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The XIRO Xplorer quadcopter was designed to not only provides a safe, stable and balanced flight, but also to takes advantage of the current level of technology that is readily available.
The first thing you will notice about this drone is the rather sharp design. The drone body was shaped like a very sharp X in order to help with the drone’s aerodynamics and simply slice through rushing air, side-winds, and various other flight obstacles.
The second thing you will notice is the fact that, despite what it is advertised as, this drone is not RTF. At worst, RTF means that you will have to assemble the propellers, but the Xplorer requires a bit more than that. You will have to assemble the propellers, the gimbal, the battery, the range extender, the lens hood, and so on. This might come across as a negative at first, but that is not the case with the Xplorer. The drone is actually designed to be modular which is rather new in this world.
That’s right, this drone is actually split into specific modules that can be installed separately and used accordingly. Modules are also interchangeable to allow for more customization as well as a higher level of adaptability.
- Complete quadcopter with remote transmitter. Super easy to set up: pre-tuned by factory and ready in minutes!
- Shoots full HD video at 1080p/30fps and 720p/30fps. You can take pictures with a resolution of up to 14 megapixels.
- High-precision 3-axis camera stabilization system for a new level of smooth, stable and blur-free photo capture and video recording in the sky.
- Distinguished “Follow Me” and “Circle Around Me” functions and built-in 5,200-mAh lithium polymer (LiPo) rechargable battery.
One other great feature is the possibility to see the Xiro Xplorer footage in FPV using your smartphone. This is not a new feature, especially with modern drones, but the interesting and innovative thing here is the fact that you can actually chart a course and even set up a patrol path for your drone to follow using GPS and a smartphone app.
This allows for a more relaxed and stress-free flight experience, along with the possibility to multitask and micromanage your project.
However, the drone isn’t perfect and we must point out that the biggest flaw is represented by wildly different flight times, depending on how you configure the drone and how you configure the route/flight path. This happens because the drone has a modular design.
To add to this problem, the battery pack cannot be upgraded or modified. You can purchase multiple batteries if you so desire, however there is no way of attaching multiple batteries to the same drone as of yet.
There is not a lot of packaging per say, not a lot of wrapping, not a lot of foam. In fact, the packaging is simple, effective, and straight to the point.
The drone comes in a large box which is split off into 4 parts. You have the drone in the middle, and the 4 sections placed into triangular cardboard boxes fitted to the shape of the drone’s body.
Those 4 sections, or modules, are:
- Power Pack
- Propellers / Tools / Spare parts
The overall package contains the following:
- 1 drone body
- 2 sets of propellers
- 1 battery
- 1 strap
- 1 toolkit
- 1 set of universal adapters
- 1 controller
- 1 range extender
- 1 charger
- 1 USB cable
- 1 gimbal
- 1 lens hood
- 1 micro-SD card
- 1 power adapter
As mentioned earlier, the drone is not RTF, so there is a bit of assembly required in order to have all the systems functional and the drone ready to fly at optimum efficiency.
Another thing to note here is the fact that the box itself comes with a QR code on the back which will allow you to download the latest version of the drone’s software on your smartphone. It only works with iOS and Android systems.
Design and durability
The overall design of the Xplorer is probably one of the most underappreciated drone designs on the market. The problem that most pilots have with it is purely aesthetic, the biggest complaint being that everything has to have an “X” in it or put a ridiculous emphasis on the letter “X”.
From a functionality point of view, the design is very smart. First and foremost, the design is very sharp being capable of literally slicing through side winds, gusts of airs and various other atmospheric flight obstacles.
The second thing is a sturdy and secure structure. Unlike other drones that bend and wobble when they hit a slightly harder side draft or encounter turbulent weather conditions, the Xplorer keeps a stiff frame, balancing itself out and powering through weather problems while at the same time protecting the camera and maintaining its balance.
When it comes to durability, the Xplorer is right up there with some of the most resilient drones on the market. Granted, it lacks propeller guards, but then again, the propellers are the cheapest spare parts on the market.
One last thing to mention here is the fact that this drone is also capable of flying in very low visibility as a result of both its camera and the software that you install on your smartphone.
The guys at XIRO understand the importance of a good camera which is why they used the CMOS module by Panasonic. This is a 1080p full HD video camera capable of shooting 14 megapixel photos. It also fully supports Adobe Lightroom if you want to correct and adjust the lens properly.
With the camera, you also get an ND8 filter which protects your pictures and video from overexposure and the “light bloom” effects.
It goes without saying that this camera is a rather powerful camera. However it is incredibly lightweight, which makes the best choice over an external camera like a GoPro.
If you want an external camera, you just have to make sure that it fits the gimbal camera bracket. Sadly, there are not that many good fits on the market and you’ll have to deal with 2 issues:
- First and foremost, the drone becomes unstable as a result of heavier bulkier cameras with uneven weight distribution. This causes the drone to become harder to control and maneuver, and drastically lowering the responsiveness of the drone itself.
- The second issue with this is the fact that external cameras, regardless of the modifications done to the mounting bracket, will not be able to use all the features of the drone, one of the most important ones being the first person view mode.
Battery and flight time
The Xplorer packs a 5200mAh battery which gives you a maximum of 23 minutes of flight time. The best part about this battery, besides its bulky size, is the fact that you can actually check the battery charge before you take off.
Simply take the battery out of the drone, push the green button on the side and wait for the small LED lights to turn on. It will indicate what charge the battery is currently holding and will help you determine if you can fly the drone or if you want to recharge the battery.
Even more, the Xplorer drone comes with a controller with a built in battery, similar to the drone itself, which can be charged from the same charger as the drone battery via a power cable.
There are a lot of good parts about this system, the main one being that you don’t have to keep track of more than one charger and you can even make them part of a drone docking station if you want.
The Xiro Xplorer comes with the Xiro radio controller, which is not your typical drone flight controller. This controller has an ergonomic shape, with nice comfortable textures, and a lean curve at the back to ease joint and hand stress after prolonged usage.
You will also notice the fact that it has a lot fewer buttons than the vast majority of drone controllers on the market. This is just an illusion because the actual controls are all adapted for flight sticks.
The only extra buttons that you will find on the actual controller around the flight sticks are a 3-level switch in the top middle side of the remote , an IOC button, a return-home-button, and an automatic takeoff and landing button at the bottom-mid part of the controller.
The external device holder is extended from the top of the remote, and can take devices like smartphones and even small tablets with a diameter of maximum 5.5 inches. As an added bonus, you can actually tilt and angle the external device on the controller without obstructing the signal or lowering the flight performance.
The Xplorer also comes with a range extender, which increases the range by about 500 meters, allowing you to fly further and stream videos and pictures from further away as well.
The Xplorer shines a lot when it comes to actually flying around. Both with and without the camera, this neat drone will give you quite some fun and a lot of enjoyment; regardless of the level of skill you have flying drones.
The controller comes with 3 flight modes based on difficulty and overall skill, meaning that even the most inexperienced pilots can have a crack at the Xplorer without having to fear for the drone itself.
Out of the 3 flight modes, the safest and by far slowest one is the beginner mode. This was clearly designed for people who have never flown a drone in their lives.
However the drone is the most fun in the second flight mode. You still don’t have complete and ultimate control over it, however you can have a lot of fun pushing the drone to its limits, banking hard and fast, taking fast turns and even doing tricks if you are skilled enough.
The last and most advanced of the flight modes can be a bit too much even for more experienced pilots. Literally every single aspect of the drone is put in your hands, and flying can be a bit too hectic and a bit too demanding.
Al in all, the Xiro Xplorer really shines when the propellers start turning and it leaves the ground.
Value for money and guarantee
Here is where things start getting a little complicated with the Xplorer drone. First of all, it comes in different versions, which are understandably priced differently. The most affordable one is the standard version at around $300 and the most expensive one is the Double battery V + Power Bank version which costs around $620.
That being said, if you are looking for a drone that is fun to fly and adaptable depending on your skill level, then yes. If you are looking for a drone that can deliver high-quality video footage and pictures, then yes.
One last thing to mention here is the fact that the Xplorer has a lot of interchangeable parts which can be replaced easily with spares, if need be. The spare parts are rather cheap and can also be provided via the warranty certificate that you get upon purchasing the drone, so there are not that many risks to consider.
The Xplorer drone has a few unique features that make it stand out in front of other drones, but also tend to drag it down a bit at the same time.
- First of all, the design is rather unique. The sharp shape of the body is great for flying through bad weather and stabilization.
- The camera, the CMOS Panasonic module, is a lightweight high performance camera that can outshine and outperform a lot of the cameras currently on the market.
- The controller is ergonomic, nicely textured, and very simple.
Similar models or main competitors
The F550 is a hexacopter drone, in the same price range as the Xplorer, with a lot of features and advantages that set it apart.
First and foremost, the F550 is a lot more nimble and a lot more responsive than the Xplorer, but this is due to the extra 2 arms. It also sports a gimbaling joint for the camera which is compatible with GoPros and various other similar products. This gives it from the start a lot more flexibility than the Xplorer in that regard.
The F550, however, is made to be flown by more advanced pilots. This is because of the more complicated and advanced controller which has a lot of buttons in a lot of uncomfortable places.
Unlike the Xplorer, the F550 lacks the innate structural support and resilience offered by the sturdy and compact frame and the modular design of the drone. The F550, however, manages to outmaneuver and outrun the Xplorer due to its lightweight body and more powerful motors.
- It is able to fit more than 1 battery on the frame and subsequently to the circuit board. However, this comes at the cost of added weight which might destabilize the craft if done poorly.
- The drone is more or less a DYI kit meaning that you can pretty much modify it and adjust it to fit your every need. Just like the Xplorer, the F550 is not RTF and the standard flight times are rather similar between the two.
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Walkera Runner 250
It’s small, it’s fast, it’s the drone that made racing accessible for all pilots, not just the most experienced!
The Runner 250 is a small racing drone, which is built to take as much punishment as a tank while flying as fast and as graciously as a wasp. This drone is able to take a lot of punishment, survive even the most disastrous of crashes and take the most punishing hits that a drone can take, without worrying about anything other than the propellers.
It comes with a built in camera, the DEVO7 transmitter, a spare set of propellers and everything that the drone needs for proper flight and maintenance.
The Runner 250 outperforms the Xplorer when it comes down to toughness and the ability to survive crashes and general damage. It also outshines the Xplorer when it comes to speed and maneuverability. The body might be bulky and big, but it is also light and the low profile of the drone gives it the handling and the speed capabilities that it needs in order to be a racing drone.
The Runner 250 falls short in front of the Xplorer when it comes down to the technology used. The Xplorer has a lot of smart automated technology that it can use to its benefit and a long list of compatibilities and extra software that can be used in order to change and tweak every single aspect of the drone. The Runner 250 is just your standard bare-bones racer, and you can find out much more about its features and characteristics in our Walkera Runner 250 in-depth review.
The runner 250 is the perfect choice for racing and aggressive flight and the pure fun that can be obtained from it. However when it comes to performance, ease of flight and those special pin point accurate shots, the Xplorer takes the cake.
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3DR Solo Drone
This drone is relatively new on the market at this point in time. However, it managed to get everyone’s attention because of what it is able to bring to the table.
The 3DR Solo Drone is compatible with a wide array of cameras but the most popular choice so far is the GoPro Hero series. Just like the Xplorer, this drone is able to stream the feed directly to a device that is connected to the controller. However, unlike the Xplorer, the 3DR Solo Drone lacks in a few places.
First and foremost, it does not have the same quality controller, the Xplorer being the more ergonomic and intuitive one. The 3DR controller has a similarly elegant and simplistic look but at the same time it is more spread out and detailed than the Xplorer.
One last thing that the 3DR lacks in comparison to the Xplorer is the possibility of changing flight modes efficiently and effectively. This actually makes this drone be more dedicated to the intermediary and advanced pilots out there because of the rather high price point and the lack of beginner pilot support.
All in all, the 3DR Solo Drone is a rather good, elegant, effective and reliable drone, and you can read much more about it in our 3DR Solo in-depth review. While it can be compared with the Xplorer, we all can see that it is not the same thing. The 3DR Solo Drone is more for project and business use, whereas the Xplorer is both affordable and advanced enough to be used for both project/business and home use.
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As with everything on the market, there are certain pros and cons that must be taken into account before deciding on it.
- Great camera performance
- Great flight performance
- Suitable for all pilots regardless of level of experience
- Able to handle some of the worst flight conditions
- Among the biggest flight times on the market for a civilian quadrocopter drone
- Unable to replace the camera with a different one
- Unable to add extra batteries to the drone
- Some pilots will find the controls too simple to fly
Due to its modular setup and various technological improvements, the Xplorer is a drone that is more or less for everyone.
The Xplorer is a drone that has a lot to offer on a lot of fronts. It is great for people who are new to piloting drones as well as people who want to take on productive projects.
It sports a lot of smart technology and a lot of automated processes that make flying it a lot easier.
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So, if you are in the market for a drone that you want to start flying on, but at the same time you want to use for a long time regardless of flight skill or necessities, a drone that can adapt to anything and at the same time remain relevant regardless of the development of the pilot and projects/challenges, then it is more than safe to say that the XIRO Xplorer is the drone for you.
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