4 October 2015

REVIEW: Kit Arcade Orbit Cam Drone

Entering orbit.

We've reviewed (and given away) plenty of awesome stuff from Kit in the past, so we were happy to hear that the technology and gadget company had branched out into drones. Whizzing little RC helicopters around is basically the best fun you can have without taking your pants off, so we dived straight in to test one of their new Arcade drone range, the Orbit Cam.

First off, we need to get one thing very clear... we've reviewed this chopper before. At least, it certainly looks as if we have. The core quadcopter that makes up the Orbit Cam seems to be exactly the same model we tested way back in 2013 from Red 5, the Qudcopter with LEDs. In fact we're also quite sure that we have also received this from Revell Control once, so it must be a standard drone base that many companies buy in and badge up. However, here Kit have given it a far nicer and sleeker body, complete with LED lights, and a protective guard around the rotors. Oh yeah, and a camera as well, complete with 4GB Micro SD card.

The similarities between this and the Red 5 quad drastically end as soon as you lift off. The Arcade Orbit Cam Drone was beautifully smooth to fly, and straight out of the box required no trimming or adjusting to achieve a near-flawless hover. The controller is a very standard affair (being the same one from previous choppers), and despite feeling quite insubstantial and light, it had just the right amount of resistance in each stick. A full charge of around 90 minutes provided ten minutes of flight; just what you would expect from a drone of this size and price.

Of course great handling and a camera would lead to great footage, right? Well, yes and no. Although the Orbit Cam's camera is, again, the standard affair for this kind of RC helicopter, we found that because the quad flew so well it was nearly always angled downwards – just as quadcopters do when travelling forwards. This meant that the underside-mounted camera saw mostly the passing grass, as demonstrated in our test footage (be sure to whack up the quality to full HD):

There is no way to tilt the camera upwards to fix this issue, meaning you'll only ever see stuff once you are flying high enough and not ploughing forwards. It might sound like a small issue, but if you have any experience of flying this kind of RC toy, that is the way you will fly it: keeping constantly forwards, turning left and right. If you're new to the hobby, and buying this just to practice flying high and moving steadily around, it won't be a problem, especially as the camera is capable of tilting to look directly downwards.

But, as we really enjoyed flying the Orbit Cam around, we're dead set on capturing better and more dramatic footage than we achieved above. To that end we're going to... erm... 'modify the van'. That is, we're going to attempt a very slight mod to reposition the camera to the top of the drone, tilting it upwards to get a forward view while moving forwards. We'll try anyway. Watch this space.

In the meantime, don't be put off by our camera quibbles. The control of this thing was a breeze and it has clearly been very well calibrated prior to being shipped. For a great flyer straight out of the box, and tonnes of fun for a very reasonable price, this is the chopper for you.


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