Published January 2021
The Protek25 from iFLight is the smaller brother of the recently released Protek family.
This review will try to explain the experience of getting this drone out of the box and fly for the first few times
Table of contents
- On the bench
- Flying experience (out of the box)
- SucceX-D 20A Whoop AIO (LINK)
- Motor: XING 1404 5500KV (LINK)
- Wheelbase: 114mm
- Body Size: 91*68.7mm
- Bottom plate thickness: 3mm
- Top plate thickness: 2mm
- Top and bottom plate spacing: 24mm (aluminum standoff height)
- Propeller size: 2.5 inch
- FC pattern: 25.5*25.5mm / 20*20mmmm
- FPV cam spacing: 20mm
- Weight: 194.3g (without battery) - 305g with a Tattu 850mAh - 335 with a Tattu 850 + naked Gopro 6
You can find the stock betaflight dump here: https://iflightrc.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/articles/48001148115-firmware-wiring-factory-dumps
The AIO FC diagram can be found here:
If you rather watch a youtube video for the unboxing, you can check:
iFlight’s boxes are not any fancy stuff, but what’s inside it’s pretty good. The Protek25 comes with everything you need pre-installed, just the antenna, the battery pad and the rubber that covers the prop-guard are placed aside.
Inside the box there’s a bunch of extras. You get extra screws, you get an extra GoPro mount base, a set of extra propellers, extra cables for your flight controller, and cables for both USB-C and micro USB.
I understand the antenna not coming pre-installed, since it will imply getting a taller box in the mix, but it’s still a mystery to me why the rubber for the prop-guards is not installed. The drone looks much nicer with it, it gives extra protection, and it’s a breeze to install. Can anyone don’t want to have this installed?
I know not many people care about how your drone looks, but I love to customise my radio and my drones, and it would be an interesting option to have different colors for this rubber, maybe something easy to do yourself?
One detail I want to call out is the fact that iFlight has made sure you get a lot of information when you open the box. The drone has stickers all over with information about how to place your battery, or which UART is your receiver connected, where is your vista port, and a warning letting you know the drone is in angle-mode. A lot of this information can sound redundant to many experienced users, but it is very welcomed by newcomers to the hobby.
3.-On the bench
Looking at this drone it’s easy to see iFlight has learned a lot from older iterations.
Despite this being a small 2.5” drone, it has a carbon fiber body, 3mm at the bottom, 2 at the top, making it a solid device.
The prop-guards design is a bit new, or different than older cinewhoops. We are used to seeing complete circles around the propellers, but in this case the shape is half circle, half octagon. Interesting and give a cool effect to this little drone.
I got to review the HD model, which has a vista inside, with a full DJI camera at the front. The vista is accessible from one of the sides. No need for L-shaped extensions to reach the port, something I appreciate a lot since I think those extensions can break quite easily, and if you don’t break it, it can be a pain to find it in the moment you need to troubleshoot your quad.
You don’t really need to remove your props to attach a USB-C to the vista, but you know, you should still remove the propellers when you are working with the drone on the bench. Safety first!
The port for the flight controller is extremely accessible from the bottom of the drone.
Just flip the unit and you have it there. This little detail shows how iFlight is maturing, and thinking about the smallest things to make our lives as users more comfortable.
There’s no need to disassemble the drone in order to reach the USB port of the FC.
The only thing that I’m questioning is if the placement of this port can make it predisposed to getting trash in it; sand, soil, water, or basically anything on the ground will be just there to get into your USB port and make your life more complicated when trying to connect your FC to the computer. Is not like everyone uses a landing pad to take-off and land, right?. What do you think? Good or bad position for the port?
The Protek25 has a buzzer. I haven’t seen one of those in many ready-to-fly drones, especially in a 2.5”. I don’t have anything against it, but I’m just surprised it's there.
Something I’m wondering is how has iFlight planned for people to calibrate the gyroscope. You see, in order to calibrate the gyroscope you normally place your drone completely flat in a surface and push a button inside Betaflight while the quad is connected to the computer, but since the drone has the USB port perpendicular to the quad at the bottom, there no really easy way to have the drone completely flat and have the cable plugged-in at the same time. I guess we will need to get creative.
iFlight has also included some LED, a pair at the back, and one at the bottom to illuminate the iFlight logo. Nice touch!
The GoPro mount base is one of these angle adjustable ones. The first time I saw one of these I thought it was a great idea, but to be completely honest, after using it a few times I have to say I’m not a fan. If by any reason you land a little bit harder, the camera angle can be changed by the hit. Remember that the screw goes through just TPU, which despite being almost indestructible, is still quite flexible.
I was once flying with my GoPro on one of these adjustable mounts, and somehow I lost connection, the drone landed flat on the ground, maybe from a meter above ground. From my goggles everything looked fine, I just dropped, armed and kept flying, to later realise that my GoPro footage was complete rubbish because the camera angle was affected by the impact and pointing to the ground the whole time.
4.-Flying experience (out of the box)
When you buy a bind-and-fly drone, you are expecting just that, take the drone out of the box, bind it and fly!
That was the case with the Protek25. As everyone knows binding a crossfire receiver it’s very easy, and I connected the device to Betaflight in the beginning just to get a dump of all the default configurations, and set my own rates, but basically I didn't have to do anything else to get this quad flying, except for charging my batteries.
The first surprise was that I could hover it very close to the ground with a lot of control and very little throttle, without having its own air bouncing from the ground disturb the stability of the Protek.
Then, I was relieved to find a clear and nice image coming from the DJI setup. As said in the beginning, this is a “grown up” vista, with the DJI camera. No nebula, no nebula pro, a full DJI camera, and it’s easy to notice the difference.
Flying around I couldn’t see any jello effect, and I immediately proceeded to push the throttle a little bit, getting a very good response.
Dropping the drone from a few meters up I could feel some prop wash, which was a bit weird after having such a nice hover close to the ground.
Diving and recovering from a dive required a little extra push, I’m not going to lie here, but nothing to be surprised since this is in theory a cinewhoop.
If I compare the noise level of this drone with others 2.5”, I have to admit the Protek25 is louder. I guess it will be very good to test different propellers to see how the flying experience changes and check if the noise level can be reduced. Still, I wouldn’t be worried about this being noisy unless you are trying to fly it indoors, which I don’t think it’s a great idea.
The tuning out of the box feels quite good, especially if you are thinking of flying smoothly to take some cinematic videos. The fact this is a small drone allows you to think about getting it into very small spaces, and with the great HD quality of the DJI system you will feel quite empowered to go wherever you want to go.
I was not worried about doing some simple acrobatics. The protek25 is not a 5” that can do a lot of freestyling, but it’s not shy of enough power to push you around some power loops, and some simple flips.
This is a drone I will recommend to many of my customers. The small size together with the prop guard provides a sense of security that you won’t break anything if you hit it, plus the good quality and attention to details from iFlight makes the experience of owning one of these drones a pleasure.
iFlight’s website mentions the Protek25 being able to carry a full GoPro, but I think that should be a typo. I will use this model with a naked GoPro or SMO camera, but I don’t think I will even use it with a semi-naked GoPro.
When paired to any of these lightweight cameras it’s going to be magic to film with it, getting great stability and the capability to have some amazing shots. I’m sure the internet will be flooded with many shots done with this drone very soon .