Blade 200QX Review

December 29, 2014 16:32 | By | 1 Comment

The Blade 200QX is Horizon Hobby’s answer to all the cheap chinese miniquads. Lacking GPS-driven flight modes, can it justify the price tag with its performance? Find out in our review after the break.

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The Blade 200QX is a strange beast: It’s a very small, nimble quadcopter with a case styled identically to the 350QX, except quite a bit smaller. It’s roughly the same size as the LaTrax Alias, though the props are much smaller and the brushless motors run at a whopping 3000kV.

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The battery compartment has plenty of space for the 800mAh 2S LiPo which itself is quite small, if a bit lengthy. There’s a three-pin servo connector for the optional camera as well as firmware upgrades, which we’ll get to later.

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The model comes with a special allen wrench that allows for easy removal of the screws – it’s important to note that the silver screws move the usual way, while the brass screws (top right and bottom left) are counter-rotating. The allen wrench itself is made of plastic, but the screws don’t have to be tightened a lot thanks to the self-tightening design.

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There are several different types of props available: the stock props (right) yield the longest flight time of about 10 minutes, but don’t allow for inverted flight. Sport props (not shown) allow for limited inverted flight, with a small drop in flight time. The 3D props (left) feature excellent agility and inverted flight but reduce the total flight time to 6-7 minutes.

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The inside of the 200QX is very clean and neatly built. The main board with the microcontroller and sensors is mounted on vibration dampeners, connecting to the ESC board via a flat flex cable. It’s a bit of a shame that Horizon Hobbies saw the need to scrape off the chip markings, an ineffective attempt at preventing reverse engineering.

The only negative perhaps is the lack of silicone glue around the solder joints. Although this small quad isn’t very likely to shake loose a wire, it’s always a good idea to gunk down any cable to prevent it from eventually breaking the solder joint.

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Above we can see the vibration dampening for the smaller main board. It’s a neat and clean design.

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The included optional feet make the 200QX look just like its bigger brother, only a bit more translucient. Without a mounted camera however, there’s little point in bolting those feet on. The quadcopter features rubber nubs on the bottom of each arm to soften landings without burdening it with that extra weight.

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With its factory firmware, the 200QX supports three basic flight modes. The first mode indicated by a green center LED, features extreme stabilization for beginners. The blue intermediate mode feels more like an APM quadcopter in horizon mode, solidly locking the quad back in level flight whenever the sticks are released. Finally, the red advanced mode allows for any maneuver and features no auto leveling whatsoever.

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Flying the Blade 200QX is a lot of fun. The stabilization and autolevel are dialed in perfectly and there’s absolutely no tendency to oscillate or undercompensate. For this alone, most people will find the performance worth the price of admission. It’s simply an extremely well set-up quad, just the right size to enjoy in the smallest of gardens or even inside.

Advanced flight mode is really extremely agile, and takes some getting used to even for seasoned pilots. This is nothing like a KK2 in manual mode, the 200QX is extremely twitchy and beginners will most definitely want to stay away from that mode until they are completely comfortable with intermediate mode.

There is a firmware update available which adds three more flight modes, one to make the quad even easier to fly for beginners, one that autolevels both normal and in inverted flight, and one that gives access to full 3d (normal and inverted) flight without autoleveling.  Sadly, even though Horizon is offering the firmware update for free, they still charge for a required USB upgrade cable. What’s worse, even if you buy the Blade 200QX new today, it will still come with the old firmware, meaning you have to shell out the USD $20.- for an USB adapter you’ll ever only use once or twice.

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At the time of writing, the Blade 200QX is sold for USD $230.- which is a bit on the pricy side. However, it’s difficult to argue that the flight performance and overall build quality are top notch. You get what you pay for, in this case a mini quadcopter that flies perfectly out of the box. Pretty much the only thing that could make this quad even better (aside from having the new firmware preinstalled by the factory) would be the inclusion of GPS. The case certainly has room enough for a small GPS antenna and magnetometer, and the rest is purely a software issue.

Once you’re tired of the plastic frame, or you broke it, you can actually replace the body with this awesome CNC fiberglass upgrade frame that’s actually lighter than the original.

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Summary

What we liked:

  • Excellent stabilization
  • Plenty of power
  • Useful flight modes for beginners and advanced pilots
  • 10 minutes flight time with stock propellers
  • Possibility to upgrade to 3D flight

What we didn’t like:

  • Firmware upgrade requires extra purchase

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FPVCentral is a private, independent news and review site for all things related to First Person View RC model flight. Covering everything from hobby, commercial and military drones, RC models and electronics related to FPV flight, we are not sponsored by any manufacturer or affiliated with any company or project.

Comments (1)

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  1. James45kaiser@gmail.com says:

    I have been looking a
    Hard to fiend a small unit like the alias but more power so I can mount a 700,or600,tvl,thought the 200qx would be it but have read of short range problems ,,what is the range difference on this qx vs alias?? And what makes the difference??pleas help if you can,,

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