The Hubsan H111 Nano Q4 is a micro class RTF quadcopter which claims the title of the world’s smallest quadcopter. Hubsan is a well established RC model manufacturer known for producing good quality aircraft such as the popular X4 Quadcopter. Originally introduced in 2013 to the USA market, the Hubsan Q4 is a great quadcopter for beginners learning to fly. In the USA, the Hubsan Nano Q4 is now marketed and sold under a different name, the Estes Proto-X, however the two are technically identical. The Q4’s small size and light weight make it well suited to indoor flying at home, outdoors on a calm day or at your local club. In this review I’m taking a look at a Hubsan Nano Q4 RTF package which was bought from Amazon UK for £24.90 including free delivery.
The Hubsan Nano Q4 quadcopter (model number H111) has a diagonal wheelbase of 45mm, a height of 10mm and a flying weight of 11.5 grams. The frame of the quadcopter is provided by a single printed circuit board that houses the four brushed motors, 100mAh battery and flight electronics. There are red and blue LEDs placed at the corners of the quadcopter for orientation and flying in low light. As is the standard for micro quadcopters of this tiny size, the Q4 uses four brushed motors, rather than the brushless motors seen on larger multirotors. Also included is a 4-channel mode 2 miniature 2.4GHz radio control transmitter, with throttle, pitch, yaw and roll control.
Opening up the package the Q4 arrives in is a straight forward affair with the components held inside on a cardboard tray. In addition to the Q4, the box contains the transmitter, USB charging cable, spare propellers and the instruction booklet. There is no mains adapter for the USB cable included, so if you are travelling with the Q4 without a laptop or something else to recharge with, you’ll need to buy one separately.
When looking at the Amazon product reviews for the Hubsan Q4, I read numerous comments about how small the remote control transmitter is, but didn’t really appreciate just how small until opening up the Q4 box - barely larger than the tiny quadcopter. The pictures below show the retail packaging and box contents (click to enlarge):
The assembly of the Q4 is very quick, simply requiring installation of the push fit propellers and connecting the battery. The propellers are colour coded and the instruction manual provides an illustration how they need to be fitted. There are no propeller guards included with the standard Q4, however the stock Estes prop guards (part #ESTE4623) are a compatible aftermarket add-on.
After fitting the propellers the next step is to install two AAA size batteries in to the transmitter. Once everything is assembled, the quadcopter will need to be charged for the first time using the USB charging cable. The first charge out of the box should only take a few minutes, whereas a full recharge after a flight takes around 30 minutes.
As can be seen from the photos, the Q4 is exceptionally small measuring just 45mm diagonally. The tiny remote control transmitter features the common mode 2 setup, with throttle/yaw controls on the left stick and pitch/roll controls on the right. This makes the Q4 a great first quadcopter for someone wanting to learn multirotor flying in a progressive way starting with something low cost. The transmitter also has trim switches and a switch to control the amount of auto-levelling that is applied.
After spending some time flying the Q4 indoors I was impressed with how stable and accurately the Q4 flew. Horizontal speed and climb rate were good and didn’t leave me wishing for more power when flying indoors. The integrated flight controller does a good job of keeping the Q4 stable. The 1S LiPo battery provides between two and five minutes of flying time, which is reasonable considering the tiny size of both the quadcopter and the battery pack.
Flying the Q4 outdoors works only when the wind conditions are dead calm, as it is easily pushed around by the wind. Caution is advised when flying outdoors as a bit of wind can make the Q4 disappear in to the distance surprisingly quickly! The colour coded propellers and LEDs made orientation easy, although the Q4’s tiny size meant that it quickly became difficult to see when flying at higher altitude outside. The Q4 is certainly best suited to indoor flight.
A special sequence of rapid stick movements instruct the Q4 to perform automated flips and rolls. I found these worked really well but required a good amount of space (particularly altitude) as the exit point was usually several feet lower than the entry point. The small propellers seem to be robust and the Q4 was unscathed after several hard landings and collisions.
The instruction manual (link below) details a series of transmitter stick movements which can be executed to recalibrate the sensors on the Q4 if it isn’t flying properly. I needed to carry out this procedure on the Q4 after the first flight to get the best flying experience.
Overall the Q4 is a great micro-class quadcopter which has good performance and a very attractive price for an RTF package. It is easy to fly indoors and well suited to the beginner pilot. The use of standard four channel controls makes the Q4 a perfect first quadcopter to learn to fly with. It is also great fun for the more experienced multirotor pilot with the inclusion of an expert mode and acrobatic features.
Flight times were quite short at no more than 5 minutes with a long recharge time at around 30 minutes due to the low current charge rate provided over the USB cable.
The very small transmitter took some getting used to while flying, and is likely to be problematic for pilots with large hands, which is definitely something to consider before buying the Q4. If you are considering buying the Q4, you might also want to take a look at the Q4’s bigger brother, the X4. The X4 is a little bigger, which means it is more capable at flying outdoors, and comes with a larger more comfortable remote control transmitter. If you want to go further upmarket, the Blade Nano QX FPV offers FPV multirotor flying in a micro quadcopter format.
In summary the Q4 is a very good quadcopter at the entry level of the market, with no major drawbacks.
- Hubsan Homepage
- Hubsan Q4 Instruction Manual PDF (via Hobbyco website)
- Hubsan Q4 Nano/Estes Proto X Nano RTF Discussion Thread (RCGroups Forum)
- Hubsan X4 Quadcopter Product Page
- Blade Nano QX FPV BNF Product Page
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