JJRC X16 evaluate, rankings and pattern footage
The JJRC X16 is an affordable, great looking foldable drone weighing less than 200 grams. Find out in our hands-on test if a $ 100 drone can compete with the DJI Mavic Mini, which is four times more expensive. On paper, the JJRC X16 drone looks extremely promising. It has dual GPS positioning, a 6K camera and a battery life of up to 25 minutes.
In my experience, drones like the JJRC X16 Heron are very attractive when you read about them, but when you actually play with them you find that they have a lot of problems that frankly aren’t that surprising given their cheap label.
Highlights of the JJR / C X16 drone
- Compact Mavic-like design (only 16 x 10.5 x 6.2 cm with arms crossed);
- Ultralight, only 197 grams (no FAA registration required);
- Dual Positioning System (GPS + Optical Flow);
- Durable brushless motors;
- On-board 6K camera (4800 * 2700 photo and 1920 * 1080 video);
- 5 GHz WiFi real-time video transmission;
- Around 500 meters of control area;
- Up to 25 minutes of flight time.
JJRC X16 Heron Review with Pros and Cons
Disclosure: I received this foldable drone from RCGoingto test it out and do an in-depth review. Although the product was offered for free, all opinions in this article remain my own and I have not been influenced in any way by my partner.
The JJRC X16 review will be my first time working with RCG and to be honest, it was the first time I heard about it too. At first they contacted me with the intention of selling me some RC products. The product range includes drones, FPV systems, RC parts and RC cars.
In just 3 weeks after your first email, I got the package with no customs declarations or additional fees. The JJRC X16 comes in a simple but practical storage bag with CNC cut foam padding. In addition to the drone and its transmitter, a flight battery, a charging cable, a set of replacement propellers (8-blade), a screwdriver and an instruction manual were included.
At a glance
The first thing I noticed was that the X16’s propulsion system (motors and propellers) is almost identical to mine Mavic MINI Has. Instead, it has a different folding mechanism, in my opinion easier and less possible to break the arms when folding in and out. Overall, the build quality is good, but not exceptional like a DJI drone, there are even traces of glue left on the plane.
With folded arms, the aircraft measures approximately 16 × 10.5 × 6.2 cm and with outstretched, ready-to-fly arms 27.5 × 27.8 × 6.2 cm. With a charged battery it weighs 194 grams, so no FAA registration is required (at least for the moment). There are 8 landing pads at the bottom of the airframe (two on each corner) – to be honest, they look pretty bulky and don’t offer too much stability.
The power button is on the top of the drone and needs to be pressed for a few seconds to start it up. During night flights you will be assisted by four LED lights, one under each engine (blue in front, red in rear).
Initial user reviews complained that there was no micro SD card slot (on-board recording). Unfortunately, this is true :(. In addition, the angle of inclination of the camera can only be adjusted manually.
There is a second tiny camera on the stomach that acts as an optical flow sensor. A nice feature is that it can be activated in the life view and allows a floor inspection.
Price, availability and options
Now you can order this entry-level GPS drone with 28% discount for $ 107.99 – This price includes the storage bag shown in my review. You can also opt for 1 or 2 additional batteries at the checkout. The “Fly More Combo” package (3 batteries) costs an additional $ 20. You can also opt for a black or white version. Personally, I prefer light colors for my drones because they heat up less in the sun. You can save 3% with this coupon code “664QDTH7AJNX”!
JJRC X16 test: camera performance
While most JJR / C X16 banners advertise an exciting “real 6K camera”, the reality is sadly quite disappointing. There’s not even a built-in recording, all videos are recorded from the FPV footage. The recording quality is highly dependent on the WIFI signal and is affected by the distance. It is possible to set the camera angle, but only manually before starting.
Photo size, video resolution or frame rates can be adjusted, it is a noob camera. The image size is 6144 x 3456 pixels, but because of the quality I think the 6K resolution is obtained through software interpolation.
In addition to the front camera, there is the optical flow sensor at the bottom, which can also be used as a standard camera – you can even record from its point of view.
JJRC X16 test: transmitter control range
JJRC packaged the X16Heron with a nice entry-level remote that supposedly offers up to 500 meters of control distance. In addition to the usual sticks, there are 5 buttons on the front (headless mode, RTH, on / off, take-off / landing and GPS / altitude mode switch) and a detailed status LCD screen. From left to right, the following real-time telemetry data is provided: RC signal strength, airspeed, altitude, distance from RC, RC battery level, drone battery level and number of satellites.
Nevertheless, the display shows mode 1, the remote control works in mode 2 – gas on the left stick. I’ve tried many button and stick combinations but couldn’t find a way to change the working mode.
The Mavic Mini foldable antennas are fake, no real antenna in them. According to the specifications, the range should be close to 500 meters. In the open, I could fly up to 150 meters with almost zero radio noise, and after that distance the FPV signal became choppy.
JJRC X16 test: battery life
The JJRC X16 Heron is powered by a 2-cell battery with 7.6 V / 1450 mAh and has an announced flight time of up to 25 minutes. During my indoor tests, I had an average of 19 minutes of hover time, so I expect real battery life to be around 15 to 20 minutes.
The battery can be charged from any phone charger using the supplied micro USB cable. The battery has two charge indicator LEDs (green and orange). As the charging time is almost two hours, it is recommended that you purchase at least one replacement LIPO pack.
JJRC X16 test: VS GPS Pro mobile APP
To explore all the potential of the JJRC X16 drone, you need to download and install the VS GPS Pro APP on your mobile device. In addition to some basic settings, access to intelligent flight modes and the FPV view, you can take still images and record videos with the APP. The footage is saved in the phone’s memory.
The APP has a user-friendly interface. While altitude, distance, vertical and horizontal speed are displayed in the lower ribbon, the number of satellites found, the RC signal strength, the drone and the RC battery level are displayed in the upper ribbon.
In the settings menu you can activate / deactivate the beginner mode, set the maximum flight distance (20 to 300 meters), the maximum flight altitude (10 to 120 meters) and the radius (5 to 50 meters). From here you can access horizontal and compass calibrations.
On the Smart Modes screen (cube shape icon), you can reverse the lens orientation and switch between front and back cameras. Here you can access the autonomous flight modes Follow me, Surrounding and Multipoint. Here, too, you can access the “Find Drone” function, which shows the last known GPS position of your drone on a map.
JJRC X16 rating: flying experience
You will need to perform a gyro calibration prior to your flight. The APP offers you detailed step-by-step instructions for implementation. In short, first you need to pick it up and rotate it clockwise horizontally, then repeat the step again, but this time with the drone’s mouse pointing towards the sky (in a vertical position).
At the moment I’ve only done a few demo flights in my room. The X16 Heron feels easy to control and fairly stable, but its hovering performance doesn’t even come close to that Mavic Mini Has. It is constantly losing / gaining height. There is also horizontal movement from where you originally left them in the floating position.
This section will be updated with more JJRC X16 flight impressions in the following days. I plan to test the maximum altitude and the best flight range that you can get.
- Price-performance ratio
- Design and build quality
- Camera / WiFi FPV
- Battery life
I started my JJRC X16 review with great expectations, but after unpacking it and realizing that it does not have onboard recording, I am disappointed. The WIFI FPV recording is the worst quality you can get. In addition, the camera has neither a remote angle adjustment nor a cardanic stabilization.
In terms of flight performance, the X16 Heron is fairly stable and easy to control. GPS-based RTH worked well and accurately. I liked the remote control status screen. It has all the flight information you need.
In summary, the JJRC X16 is a good entry-level drone for its price, but it cannot be considered real Mavic Mini alternative. DJI’s smallest foldable drone fails in all aspects: intelligent functions, image quality, flight range and battery life.
( Be right)
- Inexpensive with a supplied case;
- FAA registration is not required under 200 grams.
- You can switch between front and abdominal cameras.
- Brushless motors instead of cheap brushed motors;
- Real-time color effects via APP;
- Low battery alarm on the RC (slow / fast beep);
- Silent operation;
- Pseudo 6K camera without onboard recording;
- No gimbal stabilization or remote angle adjustment;
- Props with screws instead of quick-release fasteners;
- Poor flight range;