Affordable Quad: Swann QuadForce Video Drone

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Swann’s QuadForce features low-cost and durable entry-level quadcopter minus some bells and whistles. Image © Swann

Swann’s QuadForce video drone quadcopter reminds me of fighting against Freddy Krueger in the nightmare world. It’s cheap and hard to kill.

Then again, I’m using those two words in the nicest way possible as they both turn out to be strengths for this particular gadget. If you’re looking for a portable flyer to help you get the feel of the quadcopter craze but aren’t quite comfortable plunking in several Benjamins for it, this device just might be the entry-level testbed for you.

So what do you get with the QuadForce? Obviously, you get the mini copter itself as well as the requisite remote and spare parts such as extra rotor blades. The good news is that it also comes with four plastic guards for each rotor, which helps prevent damage and wear to the blades so you don’t have to change them as often. It also comes with batteries for the remote control unit plus a USB charging unit for the quadcopter’s rechargeable internal battery. Rounding out its accoutrements are a landing pad and 2-gigabyte micro SD card for saving pictures and videos taken with the onboard camera.

To help determine which way the quadcopter is facing, the QuadForce uses color-coding for the body and rotors, with orange tips and blades signifying the front of the device. It also uses different-colored LED lights at the bottom, which helps when it gets darker outside. Speaking of the outdoors, that is one of the many improvements that the QuadForce has compared to the Swann Micro Lightning RC Helicopter I reviewed some time back.

Unlike the Lightning, the QuadForce also can be used outdoors, not just indoors. Just pay attention to how windy it is outside as the copter certainly has its limits.

The remote itself uses a joystick control system that echoes the one used by other, more expensive alternatives — one reason this makes for an ideal entry-level device to the world of quadcopters.

It also includes trim control options but they aren’t quite as good as those seen in more popular quads. Overall, though, it’s a fun control scheme that’s easy to learn.

One welcome inclusion is a speed select toggle switch to change from low- to high-power mode. This is especially useful for conserving battery life as low-power mode is still quite zippy. The remote also comes with an LCD display that shows multiple functions, including a battery gauge and signal strength, with the QuadForce having an effective range of about 100 meters. You’ll especially want to pay attention to that battery life indicator because this thing just stops once it runs out of juice. That’s right, it will literally drop out of the sky like Hans Gruber.

Fortunately, the QuadForce is one tough little bugger. This thing can take about as much abuse as Rasputin including flying into trees, collisions with building walls and unplanned dates with the pavement. It’s certainly a good platform for quadcopter newbies to get used to flying the devices before graduating to a more expensive option like the Blade 350QX, for example.

At the same time, it also has a few other niggles.

One is battery life, which is just 8 minutes. Another is the performance of its camera. Quality certainly isn’t as good as those equipped with a pricier GoPro camera. Stills are low quality while video is shaky and barely usable.

Despite its issues, however, the QuadForce represents a good value thanks to its low price of $50-$70 and solid durability. If you’re looking for an affordable quadcopter to try out the hobby or are looking for one that can withstand a lot of abuse so you can give it to a child, the Swann QuadForce fits the bill nicely.

Final rating: 4 out of 5

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