With JJRC’s positive reputation with popular toy drones such as the JJRC 1000 and 1000a, the H21 has a lot to live up to.
Let’s how it does!
JJRC H21 Hexacopter vs. Your Typical Quadcopter
One of the most striking characteristics that the H21 has is obviously that it’s a hexacopter.
The name hexacopter refers to the number of motors the multirotor, or drone, contains. Hexa – meaning six, represents the 6 motors in the H21 as opposed to the traditional quadcopter’s 4.
Adding additional motors has it’s benefits and looks cool in the sky, but it certainly doesn’t come without flaw.
One of the main benefits of a hexacopter is that usually, it’ll fly smoother than it’s quadcopter counterpart. It has more motors and propellers to keep it more stable.
The H21 only sort of fits the bill here. It does fly well under optimal conditions.
When paired with the right transmitter (I recommend the JJRC H6C) and with the propeller guards removed, it does fly well in higher rates. There’s one major flaw that holds this hexacopter back from performing optimally and that is it’s yaw rate.
In low rate, the H21 turns slower than a herd of snails traveling through peanut butter. This makes it impossible to fly on low rates anywhere other than a large football field (only a slight exaggeration). Indoor flying on low rates is out of the question completely.
On medium and high rates, the yaw becomes usable, but only barely.
While it’s possible to fly this drone outside since it’s yaw rate is so slow, you’ll need a decent sized space to do so. Don’t expect to be able to do quick banked turns and acrobatic maneuvers like you would be able to with the JJ1000. It’s just not going to happen.
If you find an open field to fly in, this thing can be fun. It’s a refreshing change of pace to fly something different from the typical quadcopter
There are a few typical downsides to having more motors on your multirotor, and the H21 hexacopters is no exception.
- Battery Life: More motors generally equal more battery consumption. There are other factors that come into play, such as overall drone weight and propeller efficiency, but generally, those are less important. The H21 certainly falls short in this category as it averages flight times of only 4 minutes with the stock battery. Removing the stock propeller guard is highly recommended and can add up to a minute of flight times.
- Unresponsive Controls: Another common trend with many toy hexacopters is sluggishness. Give the transmitter stick some input and it feels like it takes some time for the H21 to recognize said input. This gives this drone a very unresponsive feel, kind of like playing a laggy video game. This can be very dangerous at times as the ability to react instantly to a potential obstacle is necessary to prevent crashes at times. Be sure to fly away from people, with the H21 specifically, to avoid putting anyone in danger.
- More Motor Repairs: Another common con with hexacopters is motor replacements. More motors mean that generally, you will need more motor replacements if you plan on flying this drone long-term. This can be a hassle, and some pilots opt for quadcopters for only this simple reason, if nothing else.
Now let’s get into the drawbacks that don’t always correlate to hexacopters. These are the H21 specific drawbacks that bothered me enough to warrant mentioning.
- Useless Propeller Guards: I am a very harsh critic of propeller guards. If something adds weight to the multirotor, I’d like it to serve its purpose. The H21 propeller guards seem to be very brittle and flimsy. They have, on occasion, kept the H21 in the air after bouncing against a wall at low speeds, but they don’t seem to be very good for protection. These propeller guards often break after only a hard crash or two. While they still work after, this does weaken them and their effectiveness to protect your copter.In addition, they heavily affect your flight characteristics. Even more so than some other multirotors, the H21 propeller guards make it feel even MORE unresponsive than it already is. I highly suggest removing them for optimal flight experiences, not to mention it’ll add some much-needed flight time!
- LEDs: The only LED lights on this multirotor are the two headlights in the front. Not very bright so night flights are out of the question. They don’t help much for orientation either.
- Orientation Difficulty: The JJRC H21 hexacopter comes in two colors. White and black. The white version comes stock with only blue propellers. This, when paired with the lackluster LEDs makes it very difficult to keep note of which direction the drone is facing. The black version comes with both blue AND black propellers, and the color difference helps greatly. For this reason, I suggest going with the black version over the white. Either way, putting some bright colored tape on the front or back of your drone’s arms for orientation can help no matter which color you choose.
- Included Transmitter – Auto Flips: When flying in the highest rate with the included transmitter, inputting a full input on the directional stick will cause an automatic flip. This prevents you from flying at max speeds and thus reaching the drone’s potential. This is the same issue that plagued JJRC’s otherwise excellent quadcopter, the JJ 1000. In order to get around this, I highly recommend purchasing the bind-n-fly (BnF) model and a transmitter separately. As stated before, I recommend the JJRC H6C transmitter for newer pilots. A modded Devo 7E or other Deviaition transmitter is a great choice for those looking for a more hobby-grade experience (at the cost of ease of use).
JJRC H21 Compatible Transmitters
- JJRC: H6C,H8C,H6D,H8D,1000A
- WLtoys: V262,V323,V333,V666
- Jinxingda: 385,388,392
The Final Verdict
This mini hexacopter has so much potential that it falls flat on.
It’s incredibly short flight times, sluggish and unresponsive feel, and lack of a proficient transmitter make it hard for me to recommend this over the many great quadcopters and multirotors on the market.
If you find a VERY wide open field to fly in, the can be fun. It is a refreshing change of pace to fly something different than the typical quadcopter – but at the cost of it’s many drawbacks, I’m not so sure.
All said and done, if you want a drone with a unique look to simply add to your collection, then this hexacopter may be for you. Those looking for a great flying drone to fly regularly are likely best looking elsewhere.