FuriBee F90 (In-Depth Review)
Of late, many manufacturers have started introducing ready-to-fly micro drones with 5.8G FPV. The FuriBee F90 is one such model that was introduced late last year and stands out from the rest with its unique yellow bee theme.
Like many other 5.8G micro FPV racers, the F90 comes in a complete ready-to-fly package with a FrSky receiver, transmitter and FPV goggles. It also comes in BNF versions for DSM or FrSky radios. The version featured in this review is a DSM version and since I don’t have a Spektrum transmitter, I had swapped the DSM receiver with a FrSky D4R-II receiver.
- Dimensions: 105 x 125 x 40mm
- Platform: Quadcopter
- Diagonal motor distance: 95mm
- Flight controller: F3 Evo brushed
- Propulsion: 8520 brushed motors / 44mm 3-blade propellers
- Weight: 43g (without battery)
- Battery: 7.4V 400mAh 2S Li Po
- Charging time: about 60 minutes
- Flight time: about 5-6 minutes
- Control distance: about 1.5km (clear line of sight) / approximately 150m (indoors)
- Versions available:
- with DSM receiver
- with FrSky receiver
- with FrSky receiver, transmitter and FPV goggles
- Camera resolution: 600TVL
- FPV channels: 40
- FPV transmission power: 25mW
- FPV transmission range: 50-60m
This required some soldering work and since the D4R-II is too big to be contained in the canopy, I had to fly the F90 with the canopy removed and the receiver strapped on to the mainboard. What’s nice about the F90 is that the motor wires are connected to the mainboard via detachable 2-pin connectors. This means replacing a motor is easy and doesn’t require any soldering. The mainboard also has a built-in buzzer.
At the heart of the F90 is the F3 brushed flight controller which has become the staple FC for many 5.8G micro FPV drones with brushed motors. The F3 is a highly versatile FC that can be configured in Betaflight or CleanFlight. With the F3, the F90 can be configured in a similar way that much larger FPV racers are configured and allows you to personalize your drone with customized flight modes, PID values and radio control values, among other things.
Perhaps the one thing that truly sets the F90 apart from other similar micro drones is its yellow and black bee theme. This is probably the one distinct feature that draws pilots to buying the F90 over other less appealing models. The bee theme and the bright yellow prop guards truly makes the F90 stand out from the rest.
The F90 canopy covers the entire mainboard with only the antennas and camera lens sticking out. It does a good job in protecting the main components from impact damage. However, removing the canopy requires the removal of a set of small screws. It would have been nice if the canopy could be removed without the use of tools.
Nevertheless, the F90 still has a pretty good design that doesn’t feature hard antennas or components sticking out that can be easily damaged during a crash. And since the props are protected with built-in prop guards, the F90 can take plenty of abuse from all angles.
The first thing I noticed when flying the F90 is its impressive agility. This is probably due to the short distance between its front and rear motors that allows the F90 to easily make sharp turns and quickly change directions. Specifically, the distance between its left and right motors is 77mm while the distance between its front and rear motors is significantly shorter at 57mm. Whoever designed the F90 probably knows a thing or two about how to make micro drones fun to fly. If you’re used to flying micro drones that have longer front to rear motor distances such as the Hubsan H107D+ then you’ll need some time to get used to the F90’s tighter performance.
Another factor is the F90’s light overall weight which provides it with excellent power to weight ratio. This can be attributed to its lightweight but strong carbon fiber frame which has a thickness of 1mm. Although the prop guards and canopy are made of plastic, the F90 hits the scale at just 43g (without battery). Removing the canopy results in a weight reduction of about 4g and should improve flight performance and time. Unfortunately, the prop guards cannot be removed and are attached directly to the motor housing.
The F90 featured in this review came with a 7.4V 400mAh 2S battery which provided decent flight performance. However, some product pages indicate that the F90 is capable of handling 3S batteries while some mention 2S. Even if the F90 is compatible with 3S batteries, I doubt the brushed motors will last long although the drone will definitely go ballistic if that much boost in power is possible.
With the supplied 400mAh battery, flight time on the F90 is about 5 to 6 minutes, depending on how aggressively you fly.
5.8G FPV Performance
The F90 has a built-in 5.8G FPV camera with a flexible omni directional antenna. Although the choice of using an omni directional antenna on the 5.8G frequency results in poor video transmission range (approximately 60m), it does help that the antenna is flexible and won’t break upon impact. Some micro FPV racers come with circular polarized antennas that are soldered directly on top of the FPV camera. Although these antennas provide better range, they are very vulnerable to breaking.
The wide-angle camera on the F90 has a resolution of 600TVL and a total of 40 channels with a transmission power of 25mW — good enough for indoor FPV flying in tight and confined spaces. One flaw on the camera is that it cannot be tilted (it points directly forward).
Image quality from the camera is decent and it provides clear enough images in low light flying although it does get a bit grainy and noisy when there isn’t enough light.
The FuriBee F90 makes an excellent indoor FPV flyer with its unique bee theme setting it apart from other models. With the F3 brushed flight controller, pilots can customize the drone to their personal needs. The F90’s shorter front to rear motor distance also makes it highly agile although this agility does take some time to tame if you’re not used to it.
One thing I truly appreciate about the F90 is its crash-proof design. The canopy completely covers all its main components, leaving only antennas and camera lens sticking out. There are no hard protruding parts that can break upon impact on the F90. Even the 3-blade propellers are protected by prop guards in the shape of ducts. This design approach makes the F90 an excellent micro drone to fly in tight confined spaces where crashes are likely to happen.
If you’re buying the DSM version of the F90, be aware that re-binding is required every time you plan to fly the drone. This is an issue that has been reported by numerous Spektrum users on the RCGroups forum. However, the same issue does not affect the FrSky version.
The all-in-one 5.8G FPV camera on the F90 provides decent FPV performance although video transmission range is not impressive at only 60m due to the omni directional antenna. This is a trade-off for having a flexible antenna instead of a fragile circular polarized antenna. The F90’s camera cannot be tilted although image quality is reasonably good.
At the moment, only the DSM version of the F90 is available at GearBest for $78.99. This price includes shipping cost. Due to their popularity, the FrSky versions of the F90 are currently out of stock.
Features and Performance9/10
- Unique appearance
- F3 Evo brushed flight controller
- Light and agile
- Build to withstand abuse
- Motors can be installed without soldering
- Camera cannot be tilted
- Limited FPV range
- DSM version needs rebind at every flight
- No LED lights for orientation