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SYMA X20 cheap altitude hold quadcopter in depth review

SYMA X20 altitude hold quadcopter

Value for money - 8.5
Performance - 8
Flight Time - 7.5
Build Quality - 9

8.3

Cheap and fun!

Summary: The Syma X20 is a cheap micro quadcopter featuring altitude hold, flip mode, headless mode, and 5 minutes of flight time. It's a fantastic flyer suitable for indoor/outdoor flight and I highly recommend it if you're looking for something cheap/fun to fly.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Altitude hold works great
  • Good flight characteristics

Cons

  • Non-removable battery

Get it for $23.99

Thanks to Banggood for sending me this sample to review.

Check out my video review

Read below for more details

What’s in the box

syma x20 includedThe SYMA X20 comes in a small box that includes 1 SYMA X20, 1 transmitter, 4 spare propellers, a screwdriver, the manual, and a short micro USB cable. Everything was packed very well and you can store the quadcopter back in the box when you’re done.

Interestingly the USB cable that it comes with is just a regular old micro USB cable which means the charging circuitry is onboard on the quadcopter.

There were a few dings on the box but I think that was more from shipping than anything else, overall pretty good packaging.

SYMA X20 Flight Performance

I’ll start off by saying that I’m pretty well impressed with the flight performance on the Syma X20, it’s zippy without being too fast, holds altitude well, and has a good flight time for the size.

I fly most of my quadcopters outdoors but since this is so small I also tested it indoors, in both scenarios the quadcopter performed perfectly with no problems and even flew well outdoors in a light wind.

syma x20 top

There are only 2 speed modes on this quadcopter which is a great balance between slow and fast, the low speed mode is perfect for getting the hang of flying indoors, and the high speed mode is what you’ll likely be using after you get the hang of flying.

The autolanding/takeoff feature on the X20 works great and does exactly what it’s name implies. To use the auto takeoff all you have to do is press the 2 top shoulder buttons until you hear a long beep and your quadcopter will automatically rise to about 5 feet.

syma x20 side

You don’t have to use altitude hold however and can just take off normally by throttling up until the quadcopter lifts off.

Altitude hold on this quadcopter works great with only the occasional slight bump of a few inches up or down in altitude and altitude seems to hold steady even while moving. Loss of altitude while moving is a big problem on these smaller altitude hold enabled quadcopters and it’s definitely a huge plus that the Syma X20 doesn’t have this problem.

syma x20 bottom

Flip mode on the SYMA X20 works pretty well and results in nice tight flights with a little bit of kick in altitude after each one to help recover. To do a flip all you have to do is press in and hold the button flip then move your right control stick in the direction you want to flip.

Flight times are around 5 minutes and performance stays pretty consistent throughout the whole flight until your low voltage warning starts flashing. After the low voltage warning you have around 30 seconds before the quadcopter lands itself giving you plenty of time to land in a safe location.

Landing is easy and the SYMA X20 fortunately doesn’t suffer from the problem where it bounces around when landing.

Design

The design of the SYMA X20 is very well done coming in a very small at 10.5 x 10.5 x 2.5 cm with the prop guards and is extremely light weight (22g) . Design features include the built in prop guards, power button, foam landing pads, and a micro USB charging port on the back.

syma x20 usb charge port

You can pick up the SYMA X20 in either black or white with both versions featuring red and green LEDs on the bottom so you can tell your orientation.

On the top of the quadcopter you have a power button which makes it very easy to use, just hold the button down for a couple seconds to power on and do the same to power it off. These power buttons are something SYMA has been including with all of their quadcopters and it seems like they don’t like regular switches very much.

syma x20 button

The prop guards that come with the quadcopter are non removable and slightly flexible giving it good impact resistance which is what you want in a crash. I’ve crashed it myself into the wall a few times and the propeller guards seem to have done a great job protecting it from damage.

syma x20 propeller

On the front of the quadcopter they have something that looks like a frosted lens and allows some of the LED light to shine through. I presume that this frosted lens is where a camera would be if you bought the camera version of this quadcopter.

syma x20 lens

Charging the SYMA X20 is very easy and since SYMA included the charging circuitry on the quadcopter circuit board this means you can use any micro USB cable. To use the included USB cable all you have to do is plug it into a computer, power bank, or wall wart charger. I prefer to use the same charger I used for my phone which provides very fast battery charging.

The battery included with the SYMA X20 is non removable which helps make everything more compact but also means that you’ll be stuck waiting for charger times, charge times are around 30 minutes.

syma x20 leds 1

On the bottom of the landing legs they’ve including some soft foam pads which make for a soft landing but don’t do much for grip when landing.

syma x20 feet

Transmitter

The transmitter SYMA is sending with this quadcopter is incredibly small featuring a unique control stick style and an easy to use button layout.

syma x20 transmitter 1

In regards to the button layout SYMA has made it very simple by only including 3 buttons, a button for flips, one for changing speed/entering headless mode, a trim button which I go into below, and an an unused button which I believe is for the camera version of this quadcopter.

The control sticks this transmitter are pretty unique in that they sit completely flat and slide around rather than the control sticks changing their angle.

syma x20 control stick

If you’ve ever used a Nintendo 3DS the control sticks are very similar and even though I was a little iffy about them at first I now love them – very easy to use.

In the center of the transmitter is a power switch along with a green LED, when you turn the transmitter on this green LED will pulsate until bound with the quadcopter.

To trim the quadcopter all you have to do is hold down the left button while moving the right control stick in the opposite direction of the drift.

syma x20 transmitter back

The decision to use a button combination for trimming rather than individual buttons makes this transmitter look much more minimalistic.

Overall while I wasn’t initially too impressed at first this transmitter has grown on me and is a pleasure to fly with.

syma x20 transmitter top

The top of the transmitter features 2 red pieces of plastic which I think they’re trying to make look like antennas but something this cheap obviously won’t have dual antennas.

Using a larger transmitter

syma x20 large transmitter

After some experimenting I found that SYMA X20 is compatible with the larger transmitter that SYMA has been sending out with their X5UC, X5UW, X8SW, and X8SC models.

Binding is the exact same procedure as with the smaller transmitter and while you do have a little bit more control with the larger transmitter I still prefer flying with the smaller transmitter.

All functions work the same with this transmitter albeit with a slightly different button layout and the auto takeoff is 1 button rather than 2.

As I mentioned while I still like flying with the smaller transmitter somebody with larger hands may prefer using the larger transmitter so thanks to SYMA for that option.

Final Thoughts

Overall the SYMA X20 is a nice cheap quadcopter with good features, nice flight performance, great design, and a truly unique transmitter. The altitude hold which is the main feature works great and combined with the small form factor makes for a great beginner quadcopter. So overall if you’re looking for something small and cheap to fly I recommend picking this one up, see the button below for more details.

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