Review UDI U818A Quadcopter Drone with Camera
When it comes to flying drones and quadcopters, there are two schools of thought. One holds that you should let the computers do all the hard work. The other holds that the pilot should be firmly in control, keeping the vehicle under human control. The UDI U818A represents the second school: This bare-bones quadcopter relies on the skills of the person holding the remote. It offers a few frills, but keeps its controls simple and fun to fly. While it is far from perfect (and the video quality is less than impressive), this is a great pick for aspiring pilots who want to be in control of their flights.
Minimal is the word that springs to mind for the design of the UDI U818A. There really isn’t a lot there. The frame (which also surrounds and protects the rotors) is made of light, thin plastic, with the electronics fitted in a small cavity underneath the center.
The small, 500mAh battery slides tightly into a holder on the bottom of this, to which the camera is also attached. The camera is small, a flat lozenge-shaped lump that connects to the body by power wires. The microUSB card that stores the video and still images fits into one side.
The rotors of the UDI U818A are similarly minimal, 5.25 inches in diameter and made of the same, light plastic. Most low-end quadcopters use friction to attach the rotors to the motor shaft, but this one uses a small screw to lock them in place. This makes them less likely to pop off, but also makes them harder to replace. A small screwdriver, for this purpose is included, along with a spare set of rotors.
A number of LED lights are placed around the frame of the quadcopter, including two white LED strips under the center, blue and red lights on the motors (indicating front and back,respectively) and a single white forward-facing LED.
The UDI U818A comes with a short printed manual, but the poor English translation makes this mostly useless, with descriptions like “four direction rolling mold on-off” for the stunt button and warnings such as “enough room is need for this motion, or danger may occur” about the stunt mode.
The boxy controller for the U818A is a little more opulently designed, sporting a large number of switches on its plastic exterior. On the shoulders are buttons for turning the LED lights on and off and for putting the quadcopter into stunt mode. On the front of the controller, there are a number of buttons surrounding the LCD display on the front.
These buttons take a photo, start and stop video, flip the quadcopter and change the flight mode. The LCD shows such data as battery level, signal strength and the amount of thrust currently being applied. The two control sticks are above this, offering the usual control layout: left for thrust and direction, right for forward/back and left/right.
The controller and quadcopter communicate over a 2.4-GHz radio signal. That is the same frequency band as Wi-Fi networks, but we had no issues with interference from Wi-Fi networks. I experienced good range, as far as 30 to 40 feet away. You cannot control this quadcopter from a cellphone or other Wi-Fi device; the controller is the only device that can do this.
The UDI U818A is a fun quadcopter to fly. It has the advantages of both smaller, lighter quadcopters (speed, quick maneuvering) and the advantages of larger quads: large, widely spaced rotors make it more stable in flight. Like its smaller siblings such as the Parrot Airborne or the Blade Nano RTF , this drone is buffeted by even very light winds, and if you bump into something, the flexible frame bends and hits the rotor blades, sending it spiraling out of control.
Two flight modes are available. Mode one limits the turning and climbing speed of the quadcopter for beginners. Mode two opens up the throttle, providing full access to the very fast turning and climbing speed that it offers. I would definitely recommend that you stick with Mode one until you get a feel for this zippy quadcopter, as it is easier to lose control in Mode two and send it out of control.
- The UDI U818A HD has the Headless/IOC function.
- 6 AXIS GYRO – Equipped with the latest 6-axis flight control systems, 3D lock!
- 360° Eversion – One key 360°roll,continuous roll for perfect action and wonderful performance
- HD Video Camera – U818A HD equipped with 2MP HD video camera
- Upgraded Accessories – LiPO Battery and a upgraded 4GB Micro SD memory card.
What’s in the box?
- The U818A quadcopter
- 4 GHz controller
- 2 LiPo batteries of capacity 350 mAh
- USB charger for the battery
- Micro SD card for recording the camera feed of capacity 4 GB.
- 4 sets of spare propellers
- Power bank
- User manual
- This is an extremely stable and agile drone
- The whole package comes with extra batteries and rotors
- The rotor protectors prove to be useful for rough flights
The headless mode seems to be aiding the users in flying the drone without worrying about its orientation
- It is ideal for beginners who can practice flying drones and capture a few aerial photographs
- It can be flown both indoors and outdoors
- The camera resolution isn’t the best
- One could expect a better battery life from this product
The U818A may have been around for some time but it still packs a good punch when it comes to value. It does not have the latest features in toy drones such as altitude hold and auto take-off/landing but I believe most people can live with its basic set of features, particularly those who prefer to have more manual control over their drones.