Syma X5C-1 Upgraded Version (In-Depth Review)
Ever since Syma released the venerable X5C in 2013, it quickly became the standard by which all other sub-$100, 230mm-sized toy-grade quadcopters were compared against. The X5C quickly gained a large following thanks to its stability, affordability and ease of use. Roughly a year after it was released, Syma came up with the so-called upgraded version of the X5C and named it the X5C-1. Along with the X5C-1 came a few other iterations based on the “X5” platform — the X5SC, X5SC-1, X5S and X5SW.
Oddly enough, the X5C-1 isn’t much of an upgrade when compared to the earlier X5C. This comes as no surprise since the original X5C was already a very good quadcopter with tremendous value to begin with. Also, not much has changed in the technology used by sub-$100 quadcopters since the release of the X5C. The X5C-1 still flies like its predecessor, is capable of doing the same flips and take photos and videos with its little HD 720P camera. What has changed, however, is the size of its box (to reduce shipping costs) and the placement of its camera and function buttons on the transmitter.
- Dimensions: 310 x 310 x 80mm (with prop guards)
- Diagonal motor distance: 230mm
- Motor size: 7 x 20mm coreless
- Weight: 103g (with battery and prop guards)
- Flight time: 6 to 8 minutes (without prop guards)
- Battery: 3.7V 500mAh Li Po
- Charging time: 40-45 minutes
- Control distance: approximately 50m
- Transmitter power: 4 x 1.5V AA batteries (not included)
Syma is well known for producing stable and reliable toy-grade quadcopters. The X5C-1 is a classic example of Syma quality and stability and is great fun to fly. If you have flown other sub-$100 quadcopters before, you’ll notice that the X5C-1 seems to perform a little bit better when it comes to handling and stability. Everything seems to be dialed in better in the X5C-1, making almost every flight a smooth affair with no nasty surprises. And I swear it’s also a little bit quieter than most other similar sized quadcopters.
Toy-grade quadcopters such as the X5C-1 are meant for beginners and they also make excellent trainer drones. The X5C-1 is good at taking abuse, particularly when you have the prop guards on. This makes the X5C-1 ideal for keeping your piloting skills sharp. If you’ve not been flying that $3,000 Inspire 1 for a few weeks, bringing the X5C-1 out for a few training flights to refresh those flying skills is always a good idea.
Enclosed battery compartments and power switches have become standard in toy-grade quadcopters these days and the X5C-1 is no exception to this trend. A tiny power switch at the back along with an enclosed battery bay at the bottom, gives the X5C-1 a neat look.
The X5C-1 also comes shipped with an extra set of propellers, a 500mAh 3.7V battery with USB charger, a screwdriver, a micro SD card reader, transmitter, user manual and a 4GB micro SD card.
As mentioned earlier, the X5C-1 is very stable in the air and is perhaps one of the most stable toy-grade quadcopters in the market today. Hovering is easy and the bright LED lights do a great job in orientation (when the sun is not too bright). The 7mm coreless motors provide enough thrust for some decent flying and flight time is about 5 to 6 minutes with prop guards on. Getting more flight time out of the X5C-1 is as simple as removing the prop guards which can extend your flight time by about 1 or 2 minutes using the supplied 500mAh battery.
When shooting a video and flying at the same time, flight time goes down to a measly 4 or 5 minutes. To fly longer, get a battery with a larger capacity such as the Turnigy Nano-Tech 750mAh 35C which can boost flight time up significantly. One thing to remember if you decide to purchase the Nano-Tech 750mAh is that the battery’s connector is in reverse polarity to the one on the X5C-1. To use this battery on the X5C-1, you need to reverse the polarity of its connector. Failure to do this will result in permanent damage to the circuit board.
Flight speeds on the X5C-1 come in two modes — High and Low. Low speed mode makes the quad easier to control and is ideal for beginners and especially if you’re flying in tight indoor spaces. If you’re looking for a bit of excitement, then switch to high speed mode and watch the X5C-1 zip around at a faster rate. To toggle between Low and High speed modes, press the button on the upper left of the transmitter.
The X5C-1 also does the usual flips. To perform a flip, simply press the button located on the upper right side of the transmitter and then move the right stick in the direction you want the quad to flip.
The X5C-1 comes with a 2MP camera that is capable of taking HD 720P videos. Being a sub-$100 quadcopter, the camera is nothing to shout about. However, for its price, the camera takes some pretty decent videos and photos. If you’re looking for a cheap quadcopter to inspect your roof, get an aerial view of your crops or to simply have a different visual perspective of your neighborhood, then the X5C-1 won’t disappoint.
There is one issue I would like to point out here — the camera is screwed onto the battery door which is a bit flimsy and flexes a lot. Accessing the battery compartment means pushing the camera (and battery door) backwards before pulling it up. Since there is so much flex in the battery door, opening and closing the battery compartment may require a bit of practice to get used to.
The X5C-1 transmitter won’t win any awards when it comes to aesthetics, looking like a gadget from a 1980s sci-fi movie. However, it does its job well enough. The spring-loaded control sticks are a nice touch and a small LCD screen at the bottom displays information such as battery level, trim levels, yaw rate, throttle level, etc. On the left and right of the LCD display are some gimmicky “buttons” that don’t do anything.
The transmitter is powered by 4 AA batteries (not included) and has a control range of about 50m. Some enthusiasts have come up with hacks to extend the transmitter range well over 50m.
The Syma X5C-1 is a quadcopter that is remarkably stable and a lot of fun to fly. It also makes an excellent trainer drone that you can crash over and over again without worrying too much. Add to that a 2MP camera and a price tag of less than $100 and it becomes no surprise why the X5C-1 is now a must-have quadcopter for both beginners and seasoned pilots.
It isn’t perfect, though, considering that it has a rather flimsy battery door that can be a bit hard to use. Its conventional x-shape body and rather ugly transmitter may not be features to shout about too but the X5C-1 more than makes up for its weaknesses with its reliability, affordability and not to forget, truly enjoyable flight performance.
Click here to purchase the Syma X5C-1 at GearBest.
Syma X5C-1 Upgraded Version
Features and Performance8/10
- Exceptionally stable
- Easy and fun to fly
- Takes abuse very well
- Highly affordable
- Decent camera for the price
- Flimsy battery door
- Average flight times
- Ugly transmitter