MJX X916H (In-Depth Review)
MJX has been churning out some really interesting designs lately. The company has employed a particularly fresh aesthetic approach with its latest range of sub-$100 micro quadcopters. This is quite evident in the micro-size X916H which appears to break away from conventional drone designs. This is one toy quadcopter that would surely stand out on any display shelf thanks to its looks alone.
Those who keep abreast with the latest developments in drones will realize that the X916H has a striking resemblance to the much larger and more sophisticated Lily Drone which was released to much fanfare last year. In fact, the X916H actually looks more like a scaled down version of the Lily with only a few minor differences here and there.
Despite its copycat looks, I’m sure the X916H will sell well for a number of reasons such as its highly attractive sub-$60 price tag and smart features like waypoint navigation and g-sensor control. It also comes in a 5.8G FPV version — the X906T which is now available for pre-order at GearBest and Banggood for less than $80.
The sample X916H featured in this review was kindly sponsored by MJX.
- Dimensions: 105 x 105 x 35mm (without prop guards)
- Type: Quadcopter
- Diagonal motor distance: 100mm
- Camera: 0.3MP with WiFi FPV
- Motors: 7mm (size) paired to 55mm propellers
- Weight: 47g (with battery)
- Flight time: 6 to 8 minutes
- Battery: 3.7V 380mAh Li Po
- Charging time: about 60 minutes
- Control distance: approximately 50m
- Transmitter: MJX H app
At first glance, the X916H appears like a hockey puck that has four propellers and a smiley face on it. A small and exposed battery bay can be found at the rear which houses a 3.7V 380mAh Li Po battery. The battery is connected via a 2-pin plug which is fully exposed at the rear, a bit old-school I would say. No power switch is available for the X916H. Turning it on means attaching the battery.
The motor arms are translucent and have built-in LED lights to help out in orientation — blue lights for the rear and white for the front. Like the Lily, the X916H does not feature conventional landing legs. Its four motor enclosures double as landing legs instead creating a tidy and neat exterior.
The X916H also comes with a set of slide-on prop guards. Installing or removing these prop guards is easy since no tools are required. Just slip them in or out.
Overall, the X916H is very well-built for a toy quadcopter that costs less than $60. Its plastics and design give the impression of a premium product.
MJX H App
The X916H is one of those few toy drones out there which are shipped without a radio transmitter (controller). This helps keep the overall cost down. To pilot the X916H, you need to install the MJX H app which is available for both Android and iOS.
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 X916H as well as take photos and videos via the drone’s camera.
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.
For those who want to pilot the X916H using a conventional transmitter, it is compatible with MJX 2.4GHz transmitters which can be bought separately.
The X916H sports G-sensor control and is the first micro toy quadcopter I’ve seen so far to have this feature. G-sensor control allows you to pilot the drone using your smartphone’s accelerometer very much like how you’d drive a race car in one of those racing simulation apps — by tilting your phone in various directions. This method is a lot more intuitive than using the virtual transmitter controls in the MJX H app.
In actual use, the G-sensor control works remarkably well. It almost feels like you’re running some quadcopter simulation app on your smartphone when you’re actually flying a real micro quadcopter in front of you.
In G-sensor control mode, your smartphone’s accelerometer provides input for the drone’s elevator and aileron controls. Throttle and yaw control is still provided by the virtual throttle stick on the left of the screen. This is not a major issue since the X916H has altitude hold which means you don’t have to fiddle with the throttle stick to maintain altitude.
The X916H has a flight time of about 6 to 8 minutes and has two speed modes — High and Low. It also features headless mode, one key return, a motor start button and automatic take-off/landing. When using the MJX H app, the best way to fly is by using the G-sensor control since the app’s transmitter emulator does not provide you with tactile feedback on the sticks but then this could just be my personal preference.
Altitude hold is quite accurate and I hardly witnessed any fluctuations in altitude in all my test flights. In the air, it is quite stable and predictable. Things get even better when you pair it with a conventional transmitter. I’ve flown the X916H using an X601H transmitter and it flew very well. Interestingly, the X916H does not feature flips.
Waypoint navigation is a key feature that sets the X916H apart from other micro quadcopters. Since the X916H 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 X916H 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 X916H 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 wind 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 X916H 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 X916H 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 X916H 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 X916H 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 X916H 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. 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. Below is an unedited sample image taken by the X916H in full size (640 x 480)
With its unconventional looks, micro size and smart features such as G-sensor control, the MJX X916H makes a good coffee table piece and is most at home in indoor environments such as offices or living rooms. It makes a nice flying toy if you need some time off in between long working hours in the office or during social gatherings.
For a toy drone that costs less than $60, the X916H is very well-built and has some pretty impressive features. It is also one of the few toy drones out there that can be flown using your smartphone’s accelerometer (G-sensor) via the MJX H app. Flying the X916H using the G-sensor control makes for a very unique yet intuitive way of flying. This is one key feature that gives the X916H the edge over its rivals.
The X916H does not come shipped with a conventional radio transmitter so the MJX H app is the only way you can pilot it right out of the box. It is, however, compatible with MJX 2.4GHz transmitters which can be bought separately.
Besides G-sensor control the X916H also features a 0.3MP WiFi FPV camera, waypoint navigation (which needs to be improved) and 3D Virtual Reality which I find to be a gimmick. Despite these minor flaws, it is still a very well-rounded toy drone that will definitely delight both new and experienced fliers.
Features and Performance9/10
- Very affordable
- Head-turning looks and decent build quality
- G-sensor control
- Altitude hold
- Waypoint navigation needs to be improved
- 3D VR is a gimmick
- No radio transmitter provided
- Short flight time