- Budget-friendly (below $100)
- Brushless motors
- Acro mode
- Easy to add FPV
- Fast and relatively powerful
- Plastic body (can get broken)
- Short battery life
- No camera
- Value 1
- Value 2
- Value 3
- Value 4
- Value 5
If there is a device that has the potential become a best seller – the MJX Bugs 3 Mini totally qualifies for that. It was surrounded by many rumors and looks like MJX have done quite a lot of testing prior to bringing it on the market. While it was released just after the Chinese Lunar year celebrations in 2018, there have been some testing samples from late 2017 and you can check one of them in QuadCopter 101’s review.
We will now focus on the official and final product which you can order from multiple online stores, and we recommend you to buy it from GearBest.com who kindly provided this test sample. Disclaimer – this review represents my own thoughts and although it is testing sample provided at no cost for me, I have the freedom to say whatever I want.
The package is a slight step up from the previous drones – the cardboard quality is the same, but on the inside the space is used in much more efficient way and the packing doesn’t look that bulky.
I love the approach that MJX are having here – because most of the people read the user manual after they crash or damage something, there is a mini-tutorial included explaining the function of every single button. Even if you don’t carry the full guide with yourself – you can always refer to this micro-guide.
If you’ve never flown Acro mode – don’t even think about trying it before reading and understanding how it operates!
We carry on with the unboxing process and we can see the bugs 3 mini now – surprisingly small – just 22 by 22 centimeters.
Features and specs
The remote controller has a new design. You likely remember that there were a lot of similarities between last years models – the Bugs 2, Bugs 3 and Bugs 6. And over here the design is upgraded. Clearly a toy-grade transmitter – do not forget that the bugs 3 is designed to be affordable and entry level, despite the fancy look it has.
The battery is 2-cell , operating at 7.4 volts and 840Mah capacity. I am happy to say that when I was testing the battery life it was considerably longer than what the test samples were showing and had close to 10 minutes with extra 60-grams payload added by the camera (FireFly Q6) attached.
The frame used here is made out of the same material as the one on the Bugs 3. Be careful and do not push it to the limits because it easily breaks.
Motors used are brushless with rating of 2750KV. Do not confuse this rating with kilo-volts). This one is typed with capital K and measures the RPM produced per Volt of electricity supplied, assuming zero resistance or load. (To work out the full RPM you’ll get, minus load, just multiply the KV rating by the number of Volts delivered by your battery pack). Unlike RPM, this fact about a motor will not change so long as it is working properly. That’s why it’s most commonly used as a measurement of a brushless RC motor. Apparently the rating here is not too high and the ESCs won’t allow you to upgrade to something more serious.
Board, ESC and Mod options
Under the top cover we can see a very well designed internals, we express the disappointment of having all escs on the same board, and it is good to see the beeper again! This was used for the first time with the Bugs 6 and thanks to it I was able to find my drone after losing range.
The board has a connector for quick FPV mod. Originally it is used to power on the front super bright LEDs but as you can see – mounting an All in one module is quite easy. Having FPV on the front will be more beneficial if you fly Acro mode and go for racing movements. Here’s an example with one of the most affordable Eachine all-in-one models (TX02) – you have a camera with transmitter and antenna – just plug and watch via goggles.
Enough about theory. Let’s see this guy in action! And – flying it is wonderful! I need to say that I am far from being a good pilot of racing drones and my Acro skills are quite limited.
Tested the B3 Mini in gyro mode – it feels good, and seems to be way faster than the Bugs 3 and a little faster than the Bugs 6. Despite the small size the drone remains well visible, and unlike the bigger brother – there were zero problems with the signal.
The manufacturer suggests control range of 300 meters and I am of course going to find out what the actual limit is.
Battery life is around 10 minutes. If you are not too aggressive you can go beyond that value. The drone easily lifted the Firefly Q6 and was flying without any complications. And with the added payload of 60 grams the battery lasted for around 8 minutes until it was completely discharged. Please note that MJX have implemented proprietary connector and you will have to use original batteries, which are not too expensive.
This drone was the reason for my first encounter with Acro mode – if I knew it is that much fun, I would have done it earlier. You won’t see any flips here because I still don’t feel confident enough to do that with a non-protected camera, but who knows – maybe soon.
Keep in mind that you cannot switch to Acro mode during flight – you need to land, power cycle and then change the mode!
At a price below 100 USD this is a great deal. Sure – you may get some great racers at that price, but most of them need extra receiver board and a transmitter, which usually makes the investment much more expensive. With the Bugs 3 Mini you have everything included. Considering it is targeted as beginner- and budget-friendly drone – I believe it not only satisfies this criteria, but generously surpasses the expectations. It was great fun to fly the B3 Mini and I hope this review was entertaining too.
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