Eachine E55 (In-Depth Review)
The Eachine E55 is one of the latest foldable toy drones in the market today and is available for less than $50. It is also sold as the rebranded FQ777 FQ17W and is featured in our 7 Best Foldable Toy Drones shopping guide. When I first saw the E55, I knew Eachine (or whichever company designed it) have come up with a winning design.
Unlike many other toy drones that appear like miniaturized copies of more expensive professional drones such as the Yuneec Q500 4K, whoever designed the E55 made no effort in trying to blatantly copy something else. As far as I know, the E55 has a foldable design that is unique. No cheap imitation here.
This unique design, coupled with a highly attractive price tag of less than $50 shipped makes the E55 a truly irresistible model if you’re shopping for a foldable toy quadcopter.
- Dimensions: 160 x 160 x 28mm / 65 x 65 x 28mm (folded)
- Platform: Quadcopter
- Diagonal motor distance: 145mm
- Propulsion: brushed motors / 65mm 2-blade foldable propellers
- Weight: 46g (with battery)
- Battery: 3.7V 300mAh 1S Li Po
- Charging time: about 40 minutes
- Flight time: about 6 – 8 minutes
- Control distance: approximately 50m
- Camera: 0.3MP
- Transmitter power: 3 AAA (not included)
Although there are currently a number of foldable toy drones out there, none of them are as well-designed as the E55 when it comes to the folding mechanism (with the exception of the JJRC H37 which folds quite neatly).
Even the propellers on the E55 can be folded and tucked in nicely inside the square body when the motor arms are folded in although they tend to swing out sometimes when tilting. A free velvet carrying bag is provided with the package and is great if you want to store the drone when not in use.
When fully folded, the E55 is neat and looks like a small cube. Other foldable toy drones tend to feature propellers that are still exposed when the drone is folded and can get snagged when stored in a bag. Not exactly neat designs that can easily be stored properly. The E55 quite simply has the best foldable design around.
There aren’t even any exposed antennas or wires sticking about with the exception of the radio receiver antenna which sticks out slightly at the back. Even the battery is tucked away neatly in its own compartment.
The E55 has a rather imposing body. It looks somewhat big and bulky which made me wonder if it was going to fly smoothly with all that “bulk”. Surprisingly, the E55 actually flies very well. First impressions can be a bit deceiving sometimes and I think the main reason why it flies well might be due to its reasonably good power to weight ratio. In other words, it is not as heavy and bulky as it looks.
3D flips are executed nicely and the E55 doesn’t plunge despite having altitude hold. Besides flips, it also has headless mode, automatic take-off, automatic landing and two speed modes (high and low). A small transmitter (remote controller) is provided and does a decent job with drone control although I feel it is a bit small for users with big hands. The transmitter also has a phone holder where you can mount your phone and view the WiFi FPV feed from the drone.
To view the WiFi FPV feed, you will need to install the VS_UFO app (by Zheng Xiang) on your phone first, connect your phone to the E55’s WiFi hotspot first before powering up the app. The app not only allows you to view the FPV feed, it also allows you to take photos and videos. It can also be used as a substitute transmitter with its transmitter emulator features although this is not the ideal way to fly the E55.
A more intuitive way to fly the E55 with the app is by using the accelerometer (gravity) control feature. This allows you to pilot the drone by tilting your phone forward or sideways. Another interesting feature in the app is waypoint navigation which lets you draw a flight path on your phone screen for the drone to fly along. This is somewhat similar to waypoint navigation used in more advanced drones such as the Phantom 4 although it is nowhere as accurate or easy to use since no GPS or ultrasonic modules are used to help the drone determine its exact location.
One issue I have when flying the E55 is its headless mode. The feature itself works fine. The problem with it is when you are flying in headless mode and turn it off, you tend to lose orientation of the drone for a while until you figure out where the front is. Despite having front and rear orientation lights with different colors (which are small), it can be a bit difficult to figure out where the front is since the E55 has a symmetrical body shape. With that said, if you’re flying in headless mode, make sure you have enough flying space around it so you’ll have enough room for error when you turn the feature off.
The E55 comes with a built-in 0.3MP WiFi FPV camera that is capable of taking 720 X 576p stills and videos at 30fps. Being a $50 toy drone means the image quality is nothing to shout about and is just good enough to amuse yourself with. Below are sample images and video taken using the E55.
Since the E55 does not have a micro SD card slot, all images and videos are stored on your smartphone via the app.
At less than $50 shipped, the Eachine E55 makes a nice novelty toy for anyone to buy as a gift or for those who need a trainer drone to practice flying indoors. Its foldable design is probably the best when it comes to $50 foldable toy drones. With its good flying performance, design and looks, the E55 offers plenty of value for those looking for an inexpensive foldable toy drone. The only issues I have noticed so far are the small orientation lights and symmetrical shape of the body which makes transiting out of headless mode a bit tricky.
The Eachine E55 is available in red or black for $35.99 at Banggood. Buyers also have the option of getting it in a BNF (Bind-And-Fly) variant which does not include the conventional RC transmitter for $30.99.