Any thoughts anyone got one?
I’ve been looking at the Yuneec range recently (Had bought and paid for a Yuneec H920 on eBay until the seller cancelled the order).
The Blade is effectively a rebodied Yuneec Typhoon Q500 marketed by Horizon Hobby and ii’s a discontinued product
Their controllers are nice, having an Android-based tablet built-in, no separate phone needed. However it’s not either easy or advisable to try and load Android apps- the performance of the controllers is quite limited compared to modern smartphones.
The Yuneec Blade Chroma is a 2015 design and bears a lot of similarity to a DJI Phantom 3 or 4. With the 4K camera, which I believe is a good performer, it is on a par with the P3 Pro. Prices on eBay seem to be similar to P3 / 4. Battery life is supposed to be good but Yuneec seems to have a habit of using odd-shaped batteries for which there is no easy equivalent when the Yunneec range is discontinued
The big downside for me, a contrarian who enjoys bucking the trend, is that although Yuneec-designed products are good to fly manually third-party apps and accessories are fairly scarce and there is little or no upgrade path. I like the convenience of pre flight planning and setting up a waypoint mission (Litchi, Google Earth) and post-flight analysis (Airdata UAV)
There is a reason that DJI has, from memory, an 80% market share and Yuneec has 5%. Much as I hate to steer someone into the path of conformity my recommendation would be to stick with DJI products - Phantom 3 or 4 Pro or Mavic Air at around the prices asked for Blades or, new, the Mavic Mini should prove more longlasting, maintainable and economical than the Chroma Blade.
I have three Blade Chroma’s and a Yuneec Q500.
Two of the Chroma’s I bought as a job lot off of Shpock for £200. One was boxed with the CGO2+ camera which is 1080p with corrective optics to combat curvature, the other didn’t have a controller or camera but had the 5GHz module for a GoPro camera. I was able to purchase a new Yuneec 3axis GoPro gimbal off eBay for less than £20 from a model shop in a Germany.
The third Blade Chroma was bought off eBay for £120 as spares or repair but came with the 4K CGO3 camera, three batteries, backpack, and loads of spares. The original owner explained that it flew erratically and he’d been quoted £300 for a replacement flight controller board. However when it arrived I found the problem was actually the RC controller which just needed a squirt of switch cleaner in the gimbals and the controls recalibrating.
I do like the Blade Chroma for its simplicity and stability. They are not the most agile of quads being fairly slow compared to the Phantom but they do hold their own in strong winds. Both the the CGO2+ and CGO3 cameras produce very nice video and stills and the gimbals are very smooth and rock solid.
The Yuneec Q500 was another eBay purchase (£100 boxed with RC controller but no camera) The original owner claimed he couldn’t use it due to the no fly zones embedded in the firmware. Yuneec were overly protective and had placed 5 mile radius no fly zones into the flight controllers. This can be defeated quite easily by editing the firmware but an even easier method was to just ask Yuneec for a revised firmware.
The Yuneec Q500 uses most of the same hardware as the Chroma as Yuneec made the Chroma for Horizon Hobbies. It does have larger, but lower Kv, motors and spins 13inch props, the Chroma spins 9 or 10inch I can’t remember at the moment, and is a larger airframe so has greater stability. As the RC controller has GPS they all can do “followme” mode. The optional Wizard Wand also has GPS and I’ve used this to successfully follow it when attached to another RC model.
If you hunt around you can find many of the optional extras quite cheap. I was able to obtain a new Yuneec CGO3 camera for $100 and a new Wizard Wand for $30 from an eBay shop in the States. I also bought a SteadyGrip/GoPro Gimbal combo in a hard case direct from Yuneec Europe for €35.
Batteries for both the Q500 and the Chroma are still readily available from third party manufacturers. There’s also a 3D print available for the Q500 which allows you to use a regular 5000mAh LiPo. I have one and it works without any issues with my Multistar batteries.
By today’s standards they are considered very basic, no autonomous modes except followme, but they still hold their own when it comes to stability, and the CGO3 has a Pro mode where all parameters - shutter speed, ISO, White Balance, Colour Balance - can be manually adjusted and stills can be shot in RAW as well as JPEG.
Wow! Information overload, you guys are so knowledgeable thank you