Large, fully-featured drones are the usual suspects for the most fun in the sky, but especially when you’re a beginner, a cheap and cheerful drone can provide equal amounts of enjoyment. The Cheerson CX-10 fits this category perfectly, being small enough to fit in the palm of your hand (plus the controller) and provides a surprising amount of functionality for the money.
This little unit isn’t going to compete with a fully-fledged camera or racing drone, but it’s not meant to. The price can’t be argued with, so can the drone still provide good performance, or is it just a cheap gimmick?
The complete package has everything you need to get up and running. For just shy of $20, you will receive the drone itself, a manual remote control transmitter, eight spare propellers, landing gear, a USB cable, and a manual. Propeller guards can be bought separately, these being an almost necessity to protect the small and fragile propellers.
As far as basic features go, the drone has a six-axis gyro, with a general flight time between three and seven minutes and a charge time of 30 minutes. The flight range is between 20 and 50m depending on obstacles, with the power supplied by a 3.7V 100mah battery. As the drone only weighs 12g, it’s best suited to indoor flight, although it can be flown outside in very good weather conditions. It’s a shame that the bumper kit to protect the propellers doesn’t come with the kit, but at least it’s readily available and very affordable.
As this is such a small drone, it has a very simple design, with a split-tone color scheme and a few color choices available. Each propeller has a small LED below it, two of these being red and two being blue, which definitely helps with orientation. The charging cable is quite short, with a USB Type-A connector that can be used with the likes of a smartphone charger or powered up straight from a laptop.
The controller that comes with the drone looks and feels very toylike. It has basic functionality to control direction and trimming, but that’s about it. However, for such a budget-friendly drone, the controller is more than adequate.
The Cheerson CX-10 in Flight
Getting the Cheerson CX-10 flight-ready couldn’t be easier. Once everything is charged up, the sequence follows switching on the drone, then the controller. The left joystick needs to be then pushed up and down, with the controller then giving a confirmation beep to show everything is ready.
There are three initial flight modes to choose from which range from beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The beginner mode is the best to start with, no matter your experience, to get a handle on how the drone initially reacts. Once you have a few days of experience, you can venture into advanced mode, which definitely ramps up the speed and reaction time needed.
The range of the Cheerson CX-10 isn’t that great, but that’s not so much a problem as something this small is easy to lose track of more than 10m away. As previously stated, due to its super light weight, this is mostly an indoor drone, especially since there is no windproofing. Once you flick the drone into advanced mode, it’s advisable to have access to quite a bit of indoor space.
As this is such a small drone, it also houses a very small battery, which on a good day can bring seven minutes of pedestrian flight. Once you start using advanced mode exclusively, this time drops to roughly three or four minutes. Considering the price of the Cheerson CX-10, you can easily buy two units and have one charging while the other one is being used.
As there are no automatic controls to speak of, it’s entirely down to your own flight skills to make sure this drone doesn’t crash on a constant basis. In the short term, the lack of automated features can be frustrating for the beginner, but it’s also the best way to learn how to fly in the long run.
This is where the extra sets of propellers and the optional bumper guards come in very handy. Due to the drone’s very lightweight setup, it can take a few bumps and crashes before needing propeller replacements.
How Does It Compare?
At this end of the market, you only need to spend a few dollars more to buy into more advanced features. At the time of writing, it seems like there is an arms race to provide the most features in a drone at the lowest cost, which is great news for the consumer. The SNAPTAIN SP350 Mini Drone can be picked up for roughly $10 more than the Cheerson and works admirably as a budget travel drone.
The SNAPTAIN has the benefit of removable batteries, with quite a few automated flight modes such as circle flying, Throw’N Go, 3-D flips, headless mode, and altitude hold. Propeller protectors also come with the kit and the drone can be more easily flown outdoors.
If you just require ease of use and maybe a kid-friendly drone from the start, the SNAPTAIN is a nice little cost-effective solution. But if you want to practice pure flying skills or are looking for a drone for your teen, the Cheerson is probably the smallest and cheapest unit currently available.
|Cheerson cx10||SNAPTAIN SP350 Mini Drone|
|Flight Time||3-5 Minutes||7 Minutes|
|Charge Time||30 Minutes||40-50 Minutes|
How Well Does the Cheerson CX-10 Fly?
Although the Cheerson CX-10 doesn’t have any advanced, automated flight features, it’s a great way to sharpen up basic flight skills. If you require a drone that features more handholding with the initial stages of flight or a camera drone, you may want to look elsewhere. For those who want to learn how to fly a drone in its purest form, the Cheerson CX-10 is a good starting point.
There are obviously downsides to such a cheap unit. The conservative flight times can be a hindrance when practicing, but you could obviously buy two units if you really fall in love with how this thing flies. The Cheerson is also an indoor flyer, which means you will have to progress to another type of drone for outdoor use.
More than anything, the Cheerson is loads of fun to fly and a very robust unit considering its price. It may be a basic drone, but considering its cost, it’s one of the cheapest ways to sharpen up anyone’s flight skills.