MJX X102H, a viable competitor to Syma?
Easy of Flying/Stability8/10
- ▪ Inexpensive altitude hold
- ▪ Isolation mount included
- ▪ Shaky and obscured video
- ▪ European charger
- ▪ Limited features
- Range: 100 m
- Flight Time: 8-10 min
- Weight: 1.0 lbs (register)
- Size: Full size
- Camera: 720p
Here at Half Chrome we have tested countless Syma models including the X8W and the X8HG. We find them to be reliable drones that are simple to fly and are free of major flaws. Our Syma X8W has been crashed more times than we can count. Despite our best efforts we can’t break the thing. We even used our X8W to chop tomatoes, it just keeps going. Enter the MJX X102H, an altitude hold drone that comes with an action camera isolation mount. The MJX is also FPV ready with a universal plug that can power a few different camera models. The first person view (FPV) camera model that we purchased is the one that MJX seems to recommend, the MJX C4018. The Syma model that is most similar to the MJX X102H is the Syma X8HW. This Syma also comes with altitude hold and a WiFi camera included. The Syma currently is the exact same price as the MJX package that includes the FPV camera. Check the latest price of the Syma here and the MJX here.
While the Syma clearly takes its styling cues from the DJI Phantom, the MJX is a bit more original. MJX even put some LEDs that look like eyes in the front of the drone. We think it looks like an angry tree frog. MJX decided to put the props facing down on this drone, which is different than most drones, more on that later.
What’s in the Box
Our MJX X102H base model came with a remote, 4 GB memory card, card reader, 1 battery, a charger, an adapter to mount the FPV camera (camera not included in base model), some bits of padding to help secure an action camera, a screw driver, and countless little screws we needed to assemble. The pilot holes for those screws are all a bit too small, making them very difficult to screw in with the tiny screw driver they provided. It’s also a good thing I have a European adapter, because the charger they sent was not the US style. Buyer beware! On the plus side, we do like the inclusion of the card and card reader.
We purchased the MJX C4018 camera separately. The camera came with two adapter cables (we only needed the smaller multi-colored one), a phone holder for the remote, the camera, and a screw-on snap holder for the antenna. The camera plugs easily into the bottom of the drone. Check the latest price of the MJX FPV camera here.
Features and Performance
The MJX X102H flies well with effective altitude hold. We found the performance to be quite comparable to the Syma X8 models that have altitude hold. Both drones will stay fairly well behaved in low wind and will slowly lose altitude if flown a top speed. They both have an auto take-off option, and we found them to be roughly equally as maneuverable in flight. Both drones have a slow beginner mode and a more aggressive “Mode 2”. One notable omission in the MJX features is that there is no ability to perform flips. No flips?!? We have come to take flips for granted as an included feature for drones in this class, and we were surprised the MJX fell short here.
The MJX sounds rather strange when it flies, with a very inconsistent gear squeal that’s hard to describe. The flight performance of the MJX is stable overall, but with relatively large amounts of shaky vibration. We noticed that shakiness causing some negative effects in our GoPro footage. A strange performance factor with the MJX is that sometimes it seems very apprehensive about descending. Sometimes we wondered if it would ever come down. MJX takes the term “altitude hold” a little too seriously maybe.
Check out our flight test video where we compare the MJX to the Syma, Half Chrome Style
Neither of these drones have great FPV cameras. These cameras are intended for FPV flying, not for taking breathtaking images. Overall the MJX camera is better. It has less lag, better image quality, and its horizontal field of view is a relatively “wide” 58° compared to the even more narrow Syma FPV camera’s 44°. Like most consumer drones under $200, neither of these drones has a wide enough FOV for convenient FPV flying. But, if you want to try out flying from a screen, these drones will get the job done.
We prefer flying these drones with action cameras attached. The MJX is designed expressly for this purpose, it even comes with an isolation mount. Action camera isolation mounts are readily available for the Syma X8 models as well, and they only add about $9 to the overall cost of the drone. Click here to check out the latest price for a Syma compatible isolation mount on Amazon. Click here to check out our article dedicated to modifying your X8 for an action camera.
The isolation mount on the MJX is retained with two screws so that it does not fall off in a crash. We feel as though these screw hard stops may be limiting the travel of the mounts a little too much, however. When you mount the heavier GoPro on this mount the footage is full of artifacts and it is a little shaky. The apparent failure of the MJX isolation system may also have something to do with the action camera mount holding the camera forward of the the center of the drone. This puts more weight on the front isolation mount and likely affects performance. Overall the image quality from our GoPro was smoother and cleaner from the Syma. Check out our flight video and you can compare for yourself.
Another issue with the MJX is that the props are facing down. They sell this as improving propeller efficiency, but we see it as nothing more than a gimmick that negatively affects video capture. Below you can see that with our Syma X8 upgrade you can actually use a GoPo in full wide mode with a 122° horizontal field of view and not be obstructed. There is not angle you can position the GoPro on the MJX without seeing the propellers, the feet, or both.
We tested the MJX X102H with various camera settings and found that you need to put the GoPro in Narrow mode, with about half the field of view of Wide mode, to be able to record without seeing obstructions. The even worse news is that many action cameras don’t have the option to narrow the field of view, so you will be stuck staring at those props and feet.
Overall, the MJX X102H wins the FPV category with a better camera that can be mounted on integral isolation mounts. With a little drone upgrading, the Syma clearly beats out the MJX for high quality video capture.
The MJX X102H might be the least expensive drone of this size to come with effective altitude hold. If you are keen on altitude hold and and getting an action camera up in the air, but you are not interested in FPV, then this might be the drone for you. It will be about $40 cheaper than other options, you can check the latest price here for the base drone with no camera. It also comes with an integral isolation mount which is rare and a real bonus. Unfortunately that’s about the end of the good features of this drone. The downsides of the MJX X102H are best summarized with a list:
▪ Came to the US with a European charger
▪ Shaky drone, shaky video
▪ Can’t do flips
▪ Vibration causes excessive video artifacts
▪ Feet and downward props get in the way of wide angle video
▪ Lighter weight means less stable in wind (1 lb vs. Syma’s 1.5 lb)
▪ Shorter flight time (8-10 minutes vs. Syma’s 10-12 minutes)
Overall, we still have to recommend the Syma X8 models as a better alternative to the MJX X102H. Read our article on how to upgrade and optimize any X8 model for recording the best low-cost action camera footage possible. Here is an abbreviated list of Syma X8 options to consider as an alternative to the MJX. Click on the links to check the prices on Amazon.
▪ X8C – The cheapest option if you want to scrap the camera and use your own
▪ X8W – Just a few dollars more and it lets you play around with FPV flight. A worthwhile upgrade.
▪ X8HW – The cheapest option with altitude hold
Not sure if this is the drone for you???
No worries, Half Chrome Drones has you covered. Maybe you want an aerial photography drone, or maybe you want a fun toy. Want FPV? We’ve developed an advanced system to match you to the right drone. We call it our Half Chrome Drone Cipher™, go check it out. We also are constantly updating our Best Drones Now page to help you stay current.
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