Syma X5SW (In-Depth Review)

The Syma X5SW is the latest and most advanced model in Syma’s X5 range of toy-grade quadcopters. It is also the priciest in the range, although only by a small margin, and is the only model to feature FPV (First Person View) video over wifi. Priced at approximately $61, it is available in black, red or white.

The X5SW is nearly identical to its other siblings — the X5SC and X5S. The only thing that sets it apart from the other two models is the FPV-enabled camera that sports a wifi antenna which is used to broadcast FPV video. This camera is essentially the same one used in the X5SC, with an added antenna that sticks out of its rear.

In fact, the X5SW is actually a X5SC with a pimped-up camera. It is even shipped with the same transmitter, accessories and battery as the X5SC. For this reason, I feel it is unnecessary to repeat the findings of my earlier review of the X5SC-1 here.

To read the in-depth review of the X5SC-1, click here.

Some might be wondering, what is the difference between the X5SC-1 and the X5SC or the X5C-1 and the X5C? The truth is there is no difference between X5SC-1 and the X5SC. The “1” in the X5SC-1 model name is merely an indication that it is the “e-commerce” version of the X5SC. This means the X5SC-1 is shipped in a smaller box to reduce shipping costs while the X5SC comes in a larger box with a plastic handle at the top and is meant for retail shops. After all, a larger packaging means a more impressive presence for any product on a retail shelf which helps a lot in sales.

Specifications
  • Dimensions: 310 x 310 x 105mm (with prop guards)
  • Diagonal motor distance: 230mm
  • Motor size: 8 x 20mm coreless
  • Weight: 120g (with battery, camera and prop guards)
  • Flight time:
    • 6 to 8 minutes (without prop guards and camera)
    • approximately 4 minutes (with prop guards and camera turned on)
  • Battery: 3.7V 500mAh LiPo
  • Charging time: 40-45 minutes
  • Control distance: approximately 50m
  • Transmitter power: 4 x 1.5V AA batteries (not included)

FPV on a Shoestring Budget

As mentioned earlier, the Syma X5SW can broadcast FPV video over wifi. To view the FPV video, you need to first install the Syma FPV app on your smartphone. The Syma FPV app is available for both Android and Apple IOS. Users of older Android devices will be in for a nasty surprise as Syma FPV is not compatible with Android 4.0 or earlier. For this review, an Android 4.2 smartphone was used and the app worked fine on it.

Once you have installed Syma FPV on your phone, run the app and turn on the X5SW. The camera takes about 30 seconds to set up its own wifi hotspot and once it’s running, connect your phone to the hotspot to view the FPV feed from the camera via the Syma FPV app.

The X5SW comes with a phone holder that can be attached to the top of the transmitter. This makes it easier for the pilot to view the FPV feed while operating the X5SW.

Since the X5SW transmits its FPV feed over wifi, the feed suffers from a lot of lag or latency. This means video from the quad’s camera can take up to about 2 seconds before it appears on your phone screen. Such high latency means the X5SW cannot be flown entirely using FPV and should be kept within line of sight at all times. Trying to fly the X5SW by relying on FPV may result in crashes, especially when it’s flown close to buildings or trees. With a latency of anywhere between 0.3 to 2 seconds, trying to avoid hitting a tree or wall is simply not possible.

Latency is hardly noticeable when the X5SW is flown within meters of your smartphone but as it gets further and further away, the latency gets worse. At about 50 meters, the latency becomes so bad that the video feed ends up looking like a slideshow of images being transmitted from the camera.

The X5SW is not a quadcopter meant for fast FPV racing. However, the FPV feature can be useful when you need to do things like align and frame a shot. The live FPV feed also means you don’t need to land the quad first before you can view what you have recorded. This makes the X5SW a highly affordable “flying camera” that allows people, for instance, to do live surveys of their properties from the air or to help in searching for missing livestock.

Unlike the X5SC and the X5C, the X5SW does not record videos or photos onto a micro SD card on its camera. Instead, recording is done on the smartphone via the Syma FPV app. This is a weak point in the X5SW’s FPV feature, particularly when you consider that the video transmission can suffer from really bad latency.

Flight Time

With its camera attached, the X5SW suffers from a very short flight time, especially when using the supplied 500mAh battery. With the supplied battery, flight time with FPV is approximately 4 minutes only. Using larger 750mAh batteries can increase flight times to 5 or 6 minutes which is still somewhat short. This is mainly because the camera draws a lot of power when transmitting its FPV feed. However, with the camera removed, the X5SW enjoys similar flight times as the X5SC and X5C.

Conclusion

The Syma X5SW throws many extremes into one package. On one hand, it costs only $61 and is the only model in Syma’s X5 range that features FPV. It is also one of the cheapest toy-grade quadcopters in the market that features FPV. On the other hand, its FPV feature is poorly implemented and suffers from a few drawbacks. The X5SW also suffers from the infamous “wind bug” issue that was covered in my earlier review of the X5SC-1. However, when one considers that drones with proper FPV features cost 10 to 20 times more than the X5SW, one can easily ignore its shortcomings.

As mentioned earlier, the X5SW is essentially a X5SC with a FPV camera and a new model name. This means it has all the good features seen in the X5SC such as a well designed and spacious battery compartment, tall landing legs and enclosed motors and pinion gears. If you can live without FPV, then you might want to consider the X5SC which costs a few dollars less and has better flight times. However, if you absolutely must have FPV, then the X5SW is one of the most affordable quadcopters out there that offers this feature, albeit with a few flaws that I believe many beginners can live with.

The Syma X5SW can be purchased from Banggood for $52.



Syma X5SW

Syma X5SW
7.1

Affordability

9/10

Reliability

8/10

Features and Performance

6/10

Flight time

5/10

Build quality

8/10

Pros

  • Stable and easy to fly
  • Tall landing legs
  • Affordable FPV
  • Well-designed body

Cons

  • FPV suffers from high latency
  • Wind bug problem
  • Below average flight times

Adrin Sham

Adrin Sham is a designer and photographer turned drone enthusiast. Since buying a drone for aerial photography some years ago, he has since developed a passion for UAVs and all things related.

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36 Responses

  1. Quadfly says:

    This aircraft does not deserve 7/10 points in “Features and Performance” and much less so an overall score of 8. The short flight times and the reduced radio range are nearly inconsequential when put next to the “wind bug”, but they all add up nicely.

    As an “upgrade” to the Syma X5, this variant is a monstrous disappointment and Syma needs true incentive to release an upgraded version, which fixes the wind bug and gets a larger capacity battery. A harsher review would get the point across to them faster.

  2. Bryan Beebe says:

    I have the syma 5sw and it will record but will not play back. Keeps saying unfortunately syma fpv has stopped. I have a Samsung Note 4. I’m very displeased with this. Would love to get my money back but it was a gift and have no receipt for it. what a piece of crap

    • admin says:

      This is exactly why manufacturers should stop making WiFi drones that record photos or videos on a smartphone. They should just stick to the tried and tested method — saving the files on a memory card in the camera itself.

      • Quadfly says:

        Whose bright idea was it to use WiFi range frequencies for the newfangled 2.4 GHz protocols? That’s the real issue in my opinion, because it inevitably degrades both the video feed and the control link.

        If drones used, for example, 2.5 GHz we may not have had the short range and video lag problems we have today.

  3. ali says:

    Big disappointment, just to echo another user, seriously a piece of crab. This shit should be removed from the market place asap and SYMA should be fined heavily and forced by authorities not to make any more crab.

  4. Kroll says:

    I just bought x5sw yesterdey. I flew it. Stability during hovering is really great if without wind. Came with 2 modes of control, high and low. High is good for aggressive pilot while low is suitable for beginners. Do not fly higher in strong winds you may lost control on it. 50m was a max range it can go. Overall affordable for beginner.

  5. Thanks for the well-written review.

    I have to agree, it’s quite expensive to get into fpv. So, one should have realistic expectations. With a handful of larger lipos, the short flight time is not really an issue.

    As long as you keep the quadcopter close to you and cruise around slowly, it can be a rewarding experience.

    By removing the camera, you can enjoy longer flights.

  6. Daz says:

    Is there anyway You can share videos after filming? ……..The App does not seem to let you Do this simple feature.

    • Quadfly says:

      To my knowledge the videos are stored in a hidden “SYMA_V” folder. Use a file explorer app to find and unhide this folder and copy the video files from it.

  7. Anthony says:

    I need help! I bought my syma x5sw a couple of days ago,all in shape,the packaging not damaged, but the transmitter will not connect to the quadcopter. The batteries for the quadcopter and the batteries for the transmitter is good, but it just won’t connect!

    • Quadfly says:

      Anthony, I know this is a very late reply but you should replace your defective X5SW at the store (if possible). If I were you I’d try to get a refund and then buy a Syma X8W instead.

      The X5S family suffers from very bad flight performance outdoors, while the X8 doesn’t. The WiFi camera will be totally useless when the slightest breeze will blow your X5SW away like a kite.

  8. Geo says:

    Such a waste of money, claiming that the camera is hd but i dont see any hd on it its pixelated and dark and laggy and very expensive. I paid more than 4000 for the cheap low quality camera.

  9. Joe King says:

    Be careful when choosing a Syma copter.

    The X5C-1 is a wee bit smaller than its successors. Apparently it has 7mm motors as its successors have 8.5mm.

    I found this when trying to repair a ‘similar’ model.
    Parts buyer beware. (And be informed)

  10. Travis says:

    This was a fair review considering the price ofs wind bug and it would be recommendable, but those two horrible cons really make this one a deal breaker. such equipment, but if we threw price out the window, this would fail every aspect. The camera is considerably less quality than the non-wifi version, and hardly usable for anything at all. You mentioned all the other cons so i wont list them yet again but really this is nothing more than a novelty. I don’t think we should give companies a break because their product doesn’t cost much, many companies sell outstanding products for insanely cheap, in the quadcopter world the eachine h8 mini comes to mind, absolute beast of a quad yet $14 shipped rtf. I believe this quad really just comes down to cutting corners in the wrong spots, it needs a better lag free wifi connection and better software to get rid of the infamous wind bug. Those two cons really add up to a deal breaker.

  11. Elvis says:

    I’s the Syma X5SW Plus available on Amazon any better than the “normal” X5SW. Or it is just a different color?

    http://www.amazon.com/6-Axis-Headless-Quadcopter-Drone-Camera/dp/B015JUZ1HW

    • admin says:

      I’m not sure if the X5SW Plus is any better than the X5SW. It does appear to be a gimmicky “upgrade” of the X5SW especially when you notice the text on the box that says “Exclusive design by RX Aerio, upgraded by TurboTech” but don’t notice any significant changes.

      Based on the product photos there doesn’t seem to be any significant upgrade on the outside apart from the new color scheme so I’m not sure what “exclusive design” or “upgrade” they’re talking about. Externally, it looks identical to the X5SW.

      The product description does mention “stronger wind resistance” so maybe they finally nailed the wind bug problem with this new X5SW? Only a proper review can answer this question..

  12. Guillermo says:

    What kind of review is this if you do not test the Drone? I think the wind bug can be a deal breaker if you go to the beach or “outdoors”

    • admin says:

      If you read this review in full, you will know that it was tested and flown. I’m not sure where you got the idea that it wasn’t tested at all.

      And yes, Syma can surely make the X5SW better if they got rid of the wind bug.

  13. Johnny Slapman says:

    Pros – you can crash it into just about anything and it will survive. With very minimal wind, if you remove the landing gear, camera, and prop guards, is fun to fly. Very stable flyer. Good for beginner. Highly recommend modding Tx and also Rx for increased range. Also, grab a 6 pack of 720 lipos.

    Cons – wifi camera runs on 2.4 Ghz, same as Tx and Rx, and causes interference to both. Dramatically decreased range if you try to use camera. They should not market as fpv as it cannot be flown fpv. Wind Bug is horrible with winds over 5-7 mph.

    Conclusion: IF they would fix the wind bug software issue, change the camera to 5.8 Ghz, and add a real antenna to Tx… would be a good buy at current price. Remove camera, legs, and prop guards, and throw in a larger lipo battery, and you will have fun with this quad if no wind exists.

  14. Terry says:

    For what you pay this drone is AWESOME i love mine it looks cool and flys good if you have doubts about it goto radio shack and demo fly some JUNK that costs twice as much i did some simple antenna mods using some wifi antennas off an old linksys router and the thing about video lag is it depends on your device i have tried it with four different cell phones and it really dose depend on the phone you connect it to my Motorola droid turbo two has virtually no lag where my other phones expeshley my HTC Desire 510 where the fpv looked like it was taking one picture a second so its not the drones fault your device has a crappy wifi antenna and not enuff cpu power to run everything the only downside i had is one of my motors died shortly after i got it but i replaced all four motors and back up i go 🙂 here is the video of me doing a break in flight after my motor replacement connected to my droid turbo two https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLdbSAh6LSs

  15. Gabrielle says:

    Pretty great drone at its affordability and performance. But the battery didn’t improve, still looks like Syma X5C or X5SC. Over all, I would say this drone is pretty nice but I suffer from FPV latency like .50 seconds to 3 seconds sometimes.

  16. merry says:

    Hello Sir/Madam,

    Hope you are doing very well!

    This is Steven from Shenzhen SAMCONN company, we mainly supply RC Quadcopter items.

    Now we’d recommend you below HOT RC quadcopter X5C model, please check as below, we are sure they will be hot sale in your side:

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    360 roll
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    HD camera included
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    This model is the #1 best seller on Amazon. With so low price, I’m sure you will make much money from this model .So please feek free to contact us, We will be here for you always!

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    Skype: samconn.sales2

  17. Nick says:

    Maybe you can tell me why when I am just beginning to lift off the ground it wants to fly away in one direction and will not just hover? I cant get it to compensate it just wants to zoom off in one direction. I have tried the horizontal correcting function and correcting forward direction per manual to no avail any help would be great thanks!

    • Adrin Sham says:

      Looks like a faulty transmitter. Can you take a photo of the LCD screen when your transmitter is turned on? And send the photo to info at thedronefiles.net.

      Do you see any of the trim levels on the LCD screen at maximum rate?

      • Nick says:

        Hey man thanks for the reply found a bad motor one of the cw ones is burning hot and randomly stops I found replacements online for very cheap thanks again for your help.

  18. Nick says:

    Hey thanks for the reply I will send them asap.

  19. Levan says:

    Hi, The controller does not pair with the quadcopter “Syma X5SW” . When I do it the quadcopter is all the time blinking. Please see the video link below:

    https://youtu.be/0KYOLloPvu0

    Could you please give some solution.
    Thanks

    • Adrin Sham says:

      I notice your right control stick trims are set to 100% forward (full pitch down) and 100% left (roll left). Did you set these trims or were they like this when you first used the transmitter? Try setting the trims for the right control stick to center them. If you can’t adjust the trims for your right control stick, then I think you have a faulty transmitter.

      This is probably a manufacturing defect and I personally see such problems (full trim on pitch down, for example) in at least 1 out of 20 toy drones. You should show this video to your seller and ask them to ship another transmitter to you or try to resolve the problem some other way. There is nothing much you can do when the transmitter is faulty.

      IMHO, I’ve seen more transmitter defects than drone defects. Whenever I get a manufacturing defect, it’s usually the transmitter.

  20. Don Steinweg says:

    One of my motors burned out on the X5SW. I want to replace it. The instruction manual calls it either an X5SW-06A or an X5SW-06B by the diagram (rotating motor or reversing motor) but there is no way to identify which one this is. The motor is not labelled. Two of the motors have a white top, the other two have a black top (a black-topped one is defective). 1. Which part-number should I order? and 2. Where do I turn to order one?

  21. Relativeflyer says:

    I just saw the SYMA X5UC on sale at Geekbuying, it looks pretty cool.

  22. droner says:

    Hi. I have problems connecting app to camera. My phone connects on to the drone wifi fine. Camera blinks red but it wont change to green light and i cant use camera at all.

    • Adrin Sham says:

      I assume you can’t see any video feed on your phone from the drone’s camera. In that case, it is probably a faulty camera module. You’ll need to replace it.

  23. R.j says:

    hi all. i just want to share my experience with Syma X5SW-1 Quadcopter.

    Bought it a month ago and i enjoy play with it. At first, flying this quadcopter i face difficulty too to control the drone. Then i realize the “Wind Bug”. As to resolve this i’d modified my transmitter to boost it coverage. Please refer to tutorial in youtube to modify your transmitter range.

    You cant fight the wind but at least you don’t want to lose control of your drone.
    For me, when my drone hit by the wind and to avoid it to fly away with the wind, first thing i will do is pull the throttle down to zero, as the result your drone will lose power and fall down AND for 2 or 3 seconds pull FULL Throttle to restore it power and regain altitude. You don’t want your drone to fall off to bushes or someone head.
    At lower altitude you still have a chance to gain control of your drone and make it return safely. I face this problem many times and i get to use to it.

    For the laggy FPS ?
    I’ve changed the camera to higher performance one and you’ll get Real-Time FPV. Best thing about Syma X5sw-1, i flew this drone around 30m to 50m high and purposely drop it to the ground and it still in one piece. Try not to drop it onto cement, i haven’t tested it yet. 😀 LOL

    Short period Fly ?
    Buy a higher capacity LIPO Batteries. There is 3.7v 1200Mah battery out there and maybe it may extend your flight time from 5 minutes to 15 minutes.

    The end. Just for sharing.

    • sebi says:

      Hi, I was flying the x5sw in a mountain (I was a beginner) and I loosed it flying it, then I was looking for it, by using the wifi of the cámara with the whone on my iphone, I found it was like new, it didn’t had any damage, you should have put 10/10 in the Build Cuality of the X5SW. This thing is awesome!

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