MJX X601H (In-Depth Review)
The X601H is a new 290-size hexacopter and is part of the latest lineup of toy drones by MJX which were released just over a month ago. MJX is a new brand in the toy drone market that’s fast gaining popularity lately thanks to its growing line of highly affordable products that combine sporty designs and smart features.
Priced at $69.99 (at GearBest), the X601H stays true to MJX’s approach in making sophisticated toy drones affordable. It not only offers the standard features found in the latest sub-$100 toy drones such as altitude hold, it also sports waypoint navigation. Though not exactly class-leading, the X601H is probably one of the first toy drones to sport this autonomous feature.
With a size of 290mm (measured between motors) and a total of 6 motors paired to 135mm propellers, the X601H is quite an imposing sight for a toy drone, especially when you have all six prop guards attached.
It has the appearance of a stealth fighter bomber thanks to its all matte black finishing (it is also available in gold). Overall, the X601H has a very sporty look that I’m sure will appeal to many.
- Dimensions: 455 x 410 x 135mm
- Type: Hexacopter
- Motor distance: 290mm
- Motors: 8.5mm (size) paired to 135mm propellers
- Weight: 190g (with battery and camera)
- Flight time: 8 to 10 minutes
- Battery: 7.4V 700mAh 2S Li Po
- Charging time: 120 minutes
- Control distance: approximately 50 to 100m
- Transmitter power: 4 x 1.5V AA batteries (not included)
Each of its motor arms has an LED light underneath — two orange lights for the rear-facing arms and four blue lights for the remaining ones. This brings the total to 6 LED lights that give the X601H very clear visibility when flying at night.
The battery bay is located underneath the fuselage and houses a 7.4V 700mAh 2S battery. There is a large opening at the end of the bay which allows you to leave the battery connector exposed at the rear. This allows the battery to be charged without having to remove it first — a setup which is good for pilots who have only one battery to use with their X601H.
If you don’t like leaving the battery connector dangling at the rear, it can be tucked into the battery bay. The battery door itself is secured by a very small screw. If you want to bring a bunch of batteries with you when flying the X601H, it is possible to permanently remove this screw for quick access to the battery. The door can still be closed securely without the screw.
The X601H was designed primarily as a flying camera. With that said, it does not fly around like an aggressive sport flier despite having 6 motors. This is one drone that was designed to cruise around steadily in the air for taking videos and photos.
What the hexacopter platform does is provide a very stable drone that is more resistant to wind turbulence when compared to a quadcopter of similar size. The 6 motors work together to smooth out any in-flight roughness. The result is a toy drone that flies very well and is less choppy than its quadcopter counterparts. I’ve flown the X601H in light to moderate winds and it handled like a charm although it did show some signs of struggling.
The X601H did, however, display some yaw drift which I found hard to correct even after trimming the control stick. It takes about 20 to 30 seconds of flying before the yaw drift becomes noticeable.
The X601H can also perform flips, which interestingly, are executed very well compared to other toy drones that feature altitude hold such as the Syma X5HW. Despite its much larger size, the X601H takes up less airspace and is less clumsy when flipping. It does get a bit clumsy when flipping in windy conditions, plunging slightly though not as bad as the Syma X5HW or JXD 510G.
Altitude hold is implemented very well and the X601H can hold its altitude within a tight envelope of just 1 to 2 feet in calm flying conditions. It starts to struggle a bit in windy conditions where it will start drifting up or down within an envelope of about 3 to 5 feet.
Altitude hold makes flying a drone so much easier. To keep its altitude consistent, a barometer in the drone is used to keep track on air pressure. The X601H attempts to keep this air pressure reading consistent by adjusting its propulsion accordingly to compensate for altitude gains or loss.
On the pilot’s side, keeping the X601H hovering steadily in the air at a set altitude is very simple — just let go of the throttle stick at 50% and the barometer will work its magic, helping the X601H maintain its altitude. To make things easier for the pilot, the throttle stick has been configured to be self-centering at 50% which is the level needed to hover the drone. Moving the drone up or down is as simple as increasing throttle power or reducing it.
Besides altitude hold, the X601H also includes other autonomous features such as waypoint navigation and automatic landing.
MJX H App
The MJX H app gives you control of various MJX drones via WiFi and also allows you to view video downlinks from the drones. As a controller, the app emulates a conventional transmitter with left and right control sticks and a host of buttons for features such as “engine start”, “take off” and “land”. The app is also used to plot flight paths which can be drawn on your smartphone screen.
Although using a smartphone to pilot a drone sounds cool, it is not a substitute to using a proper RC transmitter. A smartphone lacks the tactile feel of real transmitter control sticks and this can make piloting a drone somewhat difficult. Besides functioning as a transmitter, the app also allows you to view video feed from the X601H as well as take photos and videos via the drone’s camera.
The MJX H app is available for both Android and iOS. Interestingly, the app is not available at Google Play and the Apple App Store (although old versions of it can be found at Google Play). To download the app, you need to visit the MJX website at www.mjxrc.com and look for the app under the Download section.
Waypoint navigation is a key feature that sets the X601H apart from its rivals. Since the X601H does not come with GPS, the feature should not be confused with the more sophisticated GPS-assisted feature in more advanced drones such as the Phantom 4.
The X601H executes flight plans created in the MJX H app by estimating the distance it needs to fly along the X and Y axis to complete a flight plan. The feature does not allow you to set altitude information in the flight plan (throttle control is made available on the app screen when the drone is flying autonomously so the pilot can manually control its altitude).
Bear in mind that when the X601H flies autonomously, it has no idea where it is exactly so its flight is done entirely by estimating its location on the X and Y axis. A number of factors such as strong winds can ruin a flight plan so it is important to keep an eye on the drone when it is on autopilot.
It may seem easy to execute a flight plan for the X601H just by looking at the screenshot above, however, my experience was quite the opposite. To use waypoint navigation, the drone must first be in the air. A flight plan can be executed by drawing a flight path on the Waypoint screen. Herein lies the problem.
Unlike other autopilot apps such as Mission Planner, MJX H does not allow you to create a flight path, save it and then upload it to the drone for execution. In other words, MJX H does not have a button that says “Execute Flight Plan” in its Waypoint feature. Drawing any line on the Waypoint screen will immediately cause the X601H to start flying along the path.
To make matters worse, the right control stick is not present on the Waypoint screen (only the throttle stick is available). This means you only have control over the drone’s altitude and yaw but not its movement on the X or Y axis (forward/backward or left/right). The absence of the right stick can cause a lot of problems, especially when there is an air current present which can cause the X601H to drift away.
With no right stick, there is no way you can bring the drone back from drifting away unless you exit the Waypoint screen to gain access on both control sticks. This will certainly put you in a hairy situation if you want to prevent the drone from drifting away and colliding with a person or object nearby. With that said, the waypoint feature in the X601H is best used only in open wide spaces such as a large field.
3D Virtual Reality
When it was first launched, one of the key features of the X601H that was highlighted is its ability to produce 3D Virtual Reality video. Unfortunately, this feature appears to be more of a gimmick than anything else.
The 3D VR mode can be turned on in the MJX H app which converts the drone’s FPV feed into stereoscopic vision. A 3D VR headset is needed for proper viewing. Although the app allows you to view FPV feed using a 3D VR headset, the “converted” video itself does not have any perceivable depth of field or 3D quality to it. In fact, there is no difference between the 3D VR video feed and any regular FPV video feed.
What the app’s 3D feature does is to merely allow you to view the FPV video feed using a 3D VR headset.
The X601H comes with a WiFi FPV camera that is capable of taking 0.3MP stills and videos which can be saved via the MJX H app. Lens tilt angle can also be adjusted. Being a sub-$100 toy drone, the camera obviously features cheap optics which are nowhere close to matching the optics of a proper camera.
It is, however, good enough if you just want to experience FPV flying or are looking for a cheap introduction into aerial photography. Image quality is identical to other toy drones in the sub-$100 segment.
The camera is attached at the bottom of the drone and can be removed when not in use. This can save weight and increase flight times.
Despite a gimmicky 3D VR feature and quirky waypoint navigation, there is a lot to like about the MJX X601H. It is easily one of the most well-rounded toy drones in the sub-$100 segment today.
Overall, the X601H is in a class with few rivals, being a hexacopter. It also flips remarkably well for a drone that has altitude hold and has a really good looking exterior.
There are only a handful of toy-grade hexacopters that compete directly against the X601H such as the LiDi RC L6F and Huajun W609. Although the LiDi and Huajun both feature 5.8G FPV which is superior to WiFi FPV, they both lack altitude hold and waypoint navigation — two features which give the X601H an edge over its rivals.
With a price of $69.99, the X601H is a very compelling option for anyone looking for a medium-size toy hexacopter in the sub-$100 price range. Since receiving it, the X601H has quickly become one of my favorite drones to fly thanks to its accurate altitude hold and punchy flight characteristics which puts it in a class above the average toy hexacopter.
Features and Performance9/10
- Accurate altitude hold
- Waypoint navigation
- Highly stable and responsive hexacopter platform
- Great looks and affordable
- Reasonably good flips
- VR 3D FPV feature is a gimmick
- WiFi FPV (not as reliable as 5.8G)
- Slight yaw drift
- Waypoint navigation needs improvement