Is it just me or are selfie drones virtually around every internet corner? Perhaps I’m googling for way too much drone-related stuff… but the majority of ads I get to see are related to drones. Selfie drones to be more precise. The same goes for the subject of our today’s review – JJRC H37 Baby Elfie. It’s been popping up like crazy over the last few days so I could not resist the urge to order it and tell you all about its performance.
So, without much further adue, let’s jump to the review… Well, technically, I decided to start off by sharing some general knowledge of selfie drones and everything closely related to them. So, here goes!
Selfie drones are basically a type of drones which is ideal for taking aerial selfies. They are characterized by certain traits that set them apart from other drones available on the market. Mainly, they are insanely small but still provide with decent imaging solutions. You won’t get professional image quality of course, but for under $50 it’s the best you can get!
Since they are primarily used for taking dronies (that’s actually a new word that represents selfies taken with a drone), they usually don’t have the best range worthy of more expensive exploration drones.
Another very common trait of selfie drones is their foldable design. This is what makes them travel-friendly and allow their users to keep them nearby at all times. And, believe it or not, foldable design is a big thing nowadays. That’s because…
Have you guys noticed a huge number of foldable drones that are being released lately? Yup, it’s becoming sort of a trend and it doesn’t seem like it will end anytime soon. But how it all started? Well, the obvious culprit is DJI Mavic Pro and its sheer popularity that’s ruling over the market at the moment. But, there were other foldable models before the Mavic, but I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it really was the one to set the tone for other newcomers.
When it comes to the typical performance of selfie drones, I cannot give you a rough patch of numbers that works well across the board. Nope! That’s primarily because the sheer number of different selfie drones available and their price tags having huge differences. There are premium selfie drones with the likes of Yuneec Breeze and DJI Spark… and then there are entry-level (some would go out on a limb and call them toy-grade) selfie drones such as Elfie and Eacgube E52 as the perfect example.
Considering the fact this is a review of JJRC H37 Baby Elfie which costs less than $50, it is only logical to give you some wise words about the general performance of similarly priced models.
JJRC General Info
JJRC is a product line of JianJian Technology. As a matter of fact, JJRC is not the only product line of JianJian, there is also JJPRO. JJRC relies on beginner-friendly models with affordable price tags and JJPRO features a range of advanced drones that are not meant for beginners. Needless to say, these 2 product lines aren’t competing against each other’s models which is a big deal for JianJian Technology.
JJ Technology was established 8 years ago, in 2009 to be more precise. They are not only suppliers but distributors of various RC vehicles for users of all ages. As far as JJRC is concerned, it was founded in 2014 with several models hitting the online marketplaces. Their motto is “Technology For Fun” which goes to show their hardworking staff is making
Baby Elfie vs Elfie
Starting off with the design, you will notice that both of these drones look pretty similar to each other. They both sport uniformed black body with white details and a power button on the backside. However, Baby Elfie is 2.2 centimeters smaller than the original. With the reduction of size, weight has received the same as well.
Other than that, it is also important to note the upgraded HD camera on Baby Elfie. It is capable of recording better dronies as well as aerial videos in 720p. For those of you unfamiliar with the original Elfie, it sported a standard VGA camera with 640×480 resolution. The quality wasn’t exactly the greatest.
Lastly, the controller has received an upgrade and now features new controlling schematics… As some of you might recall, the original Elfie could only be controlled with the provided app on your smartphone while Baby Elfie takes things up a notch by featuring a physical controller…but more on that later on.
JJRC H37 Baby Elfie Review
There has already been a ton of information featured in this article so far and we haven’t even started with the actual JJRC H37 Baby Elfie review yet. But, that’s all coming to a close since we’re kicking things off with the first review segment for today… and that’s the upgraded camera!
As it was already stated above, JJRC H37 Baby Elfie sports an upgraded camera. Let me remind you one more time – the original Elfie has a mere VGA camera which could not brag with outstanding image quality. However, Baby Elfie’s camera boosts the quality by upgrading to a 720p sensor which works a lot better, as expected. Unfortunately, there is no stability present which is not that surprising considering the extremely low price tag that Baby Elfie goes for. On the bright side, the angle can be adjusted which is always a plus!
All things considered, 720p capable camera is more than decent at this price range and will do a great job of capturing dronies and occasional aerial footage. So, if that’s what you are interested in, there is no doubt that JJRC H37 Baby Elfie can perform!
As far as the performance is concerned, I will divide it into 2 basic traits – battery duration and operating range. Those are the 2 basic numbers each drone sports and are basically what makes a good drone… good. So, without further adue let’s see how does Baby Elfie goes in terms of general performance:
JJRC H37 Baby Elfie is powered by a 400mAh Lithium Ion battery. We are talking about a 1-cell model here that can output approximately 6 to 7 minutes of flight time. Charging doesn’t take too long – roughly an hour or so. However, I suggest investing in a couple of extra batteries as they are cheap and will get you plenty more flight time. Of course, with extra batteries, it would also be a good idea to find a charger that can charge several at once. That will significantly shorten your waiting time until the next flying session which is, needless to say, a huge plus… especially for younger users who can’t wait to get their hands on their drone once again.
It was already stated above that selfie drones aren’t the best of the bunch in terms of operating range. Of course, customers tolerate that since their primary use isn’t exploration but, as their name suggests, taking selfies. We all know that selfies are taken from just a couple of meters away which puts things in the right perspective. So, with that in mind, Baby Elfie can reach anywhere from 50 to 100 meters from its controller, depending on factors such as interference and obstacles (mainly trees and buildings) in the surrounding area. As far as the FPV range goes, you are looking at roughly 30 meters which is not half bad for such a cheap drone.
JJRC H37 Elfie and Baby Elfie both sport roughly the same design. Black body with foldable propeller arms and white decals on the top side. In addition to that, there are also white plastics on both shorter sides behind which are bright LEDs. Red runs the show from the back and warm white is up in the front. They make the orientation-adjustments rather easy and are clearly seeable during the night. However, red lights are tough to see in broad daylight but that shouldn’t pose a big issue.
In terms of features, Baby Elfie comes with several well-placed ones which will greatly boost its selfie game. For instance, this birdie sports WiFi FPV which will transmit live video feed straight from the camera. It does have a bit of latency but that is completely normal and is the case with all WiFi FPV systems. Despite that, FPV will aid you with taking that perfect selfie… and best of all it works with both iOS and Android devices which means you’ll be able to enjoy FPV from the comfort of your own smartphone.
Furthermore, Baby Elfie also features headless mode which is enabled by the push of a single button. I warmly recommend this mode to beginners as it will help them make their first successful steps with drone flying. Last but not least, Baby Elfie’s controller features gravity sensors… Let’s talk more about that!
Baby Elfie Controller
First I’d like to make one thing straight – JJRC H37 Baby Elfie features a really weird looking controller. Instead of opting for the traditionally styled device with 2 analog sticks for pitch, roll, jaw, and throttle, the folks over at JJRC opted for a 1-analog system. But how can one analog do all those commands? Well, it can’t! That’s where the above-mentioned gravity sensor comes in. You see, with the gravity sensor you can control the drone’s pitch and roll while using the analog will control the throttle and jaw.
This gravity sensor basically replaces your smartphone’s gyroscope. By moving the controller up and down, left and right, you will be controlling the movements of your drone. While it might sound confusing at first, after just a few seconds of controlling your drone this way, you will realize how intuitive it really is. The build quality is good too. Even though it is fully made out of plastic, it is not that cheap one we are so used to seeing with entry-level drones. On the contrary, it feels quite sturdy and generates responsive commands which your drone follows instantly.
Is it suitable for children?
Even though the official documents state that JJRC H37 Baby Elfie is suitable only for people older than 14 years… I would beg to differ. We are talking about a small drone with miniature props that are powered by a 1-cell battery. True, they don’t have guards which might become problematic in case of a crash… but they still cannot develop enough speed to seriously injure someone.
Now, now… don’t go ahead and test it out on yourself – drone propellers are still dangerous… but I still believe their official guidelines are overly strict. As a matter of fact, I’ve let my 9-year old play around with it and he didn’t cause any damage to himself, others or property.
JJRC H37 Baby Elfie Review Summary