by flying Elfie a little further away than you would normally hold a phone on a selfie stick. Thankfully, you have a live-preview of the shot before you snap a picture, so lining up your subject isn’t so difficult.
The Elfie is a small drone, roughly 6” x 5” x 1” (15.5 x 13.5 x 2.5 cm). When folded up, it shrinks to 2.5” x 5” x 1”(6.50 x 13.50 x 2.50 cm). They have accomplished this compact size by burying the motors inside the arms. The power is transferred to the propellers via 90-degree gears. We thought this was a clever way to engineer a smaller drone.
Flying the Elfie
You’ll use a smartphone app to fly the Elfie and to snap your pictures. Elfie will connect via WiFi to your smartphone and you’ll fly with the on-screen controls. This pocket-sized drone will transmit the video back to your phone in real-time, so you can see what Elfie sees. You don’t get a controller with the drone, and it has to be flown with your smartphone or tablet. You can get the free app for both Android and Apple devices.
Don’t expect to fly this drone like an FPV racer. The narrow field of view and WiFi FPV aren’t suited for that. However, you can use the on-screen image to line up photos and videos fairly easily.
Photos and video are stored directly on your phone for easy access and quick sharing. The app is simple and fairly intuitive. If you’ve flown a smartphone-controlled drone before you’ll find the layout familiar.
Well-Tuned Features for an Affordable Drone
The Elfie packs quite a few features in its tiny foldable design. Elfie boasts altitude hold and it keeps the drone stable. We found the altitude hold on this drone to be quite useful, which can’t be said for all small drones. You will also get auto-takeoff and auto-landing. Elfie will flip with the press of a button and you can fly in three different speed modes.
The different modes are nice. Flying in low mode is good for lining up pictures, but high mode makes it more aggressive and sporty. You won’t confuse this for a Hubsan X4, or even a Syma X5, but flying in high mode can be fun.
Elfie even has headless mode to help the beginning pilot with orientation. Like altitude hold, we found headless mode worked well on this drone. Headless mode will make lining up pictures easier for those who are not comfortable controlling a drone in different orientations. Make sure the camera is pointing away from you when you turn on headless mode.
The Elfie does not appear to be built to handle abuse. We initially feared that a few really hard crashes might put Elfie out of commission. The Elfie might be light enough that it can handle hard impacts, we didn’t have any issues in the several times we flew (and inevitably crashed) this little drone. If you want an inexpensive starter drone that can handle lots of abuse then check out the Syma X5 or Hubsan X4.
No drone is perfect, let’s summarize what we would like to see in Elfie 2.0. The battery compartment on Elfie is tight, we would like to see the battery attachment and door mechanism improved. We would have preferred a wider field of view on the camera and would have been content spending a few extra dollars to get a better camera. Finally, the gear mechanism seemed like it might give out pretty easily. Maybe that’s why they give you 4 extra gears. It would be good if they could improve the quality of the drivetrain.
Overall the Elfie is a fun drone. We like it for what it is, a small, inexpensive, foldable drone.Altitude hold and headless mode work quite well. It is hard to find another drone in this price range that has features like these that work as well as they do on Elfie.
If you want to make fun of people that use lame selfie sticks, grab an Elfie. If you are looking for a small starter drone for under $40, grab an Elfie. You may also find the Elfie marketed as the Eachine E50 or E50S. It is the same drone but it is sometimes found in different colors.
If you are looking for something that will take high-quality videos or selfies we’d recommend looking into the Dobby. It is a full featured selfie drone but comes with a higher price tag. We compare it to the Elfie here. You’ll see they are definitely two completely different drones.
|Check the price of Elfie
|Compare Elfie to Dobby
Thanks to GearBest for providing this drone so we could do an unbiased review.
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