Yuneec Typhoon H: A Unique Hexacopter
The Yuneec Typhoon H is an award-winning drone that is capable of taking professional quality video. It picked up the “Best of Class” at the 2016 Consumer Electronic Show (CES). The Yuneec is uniquely designed. Its six propellers set it apart from the standard quadcopters that dominate the market. Unlike competitive drones, like the DJI Phantom 4, the Typhoon has a gimbal that can rotate 360 degrees.
The Typhoon also stands out for its raising landing gear, which is a feature common only on more expensive drones. The low camera and raised landing gear keep the camera view clear of obstructions for 360° of camera rotation and even a little look-up angle.
The Yuneec hexacopter was built to be portable and the propellers were designed for quick removal. The drone folds up and fits into a specially designed backpack for fast and easy transportation. Despite their best efforts, there is no doubt that Phantom is a bit more portable. Of course, the DJI Mavic is the ultimate in portability, blowing all other high-end drones out of the sky. But we digress. If you are looking for a full-featured drone to capture excellent videos then the Yuneec Typhoon H is a good choice and an excellent value.
The first thing you will notice about the Yuneec Typhoon H is the 6 propeller design. Not only does it look awesome, like something out of a Sci-Fi film, but it has a safety advantage. If one of the motors stops working the drone will safely land itself with the remaining five. This drone uses intelligent front sonar sensors to help avoid obstacles. Unfortunately, in order to get the high-quality stereo camera obstacle tracking system seen on the DJI Phantom 4, you will need to fork out a hefty extra sum of about $400.
Yuneec calls the obstacle avoidance upgrade the “Intel Real Sense system”. Given that this system is tied to a partnership with Intel, we are not sure how scalable this will be for future releases while maintaining an affordable drone. DJI has already doubled down on stereo sensing with the Phantom 4 Pro using their own in-house technology. You can be sure future releases from DJI will include even more sensing capability.
The Yuneec Typhoon H has a flight time of 25 minutes and has a range of up to one mile. The field of view on its 4K camera is 98 degrees and the camera will take 12.4 MP still photos. The Yuneec can fly up to speeds of 43.5 mph (70kph.) We were disappointed to see that the battery has little to no intelligence. This is a major downside which affects usability as well as charging safety and battery life.
The real reason you want a Yuneec Typhoon is to capture pictures and video. With the retractable landing gear out of the way, you have the ability to rotate the 4K camera 360 degrees on its 3 axis gimbal. You can even work with a partner to get the perfect shot. You can man the drone while your partner operates the camera. The Yuneec Typhoon H can capture slow motion 1080p in a fast 120 fps. Some might find the lifting legs and spinning camera to be a bit overkill for this drone that does not have any option for a camera upgrade.
If you are willing to dedicate two people to capturing the perfect shot then you probably want the perfect camera, and the Typhoon H camera may not provide the performance that the pro is looking for. There are some who complain about the Yuneec’s image quality and image distortion (fisheye effect), but we don’t see evidence of this in the footage that we see. It looks like Yuneec largely corrected the image distortion in a firmware upgrade. You can judge for yourself in our test shot, shown below. What you get now is an immersive wide image. The horizontal field of view on the Typhoon H is an immersive 84° (20 mm equivalent focal length) as compared to the 74°(24 mm equivalent) of the Phantom 4 Pro.
The remote transmitter of the Typhoon H has a built-in 7-inch video screen. You won’t have to rely on a smartphone or tablet to get the 720p video feed from your drone. Like the redundant 6-prop design, the integrated screen increases the Typhoon’s safety score. You won’t need to worry about a phone call from mom interrupting your flight if you forget to put your phone in airplane mode. Mom can pester you later to ask when she will finally get grandchildren. In order to have a partner operate the camera, the Typhoon H can pair to two remotes or to just a single standard remote and a smaller “Wizard” remote. The Wizard can also be used as a GPS beacon in Follow Me mode.
The Yuneec Typhoon has the flight modes that you have come to expect on a high-end drone. It, of course, has an intelligent return home feature. You can operate in Follow Me mode, Orbit mode, Point of Interest as well as Cable Cam mode. It will even take dronies or drone selfies in Journey mode. While these are features that you will find on most high-end drones, few of them offer the intelligent obstacle avoidance sensors that the Yuneec Typhoon H can.
Watch some examples of the different flight modes and features of the Typhoon H
If you are looking for a portable drone that takes superb video the Yuneec Typhoon H is an excellent option. The 360 degree 3 axis gimbal is a feature that is hard to find on a drone in this price range. If you are looking at drones around the $1000 price point, the DJI Mavic Pro and the DJI Phantom 4 are drones that you should take a hard look at.
The Mavic wins on portability and features while the DJI Phantom 4 likely beats the Typhoon in image quality and certainly in simplicity. Both DJI drones have more mature software and open ecosystems. Any of these drones are excellent choices and it is hard to go wrong with any of them. You can read more about the DJI Mavic here or the Phantom 4 here.
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