Turnigy 9XR Pro (In-Depth Review)
The Turnigy 9XR Pro is the updated version of the earlier 9XR and offers an affordable alternative to more expensive transmitters with pro grade features such as the Taranis X9D Plus. Despite its reasonable price tag, the Turnigy has pro ambitions as suggested by its name. Thanks to its amazing value, it has quickly become very popular among enthusiasts who do not want to splurge a princely sum when shopping for a transmitter.
- Supports up to 24 channels
- ARM version of ER9X firmware with EESKYPE simulator GUI support
- Atmel SAM3S ARM Cortex M3 32-bit micro-controller / 512K flash / 64Kb SRAM
- Micro SD card slot and mini USB port
- Dimmable backlit LCD display (128 X 64)
- RS232 serial port for external telemetry
- Logic level serial port for external Bluetooth modules (HC-06, RN42)
- Built-in bootloader
- Memory for over 30 models
- Telemetry display
- Stick modes: 1, 2, 3, 4
- Encoder type: PPM/PCM
- Module interface: JR Compatible
- Simulator interface: JR/Futaba
- Voice feedback
- Battery compartment: 112 x 44 x 27mm
- Weight: 723g (without battery and RF module)
- Support for 6-way and 3-way switches (user upgrade)
At first glance, the 9XR Pro looks a lot flashier than its predecessor. It looks a lot more updated with a riot of elaborate shapes and lines on its faux metal faceplate. Gone is the external antenna and the 9XR Pro has its antenna built into the thick handle at the top, helping keep things neat. Turnigy has also come up with an entire range of accessories for the 9XR which include a transmitter stand, carrying case, radio tray with strap and even replacement faceplates in different colors.
Ergonomics on the 9XR Pro is a bit of a mixed bag. I like the size and how it feels in my hands. The thick horizontal handle also makes carrying it around easy and the ball bearing gimbals for the sticks feel decently smooth too. The trim buttons, although feeling somewhat plasticky, have improved as well. They no longer have the stickiness that was an issue with the earlier 9XR.
All switches, control sticks and dials feel well-placed and within reach. Although some reviewers have complained that certain switches are hard to reach, I have not had any such issues and I don’t understand how anyone would have any issues reaching them unless they have extremely small hands (I have hands that are either average in size or slightly smaller than average).
On the other hand, the dials feel cheap and plasticky. They also lack the mid-point click that tells you when they’re at 50%. The menu buttons also lack tactile feel, especially the Menu and Exit buttons which need a fair amount of pressure when pressed.
Perhaps one of the biggest flaws on the 9XR Pro is its voice feedback which sounds soft and muffled. This is fine if you’re flying in a quiet environment all by yourself or with only a friend or two around. However, if you have a large crowd of RC enthusiasts around you, voice feedback can easily get drowned. The muffled quality of the voice feedback also makes it useless at times, when you can hardly comprehend what the 9XR Pro is “saying”.
Curious to know if it is caused by a cheap speaker or something else, I decided to plug the 9XR Pro to my PC via a USB cable and what I discovered was quite interesting. The audio files actually have a bit rate of 352kb — more than high enough for good clarity. I have even plugged in a pair of high quality earphones on the 9XR Pro and the voice feedback still remains muffled. This has led me to conclude that the muffled audio is caused by an audio playback device that is running at a low sampling rate (possibly 16KHz or lower) and not due to a cheap speaker as I had initially suspected.
A key selling point of the 9XR Pro is its ability to take JR form factor RF modules which makes it compatible with all popular radio frequencies out there. For example, if you need DSM/DSM2 compatibility, just pop in the right RF module and you’re in business.
Some RF modules make use of the 9XR Pro’s internal antenna while some come with their own antenna. If your module has telemetry capabilities, the 9XR Pro is also capable of displaying telemetry on its screen.
There is also a logic level serial port for installing external Bluetooth modules and a RS232 Serial Port for external telemetry connection through a Futaba trainer jack.
In its default trim, the transmitter comes with only one three-way switch (the rest being two-way). Realizing that some users might want to have more three-way or even six-way switches, Turnigy actually offers them for sale. This gives users the flexibility to install and customize their switches.
The Turnigy 9XR Pro is currently priced at $108 at Amazon, making it one of the most attractive alternatives to popular premium transmitters such as the Taranis X9D Plus which sell for over $200. With an RF module and shipping cost factored in, expect to pay about $150 to $160 for the 9XR Pro. This is still roughly $50 less than the Taranis. Things get even better during Black Friday or Christmas when special discounts are offered (sometimes as much as 50%!).
With its versatility and compatibility with all kinds of popular radio frequencies (via RF modules), the 9XR Pro is undoubtedly a very attractive option for RC enthusiasts who are on a tight budget. It definitely has its flaws but its customization options more than makes up for this. There is also a wide range of accessories such as faceplates and six-way switches that allow users to customize their transmitters to suit their needs.
With that said, the 9XR Pro makes an excellent second transmitter if you already own a Taranis or Futaba. It’s also a great option for those who want premium transmitter features on a tight budget.
Turnigy 9XR Pro
- Compatible with a wide range of radio frequencies (via RF modules)
- Reasonably priced
- Smooth ball bearing gimbals
- Wide range of accessories
- Muffled voice feedback
- Some buttons and knobs feel plasticky and lack tactile feel
- Ergonomics not quite refined enough