Greetings fellow H users,
I've owned my H since the end of May. I've been hanging around here since that time to share my experiences and videos with everyone. I've also learned a good many things from your posts, thank you BTW.
I've been lucky perhaps, as I've had no problems with my H aside from the crappy camera that we ALL suffer with. I love flying my H. She's very responsive and goes where I want, when I want. I've logged about 100 flights so far with her and always feel in total control....but that **** camera made me increasingly unhappy.
So...I went out and bought an Inspire 1 v2 with the X3 camera. First time with a DJI product. I still own my H of course as well as a Typhoon G (GoPro 4 Black) and a Q500 4K. I thought some of you might find my comments after two flights with the Inspire interesting, so here they are...
Since i preordered my H back in the late winter, things with the FAA rules have changed quite a bit. The new rules make it possible for me to consider setting up some kind of drone venture. While the H may fly wonderfully, the camera is terrible and there's no upgrade in sight. The new rules and the poor camera pushed me into considering the Inspire. When they reduced the price to $1,999 (US) I couldn't resist...
I purchased my Inspire from Frank at Carolina Dronz. He offers tremendous personal service. I also purchased my H and Q500 4K from Frank.
Along with the Inspire I had to purchase an IPad Air 2, so the total initial cost with taxes and what not came to $3,200 (US). This includes 3 high capacity extra batteries. The initial cost for the H was a little over $2,000 (US) also including 3 extra batteries. The Inspire cost much more than the H, so to compare the two is unfair. That's not what this post is about. I'm not comparing or extolling the virtues of the Inspire versus the H. This is simply a commentary about my first two flights using the new bird.
The Inspire is heavy, much heavier than my H. Built of mostly metal and carbon fiber, with some plastic, the Inspire feels more solid and better built than the H. But this extra weight works against you with battery life and of course when things go wrong and they crash.
Unlike our H batteries, the Inspire has 'smart' batteries that keep track of charge cycles among other things. They also have firmware. You can set the battery to self discharge over a period of time, avoiding the dreaded full charge storage problem. I don't know yet if this is a good thing. Not thrilled about yet another item with firmware.
The base X3 camera performs much better than our CGO3+, and I have a 'good' lens on my CGO3+. On my X3 sample the entire frame is in focus. Better dynamic range is readily apparent along with more details. The nasty over exposed blowouts we get with the Yuneec camera are tamed here. The X3 suffers when trying to capture fast movements and the picture quickly breaks down into dancing pixels. The CGO3+ does a much better job at this in comparison. I wanted to purchase the Inspire with the X5 camera, but the $4,000 (US) ticket was too much for me. If I like the Inspire I can always upgrade. The Inspire v2 comes ready for the heavier X5 camera/gimbal weight. I should mention the X3 camera feels better constructed and of higher quality compared to the CGO3+. But the X3 is still a board camera without aperture control just like the CGO3+.
I've always been captivated by those guys doing long range FPV flights on DJI products. As I became more experienced with almost the entire Yuneec line, I salivated at the long range of the "Lightbridge" product, while I suffered with poor range. After my first test flight I was anxious to see what the range was. The range was the same as my H with the improved ITELITE antenna! I was shocked when the video started breaking up at around 2,400 feet, just like my H does in the same area. I brought her back, went back out and again the video faltered at the same distance. 2400 feet is far enough really, I could not LOS anyways with either craft at that distance. At this early stage, I'm a bit surprised with the poor showing here by DJI.
The Inspire flies a bit faster, especially in GPS mode. I'm too chicken to fly without GPS on my H, so the fastest I've gotten her is around 42 MPH in angle mode with GPS on. The Inspire gets up to 45 in a jiffy and goes even faster with GPS off, but I won't be trying that any time soon. I certainly can live with 45 MPH. There's no rabbit/turtle switch on the Inspire remote. I personally like that switch, not sure how to set this up easily on the Inspire yet. The H feels like a well planted sports car, going into turns happily and ready for whatever you throw at it. The Inspire on the other hand feels like a traditional boulevard cruiser. Fast and somewhat responsive, but that extra weight causes it to flop around more. It takes much longer to stop the Inspire compared to the H. I can understand now why I've seen so many videos of Inspires flying into trees and buildings while the pilot is trying to stop or change direction. While I'm very new to the Inspire, I prefer the flight characteristics of the H much better so far.
The IPad Air 2 is a great tablet. I'm a longtime Android guy, but the Air 2 works nicely in conjunction with the controller. I thought the larger screen of the Air 2 would cause the controller to be top heavy, but that's not the case. I've grown accustomed to the Yuneec way of doing things with the integrated video display on the controller. I must say that having the option to mount a smaller phone or a bigger tablet is a nice flexibility that we don't enjoy with the ST10+ or ST16. The Air 2 offers a much better display than either Yuneec controller offers, but of course it costs $525 extra.
The controller is well balanced and feels good in my hands. The ST16 looks much more professional than the toyish DJI controller. Aside from looks, the switches feel solid and work well. Boot times are almost instant with no waiting for the camera to connect like we do on the H. While the Inspire looks cool when it does the 'transforming' (landing gear) thing. I prefer the landing gear setup on the H. You need to put the Inspire into 'travel' mode when you want to stuff it into the case.
The software on the tablets controlling the drone is where DJI really seems to have the lead. The interface in the DJI Go app offers much more and better detailed information about what's going on. The Go app also keeps a flight log, has tutorial videos and a flight simulator you use with the bird powered on and the props off. I tried it and it works fine. You can relive every flight with the telemetry data and map overlay. The interface is just leaps and bounds ahead of what I've gotten used to with Yuneec.
Battery life so far is about 16.5 minutes average with the single 47 series battery. I have three of the higher capacity 48 series coming this week. Charge time is about 70 - 90 minutes. The battery is has been quite warm after the first flights, much warmer than the H batteries.
The case included with my Inspire is decent, but it won't be practical for checking in on a plane. It will work fine around town and trips in the car, but to fly on a plane another solution must be found.
What I've learned so far about the Inspire is that our Typhoon H birds are pretty **** good in comparison. DJI has awful customer service which I've only heard about. My experiences with Yuneec CS have been nothing but a pleasure with the 3 calls I've made over the last year answered promptly by a human who spoke English and helped me almost immediately. I dread ever having to call DJI.
It comes down to the camera my friends, the camera is the biggest problem we suffer with on the H. If they had an upgraded camera coming soon, I would've waited, but I need a better camera now, not next year.
So, after 2 flights am I pleased with the Inspire? Yes.
Would I upgrade again knowing what I know now? Yes.
Am I still hoping for an upgraded camera for the H? Absolutely.
I hope this post may help those in a similar situation. Happy flying!