Emax Tinyhawk RTF Starter Kit Review

This article is about something, that I am very excited about - the EMAX tinyhawk ready to fly kit - it comes with everything you need to start flying FPV. The entry into the FPV hobby has never been easier and cheaper!

The kit comes in a sturdy carrying case, it was shipped to me in the black plastic bag with the carrying case inside - if it survived the shipping from China, it should survive any abuse you put it through.

Let’s first get a quick overview of what is in the case. The kit contains FPV goggles, a battery case for the googles with 18650 battery and a USB cable for charging. Further it contains a gamepad styled transmitter, again with 18650 battery and another USB cable for charging. Of course it also contains the star of the show, the tinyhawk itself with one battery and a USB battery charger from which you can charge six 1S high voltage batteries. The kit also contains a set of spare props, some stickers, a small screw driver, some spare screws and a quick-start manual.

Goggles

The goggles come with 2 linear stick antennas - you should adjust them in 90 degrees to each other to get the best performance. They do not have receiver diversity but antenna diversity instead.

The goggles are powered from a battery pack consisting of an 18650 battery. The battery pack is not too heavy and is neatly tucked away in the back of the head strap. The battery pack itself can be charged via USB. When fully charged it will power the goggles for a little bit over 2 hours. The first indicator that the battery is going flat is, that the fan will stop spinning and the battery symbol in the upper right corner of the screen starts to blink. At this point I would recommend to change the battery since from this moment the image starts to get worse and worse. The goggles do not have a battery discharge protection, thus letting the goggles lie around unattended may over discharge the battery.

The head strap is adjustable in length and width, and even fits my rather big head. Unfortunately I encounter light leakage on the sides and from the nose cutout. To stop the light leakage from the sides, it is enough to wear a hoodie. The light leakage around the nose can be solved with a little bit of additional foam.

The goggles are definitely designed for smaller faces - they fit my girlfriend perfectly and should also be great fit for children. Nonetheless, I can position them in such a way that I have a perfect view of the screen and they still fit comfortably.

Although it is a boxed goggle, you will have a hard time to fit your glasses into it, but it has an adjustable fresnel lens to help you get the screen in focus. It works well for me, but your mileage may vary, especially when your eyesight is very bad.

The goggles are operated with four buttons. On the left side you have the menu and auto search button. In the menu you can change various screen settings: brightness, contrast, saturation and language. You press the Menu button to switch between the options and you use the frequency and channel buttons on the right side of the goggles to increase or decrease the value. I did not feel the need to change anything in here - but you can do this comfortably while wearing the goggles.

The screen has a resolution of 480×272 pixels and I was expecting to see every pixel, but that was not the case - to be honest I was pretty surprised by the quality and clearness of the image.

When you press the auto search button on the left, the google will scan for signal and lock onto the strongest one it finds. Another nice feature is, that the goggle will stay on the last frequency you have set it to between power cycles, this means you will not have to set your frequency each and every time you power on your goggles.

On the right side you have a band and channel button, this allows you to switch bands and channels manually. In the OSD of the goggles the band, channel and actual frequency are shown in the top left corner. Although, this being a nice feature, I would prefer if this information went away after a couple of seconds of not touching any buttons. Unfortunately it does not and I do not see a way to disable it. On the other hand, it should not really distract you during the flight, at least it did not distract me.

The goggles also come with an integrated fan, this fan is always on and helps the goggles not to fog up.

The weight of the goggle, inclusive the battery pack is 400 grams.

It would have really been awesome if the goggles had an integrated DVR. Except for that and the rather small size, those are the only two criticisms I have - and the size might not even be a problem for you.

Transmitter

The transmitter is very much game pad shaped, with two thumb sticks. It fits well in my hand and has some weight to it - it does not feel cheap at all. The gimbals have quite some tension but move very smoothly. Same as the goggles, the transmitter is powered from an 18650 battery and can be charged from its micro USB port. Unfortunately the USB port is just for charging and you cannot use the transmitter as input device for a simulator.

As far as I know the transmitter is only available in Mode 2, meaning throttle and yaw are controlled with the left stick and pitch and roll are controlled with the right stick.

I don’t think that pinchers will get happy with this controller, but if you are just starting and have at least a bit of gaming background, you should quickly adapt to this style of transmitter.

The transmitter is switched on by pressing the button in the center. It has two, 3-position switches - one on each side. The left switch in center position enables the DShot beacon and arms the copter in top position. The right one switches between modes - the lowest position is angle mode, the center position is horizon mode, where you can make rolls and flips with full stick deflection, although I would not recommend this mode because I find it confusing. The top position is acro mode.

In angle and horizon mode the angle is limited to 20 degrees, meaning you can not pitch or roll more than 20 degrees - this limits your movements a lot but also allows beginners to get hold of the controls without going too fast. Of course this can be adjusted in Betaflight to your liking.

As a beginner you should start with the right stick in the bottom position. I am not a big fan of horizon mode and think that you should switch to acro as soon as you feel comfortable in angle mode.

Further, the transmitter has trims for all four axis, so should you drift in angle mode, you can use the trims to counteract that drift.

The copter

And now to the star of the show, the tinyhawk itself: It comes with 08025 motors with 15000Kv and a rather unusual way of mounting the props. Most of the props we use in the hobby are puller props, mounted on the top of the motors. In this case we have pusher props and they are mounted on the bottom of the motors.

The included 3 blade props are not good for turtle mode - meaning that you will have a hard time flipping over after a crash, but there is a newer 4 blade version that allows you to flip over after a crash without any problems.

The receiver is integrated into the board and uses the Frsky D8 protocol, so you can not only use the provided transmitter, but you can also bind the tinyhawk to your taranis.

The tinyhawk is powered from a 1S, 450mAh, High voltage battery. Unfortunately only one battery is provided, but the included charger is able to charge six 1S, high voltage batteries at once - I highly recommend to get additional batteries when you get this kit - you can never have enough batteries, especially in this hobby, where you charge a battery for about an hour and use it up in under five minutes.

High voltage just means, that the batteries are charged to 4.35V instead of 4.2V. Make sure your batteries are rated for high voltage charging. The supplied charger charges the batteries to exactly 4.35V - you cannot change that, but you have a switch where you can choose between 0.6A and 0.2A charging current. With the 450mAh batteries you can set this to 0.6A and will thus be charging with slightly over 1C. Anything with lower capacity than that I would charge with 0.2A instead - just to be on the safe side.

The tinyhawk comes flashed with Betaflight 3.5.1 and the settings are pretty good and beginner friendly. Dynamic filters and airmode are enabled by default. The rates are rather low with 400 degrees per second on yaw, roll and pitch. All axis, including throttle, have expo enabled. The PID tune seems to be pretty decent.

Looprate and gyro refresh rate are both set to 8k, Dshot 600 is enabled by default.

The video transmitter is limited to 25mW and has a linear antenna. The camera angle is fixed and might be a little too steep for precise indoor flying, but the quality is pretty decent.

To set up your tinyhawk, power up the goggles. Power up the transmitter, put both switches in their bottom position and make sure that the throttle stick is in its lowest position. Now insert the battery into the tinyhawks battery holder and connect the battery.

On the goggles press the Autosearch button to lock onto your frequency.

If you have your preferred frequency you can set it via Smart Audio. Access the on-screen menu by moving the throttle stick in center position and to the left and move the pitch stick forward. Now navigate to “Features” select “VTX TR” here you can chose the band and channel of your liking - but be careful - the tinyhawks video transmitter is CE and FCC compliant and will not broadcast on some frequencies. Those are listed in the manual. Some frequencies which are locked from the beginning may be unlocked, but even in the unlocked state, there are a couple of frequencies that will simply not work. This is just a word of warning, since I managed to put the tinyhawk into a frequency that it does not broadcast on and had then have to use the button on the tinyhawks vtx to set it to some working frequency.

At this point you are ready to go, flip the left switch to the top position to arm the copter and take off.

I was pretty impressed by the tinyhawks performance - pretty fast for 1S and you can even do some acro moves - I would recommend to increase the rates though.

All in all I am very happy and surprised with the quality of all the components in this kit and would recommend it to everyone who wants to get into the hobby or wants to see if he likes FPV at all.

Should you decide you like it, you can gradually improve your gear: get a new transmitter, get more models or different goggles. Should you not like it, you did not waste a lot of money.

The things I do not like about this kit or I think might need improving are the following:

  • Missing DVR
  • Camera angle is not adjustable
  • The prop form factor - you will basically have to buy the EMAX props and do not have a lot of variety for experiments - generally with the spare parts you will have to buy the original EMAX parts since, for example the flight controller has its own form factor, same as the camera and video transmitter.
  • Size of the goggles, they could be a little bit wider for my taste.
  • Just one battery - but that’s no deal breaker as you can find matching batteries for cheap.

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Also check out

Emax - Tinyhawk

Emax - Tinyhawk
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