Review: MJX Bugs 3 – Fun and versatility for under $100

Bugs 3

The MJX Bugs 3 is an incredibly versatile and fun drone. It has brushless motors, which makes it more powerful and efficient than similarly-priced drones, like the Syma X8. It is more of an intermediate-level drone and I wouldn’t recommend it for children. However, if you want something that is fun, fast, and can carry a GoPro, then this is the drone for you. You will be pleasantly surprised by the versatility of this drone.

The MJX Bugs 3

The 18-minute flight time and 500-meter range set the Bugs 3 apart from most of the drones under $100. You don’t find drones with power, range, and flight time that comes close to that of the Bugs 3 unless you spend some more money. It doesn’t have GPS or any fancy flight modes, but that is half of the charm of the Bugs 3. This is a no-frills fun machine. The Bugs 3 bridges the gap between hardcore hobby drones for tinkerers and top-notch camera drones, like the Mavic Air.

Note:  Because of its popularity, the MJX Bugs 3 has been re-branded and re-packaged by multiple sellers on Amazon. You need to look around for the best price on any given day. Our favorite version is the Force1 F100 Ghost. The F100 has better styling than the original Bugs 3 and it comes with extras that we will get into later. Find the best price with this customized search.

The Bugs 3 (right) pictured with the Bugs 3H, with altitude hold

Other MJX Bugs Options

MJX has built other versions of the Bugs, so if you want intelligent flight modes or GPS stability we’d suggest you look at the Bugs 2, Bugs 3H or Bugs 5W.

From left to right: Bugs 3H, Bugs 3 Pro, Bugs 3 mini, Bugs 3, and Bugs 2

The Bugs 3H is worth a look if you want something a little more stable and easier for beginners to fly than the original Bugs 3. The Bugs 5W includes a camera on a 1-axis gimbal. The Bugs 5W is not as capable as the Yuneec Breeze, so make sure you look at the Breeze before buying the Bugs 5W. There is also a Bugs 3 Pro, but we prefer the Bugs 5W if you are considering a GPS option from MJX.

Bugs 3 Setup – Lots of Options

Part of the fun of the Bugs 3 is how versatile it is. If you are looking for speed then leave off the long legs and go have a blast. If you want footage then you can strap on an action camera. If you don’t have an action camera there are other good options available under $100, and some mediocre cameras under $50 if you don’t have a GoPro.

[pullquote]The Bugs 3 and Walkera gimbal setup might just be the most economical way to capture good stable video footage.[/pullquote]I have added an FPV (first person view) camera and flown my Bugs 3 using a pair of goggles. I have also added a Walkera 2-axis gimbal with my action camera and captured excellent video footage. The Bugs 3 and Walkera gimbal setup might just be the most economical way to capture good stable video footage. Click here to learn more or buy a Walkera gimbal.

No, you aren’t building a Phantom when you modify your Bugs 3, but with the right action camera and some practice, you can get some pretty spectacular footage. Adding an action camera with a stabilization mode, like the latest GoPro models helps as well, but many after-market gimbals don’t support the new larger GoPro models past the Hero 4.

In the box you get legs that you can install that make the Bugs 3 tall enough to hold an action camera on its belly.

Which Bugs 3 is for Me?

The MJX Bugs 3 is incredibly popular and there are countless rebrands of this drone on Amazon. There are different color combinations, but there is only one rebrand that we would suggest you consider over the original Bugs 3. That would be the Force1 F100. The Force1 F100 (also F100 Ghost) was built by MJX but is backed by the American company Force 1 (USA Toyz). Force 1 includes extras like an action camera, extra battery, and even multiple color canopies. If you already have an action camera and you don’t mind the original Bugs 3 style then you may want to stick with the lower-cost option. Click here to buy one or learn more about the F100 Ghost.

From left to right: Force 1 F100, MJX Bugs 3, and Force 1 F100 Ghost. These drones are only different in appearance and what extras come in the box.

The MJX Bugs 3 is our top pick if you are looking for a drone under $100 that you can grow with as you explore the hobby. Click here to buy one or learn more about the MJX Bugs 3.


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