Models like the Zerotech Dobby and Yuneec Breeze have become popular as portable/pocket selfie drones for the enthusiast. But they are quite costly!
What about something a little cheaper?
The JJRC H37 Elfie is exactly that. A much more affordable, pocket selfie drone for beginners or anybody with interest in these types of drones. Today we’re going to in-depth JJRC H37 review, taking a look at all of its features in detail. Let’s get to it!
First Impressions and Setup
Unfolding the JJRC H37’s arms, I could immediately tell I loved the portability of this quadcopter. It’s smaller than I had expected, about the size of a large phone.
It fits snugly into my pocket. It’ll also easily fit into just about any backpack, which is something I’m very excited about. Using your smartphone to control the H37 means you don’t have to worry about carrying around a transmitter as well. Really, the H37 is all you need and you’re good to go. Portability is definitely one area where these selfie drones shine.
It even comes with a neat little carrying pouch for storage!
The arms fold neatly into the quadcopter, and inside of the pouch I wouldn’t feel worried about it getting damaged in a backpack, even with other things inside.
It’s also extremely light – weighing only 73 grams. That means you won’t have to go through FAA registration for this drone.
Setup is rather simple. Simply power on the quadcopter via the power button on top, and connect to the WiFi signal. Mine was called “JJRC_000000” where the 0’s were a bunch of random numbers. Then download and open up the JJRC UFO app (iOS) (android), and it’s time to start flying!
JJRC UFO App
Before we take a look at the actual flight performance of the JJRC Elfie, let’s take a look at the app used to control it.
The JJRC UFO app is your pretty standard drone WiFi app. It has all of your basic quadcopter controls – throttle, pitch/yaw, trims, etc.
I had a couple of issues when first connecting to the app. It took me a while to learn how to takeoff, after eventually realizing you need to hold both sticks down + inwards until the motors arm. Then, while still holding the right stick inward, you must lift the throttle up until you take flight. Quite a confusing process, made even more difficult from the smartphone controls.
It’s things like this that make me shy away from WiFi quadcopters as of recent – a solid transmitter seems much more reliable.
Controlling the quadcopter is a little bit difficult using the touchscreen of the JJRC UFO app. There is a slight delay and feeling of “sluggishness”. This is generally why I prefer an actual transmitter over using my smartphone, but luckily there is a feature that fixes all of that…
G-Sensor Mode & Quadcopter Controls
As I said before, the H37 comes with a few extra flight modes than your typical quadcopter. It has altitude hold and headless mode, both of which are nice additions, but not unusual.
However, when pairing those with the H37 G-Sensor mode, this thing becomes much more fun to fly.
What is G-Sensor mode?
G-Sensor mode is short for Gyroscope Sensor mode. It uses the accelerometer on your phone to control the quadcopter based on the direction you tilt your phone. This mode, paired with altitude hold and headless mode, makes the H37 much more responsive than flying manually.
While it lacks the precision and control of your typical quadcopter transmitter, it becomes much easier to fly. Probably for the best, since this quadcopter seems to be mainly intended for the casual consumer looking to take a few selfies or a quick video of their environment.
Nonetheless, I’ve been flying quadcopters for years and I’ve found the g-sensor mode to be an extremely fun and refreshing change of pace compared to what I’m used to. It still has a slight feel of sluggishness, but it works really well with a selfie drone.
DIY Follow Me Mode
One of the features lacking from the JJRC H37 compared to the more expensive competitors is Follow Me mode.
This is a mode where your drone does exactly that… It follows you!
While it’s a bit of a bummer that the H37 doesn’t come with this mode, for ~$40 USD, you can’t really expect it to. Luckily, there is a solution.
Once again, back to the G-Sensor mode!
By tilting the phone in the same direction you’re walking, you’re causing the quadcopter to follow you. So while this isn’t an automatic follow me mode like the other selfie drones, it’s a decent alternative.
I’m really having fun with this G-Sensor mode, as you can tell. 🙂
One of the most important flight characteristics of any selfie or camera drone is stability.
Using altitude hold mode, the H37 becomes much more stable and easier to fly. The recorded camera footage is still a bit unstable, but I’ll talk more about the camera in a bit.
This quadcopter isn’t the fastest. It’s a selfie drone, not a racing drone, after all. But it definitely gets the job done.
It does struggle a bit in wind due to its light weight. I’d mainly recommend it for indoor flying (in a large space) or in minimal winds. This thing gets pushed around easily and I’ve crashed many times attempting to fight the wind.
Overall, the flight performance of the JJRC H37 is just about exactly what you’d expect. Don’t expect super fast and sporty flying, but it gets the job done for its purpose – to take pictures and videos on the fly.
Camera Quality – Is it Really HD?
One of my very few disappointments in the H37 is the camera itself.
The angle is adjustable, which is nice. But the quality is rather lackluster.
The quality is advertised as “HD”, but is it really?
Getting straight to the point, the answer is no.
The camera films 640 x 480 videos. That’s an extremely low resolution, especially when compared to the 1080p of the Zerotech Dobby, and especially the 4k resolution of the Yuneec Breeze and DJI Mavic.
With that said, those are higher quality and much more expensive drones, so the comparison is fair. I was just hoping the camera quality would be slightly better – 720p at least. Can’t complain too much, considering this is only a $40 toy.
The JJRC H37 is a pretty minimalistic package. Since you don’t need a transmitter to control it, it doesn’t come with much.
Just the H37 Elfie quadcopter, 4x spare propellers, 4x spare motor gears (you don’t see this often), and a neat carrying pouch to fit the Elfie into for transportation. Oh, and an instruction manual too, of course.
Battery & Flight Times
The included battery is a removable and rechargeable 500 mAh 1S LiPo. It takes about 1 hour to charge with the included USB charger and can fly for up to 10 minutes on a single charge. Pretty impressive, and a pretty good flight time, if you ask me.
The battery bay is a little clunky. The cover protecting it isn’t the most intuitive to remove. You must slide it down and then pull it up from the tab.
Inside the battery bay itself is the 500 mAh battery, which fits snugly. It’s a bit difficult to get it to fit into the plug, which is buried deep inside of the battery bay. I’ve considered putting a battery plug extender, or even soldering a longer battery connector wire on myself, but there just isn’t enough space in the battery bay to make it work.
This may mean having to eventually replace the lead on your battery, in the long run, since it gets bent so much.
Selfie Drones Compared: JJRC H37 Elfie vs. Zerotech Dobby vs. Yuneec Breeze
Comparing the H37 to it’s more expensive competitors is kind of like comparing a Ferrari to a go-kart… But we’re going to do it anyway. 🙂
The H37 is definitely lacking in some obvious features that I love about the Dobby and Breeze. Notably, Follow Me mode and a decent HD camera.
With that said, the H37 flies well for the price. For only $41, you get quite a good bang for your buck, especially since there aren’t really that many other cheap selfie drones on the market (yet).
So like I said, comparing these drones isn’t really fair since they’re of two completely different qualities. With that said, if you want something extremely cheap and affordable, the H37 is a fun toy to mess around with, but won’t compare to the camera quality of something greater.
The Final Verdict – A Fun Toy Selfie Drone
Overall, I’d say the JJRC H37 Elfie is a fun little toy selfie drone for the price. Sure, it lacks some features like a GPS, but you usually only see that in much more expensive models anyway.
I definitely wouldn’t classify this as anything more than a toy, though. It’s wifi controls can make it difficult to properly control and it’s camera Isn’t the greatest.
With that said, it’s an extremely portable and fun drone with a built-in camera, all for under $50. Pretty awesome. Hopefully, we’ll see more (and even better) selfie drones from JJRC and other manufacturers in the future that will rival, or even top the H37 and its competitors. Only time will tell!
We hope this JJRC H37 Elfie drone review was helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to ask, and let us know what you think about the H37 in the comments!
– Drone Trove