Let’s face it, drones are expensive, and most people perceive them as luxury gadgets that are doomed to crash. For this reason, many hesitate to get started with them. Even some of the best drones for beginners can easily pass the $100 USD price mark. Yet, is there a drone for beginners that is not only affordable but also crash resistant and performs well? The answer is a sounding YES! Let’s talk about the Cheerwing Syma X5SW-V3 drone.
Truth is that for a beginner, the world of drones has many great options. The thing is to know how to get to these options.
Syma is recognized for seriously pushing the bar in terms of cost/benefit balance. I’ve personally tested some Syma drones in the past and can confidently say that these not only meet customer expectations but actually exceed them, especially if you consider the price you pay for these items.
Something I really like is to create deep and thorough reviews where I strive to cover everything you need to know about these devices. That way you can make a more informed purchase or decide if this is no the gadget you need/want at this time.
Thus, I invite you to follow along and get ready to know the good, the bad, and the ugly, about the Syma X5SW drone.
From the many choices we have to pick a drone today, there are those that can easily be spotted because of its many advantages. The Cheerwing Syma X5SW V3 is definitely one of them. However, what is that makes this model so special? Can we safely say this is one of the best and cheap drones for beginners in the market?
This is what we are about to discover, and this undisclosed review will touch on the good, the bad, and the ugly about the X5SW model. If you’ve been considering buying this drone, then I suggest you read through because you’re about to find out if that is a good idea or not.
My initial thoughts on the Syma X5SW V3 Drone
Ok, so it is November 20th of 2018 at the moment of this writing and I got this Syma drone since October 1st, 2018. This means I have close to 50 days with it and thus, I’ve had enough time to test it and learn a bunch of things about it.
Before going in detail with this amazing drone, I want to talk about the two biggest components inside the box first.
The Syma X5SW Drone Outlook and Construction
At first sight, this drone does not look anything special or “upgraded” from the X5C drone. In fact, the main difference I notice is the design and the height of the landing gear. Other than that, this drone looks pretty much the same. However, there is still much to discover about this fantastic gadget.
The construction looks pretty solid, and the drone is light weight, so that means that chances are I won’t need to register this one under the FAA.
Also, the camera of the drone does not come installed, so I’ll have to deal with this a bit later. Although it is desirable to have it installed from the factory, this doesn’t seem like a huge challenge.
I think that’s it for what I can see at first sight.
The Transmitter Overview
This transmitter is exactly the same that comes with the X5C-1 and X5C models. Actually, I happen to have 3 exact same transmitters like this, since each one of the Syma drones I bought came with one.
I have to say that I love this remote control. It is very light weight, simple to use, intuitive, and it has a good size to hold it while flying. The other thing I noticed just when I first held the drone on my hands, is that its construction is very high quality; it has no flash, nor the components sound loose or appear to be cheap, instead, this transmitter is exactly as it looks in the above photo.
All of this is important to me because it says that the manufacturing process is robust and high quality.
What is inside the box of the Syma X5SW?
So here is what I got where I opened the box of this drone. Here a list of its contents.
- 1x X5SW-V3 Quadcopter
- 1x Remote controller
- 1x 3.7V Battery (inside the drone)
- 1x USB Charger
- 4x Propeller
- 1x Phone Grip
- 1x Screw Driver
From this list, there is one thing that really got my attention, the phone grip, and it is actually a great starting point to begin the conversation about this drone.
The Camera of the Syma X5SW Drone
The X5SW camera is an HD (720p) one, which will allow you to take photos and video, however, this is pretty much the standard for most of the X5 Syma drones series.
What you may not have anticipated yet (at least I bought this drone without completely think about this) is that the camera is actually a WiFi one. That means that you can connect your mobile device (smartphone or tablet) to it and enjoy the FPV experience.
For those of you who may not know, FPV stands for First Person View, and it refers to seeing what the drone sees, from the perspective it has up in the air. You may be wondering, what is the difference between FPV and recording a video? and the answer is, FPV is live, while recording a video is not.
This means you’ll receive a live-streamed image of whatever the drone is seeing while flying, and since this camera is an HD one, image will be of pretty decent quality.
I can tell right now that even when the footage is a bit shaky, it definitely delivers a great flight experience for the pilot.
At the moment of this writing, the price of this drone is $36.98 USD. This number will invariably change, but not that much, and I’m actually leaving a link below, so you can check the price in case you decide to get it.
Getting ready to fly with the Syma X5SW V3 Drone
OK, so it is time to get ready to fly this drone and I just can’t wait to do it. But before taking off, there are a few things we have to prepare and take care of.
Let’s go step by step here and we’ll be ready to fly in no time.
Let’s first charge the battery
The first thing I like to do is start charging the battery. It is a good idea to do this first because the battery will take close to 75 minutes to charge.
Let’s do this step by step.
- Connect the battery and the connector adapter together. This is very simple to do, as it is only one way in which these two fit together. However, be careful to do this gently since the connector parts are very sensitive. In my case, I ended up breaking one of the pins of the adapter because these can be easily bent.
2. Connect the adapter to a USB port of your computer. At this point, you should see a red light on the USB end of the adapter. This means that current is flowing in that circuit. When you connect the adapter to a USB port of your computer, the charging process will start.
- Now wait. The charging process takes close to 75 minutes to have the battery at full capacity. The unequivocal sign will be when you see the red light turning off, at this point, the battery is fully charged and needs to be disconnected from the USB adapter.
Getting the Syma Drone Ready
In terms of the drone there are very few but important things to do before taking off. Here you have the step by step guide for your reference on how to install these.
- Propellers’ safety guards. I’m a firm believer that safety goes first. Install these on your drone by fitting the guards into the holes at each motor arm and then securing the screw they comes with.
- Landing gear. This drone as well comes with the landing gear separated from the drone, however, the installation is pretty simple. Just fit the landing gears underneath the drone inside the holes it has for this purpose. Again, use the screw to secure everything here.
- Now the battery. Fit the battery (already charged) inside the compartment designed precisely for this. Make sure the battery is not pinched as this can damage it. Once the battery is well placed, connect it to the drone. Again, there is only one way in which these fit together.
- The camera. This drone came with the camera not installed, however, the installation process is very simple. Just slide the camera into the fitting rails the drone has and make sure you hear a click. The simply connect the camera to the drone and you are all set.
That’s it, you have completed the preparation of the drone.
The Transmitter Preparation
The last part here is the transmitter. Let’s see the step by step guide to get the transmitter ready for operation.
- The batteries. Simply turn the transmitter backwards and open the lid. You’ll need a screwdriver to do this.
- With the lid open, install the batteries in the position the transmitter indicates.
- Close the lid back, and secure the screw using the same screwdriver you used before.
That’s it for the transmitter preparation.
Ready to fly? – Let’s take off this thing!
Now that we have everything set, we are ready to start flying. In order to do so, I want to share with you a short clip with instructions on how to use the transmitter and what to expect from it.
In case you can’t see the image or is not clear, here is the pairing process explained step by step.
- Turn ON the drone using the main switch located underneath the drone. At this point, the drone lights will blink rapidly indicating that the drone is ready to be paired.
- Turn ON the transmitter main switch. You’ll see the transmitter light blinking rapidly as well.
- As soon as both the drone and transmitter are turned ON, they start to blink more slowly, indicating that both have detected each other and are ready to pair.
- In order to pair both devices, simply move the left lever full up and full down once and you should hear a beep. If you do this correctly, the lights will stop blinking and remain ON. This will indicate the pairing process is complete and you are ready to take off!!!
Flight Experience with the Cheerwing Syma X5SW V3 Drone
I have to say that this drone flies really well. The responsiveness of this device is amazing. Also, I was able to notice a higher difference (compared to the Syma X5C-1/X5C drone) between the high and low flight modes.
When you turn the drone to high speed mode, it really becomes more responsive and commands feel more aggressive.
You can even think this is a less stable drone, but in reality what happens is that the X5SW drone is harder to fly than other Syma X5 drone series.
Also, something I have to report is that this drone does not handle wind very well. It can become very hard to control it in windy conditions, and responsiveness goes very low.
This should not be taken as a downside of the drone but in fact something to know about it. After all, this is a very light weight drone as well, and we have already concluded that these drones are not good to fly under windy conditions.
Crash Resistance Capability
This drone is very resistant to crashes. I know this because I crashed intentionally and unintentionally, and in both cases, the drone was ready to fly right after every hit. This makes me think that Syma drones are perfect for beginners. It is true they lack some of the best capabilities most amazing drones have, but on the other hand, what you get for what you pay is simply fantastic.
Like I’ve already said, crash resistance is a must for this type of drones, since the market these devices are made for, is the beginners one, and crash resistance is a must at that stage in the learning curve.
So definitely, this drone has what it takes in terms of crash resistance for beginners.
Easiness to Operate
Like I’ve mentioned along this review, the Syma X5SW drone is very simple to handle and control. The transmitter controls are intuitive and easy to learn. Also, the headless mode makes this drone even simpler to operate.
I say that this capability combined with its crash resistance and the low price you pay for it, make this one of the best and cheap drones for beginners you can think of. You won’t be making a wrong call with this drone.
Let’s talk a little more about other important things you need to know about this fantastic drone
The budget for the X5SW Drone
As I previously mentioned, most drones, even the ones for beginners are a bit pricey. But not in the case of the Syma quadcopters like these.
Even in this case, I always recommend newbies to prepare a budget to buy these gadgets. If you are completely new to the world of drones, it is very easy to think that the budget is limited only to the price of the drone, plus tax and handling, however, that is not necessarily true.
So let’s talk a bit about what I recommend you to consider as part of your budget.
Being this a drone for beginners, not many accessories are needed, but just the basic ones. Thus, the list of items to include in your budget looks something like this.
- The drone itself
- Spare parts
- Drone Registration Fee
- Extra batteries
It is important to consider each one of these items, otherwise you may have troubles in the future.
I’ll talk about each one of these items in detail later during the review, but for now bear with me, later you’ll understand why these are important, and even if you think right now that I’m suggesting you spend more money, I’m actually helping your savings, maybe by thousands of dollars.
What the Cheerwing Syma X5SW V3 can and cannot do
This section is one of the most important and one that will help you decide if this is the drone you are looking for or not.
I want to start by saying that this drone is definitely a great beginners option. If you are looking a great drone to get started, with some advanced options, this is more than recommended.
There are others X5 drones however, that may not offer as many options in control as this one, yet in many cases, people decide to get those. Here a detailed review of such drones for your reference.
Now, going back to the X5SW drone, this one comes with some great features that you would only see in top drones for other brands, yet, just like the FPV capability, Syma makes great products with additional functionalities that will help you get trained for more advanced devices.
Let’s take a look at these.
All drones have a head side. That is, the side that points towards the front direction. When the drone and transmitter are pairing, this head side is used as reference to designate which direction is controlled by what component of the transmitter.
In simpler words, since the head side is pointing forward, the transmitter will designate the forward direction to that side of the drone, and form there it will designate all the other directions as well.
Now, when the drone is a few feet high from the ground, say 10 feet, it can be very simple to control because you can easily identify the head side and therefor move it left when it is too much at the right, and vice versa.
The problem is, when you have the drone flying very high or when while still at sight, it is difficult to differentiate which side is which.
In such case, if the drone rotates for any reason (and this happens a lot, especially at high altitude), you’ll push the lever on your transmitter to move it back and the drone will move right or left, or even front. That is because the head moved, and now, the controls are backwards or sidewards.
In any case, this can lead to lose control of your drone. This by the way is exactly what recently happened to me with my Syma X5C-1 drone, when I lost it. This drone does not have a headless mode functionality, and thus, it is harder to control it. The short clip below will show you what happened with that drone.
What the headless mode does is that once you activate it, the drone has not longer a head side, and the transmitter directions are now fixed. That means that no matter the rotation of the drone, front, back, left, and right will always be the same.
This does not avoid your drone being dragged by the wind, but in situations like this, it simplifies controlling the drone.
I have to say that the headless mode is another feature that you see only in some premium models for other brands, but like I said before, Syma is always making the exception with these great gadgets.
360 Rolls!!! – Yes it can do these!
Something that you don’t expect to be able to do with a starters drone are aerobatics and extreme movements.
Imagine what you have to do in order to make your drone roll. Some of the propellers need to spin at both different speeds and directions. Also, you must be sure that the drone won’t lose calibration or direction when rolling, because this could lead to an ugly crash. And lastly, once the drone is leveled, you must be sure to stop at the right moment, or the drone will continue to roll and this could take it straight to the ground.
The process I just described is very brief and not a detailed one. And even before that, if you want to attempt this, a very specialized machine is needed to be able to control each motor individually. You can start to imagine that this increases the cost of the drone.
However, this is not the case with the Syma X5SW, because this device can perform some amazing 360 degrees rolls that will amaze everyone.
The greatest thing about it is that performing these aerobatics is very simple. Just press the right hand side button on the transmitter and push the right lever either left or right. This will command the drone to do the roll to the side you picked, and the operation will be safe and sane.
These aerobatics can be made as many times as you want. Just make sure that you do this at least at 3 feet high from the ground, so that enough room is provided for the drone to recover its altitude, since this maneuver will take some altitude from the drone.
Throwing Flight Function
Another great thing about this drone is its throwing flight function, which allows you to simply throw the drone to the air and once you hit the thrust lever, the drone will level itself and will be completely responsive to your commands.
The Syma X5SW and Regulations
This is one of the big ones you have to have in mind. Depending on the Country you live in, the law may or may not regulate drones.
The laws are different from Country to Country, and in some cases, from State to State. However the case is, it is important to check the law requirements for you to safely and legally fly your drone.
Many Countries regulate drones based on weight and use. Drones are typically categorized by recreational and commercial uses. As you can imagine, commercial uses requirements are more strict than recreational ones.
In the case of the United States, drones are categorized by weight and by use. Please notice that laws are always changing, and therefore I recommend checking this page to learn about the latest requirements for drones operation.
However, and at the moment of this writing, you are required to register your drone only if it weighs more than 0.55 lbs or 250 grams.
The Syma X5SW V3 model we are talking about here, weighs only 4.2 ounces, or 0.2625 lbs, therefore, registration is not required for this drone.
However, and just in case you want to do so, registration only costs $5 USD. Also, and even if you don’t register your drone as it does not meet the criteria to be registered, you are still required to follow some guidelines to fly safe.
It is useful to know that even when this drone does not require registration, if you have another drone that meets registration criteria and you fail to do it, criminal and civil penalties can be applied to you for this. These fines will for sure be higher than your drone’s cost, so here is why I highlighted the importance of doing this earlier.
My final words on the regulations section here will be to encourage you to check drone laws in the Country you live in to determine what is the path of action. I don’t have to say (but I will) that I don’t recommend you to fly your drone without knowing what could be the consequences of not checking and doing this before.
The Flight Time of the X5SW Syma Drone is pretty decent
This is another important aspect of drones. Make sure you always take a look at this or you could be disappointed.
As you probably know, drones biggest downside is always their battery performance. The efficiency you get from these is very, very low.
This is why I haven’t considered this as a downside, rather, it is just something you just have to live with if you want to fly these gadgets.
Most drone batteries will take more time to recharge than what they last in operation. In other words, you’ll spend more time waiting for the battery to get charged than flying your drone.
Now, that is not all…
We are not talking about a few minutes, but of a significant difference here.
In the case of the Syma X5SW, you can spend anything between 75 and 100 minutes charging the battery and only 7 – 10 in operation.
If you do the math here, this means you have to wait close to 10 minutes to recharge the battery for every 1 that you spend flying.
Like I said, this is just the way it is right now, and it is like this for the vast majority of drones in the market.
The ones that have a higher efficiency are those high price items that can be charged in 60 minutes and will give you close to 30 minutes of flying.
However, if you are not ready to get a drone in the price range of $1,000 USD, there is an alternate solution that works great in these cases.
Get more batteries!!!
While it may sound silly, getting more batteries is in many cases a cost effective solution to reduce your wait times.
There are many choices to buy extra batteries and chargers to get all these ready at the same time. And it is a great idea to do this if you want to spend some great time flying drones.
A word of caveat here is that if you want to charge batteries simultaneously, it is not only recommended but encouraged to buy a certified charger to do this. These are not expensive and can save you a bunch of problems.
Remember that batteries are chemical ones, and these are dangerous if not handled properly. A damaged battery can explode or ignite, and most of the times, this happens while charging. Most of the times, the reason for this is misuse, so make sure you properly charge your LiPos.
Here are a few recommendations for you in terms of batteries and safety.
These products will help you play safe and have more fun with your drone. Also, the LiPo bags are useful for all types of LiPo batteries, so this is something you can use to also store them.
Remember we said it was important to prepare a budget, these should definitely be part of it. Be smart, play safe!
Will your Syma X5W crash, you ask? – Definitely!
Believe it or not, crashes are inevitable. Also, this is one of the most fun parts of this hobby (at least at the beginning).
The reason why your drone will crash is obvious: because it took off.
However, there are different types of crashes. Some are destructive and others are hard hits or rough landings.
In either case, your drone parts will get damaged, and sooner or later will need replacement.
This is why I always recommend people to buy a set of spare parts right when they buy their drone. Thus you’ll avoid having to wait for these to arrive in case you need them.
Now, I want to tell you two important things about spare parts.
First, and just in case you spot a drone that is similar to the X5W and want to buy it, make sure there are spare parts that fit perfectly for that drone. If you fail to do this, or see it but ignore it, sooner or later you’ll regret this decision.
Look for the story online, it is everyone. People complaining about having to buy a whole unit again just because spare parts are not available.
If you ask me, a drone that has no spare parts available is like a car that is doomed to oblivion. Sooner or later you’ll crash, and when the time comes, you’ll have to spend more money in getting a new drone than only a fraction of the cost in getting the spare parts.
I think that is not fair, and thus, every time I see a drone I like but spare part are not available, I run from it, that is just not a good deal to me. So be careful and look always for spare parts, and actually, buy they right in the moment.
The second thing I wanted to say is that the Syma X5SW comes with a set of spare spinning blades, which is great because Syma is actually including some spare part inside the box for you to use.
What are people saying about this drone? – Let’s read some reviews
This is another important thing I want to discuss about the Syma XSW V3 drone. It has over a thousand customer reviews on the Amazon’s page. The overall rating is close to 4 stars, and even when this drone does not meet my conservative criteria to get a drone, I actually want to say that given the experience I had with it, I can confidently say that this is one of the best drones for beginners you can find online.
Also, and this is not less important, if you check through the comments you’ll see that these are real reviews, real comments from real people who really bought this drone. This is unequivocally the best sign of a product online. If people keep buying it, is because it has something really good to offer.
Final Words on the Syma X5SW V3 Drone
I think that by now you must have a very good idea of what this drone is what it is not, what it can and cannot do. The truth is that this drone is a pretty solid product. It can handle well crashes, and flies great as well.
The WiFi camera is in my opinion the best upgrade, and if on top of that you put the headless mode and 360 rolls, you have a very good product here.
As always, the last word is yours, and I think it is time now for you to decide if this is the drone you want to try or if you want to keep hesitating to get started with drones.
If you happen to have this drone already, share your experience with us and throw a comment below, let us know how is it going. Same is true if you decided to purchase this item as a result of reading this review. Also, push the social buttons on this page and share this content with others who might be looking for that special drone.