In this article we will take a closer look at the T-Lite - Radiomasters first contribution to the niche of gamepad shaped radios.
As the name suggests it is a direct competitor to FrSky’s X-Lite but obviously also competes with other gamepad shaped controllers. I will compare it to the X-Lite and the BetaFPV Lite radio which I have been using for quite some time.
When I first started out with FPV I got the Turnigy Evolution, then switched to the FrSky X-Lite updated to the X-Lite Pro, was very disappointed about FrSky breaking their own protocols and finally switched to the BetaFPV Lite. Since then I have been waiting for something better - the T-Lite basically being the “something better”.
From the outside the T-Lite looks pretty similar to its competition, you obviously have two gimbals, two, 2-position switches on the bottom and two, 3-position switches on the top. All four gimbal axis have their dedicated trim buttons - which is not really important for me as a quad pilot, but might be interesting for airplane pilots.
The power button is a soft button, meaning you have to press it for a couple of seconds for the radio to power on and off. This can be changed in the settings, so that it powers on and off without having to wait a couple of seconds every time, I prefer to disable it and have it instantly power on and off. Above the power button you have a super bright status LED that shows different colors depending on the state of the radio. This LED could be slightly less bright in my opinion, I am almost blinded by it when trying to navigate the OpenTX menus - but that’s probably just me.
The remainin buttons are used to navigate OpenTX and I don’t really want to go into detail about how to do that here.
The T-Lite has hall sensor gimbals which feel very smooth and have the same throw as the ones on the BetaFPV and the X-Lite - a shorter throw compared to the box styled radios. The stick length is the same on all three - 25mm. On the T-Lite you can easily adjust the length, by screwing the top part out and thus extending it by about 5mm. I’d say the spring tension on T-Lite and BetaFPV radio are very comparable - maybe a bit more springy on the T-Lite - the sticks also feel smoother on the T-Lite, which makes sense due to the hall sensor gimbals. The X-Lite definitely has the stiffest sticks.
The switches on the T-Lite have sharp edges - I mean you will probably not cut yourself, but the round ones of the other two radios definitely feel better to me.
Due to the bigger switches on the T-Lite I cannot fit my finger between them when the bottom switch is in up and the top switch is in down position, without triggering one of them. This is something I can do on the X-Lite and which is also possible on the BetaFPV Lite radio. It is a bit annoying to me, since I like to flip the bottom switch up for arming, so I am easily able to disarm by simply moving my finger down. I will probably have the default position of the top switches to be up - I use the left switch to enable turtle mode and the right one for the buzzer.
The screen is a 1.3” LCD screen and has a resolution of 128x64 pixels - same resolution as the Taranis X-Lite - and more than enough to make all your adjustments - I am not a fan of big screens on radios anyway.
An SD slot is available in case you want to use a voice pack or store firmware for flashing your receivers - the SD card itself is not included - but an 8GB card should be more than enough for most use cases. I prefer the haptic feedback and generally disable the audio on all my radios - and yes, the T-Lite does have haptic feedback. The speaker is pretty loud too, so there is something for everyone
Next to the SD slot you can a 3.5mm trainer port and USB-C can be found on the other side.
USB-C is used for charging the battery inside the radio, or in case you want to use the radio as an input device for a simulator of your choice. A USB-C cable is included. You will also use the USB-C port to update Open-Tx.
If you are wondering what the two screw holes in the back are for, they are intended as mounts for a small FPV monitor.
The radio is powered by a single 18650 cell which you can swap out if needed. I recommend using a high quality 18650 cell with a high capacity, and probably getting one as a spare. A case for two 18650 batteries is included, the cells themself are not.
I recommend getting a genuine Panasonic NCR18650B with a capacity of 3400mAh - that should get you through a session easily. Just note that the T-Lite will not fit a protected 18650 cell. Also double check the polarity when inserting the battery - plus goes to the right.
Size & Feel
The form factor of the T-Lite is pretty much exactly the same as the BetaFPV Lite Radio - even the switches and the seams are in the exact same positions. I bet they both share the same CAD file. They are both a bit smaller than the X-Lite. The biggest ergonomic difference between the BetaFPV Lite radio and the Jumper T-Lite is the size of the switches.
The T-Lite has this kind of soft-touch plastic which feels better, higher value, than the plastic the BetaFPV Lite radio is made of. The X-Lite still has the best ergonomics and feel in my opinion - although being the heaviest option with about 160g more weight than the Jumper T-Lite and BetaFPV lite radio which weigh almost the same - around 230g including the battery.
There is no possibility of attaching a neck strap - I personally do not use one, but I know a lot of people like them - even with the gamepad shaped controllers - you simply don’t have to look for a place to put down your radio when swapping batteries. But I am pretty sure that there will be a 3D printable solution soon.
The T-Lite comes with a dipole antenna, and when you first unbox the radio you will find stickers on it - reminding you not to switch it on without the antenna attached - otherwise you might burn out the internal module. I think that is a really nice touch and very newbie friendly.
The T-Lite comes in two versions - normal and pro, the only difference being the internal multi protocol module - also called MPM. The pro version has support for the full range of protocols supported by the Multiprotocol TX project. The other - slightly cheaper version - only comes with the CC2500 chip which supports a subset of those protocols. The price difference is only 10 bucks, so I highly recommend going with the pro version.
The full featured multi protocol module does a lot of protocols, including FrSky D8 and D16 in all its variants, but not ACCESS. It also supports Flysky protocols, DSMX, Bayang and many more. Check out the project page to see all supported protocols.
The output power of the internal module is 100mW.
Range wise I can’t really complain - it has a significantly higher range than the BetaFPV Lite radio - at least on D8. I can’t compare it to the X-Lite, simply because the Pro version does not support D8 anymore.
Third party modules
Included is also an external module bay that you can optionally install if you are interested in running external modules, like for example Crossfire Nano or the Ghost Lite - to which I am personally looking forward to. Keep in mind, that if you want to use the Crossfire Nano on full output power, you will need an additional battery - the recommendation is to run it only with 25mW from the internal battery.
There seems to be quite a bit of controversy regarding this topics, since Jumper initially announced to support full output power on the Crossfire nano from the internal battery. Which does not seem to be the case when talking to Jumper. Jumper recommends to use an external power supply. You can’t have a small radio and enough power to run high power output modes.
But worry not, I can offer a fix if you want to run CRSF on 1W, check out my video:
R9M Lite/Pro and the XJT Lite module are not supported. According to Jumper this is because of hardware incompatibility, so just flashing OpenTX with R9 support will not solve the issue. BUT, Jumper is working on their own R9 module. You will be able to buy it separately and add it on top of the internal module.
Installing the module bay
To install the module bay, remove the battery cover. Unscrew the eight screws then carefully remove the bottom shell. Only the battery tray is connected to the main board - you can unplug it, or simply be careful when attaching the external module bay.
While you are in here you can also adjust the ratchet for throttle and the spring tension. I liked the defaults, but you can change it, if you feel the need to. You can also change the radio from Mode 2 to Mode 1 by swapping the ratchet to the other gimbal.
Remove the sticker from the bottom shell and thread the module harness through the opening. Screw down the module bay with the three included screws and be careful not to pinch the wires between case and module. Now plug the module into the radios mainboard - there is only one place it will plug into.
Screw the bottom shell back on and you are done.
I wish that the module bay was part of the actual radio - it just seems a bit hacky to do it this way - but honestly, this is just nit picking at this point, especially at this price point I am more than happy to get an external module bay at all.
I am a big fan of the BetaFPV LiteRadio 2, and the Jumper T-Lite is an an absolute upgrade to the BetaFPV radio. Is is definitely a great choice if you are just starting out and is absolutely the perfect pick if you are mainly flying whoops. With a price of around 75 dollars on banggood, you can’t really go wrong with this one in my opinion, especially since you can upgrade it with an external module of your choice.
This radio is also a great choice if you are looking for something that you can just throw into your backpack without fear of breaking it - although I would probably still go with a gimbal protector - and it is probably a good idea to unscrew the antenna too.
Radiomaster also recently released a gamepad shaped radio, which I have on order too. Once this arrives I will do some proper range testing, comparing Jumper, Radiomaster and BetaFPV Lite radio to each other.
It is now four months later and I thought it is time for a first update. I use the radio at least two times a week, more often if I fly indoors. It is still holding up pretty well. When I fly outdoors I mostly use CRSF with the mod I posted above and have absolutely no issues. Inddoors I basically only use FrSky D8, mostly SPI receivers that are integrated on the whoop boards.
The rubber coating is chipping off in some spots, primarily those that touch the ground when I put the radio down, but nothing major or unexpected.
So my recommendation still stands: for the money, there is currently nothing better out there. If you exclusively fly CRSF I would still recommend you to go with the TBS Tango 2.