Tinyhawk 2 Freestyle Review

The EMAX Tinyhawk 2 Freestyle is the third micro quad released by EMAX that is built on basically the same stack as the Tinyhawk 2 and the Tinyhawk 2 Race both of which I have reviewed before.

Both are super solid quads that you can have a lot of fun with. One to fly at home and one aimed at micro racers. I have put a couple of hundred packs through each of them and have especially been enjoying the Tinyhawk 2 Race. Now lets have a look at the newest addition to the Tinyhawk 2 family.

  1. Overview
  2. Frame and Props
  3. Stack
  4. Motors
  5. Batteries
  6. Accessories
  7. Conclusion

Overview

When I first saw the Tinyhawk 2 Freestyle, I thought:

“Meh, I am happy with my Race, I don’t think that this can be an improvement.”

But boy, was I wrong. The Tinyhawk 2 Freestyle had me convinced within the first couple of packs that I flew. This thing is super stable in the air, straight out of the box. The all up weight is just 81g.

The only thing I did was bind it to my BetaFPV Lite 2 Radio, plug in my rates and adjust the OSD a bit.

Frame and Props

The frame is a minified version of a “classic” Freestyle frame. Batteries are mounted on top, the stack is mounted to the bottom plate and the FPV cam is sandwiched between 2 carbon plates. Top and bottom plate are connected via plastic standoffs.

The design of the frame is on the rather fancy side with the carbon being - at least I think - powder coated. At least it is not a sticker and the color does not seem to come off easily.

I think the 2.5” Avan Rush props make all the difference in comparison to the 2” Avan Blur props of the Race.

The frame took some good crashes in my tests without breaking, but I have heard from other people that they managed to break their bottom plate.

What did on the other hand break rather quickly, was the battery strap. I assume, that the carbon top plate simply cut through it, but since I could not find the rest of the strap I can not tell for sure. When that happened I luckily had a rather tough rubber band with me, so I could continue flying.

Stack

The stack is basically the same as it is with the Tinyhawk 2 and Race:

Flight controller

The flight controller is a F4 (MATEKF411RX) all in one board with 5A ESC’s on board. The ESC’s come with BLHELI_S 16.7 and you can flash JESC if you would like to use RPM filters. Although plugs for the motors are available, the motors are directly soldered to the flight controller, which is a good choice in my opinion.

The flight controller has also a FrSky D8 SPI receiver on board. The antenna was dangling out of the back of the quadcopter. Since I was afraid that it will get chewed up to the props I shrink wrapped it to a zip tie which I mounted to one of the stand-offs in the back. I would highly recommend you do the same.

Video Transmitter and Cam

The video transmitter is switchable between 25, 50, 100 and 200mW. Per default comes locked to 25mW. Also you cannot use certain frequencies in the locked state.

In order to unlock it, you need to press the button on the VTX while powering the quadcopter on.

The VTX can be either controller via the button or (preferably) via SmartAudio, which comes pre configured.

What I do not like is how the antenna is mounted. It is shrink wrapped to a zip tie, but it is very close to the prop. Admittedly I did not have any issues with that during operation, but it is definitely something I am going to improve.

The cam is again, the Runcam Nano 2 which can be easily swapped for any other nano sized cam.

Motors

The Tinyhawk 2 Freestyle is rocking 1103, 7000KV motors. They are using the 3 hole mounting pattern that is also common with the 1103 AMAX motors. You can screw the props to the motors, and I would highly recommend you to do so. The press fit may seem fine at first, but I lost a prop during flight, and the props generally seemed to get a bit lose during flight.

Screwing them down will also ensure that you do not lose them during a crash or while using turtle mode.

Batteries

I do not know why EMAX is so obsessed with PH2.0 connectors. It might make sense on a whoop, but on a 2S micro I would really like to see an XT30 connector. This is also the first modification I made. First of all, you only need to plug in one plug in order to get the Tinyhawk going, secondly you are no longer limited regarding the current draw.

The Tinyhawk 2 Freestyle comes with two, 1S 450mAh HV batteries and it is not possible to fly it off of one, 1S battery.

With the two 1S batteries and the battery plug, there is actually only one way to mount the batteries to not get the battery connector into the props: You have to mount the batteries in such a way that the PH2.0 connectors come out at the top. You can also try and zip tie the connector to the frame, but since I was modifying it to an XT30 connector, I did not bother with that.

I personally really like the GNB 450mAh 2S batteries, but have seen other people use the slightly bigger 650mAh version too.

Accessories

Apart from the batteries, the package also contains a set of spare props (I would definitely get a couple of spares though, spare screws, standoffs and some rubber grommets.

You will also get a small USB charger allowing to charge six, 1S batteries at once via USB.

All of this comes in a nice carrying case. Unfortunately, as with the Tinyhawk Race, you will not be able to fit the copter into the case with the props on, unless you remove the foam, which is what I did. At least now I do not have to unscrew the props each and every time I go fly.

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Conclusion

If you are unsure about getting this one or the race, I would highly recommend to get the Tinyhawk 2 Freestyle, it is just a tad bit more fun, at least in my opinion.

For less than $120 on banggood it is basically a steal and I am pretty sure you will not regret it.

If you are just starting out, I would recommend you go with the Tinyhawk 2 first since it is quite a bit more durable.

The two things that I think could use improvement is first of all, the battery plug: Please EMAX, start using XT30 on models like this.

And secondly: it would be great if the quadcopter would actually fit into the carrying case while being assembled and the foam still being in. This is something that could easily be accomplished by just moving the model to the center of the foam - since it fits perfectly without the foam.

Chris is a Vienna based software developer. In his spare time he enjoys reviewing tech gear, ripping quads of all sizes and making stuff.

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