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A full review of the drone and it’s modes: Syma X5SW

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If you’re looking for a quadcopter that’s easy to fly and that won’t break the bank, then look no further than the Syma X5SW. The X5SW is the latest and most advanced model in Syma’s X5 range of toy drones. That fact alone tells much about this quadcopter.

Being in the X5 range, it is pretty much the same with the other models – X5SC and X5S. Its main difference, however, is the FPV-enabled camera along with a wifi antenna for FPV video viewing. Its camera is still similar to that of X5SC, but that of X5SW has an antenna that sticks out of its rear.

The X5SW, in general, is an X5SC with a pimped-up camera. The two models have the same transmitter, accessories, and battery. The X5S model is another similar drone, but this one does not have a camera.

Therefore, if you want to experience FPV flying without spending much, the X5SW is the one for you. Most FPV drones cost upwards of several hundred to several thousand dollars. However, the X5SW will cost you much, much less.

In this review, we're going to talk about why it's one of the best drones you can buy today.

Syma X5SW Review – FPV Flying With Your Smartphone

syma x5sw

By far the best feature about the Syma X5SW is that you can fly it via FPV with your smartphone. That's right- you can use your smartphone to fly this beginner drone via FPV.

Once connected, you'll see precisely what your drone sees in real time. Keep in mind that you'll need to install Syma's app on your smartphone to utilize this feature (it only takes a few minutes to do). The Syma FPV app is available for both Apple iOS and Android versions not older than Android 4.2.

The X5SW's box comes with a pair of QR codes that can be scanned to bind the drone to your smartphone. The camera of the X5SW will set up its wifi hotspot where you need to connect your phone. Then voila, you can view the FPV feed from the camera through your Syma FPV app.

To make your FPV flying way better, the X5SW already comes with a phone holder. This can be attached to your transmitter to view the feed while flying your drone smoothly.

Considering that it is still a toy quadcopter, the FPV feed suffers from too much lag. Meaning, it takes roughly 2 seconds or so before the video from your drone’s camera appear on your phone.

Since the feed relies mainly on the drone camera's wifi, you won't notice the video lag if your quadcopter is just a few meters from you. However, as you fly it further away from your phone, the delay gets worse. At around 50 meters away, the FPV feed already seems like a slideshow of pictures.

Because of this, it is highly encouraged to fly your Syma X5SW within line of sight at all times. You cannot rely on the FPV feed as you pilot this quadcopter. Remember, there's an about 2-second lag time, hitting a tree or wall takes less than that.

If you are considering to taking this drone to an FPV drone racing, that's a definite no-no. What then is the purpose of the FPV feature? It is best for aerial photography/videography.

With the live feed, you can easily align and frame a shot. You can see your shots even without landing your quadcopter! You can also use the Syma X5SW drone for surveying a property or searching for a missing pet or livestock.

Further, since the X5SW drone uses the FPV app, videos and photos are directly recorded on your smartphone through this. You can’t store on any microSD card on the camera as you would in the X5SC and X5C. This is quite a downside since the video feed tends to have some lag time.

Nevertheless, FPV flying and aerial photography is much fun. Even more, when you don't have to spend a ton of money to do so. Let's continue this review and see what else it has to offer.

Overview

What’s in the Box?

-1 x X5SW Quadcopter

-1 x Transmitter

-1 x Camera with Antenna

-1 x 3.7V Battery (inside the drone)

-1 x USB Charger

-4 x Propeller

-4 x Propeller Guards

-4 x Landing Legs

-1 x Phone Holder

-1 x Screw Driver

Specifications

-Dimensions: 310 x 310 x 105 mm (with prop guards)

-Diagonal motor distance: 230 mm

-Motor size: 8 x 20mm coreless

-Weight: 120g

-Flight time:

-6 to 8 minutes (without prop guards and camera)

-approximately 4 minutes (with prop guards and camera turned on)

-Battery: 3.7V 500mAh LiPo

-Charging time: 40 45 minutes

-Control distance: approximately 50m

-Transmitter power: 4 x 1.5V AA batteries

The Syma X5SW is one of the best drones that you can buy today. Aside from being able to fly it in FPV mode, the drone itself is relatively stable and highly maneuverable. While the drone's camera isn't the best out there, it will still capture descent aerial footage and photographs.

One drawback to this drone is it's below average flight time (which is just about 5 minutes).  Therefore, it's recommended that you buy extra batteries to get back in the air as quickly as possible.

Flight Time

x5sw drone

Because the camera adds more weight to the quadcopter, the flight time of the X5SW is only around 5-6 minutes. This is below than average.

If you'll use the FPV mode, then it goes lower to just 4 minutes. This is because the camera draws much power when transmitting its FPV feed.

Nevertheless, flight time can be slightly higher if there's no wind present and if you're not flying aggressively. You can also increase it once the prop guards and camera are removed. You may also consider buying extra batteries to increase your flight time significantly.

Camera Quality

Therefore, what kind of quality should you expect from the drone's camera? As we mentioned earlier, the drone's camera isn't great, but it's also not terrible.

It comes with a 2-megapixel camera that offers decent footage for its price. It is also a 720p HD, which is pretty much the standard for most Syma X5 models. What makes it stand out is the FPV feature that was mentioned early on.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a similar model that comes with a camera and FPV capabilities for the same price.

The Hubsan X4 H107D is the only one that comes close. Take a look at some sample footage captured by this quadcopter:

Information-Rich Transmitter

syma x5sw drone

Overall, the X5SW drone's transmitter is not aesthetically appealing. Instead, it looks more like a gadget from a 1980s sci-fi movie. However, it shouldn't be underestimated just because of that.

The transmitter's LCD screen at the bottom is packed with flight information that you need. This includes drone battery life, yaw rate, throttle level, trim levels, Wi-Fi strength, and much more. This is particularly helpful because as any experienced flyer would agree: the more information you have during flight, the better.

I also want to talk about the drone's directional controls in this Syma X5SW review. The transmitter has spring-loaded sticks which are quite lovely. Also, it's straightforward to move the drone up, down, left, right, and forwards, and backward.

Plus, this model is even capable of performing flips. Just keep in mind that, like with any drone, you'll want to start slowly. Moreover, then start trying out the flips once you've become more experienced.

The transmitter is powered by 4 AA batteries (not included in the box) and has a control range of about 50m. However, some enthusiasts have come up with hacks to extend the range up to 80m.

Lastly, remember that the transmitter for the Syma X5SW comes with a docking station for your smartphone.

Headless Mode

Arguably one of the best features of this drone is headless mode. What is headless mode? When you have headless mode activated, the drone will always fly in the direction of the controller stick (regardless of which direction it is facing).

If you’re a beginner, I highly recommend keeping headless mode on. Even when you forget the orientation of your Syma X5SW drone, you can still fly at ease when this mode is on.

It will also make your drone easier to operate and decrease your chances of a quadcopter crash. Once you become more experienced, you can turn off headless mode and fly as you wish.

Design and Build

syma x5sw headless mode

As mentioned earlier, the Syma X5SW drone is very much similar to its sister model, the X5SC. This particularly applies to the design and build of both models. As such, the features discussed here are also the same with that of the X5SC.

One of the first things you'll notice is the tall landing legs. This was redesigned with the X5SC and intended to protect the camera during landing. If you're flying the X5SW drone outdoors, this is mainly a helpful feature on the quadcopter's body.

The next one is the enclosed pinion gears and motors. Although this is not noticeable, its role in your drone is very vital. The enclosed pinion gears and motors protect the engines from strands of hair or nylon. Otherwise, if a strand gets caught up, it may force the engine to stop causing it to burn inside.

The camera mount is also an additional feature and was improved from the previous X5 models. With the new mount, you can securely slide the camera in and out without much hassle.

You won't even need any screw to remove or install the camera. This is an excellent improvement from X5C's camera mount design that was attached to the battery door with two screws. Imagine how much time you can save with the improved camera mount.

Additionally, the power switch can be found at the bottom of the quadcopter so it won’t ruin its overall look. The new body features also include redesigned vents and graphics. The Syma X5SW is available in black, red or white.

I'd be lying if I tell you that this drone is invincible because it isn't. Like any drone, if you crash it hard enough, it's going to break. Nevertheless, this model is still pretty tight!

Despite crashing mine into a few trees (and even rock), it still managed to fly without a problem. This shows a lot about the drone's overall durability.

Whom is This Beginner Quadcopter Made For?

Next, in this review, we're going to talk about whom this drone is made for. Beginner flyers? Advanced flyers? Kids? For the most part, anyone can fly this drone.

The reason why is because of its responsiveness and maneuverability. Unless your drone gets caught in the wind, controlling it won’t be a problem (even if you’ve never flown a drone before). Some other quadcopters that are easy to fly include the Syma X5C and JJRC H8D.

Potential Drawbacks

syma x5sw review

Before ending this Syma X5SW review, remember that the quadcopter’s flight time is slightly lower than average. Transmitting the FPV feed could make it even shorter.

I'd instead invest some money in extra batteries than sit waiting for 45 minutes for the battery to recharge. Each battery will provide you with about 5 minutes of flight time, so if you buy five batteries, you'll be able to fly for close to half-an-hour!

If you don't need to do some aerial shots, you can also remove the camera to increase flight time somehow. Once you've become familiar with how your drone flies, you may also remove the prop guards.

Additionally, when you fly your drone further, expect that the FPV feed will lag. The further your quadcopter goes, the worse it gets.

One of the Cheapest FPV Quadcopters You Can Buy Today

Historically, flying a drone via FPV has been very expensive (think several thousand dollars). However, thanks to the rapid increase in drone technology, it's now possible to fly via FPV without spending a ton of money.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a cheaper model that comes with FPV technology. I hope that this Syma X5SW review has helped you answer some questions that you may have had about this drone. Good luck and fly safely.

About the Author David

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