The Alpha A65 is iFlights rendition of a 1S, 65mm whoop. I was very excited to see an iFlight whoop since I usually really enjoy their ready to fly products, like the Green Hornet Cinewhoop which I reviewed a couple of months ago.
Their products are usually very well thought out and super solid. Spoiler alert: The iFlight Alpha A65 is no different in that regard. But let’s see what exactly it brings to the table.
The Alpha A65 weighs in at 25g without a battery and 32.5g including a 300mAh, 1S GNB battery. This is rather heavy for a 1S whoop, my custom 65mm builds usually come in at around 20g without a battery.
The flight time for me is around 2:30 with fresh GNB 1S, 300mAh batteries - indoors. Outdoor this whoop guzzles the batteries and you can easily burn through a pack in under 2 minutes. That being said, the copter feels very nimble and you can even do freestyle tricks without any issues.
The 5g “additional” weight come from the super sturdy canopy, and the external receiver. You can get the A65 with different receiver options: FrSky XM+, FrSky R-XSR, Flysky or TBS Nano Crossfire.
The Alpha A65 comes equipped with iFlights own Xing 0802, 22000KV motors which I have previously used on another 1S build. For indoors I usually prefer lower KV motors - I really like the Happymodel 19000KV motors - but with the Alpha A65, I did not mind the extra KV at all, probably because it is on the heavy side anyway.
The Xing 0802 motors have a 1mm shaft, you can basically use any 31mm prop you like. Two sets of the HQ, 31mm tri blade are included, but I really like the 4 blade version, I recommend you get some of those too and see which one you like best - they weigh almost the same, but in my opinion the 4 blade props handle a bit better.
I know, we don’t care about looks - only the performance is important, but those motors are truly a work of art, I really like the round shape.
The electronic stack consists of an all in one (AIO) flight controller, with an F4 processor, integrated 4 in 1 BLHELI_S ESC, which come pre flashed with Jazz Maverick RPM telemetry enabled firmware. The ESC’s are capable of continuously pushing 5A.
The video transmitter is conveniently plugged into the flight controller via a pin header and is switchable between 25 and 50mW via SmartAudio protocol. Usually I am not a big fan of stacks that plug into each other, since there is a chance of the pads ripping out, I do not see any issue here, since the VTX is not screwed into the stack, just plugged in and protected by the canopy. As common in this size of quadcopter the video transmitter is equipped with a linear antenna.
The receiver is tucked away between frame and flight controller. The antennas come out on top of the canopy. Although they are away from the props, I wish that there was some additional means to keep them out of the props for sure, like for example antenna tubes - but that might just be an unnecessary weight. During my test flights and after a good amount of crashes it did not pose an issue for me, but I can see the antennas getting stressed out when crashing on concrete.
The flight controller is powered from a PH2.0 connector.
Unfortunately, and this is my pet peeve, with the rolled pins. I really can not tell why manufacturers chose this inferior version of the connector, instead of using the solid pin connector. Fortunately I have a big bag of those connectors and simply swap all the rolled pin connectors for a solid pin one. You can really feel the difference, much less sag and the solid pin connector will take way, way longer to wear out.
The camera is nothing to write home about - it is definitely not the worst cam I have seen on a copter of this size - handles light to dark transitions pretty well - but also has a slight green tint, at least the version I have.
The camera angle is not adjustable and the cam is directly mounted to the canopy.
As mentioned before, the canopy is quite a tank. After a series of crashes there are only a couple of scratches visible. The camera is nicely protected by the canopy, basically the cam is fully recessed into the canopy and flush with the lense.
The frame also seems to be quite durable - it reminds me a lot of the BetaFPV Meteor frame, which you could easily use as a replacement frame.
The copter comes flashed with Betaflight 4.1.2 - a version from the end of 2019. VTX tables and everything else is already set up for you. The OSD was a bit cluttered for my taste, but you will probably have your own preferences there anyway.
The motor direction is props out - I am usually not a big fan of that, but did not mind at all. I did not even notice that until I plugged the copter in after my first couple of packs to check some settings.
The tune is custom, sliders have not been used and the copter flew great straight out of the box. I only adjusted the rates and was very happy with its performance - I even live streamed the maiden flight on YouTube:
As you can also see in the video, turtle mode also works without any issues, so you can just flip it over after a crash and keep on going.
With the copter you will receive a couple of spare props (HQ, 31mm tri blade), a small screw driver, a couple of spare screws and a USB adapter. Not sure why the USB adapter was included, since the USB port on the flight controller can be easily reached anyway.
You will also receive a couple of stickers and the manual for your chosen receiver.
Depending on your chosen receiver option the price will vary slightly, but will be around 90$. There is also a different version that comes with a carying case and a lot of spare parts including some batteries.
Although being the more expensive version, I would highly recommend to get the version with the extra spare parts and batteries, especially if you are just starting out.
Although this is not the lightest brushless whoop available, it is still a very well thought out micro quad. The out of the box tune and general experience is very nice. Also the fact, that RPM filtering is enabled by default is a great touch.
The iFlight Alpha A65 would definitely not be my first choice for racing, but is a very solid choice for cruising and freestyle. And an absolute recommendation to anyone who is starting out with this hobby and looking for a cheap, first quadcopter that will take a decent amount of abuse.
Revisited (5th August 2021)
It is now almost a yeaer that I reviewed this copter, and it is still going strong. Nothing broke in that time and I only had to swap props once. This copter is in my permanent rotation and I still fly it at least once per week. It is my goto 1S Quad during IGOW - International Game Of Whoop.
This is very exceptional for a quadcopter: I did not even need to swap a frame or canopy and I put it through a lot of abuse. Sure, it is pretty well scuffed up, but no cracks or breaks. My recommendation still stands today: If you are looking for a sturdy 1S quad - this is it.
I have now recommended this copter to a few people entering the hobby and basicall all of them were very happy with this copter. Sure, if you are a newbie, you will break something at some point. I would recommend to get a couple of spare motors - that seems to be the component that breaks most commonly.
Chris is a Vienna based software developer. In his spare time he enjoys reviewing tech gear, ripping quads of all sizes and making stuff.
Learn more about Chris, the gear he uses and follow him on social media: