Yuneec is a Chinese drone/quadcopter company that is mostly known for creating great quality products at a good price. Besides creating quadcopters with built-in cameras, they have now also made one for GoPro. That quadcopter is called Typhoon G. It costs $499 and based on the features it should be a great alternative to the 3DR Solo and DJI Phantom 2. Time to see if it really is.
In The Box
- Yuneec Typhoon G quadcopter
- ST10+ radio transmitter
- GB203 gimbal for GoPro
- 5400mAh 3S LiPo battery
- LiPo charger
- CGO steady grip
- 4x CW & CCW sets of propellers
- AC to DC adapter
- USB adapter and car charger
- Dimensions: 420x210mm / 16.5×8.3″ (565mm / 22.2″ diagonal)
- Weight (with battery and GoPro): 1700g / 60oz
- Flight modes: Smart (Follow Me and Watch Me), Angle and Home
- Flying height: Max 122m / 400ft
- Flight speed: Max 8m/s
- Battery: 5400mAh 3S 11.1V LiPo
- Flight time: Up to 25 minutes
- Transmitter: 10ch 2.4GHz with 5.8GHz video downlink for GoPro
- Operating temperature: -5C to 80C
Let’s start by looking at the design. The Yuneec Typhoon G is most definitely one of the biggest drone for a GoPro. It has a diagonal of 565mm / 22.2″, so the exact same size as the Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K. In comparison, a DJI Phantom 2 is only 350mm.
The quadcopter itself is made out of pretty good quality plastic that comes in black and gunmetal grey. It has some pretty big legs that seem to be pretty snap proof. They also keep the drone at a comfortable height where the gimbal and camera won’t be damaged. The gimbal can also be removed and attached to a CGO steady grip. I personally like the design of the Yuneec Typhoon G. It has some pretty nice LEDs underneath the motors and the style is kind of futuristic but nothing over the top. Only negative thing that kind of bothers me is the size. It isn’t as mobile as smaller drones. You are going to need a car to travel around with it.
Instead of having a plain boring transmitter like on the DJI Phantom 2, Yuneec has created something beautiful. It is called the ST10+ transmitter and it has a built in LCD touch sensitive screen that is powered by Android. It has the standard 2 joysticks for flying the quadcopter, there is a wheel on the left side which moves the gimbal up and down (kind of delayed a little), and a wheel on the right which sets the maximum flying speed. There are a bunch of other buttons and sticks as well but those don’t really do anything special. You can configure them yourself though!
The LCD screen has a pretty low resolution (480p) so don’t expect really high quality view from that. It displays all the live information about the flight (such as battery level) and even live feed from a GoPro. Having live feed from GoPro built in is a huge advantage.
Flying & Features
With these modern drones, the most important part ,when talking about flying, are the flight modes. The Yuneec Typhoon G comes with 3 standard flight modes: Smart, Angle and Home. The Smart mode is also divided into 2: Follow Me and Watch Me. Those 2 only work with a GoPro attached to it.
When flying the Typhoon G in smart mode, the drone won’t fly further than 90m / 295ft from your transmitter. There is also a maximum altitude limit of 122m / 400ft. These limits can be changed via the Typhoon GUI software. I wouldn’t recommend doing that personally as these limits have been set by the Yuneec for a reason.
Also the Smart mode makes flying the drone a little bit different than normally. The controls are always relative to the Home position, despite which way the front of quadcopter is facing. So if you have lost the sight of your Typhoon and don’t know how to bring it home, then just pull down the right stick and it will come back towards you. Also the Follow Me and Watch Me submodes recognise your position by the transmitter. So if you want them to work then you have to carry the transmitter around with you.
The Angle mode is for more experienced UAV pilots. You have complete control of the aircraft, the distance limit has been removed (height limit still at 122m / 400ft). The range of the Typhoon G largely depends on the location you are flying. The first indication of flying too far is when you start to lose live feed from a GoPro (at around 150m / 500ft). If you don’t care about live feed then you should be getting around 270-365m / 900-1200ft of range. Not the longest distance but nothing bad either. I mean these type of drones aren’t really meant to be flying crazy distances.
Home mode is pretty self explanatory. Just flick a switch button on the remote and the Yuneec Typhoon G will fly back to the set home location. Always make sure you have done your preflight checklist and locked all the GPS satellites before flying. The amount of locked satellites can be seen right on the transmitter. A huge plus for the drone is that it locks satellites pretty fast.
Really the main negative part of the Typhoon G is the range of live feed (150m / 500ft). It is pretty low but then again, the only other drone I can think of that has this, is the 3DR Solo. But that quadcopter is also way more expensive.
The GB203 gimbal is compatible with the GoPro Hero3, Hero3+ and Hero4 models. Surprisingly enough, the drones propellers are not seen in the footage. So that is a huge plus. You might sometimes notice dark horizontal lines while flying towards the sun. That is a shadow coming from the propellers.
As far as the flight time goes, I know that Yuneec promises up to 25 minutes. In theory that is possible, if you aren’t using the GoPro. I managed to get 15 minutes with the live stream and everything turned on. So still nothing too bad. If you want longer flight times then you might have to look into getting a drone that comes with an integrated camera, such as DJI Phantom 3 or Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K.
Would I recommend the Yuneec Typhoon G? Of course! It is an exceptional drone for $499 and in my opinion a much better choice than a DJI Phantom 2. Is it better than the 3DR Solo? I think not but I also wouldn’t call it much worse. The 3DR Solo is just easier to transport. So if you are choosing between those 2, it really comes down to 2 things: budget and transportability. If price matters and you aren’t planning on taking it on long hikes then the Typhoon G is a better choice. Not to mention that it already comes with a gimbal.
Also the Yuneec Typhoon G and GoPro Hero4 Black combo does produce better videos than the Typhoon Q500 4K. Only issue is the flying and live feed range. So again, if a longer range is important to you then you should look at a drone with either an integrated camera or a more expensive option. If you do already own a GoPro though, then I really can’t recommend a better drone for $499.