Neil's News


8 January 2019

After some research, I bought a VISUO XS812 drone for Christmas. It's a really nice piece of equipment and a lot of fun to fly.

The good:

  • When ordered directly from China, it is about $90 (depending on the options) including shipping.
  • The GPS is amazing. It apparently blends data from both the US Navstar and the Russian GLONASS. The result is incredible stability, it's like a tripod in the sky.
  • 15 minute flight time, as advertised.

The bad:

The only bad thing about the drone is the manual. It's utterly useless. Of course it's written in 'Engrish', but that's to be expected and is not really an issue.

  • There is no mention that there's a sim card slot for local recording of video. As a result there are many reviews of this drone on the Internet that lament the lack of local recording.
  • There's also no mention that the camera is removable. This resulted in one review stating that one needed to use a knife to carve a hole in the drone to access the sim card slot.
  • There's no mention that one needs to disable mobile data on the phone prior to connecting to the drone's wifi.

The ugly:

  • I'm not even sure what this drone is called. The drone has no markings on it (other than 'VISUO'), and the box and manual don't list any model number. I call it the 'XS812' because that's what the website I bought it from called it.
  • The battery packs clip in with a simple plastic catch. But the latch is too stiff to operate. A quick pass with a file to reduce the height of the catch made swapping batteries much easier.
  • The batteries have a micro-USB port on them for charging, and a cable is included. This cable is mechanically compatible with a regular USB to micro-USB cable -- but it includes the charging circuitry built in. Using a regular cable will probably damage the battery.
  • The video streamed to the phone has a half-second lag. This makes flying in FPV mode more challenging than I'd like.

Here's a video I took in Canada. The drone had no problems flying in freezing temperatures.

As one can see, it takes some skill to learn what one can and can't do with the drone while recording video. This drone doesn't have a gimbaled camera (unlike the Mavic Pro), so any change to forwards or sideways slewing rates results in a violent rocking motion. When recording video, one should restrict flight to only having changes to yaw and altitude.

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