[Review] Eachine E52 – upgraded version of cheap drone with foldable arms

Micro drones are a great way to introduce people into this little hobby of ours. I’m sure most of you have candidates who are itching to fly a drone. However, seeing the size, steep learning curves and also price tags of bigger drones that are available on the market might be a bit intimidating for novice drone pilots. That’s where small cheap folding drones like Eachine E52 come into play. Beginners aren’t the only group of people who can benefit from Eachine E52. These small ultra-portable drones are also aimed at selfie enthusiasts.

Eachine has been making drones for a long time, ever since drones went mainstream back in late 2000s. They are producing good quality drones, and are focusing mostly on making entry level, budget friendly devices. Quality-wise their drones are very good. They won’t break down after a month, or anything like that.

Eachine E52 is a successor of Eachine E50. If you are following the scene you might notice that there are similarities in appearance between the two. Similarities however stop at appearance. Under the hood Eachine brings lots of improvement in E52. For starters it has a physical transmitter, a better quality camera and higher quality battery, with longer flight time. Let’s talk a bit about the design, basic features and much more in our Eachine E52 Review !

Design, specs, pros, cons

Eachine E52 design

Eachine E52 has a folding design and accordingly it has two sets of dimensions. While folded, the drone measures ~15cm in width, 22cm in length and 3.5cm in height. After unfolding the blade arms, both width and length sit at ~25cm and height remains the same, 3.5cm. Design of the main body looks very sporty and sleek. There’s a single power button on top of the drone and the battery is located underneath. Proprietary, quick release, system is used for the battery. Camera is embedded at the very edge of the main body, at the front, and it is tilt adjustable.

Two colors are available, red and blue. Folding the blade arms is a great way to save space when putting the drone away. They fold inwards and tuck away nice and flush with the drone body. Once folded, drone can even be placed in and carried around inside a pocket. Hence the nickname, “pocket drone”.

Quick specs

  • Dimensions folded: 15cm*22cm*3.5cm
  • Dimensions unfolded: 25cm*25cm*3.5cm
  • Weight: 85g
  • Battery type/size: 3.7V 600mAh lipo
  • Battery replaceable: yes, proprietary, 1 included
  • Charge time: 70 minutes
  • Flight time: 6-8minutes
  • GPS positioning: N/A
  • microSD support: N/A

  • Camera: yes, 720p sensor
  • Camera adjustable: yes
  • Transmitter: yes, two handed controller
  • Transmitter battery: AA
  • Distance: 80-100m
  • Wifi technology: 2.4Ghz
  • VR support: N/A
  • Special features: FPV, app control, altitude hold, headless, tricks

What makes Eachine E52 review interesting?

  • Small size – ultra small design and folding blades make the drone easy to transport and use indoors
  • Transmitter – large two handed transmitter which is very responsive and feels nice in hands
  • HD camera – drone has a small 720p tilt adjustable camera for video and photos
  • FPV mode – no only that FPV mode is available, but you need it to record video or photos
  • FPV control – instead of using the physically transmitter, it’s also possible to use the smartphone app
  • Altitude hold – altitude hold is included and it works quite nicely. Uses barometric sensor
  • Adjustable speed – speed can be adjusted inside the app, choose between 30%, 60% and 100%
  • Additional – gyro stabilization, tricks, headless, one-key start/stop, g-sensor control (using app)

What could have been done better?

  • Limited range – FPV range transmission is very limited, between 30-50 meters. Needs to be better
  • To few pixels – camera works great, but it could do with a higher pixel count than the one it has
  • Proprietary battery – proprietary locking mechanism for the battery requires purchase of new spares

Camera

Best way to describe the camera on Eachine E52 would be with the words good, but it could be better. It’s the usual gripe of mine on these cheap folding drones, there just isn’t enough pixels. Camera specs everywhere mention only that it’s 720p. My guess is that it has a pixel count of about 0.3MP. 0.3MP is an extremely low pixel count but I guess you can’t ask for wonders from such a low cost drone.

 

FPV test flight and video sample

Video clip made with the Eachine E52 is embedded down below. It’s a short 10 minute demo of the drones’ FPV capabilities. Notice the issues which are plaguing the camera. For starters there a small amount of lag. It’s not much, but every now and then video feed stops for a few moments and then it resumes. Lag in FPV can really spoil the joy of flying a drone.

As far as overall quality of the video goes, it gets a passing grade, but don’t expect to wow people with sharpness and proper color reproduction. Videos have the usual problem of being grainy, and colors seem a bit washed out, like watching a CCTV feed. Still I have to give credit where credit is due. E52 doesn’t have problems with wobble caused by vibrations from the motor. Eachine must have some kind of anti-shake stabilization system in place. In short, camera offers good enough quality for a ~$50 drone, but it could be better.

EACHINE E52 : Transmitter

As I mentioned already in the introduction, Eachine E52 has a physical transmitter, and not a bad one at that. Let’s remind ourselves that E50, predecessor of E52, didn’t have a transmitter at all. Drone was controlled using the smartphone app only. E52 has both a physical transmitter and also offers smartphone control using the “Eachine Fly” app.

Transmitter feels good in the hand, and has an embedded smartphone holder at the top. Checkout the cheat sheet on the right for what all the buttons do. There are even dedicated physical buttons for adjusting trim.


Eachine E52 : Battery

Eachine E52 uses a proprietary battery locking mechanism. Many other similar drones like Eachine E56 and JJRC H47 use the same method of locking the battery in place. I guess it’s a good thing that we’re seeing more of this type of battery. They are easier to replace. Just move a lock, and the battery pops right out. There’s no need to fiddle with wires that stick out of the drone.

However, using a proprietary battery system means that you can’t use any of the standard Lipo batteries that you already have, at least not without some hacks with the soldering iron. Single 3.7V 600mAh battery that comes in the package offers about 6 minutes of flight time and charges rather fast, in 70 minutes. Luckily there are battery packs of 6 batteries plus a combo charger that charges all 6 batteries at once on Amazon for about $30.

 

Eachine E52 : Additional features

Now we get to the fun stuff. E52 has a long list of additional features which will provide hours of fun. Let’s start with the most fun feature, 360° flips and rolls. Transmitter has a dedicated button for doing 360° flips, right front trigger. Sadly for some reason this button didn’t work for me. I’m sure it’s just a problem with my unit. I did manage to activate tricks with the smartphone app though.

Other features which will make life easier fo novice drone pilots are one-key take off, one-key landing and a dedicated return home button. One-key take off worked great, as expected. One-key landing basically cuts off the motors after which the drone goes down like a brick. Don’t be too high up in the air when trying to land with the one-key land button.

Return home didn’t quite work as advertised. After pressing the button, drone did come closer to the transmitter, but then it flew past me and continued further until I stopped it manually. Some tweaks are needed for both one-key landing and the return home button.

Last but not least, E52 also has headless mode and altitude hold. Both of these worked great. Drone did slightly lose altitude after doing quick, sudden moves. Flying fast and suddenly changing direction is taxing on the motors. If the battery isn’t delivering enough power the motors will lose RPMs causing the drone to go down slightly. Luckily it didn’t drop to the ground, we’re talking only a few meters of loss in altitude.

Eachine E52 Flying experience

I have to say that overall I had a lot of fun flying this little drone. I suggest that you install the “Eachine Fly” app to fully unlock everything that the drone has to offer. Don’t forget that syncing up your phone (or tablet) with the app is a must if you want to record video or take photos. They are saved to the paired FPV device, as the drone doesn’t have a microSD slot. Controls on the transmitter are very responsive, and the drone handles great.

FLYING EXPERIANCE IMAGE

Summary

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