I’ll cut to the chase. I love both of these quadcopters, but for your first ‘quad, I think you’d be better off buying the Hubsan X4. Read on for more explanation and some videos comparing the two.
Controller – The Estes 4606 Proto X Controller is, in my opinion, the biggest drawback to this little quad. It’s tough for me to maintain altitude with it, and is just too small for my hands (granted, I’m just shy of 6’4″). The Hubsan X4’s controller is much better.
The good news is that either controller will bind with either quad, so if you get a Hubsan first, then get a Proto later, things can work out nicely. The Hubsan transmitter is also available by itself on Amazon. Check out the videos after the “read more” of me binding with both types of controllers, as well as a cool trick with the lights that I don’t think you can do with the off-the-shelf controller.
Cost – The Estes 4606 is cheaper at just under $30 on Amazon as of this writing, and after examining it, it’s really a marvel of manufacturing simplicity. The electrical board is the main body, so fewer components have to be used. The Hubsan X4 (H107L) is also available on Amazon for around $15 more, but doesn’t come with Prime shipping as far as I can see.
Repairability – The other side to the coin of the Estes model being so well designed for manufacturing is that if you break something, it looks like repairs will be much more difficult. I’ve crashed and repaired my Hubsan X4 many, many times, so that model would be better for those learning. Read more »
Recently I brought my Hubsan X4 quadcopter to work, where I quickly snapped a battery cable off of it. Although it was suggested that our electrical technician co-op could repair it, this seemed like a poor use of company resources. That, and I don’t mind doing a little repair work myself.
The video below shows how I reattached my Hubsan’s battery cable back in place. There’s not a lot to it, just get the chip to a place where you have access, secure it, then solder it on. The trick is getting everything lined up correctly. Placing solder on the chip before the wire or letting solder flow onto the wire beforehand can help things along. Unfortunately I didn’t get footage of the soldering act that actually attached it, but there’s not a lot to this operation.
If you’d like to try your hand at flying a quadcopter, these less than $40 on Amazon
as of this writing. I repair mine a lot, but my number of crashes is probably over 1000 by now. A lot cheaper than repairing a phantom!
Hubsan motor replacement fail
Here’s a little PSA for those of you that
fly crash your quadcopter a lot. When soldering a new motor on, don’t burn the leads. Apparently I left my soldering iron on the control board for too long, but the good thing is that I had a board from another ‘copter that was quickly used for parts.
Although the board is not included, I would definitely recommend a “crash pack” spare parts kit (Amazon) or, barring that, a new ‘quad is less than $40 from Amazon as of this writing. If you don’t like to do any soldering, that might be a viable option.
The patient is prepped for surgery