[Review] Syma X8SW – nice looking drone that is easy to fly

Syma is known in the world of remote control drones as the king of the budget segment. Syma drones have been present on the market for over 10 years. In that time they have produced dozens of drones. In other words, you are buying into an established manufacturer with experience. X8SW isn’t their cheapest model, but is close to it, coming in at about $140. For that money, you get an interesting price to performance ratio. Let’s find out more about that in our Syma X8SW Review !

Syma X8SW predecessors

Syma X8SW drone is an upgrade to their X8 model. Aside from the complete overhaul of appearance and specs, X8SW also has easier to remove blades and landing gear. On top of that, the X8SW has a proprietary battery charging system that has to be purchased directly from Syma. Controller also looks different, smaller, making it easier to hold in your hand. Older X8 model had more beefier specs. With their successors like the X8SW, X8SC and X8C, etc. Syma seems to be branching out their flagship into many different models, each of them focusing on a single strength.

On the fly info on Syma X8SW review

The good

First thing that many of you will probably notice about this drone is how good its design looks. White and red combo is very well done. Accent lights at the bottom make for a nice view when flying the drone at night. Flight time of 10 minutes is rather impressive. Altitude hold is not broken, it works quite well actually. FPV control is a nice touch of course. Other basics are there, like headless mode and one key takeoff and landing. All in all a lot of good can be said about X8SW

The neutral

I debated with myself weather or not include the battery in the pros, but I think that Symas decision to go for a proprietary battery in X8SW is both good and bad. On one hand it makes for some very easy and quick battery replacement, but on the other, batteries can be bought only from Syma. That is never a good thing. Buyers might be forced to pay premiums on batteries or worse, not have anywhere to buy them if Syma decides not to sell them anymore.

The bad

It’s not all sunshine and roses for X8SW. I did find a gripe with the camera. Video is very grainy and while recording in flight there’s the dreaded image wobble that plagues many drones on the market, specially in low to mid-range segment. Seeing how X8SW is a bit pricier, remember I said there are cheaper drones that can be had, you’d expect them to spring for a slightly better camera. At the very least they could have built the camera housing better to prevent the wobble.

Quick specifications

  • Drone battery: 7.4V 2000mAh Li-ion
  • Camera: 720p photo/video recording at 0.3MP
  • Charge time: About 150 minutes
  • Controller battery: 4″AA” batteries(not included)

  • Wifi frequency: 2.4 Ghz
  • Drone max distance: about 70 meters (230 ft)
  • Flight time on single charge: around 10 minutes
  • Drone size: 50 X 50 X 19 cm

Closer look at the features

Wifi FPV camera

Let’s start with the most interesting feature that this drone has to offer, its camera. The built in real time FPV camera is capable of capturing 720p videos and photos. Connecting to the drones camera is done using a smartphone (Android and iOS) over 2.4Ghz Wifi.

Captured snapshots are recorded either to the phone directly via Wifi, or to the micro SD card on the drone itself (we received a 4GB SD card with the drone). Embedded camera offers a resolution of 0.3MP, which isn’t that bad for the price. Controller comes with a holder for your phone.

Battery

As I have already mentioned, the battery on X8SW uses Symas’ own proprietary plug and play mechanism for removing the battery. This is both good and bad. It’s good because it makes it easier for the user to replace the battery. It’s bad because you are forced to purchase batteries only from Syma.

Luckily the battery that the drone offers is a 7.4V 2000 mAh lipo battery. In my tests it was able to deliver around 10 minutes of flight time on a single charge. Additional batteries can be purchased on Amazon. Current price is around $40 for a 3 battery pack.

Altitude hold

Syma X8SW drone does support altitude hold and it does it very well. Built in barometer sensor allows the drone to maintain height even after you release the controls. Left joystick is used to increase the height of the drone.

When you reach the desired height, simply release the joystick and the drone will keep hovering in the air. This is great for beginners because don’t have to worry about maintaining drone height, and it’s also great for recording video, since it decreases the shakiness and wobbling.

Flip tricks and stunts

Something that our younger audience will love are the built-in stunt tricks that X8SW comes preloaded with. While in-flight, all that the drone pilot has to do is press a button on the controller. After doing that you should see the drone do a 360° flip.

Many drone beginners don’t have experience to do tricks and flips like this on their own. It’s nice seeing Syma including this feature even on their more budget friendly models. Not all drones in this price segment can do tricks

Controller

Controller on the X8SW is smaller than on X8, which is actually a good thing. It fits better in the hands, and it’s easier to reach all the triggers and buttons on the front. Of course, if you have big hands, this isn’t really an issue. At the top we have the smartphone holder for when you use the FPV function. As it’s usually the case with drone controllers there are several button combos that activate different work modes and such. Manual covers that extensively. 

Additional goodies

X8SW also has the usual features that have almost become the norm for drones at this point. For starters there’s the headless mode, for the more experienced pilots. Drone also had LED lights at the bottom, which look quite nice when flying the drone at night. Blade guards will help protect the drone when during those initial crashes and bumps that novices are know for. Pro-tip, remove them afterwards to reduce the drone weight. That about it. 

 

Drone flying experience

Let’s talk a little bit how it is to actually fly X8SW. Drone is started by pressing the top right trigger button. It’s a both start and take of button, so after pressing it, the drone will lift off and start hovering about 3 feet off the ground. Use the left joystick to go up and down and right to control the direction. Controls are very responsive.

Syma app needs to be installed on the phone in order to receive the video feed from the drone. It is available on both Google Play and the App Store. While flying with the FPV mode active, video feed does cut off from time to time, but it’s not that bad. Drone can be rather fast, so be careful not to push the controls all the way until you get the feel for the controls a little bit. Oh and one last piece of advice. Make sure to be high off the ground, at least 20-30ft when doing tricks because the drone dips down quite a bit after doing the flip. Mine touched ground since I was too low.

Summary

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