While cheap and powerful, the main problem for those looking for a cheap GoPro drone was that these drones did not come with any sort of proper mount and that’s a disappointment. What’s the point of those powerful motors if you can’t even properly lift a camera?
That’s where the MJX RC Bugs 3 comes in. The Bugs 3 is an affordable brushless quadcopter which comes with a perfectly fitting GoPro (and other action cameras) mount straight out of the box. Today we’ll be taking an in-depth look at this Bugs 3 and all of its features. Let’s see how it performs!
Unboxing and Setup
Upon opening the box and separating the styrofoam inside, I was immediately shocked at how sleek the design of the quadcopter looked. Not going to lie, it looks a lot cooler in person than online!
The motors come covered in plastic so as to not damage them during shipping. You’ll have to install the propellers and landing legs, which are both an easy process. These propellers are easily screwed on and don’t even require any tools to do so. Make sure to tighten them enough so they don’t come off during flight – but not too tight that you prevent them from spinning.
Installing the landing legs takes a couple of minutes but is merely a matter of screwing it to the bottom of the quadcopter. I suggest you avoid using the included screwdriver. It doesn’t get a good grip on the screw, and has caused me to actually strip a few of the screws on the landing legs. Inconvenient, since they’ll need replacement should I ever want to remove the landing legs.
In the box, you’ll also find 4 spare propellers (8 total), 4x propeller guards, an 1800 mAh 7.4v battery and a battery charger. The battery charger comes with an EU plug, but I’ll be using my iMax B6 to charge it anyway so that’s not a problem. If you live in the US or another country that doesn’t have an EU outlet, a cheap converter should do the trick which is readily available on Amazon.
Underneath the Styrofoam, you’ll find the all-white transmitter. I’ll talk more about it later, but for now, just note that there are thumbsticks located in the same bag as the wrench and screwdriver. I almost missed them! You’ll also find the GoPro camera mount, but that’s one of the most important features of this quadcopter so it deserves its own section!
How to Calibrate Your Bugs 3 Transmitter
Now that we’ve unboxed and installed all the necessary parts to our quadcopter and charged up our battery, we just need to take a couple of necessary steps to ensure everything will run smoothly during flight.
These things are calibrating the transmitter and quadcopter.
In order to calibrate the transmitter simply:
- Hold the throttle trim button up.
- While holding the trim button up, turn on the transmitter.
- Move both sticks around the outer edge of the control sticks clockwise.
- Press the throttle trim button up again.
This prepares the transmitter to ensure proper communication between the quadcopter and it. Next up is calibrating the quadcopter itself.
How to Calibrate Your Bugs 3 Quadcopter
Once you’ve calibrated the transmitter, it’s time to calibrate the quadcopter’s gyroscopes. This can help prevent drifting when done properly.
- Place your quadcopter on a flat, level surface.
- Hold both sticks down right until the quadcopter lights blink.
Success! Now it’s time for the fun part… Flying. 🙂
Unlocking the motors and beginning to raise the throttle, I could immediately feel the power of the brushless motors. Even with a Xiaomi Yi camera mounted underneath, it had no problem elevating and fighting through the 8-10 mph winds no problem.
There are two flight rates. The first one handles just a tad bit sluggish for my liking, so I prefer to fly in the second. The second flight rate is perfect for flying around, and fighting winds as I wrote before. The option to switch between the slower first rate is nice since you can switch to it for stable panoramic video shots even without a gimbal included.
The combination of speed, power and precious is perfect for a camera drone in my opinion. Easily strong enough to lift it and surprisingly sporty. It’s even fun to fly the Bugs 3 without a camera, just for fun, but the camera doesn’t affect the flight performance all that much so I don’t mind either way.
Overall, MJX has done a great job of providing a powerful quadcopter for cheap with the perfect characteristics for a GoPro drone.
Camera Mount Performance – Can it Lift a Go Pro?
Let’s talk a little bit about the camera mount.
The camera mount comes in the package and slides right underneath the quadcopter. It’s a bit of a tight fit, and I found it difficult to remove once inserted completely, but you probably won’t need to unless you need to take apart the frame.
It’s perfectly sized for a variety of action cameras such as a GoPro, Xiaomi Yi or other lesser known cameras such as the SJCam. Really, any that are sized similarly to a GoPro will fit easily.
The only downside is that there is no hole on the top of the mount to start/stop video recording from the camera.
You’ll either need to start recording with the camera before inserting it into the mount or drilling a hole yourself. Either way, it’s a small downside to paying for such a cheap GoPro drone.
Taking to the air, the Bugs 3 lifts my Xiaomi Yi easily. Like I said earlier, it barely affected the flight performance, as I couldn’t notice much, if any difference. The extra weight does drain the battery a little bit quicker, but with flight times of about 10 minutes, I wasn’t too bothered.
The video quality is, of course, dependent on which camera you use but I was extremely surprised by the overall stability of the video footage. When there is little to no wind, the quadcopter, and video footage is almost completely still. You will notice a bit of wobble in light wind conditions or when flying very high, but overall I am quite pleased with the results. The props show up at the top of the screen, just barely, but since they’re black, they are very difficult to see when they’re moving so fast. (The brighter the color, the easier the camera picks it up when spinning.)
Keep in mind that the Bugs 3 that I received did not come with a camera, so you’ll need to provide your own. It’s possible that MJX R/C will be adding the option to purchase a camera along with it, sometime in the near future.
Transmitter – Audio Signal Warnings!
Let’s discuss the transmitter.
Quite an interesting transmitter indeed! This transmitter has a sleek, all-white design, with a nice finish. Don’t forget to find your thumbsticks in the box, packaged along with the screwdriver and wrench. I almost ignored them completely during my unboxing!
Overall, it feels a little bit better than those extremely cheap toy-grade transmitters in my hand. But it does lack the weight and premium feel of a hobby-grade transmitter. This is done to keep the cost of the package down, so I don’t mind too much. I’ll be looking into binding it to a Deviation enabled transmitter soon. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Anyways… Back to the transmitter that came with the package.
It, of course, has your standard quadcopter controls such as trims, throttle and pitch/yaw sticks and a button to change your flight rates. Holding down the flight rate button disables the LEDs to preserve battery life. This is extremely useful during the day when LEDs wouldn’t be very visible anyway.
It also has a lanyard slot which is something most included transmitters lack, so that was a nice touch.
In addition, it has a dedicated button on the top left bumper for arming/disarming the motors, as well as a button for flips. An odd thing I noticed about the transmitter was a camera button… This has no effect on the camera mount, or the action camera itself, so this leads me to believe that MJX will be adding a camera version in the near future. We shall see!
One final, and the most important thing about the Bugs 3 transmitter – it beeps! This happens during one of two occurrences:
- Low battery.
- Flying out of range.
Both are a good indicator that you should fly back towards your direction. I love hearing the warning straight from the transmitter and not from the quadcopter since sometimes the quadcopter is too far to hear the warning. I really wish more quadcopters would implement this transmitter audio telemetry, so kudos to MJX R/C for getting it right.
Range – Further than the Eye Can See
One of the most amazing things about the MJX Bugs 3 is its exceptional range.
It’s advertised to have between 300-500 meters (~0.2-0.3 miles) of flight range, that’s quite a lot for a quadcopter of this grade.
Truth is, you can basically fly this as far as you can possibly see it, until it’s so far away that it’s just too difficult to see. This amazing range combined with it’s powerful brushless motors make me hopeful that it might work well with an FPV rig which is something I’ll be experimenting with in the near future.
The included battery is a 7.4v 30C 1800 mAh battery with an XT30 connector.
It comes in a casing so it looks like a proprietary battery, but it’s really not. As long as it has an XT30 connector, any 7.4v battery should work. The battery bay is quite spacious, so you should have no problem fitting the average 7.4v battery in there anyway. Just make sure that when plugging it in, you line the red wire of the battery up with the + side on the quadcopter, and the black wire with the -. (Symbols for positive and negative.)
The Bugs 3 is advertised as having 19 minutes of flight time. To be honest, I haven’t been able to get more than 13, and that’s without any camera.
With the camera, I average about 10 minutes of flight time, which is still good. It’s possible that my battery needs to be cycled a couple of times to reach the maximum flight time, but 19 minutes seems like a bit of a stretch.
Regardless, I’m quite pleased with the flight time in general.
What Comes in the Box?
– MJX RC Bugs 3 Quadcopter
– Camera Mount
– 1800 mAh 7.4v 30C Battery
– Battery charger (EU outlet plug)
– 4x Spare Propellers (8x total)
– 4x Propeller Guard
– Instruction manual
Skill Level – Who Should Buy the MJX Bugs 3?
Due to the powerful brushless motors of this quadcopter, I’d recommend it to anyone who already has some flight experience with drones. You certainly don’t have to be a drone racing champion, by any means. But having a basic understanding of controlling a quadcopter and maintaining orientation simply by seeing which direction the quadcopter is tilting will go a long way with this quadcopter.
It’s all black design makes it a bit difficult to distinguish orientation, so new pilots may struggle. Otherwise, it’s a great option for those who are looking for a cheap drone to carry a GoPro or any other action camera.
Overall, the MJX RC Bugs 3 is a great option for those looking for a cheap GoPro drone capable of carrying just about any action camera right out of the box. It is one of the cheapest and most capable for what it does. And I’d highly recommend it to those of you who already have, or plan to buy, a suitable action camera and want some aerial video footage.
You can find more details on the official MJX R/C website.
We hope this MJX RC Bugs 3 review was helpful. Let us know what you think about this model in the comments below!
– Drone Trove