JJRC H43WH Blue Crab (In-Depth Review)
The JJRC Blue Crab is one of those entry-level selfie drones that sell for less than $100. It’s a foldable toy drone that has the appearance of a book when its motor arms are folded down. The name Blue Crab was probably inspired by the drone’s pincer-like prop guards.
Priced at just $30 with shipping, the Blue Crab is well within reach of most consumers. With its HD 720P camera, altitude hold and accelerometer control (G sensor / flying by tilting your smartphone), it has all the basic features needed for an entry-level selfie drone.
- Dimensions: 150 x 170 x 28mm / 150 x 95 x 40mm (folded)
- Platform: Quadcopter
- Diagonal motor distance: 120mm
- Flight features:
- Altitude hold
- Headless mode
- 3D flips
- G sensor
- Auto takeoff / landing
- Emergency landing
- 3 flight speeds (30% / 60% / 100%)
- Propulsion: brushed motors / 32mm 3-blade propellers
- Weight: 76g (with battery)
- Camera resolution: 1MP stills (1280 x 720) and HD 720P video @ 25fps
- File format: BMP/MP4
- Battery: 3.7V 500mAh Li Po
- Charging time: 45 minutes
- Flight time: about 5-7 minutes
- Control distance: about 30 meters
One key feature the Blue Crab has is a button that allows the drone to fold and unfold itself. The button was designed to trigger a mechanism in the fuselage that helps deploy the motor arms and retract them with a single push. Though the idea sounds neat, the button on my sample Blue Crab has never really been able to function properly. Pressing it when the drone is folded seems to unfold the motor arms halfway only. It also fails to retract the arms once they are in place.
Either the button on my sample unit is faulty or the mechanism was poorly designed. Despite this, unfolding or folding the motor arms manually isn’t an issue. They click firmly in place when you fold them and stay in place when you deploy them so I guess whether the gimmicky automatic fold button works or not doesn’t really matter.
Faulty button aside, the Blue Crab is actually quite well built for a $30 toy drone. It has a fuselage with metallic blue paintwork and looks quite neat. There are no messy wires, landing legs or antennas sticking out. Even the power button is placed neatly flushed on the fuselage and the battery bay is hidden neatly at the bottom.
The Blue Crab was clearly designed to be easily transported and stored. Keeping it in your bag or backpack with other stuff isn’t an issue with its neat design. Imagine trying to store and transport other toy drones that have prop guards and landing legs sticking out.
The Blue Crab is one of those toy drones that don’t come with a conventional radio transmitter (remote controller). Instead, you’re required to install the JJRC app on your smartphone to pilot it. The app emulates the controls of a conventional Tx and you can fully operate the Blue Crab with it. Without a Tx to carry around, things are a lot less complicated since you only need to worry about the drone.
Besides being a selfie drone, the Blue Crab has all the basic features that makes it a decent toy drone to fly around just for fun. It can perform automated flips and has a flight time of about 5 to 7 minutes. The generic battery is removable so if you want to fly longer outdoors, you can bring along a few batteries with you.
Although the Blue Crab flies quite well, its biggest flaw is probably the lack of a conventional Tx. Flying using the app just doesn’t give you the level of feedback and precision that a conventional Tx offers.
The Blue Crab comes with a HD 720P WiFi FPV camera, which is probably the most basic spec you should consider when shopping for an entry-level selfie drone. Anything less than that just doesn’t meet the cut. With its built-in WiFi FPV feature, you can see what the camera is seeing via the app which lets you position and frame your shots.
The app also has a filter that lets you “beautify” your photos. This filter appears to be a gimmick because all it does is just increase the brightness of an image. The image on the right above is a sample image that has been “beautified”. The image on the left is the original.
Though not exactly a DJI Spark, the Blue Crab is still capable of some reasonably good 1MP selfies that you can post on social media or share with friends. Above is a gallery of unedited sample photos taken using the Blue Crab. The HD 720P videos that the Blue Crab is capable of taking are not too shabby too for a $30 device. Below is a sample video.
To help in taking selfies, the Blue Crab has headless mode which is essential if you want to point the camera at yourself and still pilot the drone properly. Piloting the Blue Crab to take selfies without headless mode would require advanced piloting skills.
At just $30, the JJRC H43WH makes a rather good entry-level selfie drone. It’s easy to carry around, store and transport. It also has a design that’s quite neat without much sticking out. The only flaws I can see are its one-button folding mechanism which doesn’t quite work and the fly-by-app which doesn’t actually give you the best and most precise flying experience.
Other than these flaws, the Blue Crab is overall quite a good toy drone that costs less than $50. It’s one of those selfie toy drones that’s made to be brought along for outings or vacations. The JJRC H43WH Blue Crab is available for $30 at GearBest. Click here for more details.