The Eachine M80 ($62) is a small brushed FPV drone with a few interesting tricks up its sleeve. It is an excellent option, perhaps the best option for anyone looking to learn how to fly FPV. That is because the M80 has three very different modes. It can be flown in altitude hold mode, angle mode and even acro mode. Very few FPV drones have all three of these options and that is what makes this quad so special.
The Eachine M80
For a limited time you can get the Eachine M80 from Banggood for only $35. This is a great deal. It is a bind and fly version, so you won’t get a controller with it. I’d recommend the Taranis X-Lite. Use the coupon code 1cb549 at checkout.
Altitude hold is excellent for beginners
Altitude hold is a very common mode but it is rarely found on an FPV racing style quad. Most FPV pilots want full control of their drone at all times and typically fly in a mode called acro. In acro mode, the pilot must be aware of the drones orientation at all times and can manipulate that orientation without limits. Altitude hold is basically the opposite of that. With altitude hold, the height of the drone is maintained by an internal barometer. It makes the drone much more stable and is easier to fly. New pilots don’t need to do acro flips and rolls they need to be able to fly the drone without crashing. Altitude hold helps them achieve that. In fact, I gave my M80 to my 8-year-old son so he could learn how to fly FPV.
Angle and acro mode
Once beginner pilots have the hang of flying using altitude hold it can be switched off and they can learn how to manage the throttle on their own in angle mode. In angle mode, the drone will still level itself and again is much easier to manage than acro mode. Because the M80 also has acro mode if the pilot is daring or wants to learn how to do flips and rolls they can switch it to acro and give it a shot. I highly recommend practicing acro mode in a simulator before trying it out with your drone. You will crash and you want to avoid having to repair your drone.
There are two versions of the M80. One version comes with the remote you see above. The other version is a bind-and-fly. That means you’ll have to bind it to your own remote. The M80 remote is better than most toy grade quads but is far inferior to hobby grade remotes like the Taranis QX7 or X-Lite. If you are a true beginner pick up the M80 (or S85) with a remote.
Turtle Mode of the Eachine M80
The M80 has another really nice feature going for it called turtle mode. Sometimes when you crash you end up upside down. With turtle mode, the motors reverse direction and the drone can flip itself back over. This mode is an absolute time saver. Other quads you have to find and flip over yourself. While this may not seem like a big deal, learning how to fly FPV involves a lot of crashing. That means a lot of flipping. Be careful with this mode, however. Make sure there isn’t anything in the way of your motors and it doesn’t do well in thick grass.
I really like the M80 as a beginner drone it does have some drawbacks. First, the motors are brushed. They are good 8520 motors but all brushed motors have a limited lifespan and will need to be replaced at some point. The frame is solid but the spindles are prone to cracking. You will crash and the frame will break eventually. Mine flies just fine with some missing and repaired spindles. It just isn’t as pretty as it once was.
What about the Mirarobot S85?
The Mirarobot S85 is actually the same drone as the Eachine M80. Mirarobot is the actual manufacturer. They cut a deal with Eachine to produce the M80. You can still purchase the S85 from Amazon and it is only a couple of dollars more than the M80 on Banggood. In fact, you can get a Mirarobot S85 with a remote for only $74. That is what I’d recommend to any beginner. The Mirarobot version hasn’t sold as well as the Eachine version. I’m guessing it has to do with the very poorly translated description of the drone on Amazon. It is a shame as the S85 is every bit as good as the M80.
You’ll still need a pair of goggles
If you pick up an M80 or S85 you’ll still want a pair of goggles. Since this is likely your first FPV drone I wouldn’t recommend an expensive pair. The Eachine VRD3 goggles are an excellent beginner set that starts around $60. Will they perform like a $400 set of Fatsharks? No, but they have a DVR and diversity antennas and will certainly get the job done.
Any other options?
The Eachine M80 or Mirarobot S85 are both excellent options if you are looking to get into flying FPV. You can get the drone with a remote and the VRD3 goggles for less than $135 total. You’ll be hard pressed to find a less expensive option without building the drone yourself. And it likely won’t have the same features that the M80 does. If you are looking for something better without breaking the bank I would recommend taking a look at the Tinyhawk. The Emax Tinyhawk is a more durable, powerful and customizable. Emax makes an all-in-one package that includes the drone, goggles, remote, and bag for $165. Either way, it is hard to go wrong.
Learn more about flying FPV
If you want to learn more flying FPV we did three-part series on getting started. You can read more about that below. Thumbs up Goggles down. Let’s light it up.
Learn how to fly FPV, step one.
Learn how to fly FPV, step two.
Learn how to fly FPV, step three.
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