The advantage of owning a drone that doesn’t come with its own camera is that you can attach anything you want underneath to capture footage. The Force1 F100 also has the benefits of being a few years old now, which means the price has come down and there’s still loads of facilities here for the seasoned pilot.
The most obvious cameras to attach are GoPros, the drone being directly compatible with the HERO3 and HERO4. With a bit of bodging, many GoPros can be attached if you don’t mind a bit of a DIY camera drone.
The Force1 F100 comes with all the parts you need to start flying straightaway. This includes the remote control, two batteries, a camera mount, charger, propellers, propeller guards, and landing gear.
The drone itself is made from robust plastic which should take the knocks from initial starter flights and the included propeller guards will also help in this regard. Depending on the package you buy, there’s also some interchangeable hulls with different colors. Not exactly necessary items, but they are a nice addition.
The actual design of the drone follows the same lines as the DJI Phantom. In other words, large extendable legs protrude from the main drone body to enable carrying a payload. This means that the drone isn’t as compact as some other models, but the design is needed to stop your camera being bashed every time the drone takes off and lands.
If you want to fly the drone without a camera or payload, the bottom legs can be detached and the drone can still land safely as each motor mount has its own leg. Very well thought out.
As for flight time, a full charge gives you 15 minutes of flight and the included charger and second battery are welcome additions to extend the flying fun.
The controller itself is very basic, with the necessary controls for basic flight. The controller can dictate the different flying modes, however, as the design is a few years old, it doesn’t have the most up-to-date features like GPS. There is no headless mode or smart return to home feature which is commonplace in the latest drones. However, there are some built-in features for doing flips and the like.
The Force1 F100 in Use
One advantage of the Force1 F100 is that it’s very quiet. Ideal for practice time when you don’t want to annoy the neighbors. The different speed settings are ideal for the beginning pilot who needs to get eased into the wealth of controls.
Features like the 360-degree flips and rolls are mostly automated, but it’s best to leave these maneuvers until the basics have been mastered. First-person view (FPV) is also possible with other accessories, which can help the beginner, but it’s really an optional extra.
One of the downsides of using your own camera is that the drone doesn’t have its own built-in stabilization. Thus, stabilization is down to the camera itself. This means footage won’t be as smooth as an integrated camera.
Setting up and pairing the drone with the controller is a bit more convoluted than more recent designs. An order of button presses are needed, which isn’t a complicated affair, but a simple on/off switch for the power would have been much better.
As for flight, the Force1 F100 drone isn’t as stable as more expensive units and some of the more integrated, automatic flight features would have helped out a lot, especially for the beginner. In total, the drone flies very well, stable in reasonable wind conditions, but you’re always left wanting for more automated flight features.
How Does It Compare?
Luckily for us all, there are plenty of choices for drones which only cost a few hundred dollars. The UDI Blue Jay is a model that came out at roughly the same time period and has a lot of the features you would associate with the latest crop of drones.
It includes an integrated camera shooting 720p video and 2MP stills and the unit can also be linked to a smartphone app, which allows you to see footage in real-time and can also be easily linked up to an FPV view headset if needed. If you need an all in one drone and camera unit, this may be the better option.
|Force1 F100||UDI Blue Jay|
|Flight Time||15 minutes||8 minutes|
The Force1 F100 is a low-cost way for the beginner to get into initial flight without breaking the bank. If you want to start shooting your own video stills footage, you will have to roll your own third-party camera or invest in one. This means there is an inherent extra cost associated with this drone, which should be factored in whether deciding to purchase are not.
There are enough flight features in this drone to make it a viable solution for the beginner and the drone flies reasonably well. But, at this end of the market, drone technology is developing at a very fast rate and prices seem to be dropping weekly.
Unfortunately, this means that for the same amount of money you can pick up a drone aimed at the beginner which has an integrated, stabilized camera, capable of reasonable quality and far more automated flight modes these days. If you need a beginners drone with a basic onboard camera capable of lots of automated flight, you may need to look elsewhere.
On the other hand, if you already own a GoPro and want something cheap and cheerful to get it up into the air, then the Force1 F100 drone could be a good solution. It may not have the latest and greatest features, but the drone is still cost-effective enough to provide all the basics you need for drone flight and to progress onto more advanced units.