[Review] Eachine E51 – budget friendly drone for beginners and selfie lovers

Great way to get people interested in drones is by giving them one as a gift. Trick is in knowing which drone to get them. Larger, more advanced drones are obviously out of the question. There’s no point in buying a mid-range or top of the line drone to someone you’re not sure will use it. In fact, it might even scare them away with all the advanced features that these usually have.

However, a small, easy to carry and cheap drone like Eachine E51 is the perfect gift. Let’s begin the Eachine E51 review and see what it has to offer.

Let’s get one thing clear, Eachine isn’t Apple of drone brands, but it isn’t Windows Phone either. They are an established brand with focus on the budget segment of the market. They produce reliable models of various RC gadgets, including drones, which will last long enough to payoff in fun the money that you spent purchasing them.

Eachine E51 is a small, extremely budget friendly model aimed at beginners and surprisingly enough, selfie lovers. The reason why the fact that Eachine markets E51 as a selfie drone is surprising to me is because the camera isn’t exactly the best. But the drone does have a lot to offer for the ~$35 that it can be purchased for.

Eachine E51 review – the basics

Drone design

Eachine E51 has blade arms that fold inward underneath the sides of the drone. This forces me to mention two sets of dimensions. When folded, E51 measures just 7.5 x 16.5 x 5cm. Once the blade arms are unfolded, and the drone is ready for lift-off, E51s size increases to its max 17.5 x 17 x 5cm.

It’s thickness makes Eachine E51 a bit less portable than for example Eachine E56 and E57. I wouldn’t exactly call it a pocket drone. Design of E51 looks very rugged, with curves that extend outwards as you move to it head and tails. Only blue color is available, with black outlines. It think that the drone looks very streamlined and quite beefy. Camera is embedded at the front. Battery is locks into place underneath the drone and on top of it there’s a single, solitary power button. That’s about it when it comes drone itself. Let’s take a look at the specs.

Quick specs

  • Dimensions folded: 7.5 x 16.5 x 5cm
  • Dimensions unfolded: 17.5 x 17 x 5cm
  • Weight: 118g
  • Battery type/size: 3.7V 750mAh (Included)
  • Battery replaceable: yes, proprietary modular
  • Charge time: 90 minutes
  • Flight time: about 7 minutes
  • GPS positioning: N/A
  • microSD support: N/A

  • Camera: 720p
  • Camera adjustable: yes, tilt adjustable
  • Transmitter: yes, gamepad design
  • Transmitter battery: 4×1.5AA batteries
  • Distance: up to 100m
  • Wifi technology: 2.4Ghz, up to 50m
  • VR support: N/A
  • Special features: FPV, app control, altitude hold, headless, tricks, LEDs, return home

What makes E51 interesting?

  • Small size – with small dimensions and the ability to fold the arms, this drone is very portable
  • Controller – two handed gamepad-like controller with smartphone hold in the middle
  • HD camera – 720p camera is good enough, but doesn’t exactly make stunning photos and video
  • FPV mode – stream a video feed from the drone camera to your phone or tablet using the FPV app
  • FPV control – “Eachine Fly” the FPV app the drone uses lets you also controll the drone
  • Altitude hold – with altitude hold the drone will keep hovering in the air, without input from you
  • Return home – one button return home calls the drone “home”, to the transmitter, no GPS
  • Headless mode – with the headless mode turned on you don’t have to keep on eye on yaw
  • Adjustable speed – there are a total of 3 speed settings, 30, 60, 100%
  • Additional – gyro stabilization, tricks, one key take-of/landing, camera beauty mode

What could have been done better?

  • Limited range – transmitter distance is good, 100m, but FPV range of 30-50m could be better
  • To few pixels – camera could do with a couple more pixels, videos can be grainy and washed out
  • FPV lag – on top of issues with the camera, FPV feed lagged which resulted in laggy video clips
  • Proprietary battery – proprietary battery tied only to this models means you need new spares

Eachine E51 Review – In-depth view

Camera

Well like it is usually the case on these budget friendly drones, Eachine E51 has an okay camera. As I already mentioned in the beginning of the review, Eachine markets E51 as a selfie drone. That’s very optimistic of them, seeing how the camera has a 720p sensor, and a pixel count of 0.3MP. That’s quite low in the age where smartphones are starting to get dual camera setups. To tell you the truth, I can’t be too hard on E51 for it’s mediocre camera quality considering it can be bought for as little as $35. What’s nice about the camera is that it’s tilt is adjustable, manually, up/down, 45°.

 

FPV test flight and video sample

What better way to show camera quality than to include a video clip made with the camera in question. Well, here it is. You’ve probably seen videos from CCTV cameras, on TV or as a funny GIF on the internet. Well the video quality that E51s’ camera produces is slightly better than that.

Video lacks sharpness, which is probably caused by low pixel count. There’s also that weird CCTV vibe going on. I’m probably being to harsh, but I’m just calling it like I’m seeing it. I did say this is a drone for beginners, and it’s more than enough to learn the basics of drone flying. Heck, it’s even a miracle that there is a camera included for the price point that Eachine is selling this thing.

Transmitter

I’ve seen some unique drone transmitters in my days, but Eachine E51 managed to surprise me to be honest. First off, shape of the transmitter looks like an Xbox 360 controller, with squared edges and blue buttons. What’s surprising is that is that the middle section of the transmitter extends to accommodate a smartphone for the FPV mode. There are loads of buttons on the transmitter, Eachine didn’t skimp out. There are even buttons for changing speed, one-key take-off/landing, adjusting trim, etc. Transmitter gets its power from 4×1.5V AA batteries. It’s very responsive, and perfect for beginners.


 

Battery

Eachine E51 uses what Eachine calls a modular battery. It’s basically the same system of replacing the battery to the one found on a laptop. You push a lock and the battery pops out. Very practical, very fast battery replacements, and as far as that goes, I love this new method of dealing with batteries.

What I don’t like is that every drone from Eachine and JJRC that uses this new mechanism has a unique shape of battery. It’s proprietary for that particular drone. So if you want to have spares you need to buy a set for every drone individually.

Package that I got includes a single 3.7V 750mAh battery which can last for up to 7 minutes of flight time. Charging from 0-100% took about an hour and half. All in all not bad, but order at least 1 spare battery so you don’t have to wait a long time in between charging the battery.

Additional features

Eachine E51 offers a whole plethora of additional features for the beginner drone pilot to explore. For example it has headless mode and barometer aided altitude hold. Both of these worked good enough. There was a slight issue with drone sometimes losing altitude, due to low battery power, but nothing too horrific.

Beginners will surely find the one-key take-off/land buttons very useful. They also worked great. Little piece of advice, don’t use the one-key landing with drone high up in the air. After a certain point during the landing it just stops and drops to the ground. Be a meter off the ground max.

E51 took some persuading when it comes to doing tricks. Dedicated button for tricks on the transmitter didn’t work every time. Maybe I was doing something wrong. But tricks did work just fine using the app.

There’s also a return home work mode, where the drone returns to transmitter at a push of a button. Speed is adjustable, there’s g-sensor control within the “Eachine Fly” app, and that’s about it.


Flying experience

Flying Eachine E51 was a treat and a lot of fun. My piece of advice for a beginner is to use the transmitter first, because it provides a much better feedback when flying the drone. Low speed setting might feel a bit sluggish for a more experienced drone pilot, but luckily the drone is quite snappy in higher gears. Range for the transmitter is as advertised, up to 100 meters. All in all, flying the drone was fun.

Summary

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