Blade Chroma Quadcopter 4k Camera Drone Review
Blade Chroma Quadcopter 4k Camera Drone Review
The Blade Chroma Quadcopter Camera Drone with CG03 4k video camera and ST-10+ controller is an all in one ready to fly quadcopter. Take great high resolution video and beautiful still pictures straight out of the box. Just turn on the Chroma drone, turn on your ST-10+ controller and fly!
Flying the Chroma is really easy even for the novice pilot. The flight is slower and more stabile as a result making the video footage smoother and more friendly. This is not an acrobatic drone, but if you need more control and have more experience you can always switch to AP mode which allows you much more crisp reaction. The Chroma is able to maintain approximately 25-30 minutes of flight time on a single charge.
What’s in the box
The Blade Chroma Quadcopter comes with everything you need in the box including the Chroma Quadcopter, ST-10+ Controller with Touchscreen display, stabilized CG03 4k camera with 3-axis gimbal, two sets of 4 props/blades, battery charger adapter, battery charging unit, USB charging cable for ST-10+ controller, 6300 mAh LiPo flight battery and roach clip pigtails so you can charge on-the-go from your car’s battery terminal when you’re out in the field. Included is a foldable rectangular sunshade that you can suction cup onto your LCD screen for better vision in direct sunlight. The rectangular shroud is removable and folds flat. The rectangular shape makes shroud a bit cumbersome. I would have preferred to see more of a triangular shape with the sides that tapered down to the LCD screen surface at the bottom.
The instructions unfold into this inconvenient mess and does not include much beyond the basic usage. The “manual” could really benefit from a graphic designers touch. That said, if there’s to be no instruction booklet at least the quick start or reference card could be a bit smaller for easier use. Included is a smaller pocket sized reference manual that outlines the onboard compass calibration process as well as lighting codes for all the alerts and visual communication between your Chroma and you.
Chroma Quadcopter Specs & Setup
The Chroma features four 780Kv brushless outrunner motors, a CGO3 4K Camera with Integrated 3-Axis Gimbal and 30 min of flight time from a 6300 mAh Li-Po battery. The whole setup with battery weighs 45.9 oz and measures 6.50″H x 12.8″L. The Chroma is equipped with GLONASS and GPS system for accurate satellite navigation. The Control link operates on a 2.4GHz frequency while the Video link operates over 5.8GHz with a range of 1970 ft or 600m. It’s profile is a bit smaller and stout compared to the Typhoon H from Yuneec, similar to the DJI Phantom 3’s size. The Chroma’s CGO3 camera is able to capture 12MP stills and 4k video at 30fps or 1080p video at 120fps.
Setting up and getting up in the air was very quick and we were up and flying within a few minutes. Simply match up props A and props B to the respective motors as indicated on the quadcopter’s arm and spin them on following the arrow on the prop. The propellers are self-tightening but give it a gentle twist so it’s snug and repeat.
Once you’ve attached the props, remove the protective cradle that surrounds the CGO3 4k camera and 3-axis gimbal. Gently wiggle the cover out from around the camera and gimble attachment. If necessary gently pry back the baseplate and separate the gimble platform slightly then slide the protective cover/cradle off. Set that aside as you’ll want to reuse the cover as it will secure the camera when in storage or transit. Insert the battery so it seats firmly and evenly into the Chroma quadcopter, lift the antenna. It’s best to move to an open area with clear airspace and a level surface.
Initialization and connection time between the devices is minimal. The “pairing” process had us up and ready for flight in less than 20 seconds and the ST-10+ Android based touchscreen LCD screen works great for FPV as well as interacting with your flight preferences. There’s a slight amount of delay so you’ll want to maintain visual contact as much as possible in addition to your LCD First Person camera View.
For packing up, hold onto the box, but the Chroma is able to easily slide it’s landing gear off, gimbal and camera along with props so you can chuck it all into a bag or backpack without a huge worry that something will snap. If the original box isn’t workin for you, Horizon Hobby has a backpack style carry case and hard case made for the Chroma if you want to shell out the extra duckets.
For your first flight you’ll want to remain in Smart Mode which makes it much easier for a novice pilot as you do not have to worry about orientation. Forward is forward and back is back no matter which way your quadcopter has been spun around to. Additionally Smart Mode places a SAFE Circle around you so that you don’t have to worry about flying the Chroma into your head. The Chroma will not be able to penetrate your safe circle and it also prevents you from flying in excess of 100 meters from your position.
The Return Home functionality engages with a physical switch on the ST-10+ controller. The drone will return to the lift off point where it started and the feature will activate automatically if controller signal is lost. Great if you lose sight of the unit, you can also resume control at any time. The only drawback is that the Chroma doesn’t have advanced obstacle avoidance yet and this technology is still being perfected within the industry so it’s best to keep your eye on it if you can or make sure you’re in a large open field with no flight level obstructions. But you can still use it to get the drone back to a safer area within view and then you simply take over if you need to.
AP or Ariel Photography Mode allows you to turn off SAFE Circle and allows more experienced pilots more manual control. Smooth control response keeps panning and tracking shots looking great even with the added agility. Either mode you choose the Chroma will auto hold it’s position and altitude when you let go of the flight sticks. If you’re already familiar with the Blade products you can also enable Agility and Stability Modes for quicker control or stabilized flight.
Tracking Mode & Follow Me Mode
Tracking mode allows the Chroma follow the ST-10+ Controller and will adjust the camera so it keeps you in frame. Follow me Mode is used by pre-defining a set altitude and distance for the Chroma to follow the ST-10+ Controller. You can only run Tracking Mode and Follow Me Mode while flying under the Smart Mode / novice configuration. The Chroma doesn’t offer advanced waypoint navigation.
Controls & Flight Experience
The ST-10+ controller with 5.5 inch touchscreen LCD makes it easy to have the important controls at your fingertips. The onboard LCD makes viewing and flying much more convenient for even the first time flyer. You don’t have to fumble with another device while you’re trying to fly and shoot simultaneously. It’s convenient to be able to see live video of what subject you are shooting or filming.
There’s a slight amount of delay in the video feed so you’ll want to keep one eye on the LCD and another on the drone. Flying response is not as nimble or agile as some other quadcopters. Remember, the Chroma isn’t an acrobatic quadcopter so this slightly slower or more rounded responsiveness does help make smoother videos. The Chroma is stabile in higher winds and was able to maintain GPS signal lock quite effectively. We’ve taken the unit up about 10 times and did experience some drifting which was resolved by compass recalibration. I have to admit I always have a pit in my stomach till I touchdown safely no matter what drone I’m flying. If you experience a drifting issues, you’ll want to recalibrate your onboard compass, accelerometer and/or wait for your drone to hook up to more GPS satellites before lifting off.
ST-10+ Controller buttons
There’s a start/stop button to turn or stop the props for easy deliberate actions. A dial located under the upper right corner near your right index finger that will allow you to speed up or slow down flight/controller reaction times. Under the upper left corner is another dial that adjusts the camera’s vertical angle. Designed with a dedicated snapshot and video button, the ST-10+ controller is super easy to control taking pictures or starting and stopping video while you’re in flight.
There are various instances of pilots experiencing fly away where the Chroma can potentially lose GPS signal lock and either crash or simply fly away off into the distance. You’ll want to make sure that you run any available firmware updates available on the Chroma and ST-10+ controller. Onboard compass and accelerometer calibration is recommended prior to flight or if you move geographic locations. The two sensor calibrations are easy to execute and can be initiated by hitting the Calibration button under the Gear icon on your ST-10+ controller’s LCD screen.
The Chroma Quadcopter 4k Camera Drone is ready-to-fly out of the box and comes with everything you need to start taking 4k videos and high resolution still shots from the air including a 3-axis gimbal. The novice and automatic flight modes make it great for the beginner pilot as well as a more experienced one. Expert AP, Follow me and Tracking modes give you well rounded coverage in functionality so you can easily do most anything. The built-in LCD screen keeps all your focus on the controller and the drone instead of fumbling with more devices. The Chroma Quadcopter Camera Drone with Yuneec’s CGO3 and ST-10+ Controller make the bundle a great overall solution for anyone to have fun and create more professional results. The Blade Chroma is fun in a box!
Blade Chroma Quadcopter 4k Camera Drone $699.00