Published Jan 2021
I believe FPV starter kits are a double side sword, because manufacturers try to squeeze a lot in a small price tag, which can either go very well, or very bad. Either way, beginners really like the idea of having one package with everything they need to test the FPV world, and it’s easy to see why. Understanding all the terminology and options available can be quite overwhelming when you are new to the hobby, and the simplicity of having everything ready is very well received. As an additional point, this kit comes not only ready, but in a pretty nice bag!. In this review I’ll try to show all the facts around this starter kit for you to take the decision if this is a good or a bad idea.
Please keep in mind the starter kit is targeted to people that has no experience with FPV, and during the review I would be mentioning things that a beginner should keep in mind despite being part of the future.
Table of contents
- On the bench
- Flying experience (out of the box)
- Frame: GEP-TG16
- Motor to Motor: 79mm
- FC: GEP-12A-F4
- MCU: STM32F411
- IMU: MPU6000(SPI)
- OSD: BetaFlight OSD w/ AT7456E chip
- ESC: BLheli_S 12A
- VTX: 5.8G 25~200mW VTX
- Camera: Caddx Loris 4K 60fps
- Propeller: GEMFAN 1636*4 (4 pairs)
- Motors: GR1102 10000Kv
- TinyGO 4K Weight: 54.8 Grams
- GEPRC GR8 Remote Controller
- Radio Frequency: 2.4GHz
- Radio Protocol: FHSS
- Channel: 8
- Transmit Power: < 20 dBm
- Antenna: In-built dual Antenna
- Low Voltage alarm: <4.8v
- Batteries: 4 x AA Batteries
- Channel: 8
- Voltage: 5V
- Radio Frequency: 2.4GHz
- Radio Protocol: FHSS
- Range: 300 meter
- Resolution: 800*480px
- Size of Screen: 4.3 inch
- Whole Size: 155mmx144mmx113mm
- In-built batteries: 3.7v/2000mAh
- Working Hours: 2.5 Hours
- Weight: 314.6 Grams
- Batteries Capacity: 530mAh
- Voltage: 4.35v 1S1P
- Discharge rate: 90C
- Weight: 12.7 Grams
- Interface: PH2.0
- Input power: 5v （USB & Type C）
- Full charged Voltage: 4.35v
- Output current: 500mAh
- Charging: It can charge 4 PCS 1s HV lipo 4.35v HP2.0 plug batteries at the same time
This is the FC diagram:
Figure 1.- TinyGo 4K FC Diagram
Here’s an unboxing video
The main takeaway from the unboxing is that this starter kit has an awesome bag. Everything fits with enough space, nothing feels like it’s suffering in there, and the bag looks pretty good. I think it’s very easy to imagine someone going for a picnic bringing this whole bag to play around with the drone during the weekend.
Figure 2.- TinyGo 4K Kit bag
Also important for beginners is that everything you need to fly is in this bag. You have batteries, a charger, a control, FPV goggles, and the drone. The only thing you need to add is 4xAA batteries to the control and make sure you charge your batteries both for the drone and the internal battery of the goggles and you can go flying.
3.- On the bench
Here is where I may extend a bit since we are reviewing a whole kit.
Let’s start with the control. Trying to get myself into the shoes of a person who has never used FPV equipment before, this control may look cool but at the same time like it has too many buttons. In reality it doesn’t. The control does a good job of exposing all the typical functions you need for flying without having to have a screen, which most probably is an expensive part. Besides the gimbals, which are totally ok, you have switches for arming, buzzer, flying mode, turtle mode, and a 3 position switch to pair other drones to this control.
Figure 3.- TinyGo 4K Control
Of course, as a beginner you may not know what all this means, and here I have to subtract some points to GEPRC because the manuals are pretty poor. If I was them, I would create some simple youtube videos to explain what each button does. Like a few seconds video, nothing too fancy.
You need 4xAA batteries to turn this on, and I haven’t done enough long testing to know how long this 4xAA will last.
A definitely down side of this control is that there’s no way to connect it to the computer to use with a simulator. Other similar kits have remotes you can use to train in a sim, which is in my opinion an extremely important part of being a beginner. The number one advice for novices is “spend time in a sim” and here GEPRC is forcing the customer to buy a different control to play in a simulator.
The control-receiver pair uses a Futaba protocol (FHSS), which unfortunately is not supported by 4-in-1 multiprotocol modules you can find in other controls, like the Radiomaster, jumper or radiomaster based 4-in1 for the TBS Tango2. In other words, out of the box you can’t use this drone with another control, or use this control with a simulator, so you may be forced to invest in 2 remotes if you decide to go this way, which in complete honest is what ends up happening with most of the people that buys a starter kit like this, so it may have been a calculated decision from GEPRC to keep the price as low as possible.
Following the FPV goggles, this is a piece where I had not much expectations, since in my opinion goggles are a very important part of the FPV experience that I thought you needed to have very expensive ones to have a great time, and I’m happy to say that GEPRC proved me wrong.
These goggles are simple. No complicated on screen menu, in fact there’s almost no on-screen menu, almost everything is achieved with a button outside.
4.- TinyGo 4K Kit Goggle
The good part of this goggles is the video quality. For such small, price conscience goggles, they have good quality. Also, thinking a little bit forward in time, if the user decides to buy another pair of goggles, these can be either co-pilot goggles, or a bench screen of very good quality.
You charge the goggles through a mini USB port at the top, next to the SD port for DVR.
I don’t know if my head is too big or what, but the goggles felt a bit small. My son, who is 12 years old thought it fitted perfectly.
The drone itself is the best part of this kit. I would very easily consider buying this as my first drone even outside of the kit. I think GEPRC doesn’t sell it like that at this point, but I’m not the only one saying this, so they may consider it for the future.
Out of the box the drone does fine. In my case I needed a quick calibration, and nothing else. The rubber around the bumper is great when you think about this small bug flying around your house. The plastic looks quite resistant, and the guts of this little drone are impressive. The VTX is 200 mW, which will give you a good video range for an indoor drone, but will also make the VTX quite warm if you don’t start flying soon, or set the VTX to increase to the max once armed (which can be done easily in betaflight).
The 4K model, which is the one I’m reviewing, comes with onboard space for a SD card, and can record directly to this SD card in HD 4K, which is just mind blowing for a starter kit, and small drone like this.
Something I feel I’m forced to mention is what I think is a bad design on the frame. There’s a battery cage made of the same plastic as the rest of the drone, and it’s actually part of the frame, not a separate part. This rigid plastic hosts the 2x1S batteries that come with the drone pretty well, really tight so they don’t fly away, but it also means there’s no way to fit any other battery brand that may not have exactly the same measurements as the original. In my case I already own a bunch of CHNL and Tattu 1S batteries, and none of them fit without cutting the cage. I have watched some youtube reviews where they recommend just cutting this cage. I’ve had drones in the past where they had similar solutions, but they had this cage in TPU to make it a bit more flexible to other battery brands, and you could detach the cage in case you wanted to use just a battery strap.
As mentioned before the receiver is a FHSS receiver, which is the first time I see. I explained before this receiver is not compatible with many of the radios in the market, which means you will need to change it if you decide to use the drone with some other setup. This may not be the first thing a beginner think about, and a receiver such as a XM+ or equivalent is not expensive, and the way GEPRC mounted the receiver makes it extremely easy to change, but still, how much can you save buying this kind of receiver, and not allowing an easy transition for this drone’s owner to a better radio? I’m not sure I understand the business decision here, maybe it comes down to the radio itself?
4.- Flying experience (out of the box)
The distinctive sound of a drone makes my cats very curious, but this drone was not loud enough to scare them.
After connecting the battery the drone arms easily with a flip of a switch, and then up you go.
Indoors I rather fly in horizon mode, and the drone feels pretty responsive, not over aggressive or underpower, just ok.
The camera settings out of the box seem to have a bit dark colors. I have not modified the originals in order to take the videos of this review, but I think it will be the first thing I will do after finishing.
No jello present on the drone, which is always a good sign, no other vibrations in general either.
Here is a short recording of the 4K on board camera:
I haven’t tested this drone outside because the weather in Sweden has been terrible, but I’m sure you can have some good fun with this quad outside as well as long as there’s no much wind. The radio range is spec to 300 mts, and with a 200 mW VTX I’m sure it will be fine to fly it around and have a bunch of fun.
Only you can decide if this is a good option or not for yourself. In my opinion everyone should start with hours (plenty of them) in a simulator, and then jump into a small drone like this one. Most of the pieces of this kit can be reused outside of this particular kit, with some minor changes in some cases, which can help you decide to invest in this kind of kits as your starting point.
What I can say for sure, is that even as an experienced pilot I will have this drone in my arsenal, it’s fun to fly, and feels very good when you are in the driving seat of it.
The kit can be found at Nordfpv here: GEPRC TinyGo 4K