Syma X20 (In-Depth Review)
The X20 is one of the smallest models in Syma’s latest generation of toy drones and has a highly affordable price point of less than $30 shipped. With that said, it makes an excellent gift for both adults and kids. It’s also great for those looking for a neat micro quadcopter to play around with indoors.
In terms of refinement and design, Syma has come a long way since the days of the X5C. The latest generation of Symas are so much more well-rounded and refined that they have set standards for other toy manufacturers to follow. The X20 is quite easily one of the best micro quadcopters Syma has produced to date and is so much better than earlier Symas that were released just two years ago.
- Dimensions: 105 x 105 x 25mm
- Platform: Quadcopter
- Diagonal motor distance: 69mm
- Propulsion: brushed motors / 39mm 2-blade propellers
- Weight: 23g (with battery)
- Battery: 3.7V 180mAh 1S Li Po
- Charging time: about 50 minutes
- Flight time: about 5 minutes
- Control distance: approximately 20m
- Camera: n/a
- Transmitter power: 4 AAA (not included)
The X20 featured in this review is the base version of the X20 range and comes with no camera. There is also a camera version which is called the X21 and a WiFi FPV version — the X21W. Apart from the camera, everything else is the same for all 3 models.
Unlike micro drones that were released just one or two years ago, the X20 does not feature any detachable battery or parts. The battery is built-in and so are the prop guards. Only the propellers are removable. This approach makes for a very clean and seamless design. The only downside I can see is that you can’t bring a few batteries with you when flying. With its 180mAh battery, the X20 provides a flight time of about 5 minutes — enough for some indoor flying fun. Charging time with the supplied micro USB cable takes approximately 50 minutes.
The body has a nice pancake-like design with some neat finishing touches. The power button sits on top with a nice chrome colored finishing. Prop guards are built-in and cannot be removed without opening up the body. Although I’m not a fan of prop guards since they add extra weight and affect flight performance, the guards on the X20 aren’t that bad since they’re very light and minimalist and hardly affect flight performance.
There are orientation lights at both the front and back which do an excellent job in orientation — red lights for the front and green for the rear. Unlike other small toy drones that have really tiny lights, the lights on the X20 are located inside and illuminate a large portion of the body, giving you a good idea where the front and back are.
Unlike bigger Symas, the X20 features a smaller pebble-shaped transmitter (radio controller) with plenty of minimalist touches. One interesting feature on the transmitter are its control sticks or should I say sliders. Syma has chosen not to use conventional transmitter control sticks and might be the first to use sliders for toy drones.
The control sliders appear like very short and stubby control sticks at first but once you start using them, you realize they don’t tilt or rock like an ordinary control stick. Instead, they can slide about 10mm in all directions. After a few flights, I find them to be quite intuitive to use and allow reasonably good precision control over the drone. The only downside I feel is that I can’t use both my thumb and index or middle finger on the throttle slider for more precise throttle control since it’s so short and stubby.
Another good feature of the transmitter is its wide design. Many micro toy drones tend to come with very tiny transmitters that can be hard to hold on to, especially for adults. This can be quite annoying. The X20 transmitter is wide enough to be held comfortably by adult hands.
Flight performance is a strong point of the X20. It flies very well and smooth and also features reasonably accurate altitude hold. The X20 feels quite tame and easy to control and is great for beginners. Even 3D flips are executed very well, despite having altitude hold. Earlier toy drones that feature altitude hold do not flip well and tend to plunge but this is not the case with the X20.
The X20 also sports other various staple features of toy drones. This includes headless mode and one-key take off/landing. It may not have other “advanced” features that newer toy drones have such as waypoint navigation, accelerometer (gravity) control and return to home but this is not really an issue since many of these features are just gimmicks and may cause crashes or fly aways when used by inexperienced pilots.
Two speed modes are available on the X20 — high and low. This should be enough for beginners and indoor flying. Overall, the flight performance of the X20 is generally good and is one reason why you would want to buy one over other micro toy drones.
Overall, the Syma X20 is a very well-designed micro quadcopter aimed at beginners and avid indoor fliers. Its highly integrated design means there are less things to worry about. The only downside with this integrated approach is that the battery is not removable and prop guards cannot be replaced without first opening the body.
The X20 also features a well-designed transmitter that sport sliders instead of conventional control sticks. Although unconventional, the sliders work quite well. The transmitter also features a wide pebble design that makes it very comfortable to hold when flying the X20.
For anyone looking for an inexpensive micro drone to fly indoors, the X20 is an excellent choice. Buyers who are looking for more advanced features such as a WiFi FPV camera can go for the X21W or X21 which features a HD 720P camera.