If you’re in the market for your first drone unit or a beginners setup, it’s never been a better time. The beginner’s end of the drone market is more competitive than ever and features have trickled down from the more expensive units.
This means for us customers, we have more choice than ever and more high-quality features for the price. For units like the Force1 U45W Blue Jay, you get a feature-packed drone at a cost-effective price. Let’s dig in and see what the Blue Jay has to offer and if it can beat the competition.
For starters, the Force1 U45W Blue Jay is a robust unit with a camera that is capable of taking good quality footage. As the camera hangs down beneath the drone, it incorporates the look of a DJI Phantom with landing gear. A design with fixed legs to not just protect the camera underneath, but also to protect the underside of the drone when landing on rough surfaces.
Basic specs of the drone are a 720p HD camera shooting 2MP stills, a 7-8 minute flight time, and a 100m range. The package itself comes with the drone body, propeller guards, propellers which come in two colors to help you orientate the thing, a spare battery, charger, and 4GB SanDisk Micro SD Card.
It’s not exactly a tiny unit, like other beginner drones, but dimensions of 14.4 x 4 x 13.8 inches should help in stronger wind conditions. The total weight is a meager 4.2 oz.
As for flight features, the automatic basics are in here. Altitude hold keeps the drone at a consistent altitude and simplifies the flight process. One-touch takeoff and landing, custom route mode for tracing flight paths of your own, and headless mode for orientating the drone to your own position. All the functionality of the drone can be controlled via a smartphone app which links to the main controller via WiFi and can also provide by a live feed or video.
The controller itself is a 2.4 Ghz unit, which initially looks more complicated than you would find on something for a beginner. But, the advantage here is that it allows you to grow as a pilot and get into more advanced techniques.
There are buttons on the controller for the various modes and a cool attachment for your smart phone at the top of the controller. There are also helpful markings on each button for easy identification.
As for the camera, 720p HD video is a reasonable inclusion for the price. It is a rather narrow field of view, which isn’t the best for FPV (first person view) or at least all the time, but the unit is compatible with a VR headset. The only other downsides to the video is that it only records at 20 frames per second, which is a bit slow for modern tastes.
Force1 U45W Blue Jay in Use
Setup of the Force1 U45W Blue Jay is straightforward, only needing the landing gear, propellers, guards, and batteries installed to get going. Switching on the drone lights up the LEDs, and once linked to the controller, everything is ready to go. The drone needs to initially orientate itself to its environment, only taking a few seconds, but this can take a little longer in colder environments.
It doesn’t take long to orientate the drone and then some of the automatic flight features can be engaged. Features such as flipping can be done at the press of a button, then toggling the stick to dictate which direction the drone flies. The auto landing button can then be engaged whenever you want to land.
You can also trace a route on a mobile phone app which the drone will follow. This is a great way to capture interesting video footage and to see what the drone is capable of. In other words, the drone has enough built-in flight features to give you confidence on your first flights.
As the drone is made from robust plastic, it can take a knock or two. The propeller guards help a lot in this regard as the drone won’t be able to detect obstacles. However, as it doesn’t take very long to master basic flight patterns, you are quickly able to navigate obstacles in no time.
As for the video footage, it’s of reasonable quality and good enough for candid footage which can be easily transferred to your phone. Flight time does feel a little bit short at 7-8 minutes, but this is about standard for this price of drone. However, the drone does have a good range of 100m.
In total, the Force1 U45W Blue Jay is a great way to start flying and most importantly easy to learn, without feeling like you need to be a seasoned RC pilot to get results.
How Does It Compare?
If you only want to spend a few hundred dollars on your first drone, then there are quite a few options on the market. It’s best to stick to the more well-known makes and models, simply for build quality and features. This includes the Force1 Mini Drone which has a different design to the Blue Jay, with the camera being built-in and no underhanging landing gear.
It too has a smartphone app for full control, 720P HD video, and an 80m range. The quality of the camera is probably better on the Blue Jay, but the Force1 Mini is still feature-packed and has plenty of automatic flight features which are great for the beginner. It’s also in the same price bracket.
|Force1 U45W Blue Jay||Force1 Mini Drone|
|Automated Flight Controls||Yes||Yes|
|Camera||720P HD||720P HD|
|Flight Time||7-8 Minutes||8 Minutes|
If you are in the market for your first drone, then you can’t go wrong with the Force1 U45W Blue Jay. Beginners and more experienced drone pilots can enjoy the features, with plenty of automatic flight modes to give confidence or for just plain ease-of-use. Custom route mode is very handy for capturing preplanned footage and the camera is reasonable enough for candid video.
For the money and features, the Blue Jay is definitely worth shortlisting as your first drone unit.