The release of the Typhoon H in 2016 sparked a lot of talk about Yuneec. Previously, DJI had owned the drone market, but the Typhoon H was a big competitor to DJI’s Phantom 4. With it’s stable 6 rotors and a 4k camera, it has pretty much everything someone could want in a drone. I should mention, however, that there are a few different options for this drone. There’s the Typhoon H, the Typhoon H Pro with Intel Real-Sense (obstacle avoidance), and the newly released Typhoon H Plus. (Note: The basic Typhoon H has obstacle avoidance too, but only in the front). I’m going to review the Typhoon H and H Pro here, because they are very similar.
The Typhoon H basic pack is $799 on Amazon, which is a bargain considering it originally went for $1300. With that 799 dollars, you get the drone, 1 battery, and the ST16 controller. For 400 dollars more, at $1200, you can get the drone, 2 batteries, a backpack, the ST16 controller, and the Wizard controller (see below for what the Wizard is). This $1200 pack is called the “Pro Bundle” on Amazon, but just as a warning, that doesn’t mean it has the Intel Real-Sense technology. In order to get that, you need to cash out another 300 dollars to get essentially the same pack, but with the Intel technology, at $1500 (see left). [Update: Vertigo Drones has the Intel Real-Sense bundle for $1200] The Intel Real-Sense drone has no difference from the original Typhoon H, except for the high-tech obstacle avoidance and a slightly different design. If you buy the basic drone, but want to upgrade to the Intel technology, you can buy that separately for $400. So, to wrap up, you can get the drone at 800 bucks, the Pro bundle at 1200, and the Intel bundle at 1500. All things considered, you’re getting a bargain either way because this drone is so good.
This drone boasts some great flight specs. It can go up to 43 mph, and can ascend at 5 m/s. The flight time is advertised up to 25 minutes, but I know of people who have gotten even more. The one thing I am disappointed in is the 1-mile range. Even tiny drones like the DJI Spark get well over a mile of range, and for a big and expensive drone like the H, I would expect closer to 4 or 5. Maybe that’s an upgrade they will make in their next drone.
The Typhoon H is also equipped with several smart features, including Follow Me, Orbit, Point of Interest, Journey, and Return to Home. All of these will help you catch the perfect shot when you’re out in the air. Also, when you launch the drone, the landing gear folds up, so the camera can get 360 degrees of view with no obstructions. You can fly this drone with the ST16 controller or with the small Wizard controller, or both at the same time! This collaborative flying is really neat, and something that a lot of drones are now integrated with.
Now I’ll mention a few things about the obstacle avoidance. The Typhoon H base drone has obstacle avoidance, but only in the front. What’s different about the Intel Real-Sense drone? It creates a 3d model of all the drone’s surroundings, so it can not only detect obstacles anywhere around it, but can also avoid them, which is something that is essential when using follow me mode.
Because the H is a hexacopter, it is super smooth and stable, and even if you lose a propeller, you can still fly with 5. That’s a good addition, because if you crash into something and break a prop, you can still return to home and attach another one. All in all, the flight is really smooth, and if you’ve had any experience with drones, you’re sure to be happy with this one.
The camera on the Typhoon H is the same as the Typhoon 4k’s. The CGO3+ camera can shoot 4k at 30fps, and 1080 at up to 120fps for slow motion. It’s got 12 megapixels for still photos, which is sufficient for most people. However, I’m surprised that they don’t have a 20 megapixel camera, or capabilities of shooting 4k in 60fps, both of which the Phantom 4 Advanced has. The Typhoon H Plus, which was released in January 2018, has an upgraded camera which does have these features.
However, unless you’re filming professionally, the Typhoon H’s camera should be fine. As I mentioned before, the landing gear folds up, which is a huge help to those of us who want to do 360 degree videos and panoramas; you don’t have to see the landing gear in the photos. Plus it feels like something straight out of Star Wars.
The Typhoon H comes standard with the ST16 controller (left), and the Wizard controller (below right) is available for separate purchase, or for purchase with the Pro bundle. The ST16 is your master controller, which has everything you need plus a 7 inch android display, which has a live 720p stream of the camera. I love that Yuneec puts screens into the controllers; it’s a hassle to connect your phone, then the controller, then the drone, but with the ST16, just turn both on and you’re ready to go.
The Wizard, on the other hand, is a little hand-held controller used for flying the H without a big controller, or for collaborative controlling, where one person has the ST16, and one has the Wizard. You can take off, land, control the drone, control the camera, and even point at where you want the drone to go. I think that for an extra 200 dollars for the Pro bundle, the Wizard is definitely worth it.
The Typhoon H is a big drone, but the arms fold down into a compact and portable size. The backpack that comes with the pro bundle is designed to fit it, so that’s nice. By compact I don’t mean super small, but smaller than a Phantom 4 for sure. It would be no problem to throw this in a backpack and go out and fly it. The carbon fiber design also makes it relatively light-weight, about 4 pounds.
Better than the Phantom 4? I think so. The camera is the same, but the 6 rotors and 360 degree field of view sell me on the Typhoon H. If you’re reading this, and you like the Typhoon H, I would recommend checking out the Mavic Pro too, which is a similar price-tag, and might have some more features you’re looking for. But like I said, I think the Typhoon H is a great option, especially for people that have gotten into drones and are looking to take it to the next level.
Buy the Base Pack on Amazon
Buy the Pro Bundle on Amazon
(You can also buy them from Yuneec, but Amazon’s prices are generally cheaper)