The famous “Tiny Whoop” was born by sticking a micro camera/transmitter atop a Blade Inductrix. Now, Horizon Hobby offers the Inductrix FPV; an upgrade to the Inductrix with camera and transmitter already installed. Even if you’ve never heard of “Tiny Whoop”, the Inductrix FPV RTF is a wonderful first step into FPV. This review was made possible by AMain Hobbies, who provided the kit for review.
The RTF (ready to fly) kit comes with the Inductrix FPV micro quadcopter, a pre-bound radio controller, a 4.3″ display screen with integrated analog video receiver, a battery, and a charger. You’ll also find a mounting bracket to attach the screen to the controller, a set of AA batteries, an antenna for the screen, and the various manuals. The kit is often bundled with the Spektrum FPV Headset Adapter. This Adapter comes with a spare Fresnel (magnifying) lens and two screen protectors.
Horizon boasts “Everything you need for FPV in one box” and it’s actually true. You’ll have to charge up the flight battery and the screen battery via USB, but that’s almost all there is to do before a maiden flight. Typical setup steps like binding the radio have already been done. I’ve not seen another quality drone this simple to get running. I handed the kit over to a few people unfamiliar with the hobby, and they were all able to get flying easily.
It’s great that the user manuals are included in print, but bring a magnifying glass—the text is no larger than 6 points throughout. They also unfortunately use many terms unfamiliar to new pilots such as “5-in-1” and “receiver”. You may need to consult them since there are a few non-obvious procedures; for example, you have to turn on the transmitter before powering up the drone itself. But the Inductrix is a popular product that’s been around for a few years; most online RC forums should be able to help you with any questions.
Nearly all video transmitters used for FPV are illegal to operate unless you have an amateur radio license. The Inductrix FPV is no different, as Horizon admits on their product page. We like that it runs the Raceband frequency set, which is popular among racing groups. The drone will transmit on one of 16 different channels, but the included video monitor will receive on many more. You only need to look for your video on bands “F” and “R”—the drone doesn’t transmit on the others.
The Inductrix FPV kit and its components are very well made. The plastics are light but rigid, the finish is pleasing and without obvious flaws or discoloration. Everything appears built to withstand the stress of normal operation. Unlike many of the bundled controllers with micro drones, Horizon’s radio is larger which more easily fits into your hands and has gimbals (control sticks) that offer more range and precision. If you were to buy a much more expensive radio you would expect better smoothness, stick response, configurability, and many more features—but what you get in this kit is excellent for the price and far outpaces most entry-level controllers.
The drone itself is pretty durable and will hold up to all but the worst of the inevitable crashes you’ll have while learning. If you abuse it a lot you will eventually break the frame, but it (and any other part) can be replaced without any soldering. One thing we might have changed is the position of the video frequency button. The button is easy to get to—which is great for ease of use and very important for racing—but it’s also susceptible to being pressed in a crash. This will make your video go to static until you change it again, and it might cause issues for anyone who was flying on a different channel (as you might be in a race). The motors have a bit of vertical play which you can hear as a slight buzz during flight, but this doesn’t affect performance.
We doubt the video screen will stand up to a ton of abuse, so it should be treated accordingly, but that’s not to say it looks particularly fragile either. If you use the Headset Adapter, you can strap the screen onto your face and get a nice view of what the drone sees. This is a great experience for a lot of people, but not everyone will be able to use it. The adapter won’t fit over most glasses, and for a small number of people this type of display creates eye strain. If you don’t have either of those issues, the adapter is fairly light and comfortable to wear, and adjustable for almost any head size.
Our Inductrix FPV kit wasn’t flawless, though. Out of the box, we had issues flying just 20–30ft away beyond a couple of walls, which is far below expectations. Our quad also had really poor camera focus: objects a couple inches away would be in focus, but any more than that would not. We gave Horizon Hobby’s service line a call, and in a few short and pleasant minutes of explaining the issues, a new logic board for the quad was on its way out to us. (Replacing the whole drone was also offered.) The instructions on fixing the focus issue were spot-on, though a very small cross-point screwdriver—the kind you’d find in an eyeglass kit—is required to perform it. Bottom line: if your product isn’t perfect, you can trust that Horizon Hobby will make it right without giving you grief about it. It’s really nice to find that level of service. After installing the replacement board and following the focusing instructions, both problems were completely resolved.
For someone starting from nothing, the Inductrix has plenty of power and fine control. If it’s too twitchy, a ‘low rate’ mode can be activated on the controller to reduce the sensitivity (press the right stick inward like a button). If you like it better that way, you have to activate this every time you fly. The flight is smooth, and some racers prefer the flight feel of this control board over many more expensive flight controllers. Battery life is only a few short minutes, but that meets expectations for a quad and battery of this size.
While you can expect a very good flight experience, the kit as a whole doesn’t give you the top-end performance that competitive racers desire. You shouldn’t expect it, either—most micro-class race pilots have an absolute minimum of $500 in their setup. This kit gives you everything you need to give racing a try, though, and for under $200. Micro racing at the local level is more about being smooth and consistent than about top-end speed and power, so you certainly could get into racing with nothing more than this kit. It offers everything the beginner needs in order to learn the skills needed to race. If you keep at it for several months, eventually you’ll want to upgrade, but by that point the motors and battery in the Inductrix will probably be wearing out and need replaced anyway—those parts only have a typical lifetime of a few flight hours.
Aftermarket parts are extremely common. Racers frequently upgrade the power connector to the JST-PH (2.0mm) standard, which reduces electrical resistance and allows more power to be delivered to the motors. More powerful motors can be found easily, as well as aftermarket frames which boost the craft’s durability. You can get these all individually and upgrade one piece at a time.
Again, the Inductrix series was the starting point for the Tiny Whoop movement. A quick google for “Tiny Whoop parts” or upgrades for nearly any component will be easy to find. Additionally, there are countless troubleshooting and upgrade videos with tons of information for someone that wants to tinker with their drone.
The size and capabilities of the micro class “Tiny Whoop” quad are widely appreciated by beginner and expert pilots alike. The Inductrix FPV is one of the best entry points into drone flying, and this RTF kit takes all the difficulty out of setup and equipment buying choices that are otherwise daunting. The kit really is ready to go right out of the box (initial battery charging aside). It’s more costly than other options, but the quality here as well as the service guarantee make it a very safe choice and one that will surely provide many hours of enjoyment. In a hobby where communication with vendors can be a huge hassle, this is a very big bonus!
Our biggest issue with the Inductrix FPV RTF kit? It only comes with one battery. One is not enough for anyone when flying lasts only five minutes and charging takes half an hour. Consider getting more right when you buy; AMain offers compatible batteries and you can add one as an option when you purchase the kit. Enthusiasts often have 20 or more!
When you get to that point, you’ll want a more capable charger as well.
Pilots may be interested in our comprehensive Drone Racing Guide, which contains a wealth of information about improving flight skills, finding other pilots to fly with, racing technique, and much more. Even with a simple setup like the Inductrix FPV, controlled flying doesn’t come naturally. New pilots may want to review our training series, specifically our flight exercises, in order to get up to speed with this exciting hobby and enjoy what it can be.