MJX Bugs 3 (In-Depth Review)
The MJX Bugs 3 is the latest drone to be released by Mei Jia Xin Toys (MJX). It is also MJX’s first model to feature brushless motors. In the past, MJX has been well known for producing entry-level toy drones. The release of the Bugs 3 signifies the company’s readiness to take on the challenge of producing more advanced drones with higher performance goals.
The Bugs 3 is a drone with basically two goals in mind — the first is to be a ready-to-fly FPV racer or sport flier and the other is to be an entry-level aerial photography drone. It achieves these two goals using a variety of accessories, some of which are sold separately.
- Dimensions: 440 x 440 x 150mm (with prop guards)
- Platform: Quadcopter
- Diagonal motor distance: 310mm
- Flight features:
- 3D flips
- 2 flight speeds (High and Low)
- Propulsion: 1805 1800KV (motors) / 190mm propellers
- Weight: 447g (with battery / without prop guards)
- Battery: 7.4V 1800mAh 25C Li Po
- Charging time: about 240 minutes
- Flight time: about 18-20 minutes (without payload) / 10-15 minutes (with action camera and tall landing legs)
- Control distance: about 500 meters
- Transmitter power: 4 AAA batteries (not included)
In FPV racer mode, the Bugs 3 rests on its four landing legs which are integrated into the bottom of the motor housings. Attaching the C5820 5.8G FPV camera module (sold separately) with its own built-in transmitter and battery effectively transforms the Bugs 3 into an FPV racer. The only remaining item that you need to get for the full FPV experience is a good 5.8G FPV headset or monitor.
Besides the C5820 camera, MJX also has a range of other FPV gear for the Bugs 3:
- C4020 WiFi camera
- 5.8G FPV camera package (C5820 camera with 4.3″ FPV display)
- 5.8G FPV camera package (C5820 camera with 7″ FPV display)
- MJX goggles (C5820 camera, 1 VR goggles, 7″ FPV display)
As an FPV racer, the Bugs 3 flies great. It does not have altitude hold which isn’t bad because you get more accurate control of the drone when flying. Two speed modes are available — high and low. High speed mode unleashes the beast in the Bugs 3 and is great if you want to push it to its limits.
The Bugs 3 is capable of performing 3D flips with the push of a button. Thanks to the brushless motors and a lack of altitude hold, flips are super tight and there are no signs of sloppiness at all, unless you’re flipping in extremely windy conditions. They’re really a lot of fun to watch and quite dramatic considering the size of this drone.
A bright white LED light is installed on the nose and might help a little when flying in tight spaces, especially in low lighting conditions. The LED also helps a lot in orientation, complementing the four LED lights located under the motor arms. This LED can be turned off by unplugging its power cable located inside the body. Just remove the canopy to access it. Another neat feature is that the canopy does not require tools to remove or install.
The Bugs 3 is a lot of fun to fly as a casual sport flier or FPV racer. It may not be the fastest around but it offers plenty of thrills. Being a true ready-to-fly drone, there are no extensive setups or building required to get it up in the air. Just unbox it, charge the batteries, bind the transmitter to the drone and you’re ready to go. In fact, binding is done only once and isn’t necessary for subsequent flights.
Budget aerial photography has long been a hot market but few manufacturers have been able to come up with truly solid offerings for the sub $200 segment. While brands such as Syma and Kaideng have some decent offerings that can lift GoPro-size cams, they mostly feature brushed motors which aren’t exactly the best option for lifting action cameras.
As an aerial photography drone, the Bugs 3’s brushless motors are the key feature that sets it apart from the rest. If you’re going to lift an expensive GoPro up in the air, consider using nothing less than a brushless drone for reliability.
The Bugs 3 comes with a set of tall landing legs and a fixed gimbal for attaching action cameras. Attaching these accessories transforms the Bugs 3 into a mini aerial photography drone. Do bear in mind that the Bugs 3 isn’t capable of lifting 3-axis camera gimbal systems so the videos it produces are not going to be stabilized. However, if you’re just looking to take photos from the air or perform inspection work with it, the Bugs 3 won’t disappoint. Below is a video taken using the Bugs 3 with an SJ4000 attached.
MJX has two optional photography accessories for the Bugs 3 — the C4000 HD sport camera and the C4022 panoramic camera. The fixed gimbal that comes with the Bugs 3 can also mount other cameras with similar form factors such as the SJ4000 (as seen in this review) although you will not have access to the camera’s top-facing shutter button once mounted. The C4000 camera has both power and shutter buttons located at the front and it can also be remotely controlled using the transmitter (remote controller) for taking photos and videos.
Battery and Flight Time
The Bugs 3 comes with a 7.4V 1800mAh 25C Li Poly battery that features a semi-proprietary design. The battery has an XT30 connector, a balance port and has its main body enclosed in a plastic casing that’s meant to perfectly fit the battery bay.
With zero payload, the Bugs 3 is capable of flying between 18 and 20 minutes. With additional payload such as the tall landing legs and an action camera, flight time goes down to approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
The MJX Bugs 3 is a drone that does both sport/FPV flying and aerial photography reasonably well with the help of optional accessories. Priced well below $200, it’s a great option for pilots who want a little bit of both worlds.
With its highly affordable price tag, the Bugs 3 is a far better option when compared to the Syma X8HG and the slightly cheaper Kaideng K70C — both of which feature less superior brushed motors. In fact, the Bugs 3’s brushless motors are the reason why it is a much better buy over other similarly priced drones currently available in the market. The only drawback with the Bugs 3 is the action camera is sold separately (only the fixed gimbal is provided).
The Bugs 3 may have a very basic spec sheet when it comes to flight features. Headless mode and Return-to-home are clearly missing but sometimes it’s better to just have a simple drone — a less complicated setup usually makes for a more reliable product.
It is also a lot more enjoyable to fly since there are less features to occupy your mind when flying. Sometimes, simplicity is the way to go when it comes to making great products.
MJX Bugs 3
Features and Performance8/10
- Highly affordable for a brushless drone
- Dual-purpose (sport flier and aerial photography)
- Excellent flight time
- Good flight performance and stability
- Various accessories available
- Fixed gimbal
- Not quite aesthetically pleasing
- Limited flight modes and features