Yuneec Q500 Typhoon 4K

What we like:

  • Fairly stable gimbal
  • 4K UHD capture
  • Low battery cost

What we don't:

  • Fly away issues (potentially unsafe)
  • Short range
  • No collision avoidance

The Yuneec Q500 Typhoon 4K ($799) has similar specifications to the DJI Phantom 3 Standard, but has spawned a lot of controversy (and even a lawsuit or two) in the drone community.

The CGO3 camera boasts a 14mm lens with no distortion, and it can capture UHD 4K/30p video. However, advanced users may be wary of the lack of any published specification on the camera's 4K bit rate. Maximum still photo resolution is 12MP, however straight-out-of-camera footage from the CG03 is noticeably blurry toward the edges, pretty much eliminating it from professional use.

On the good side, the camera is mounted on a full-mechanical 3-axis gimbal that gives it true stabilization. However, due to reports of the gimbal grommets popping loose very easily, you must check the gimbal-mount before every flight (or risk dropping it like a flour bomb).

The Q500 has similar smart features to the Phantom 3, such as follow-me and watch-me modes. However, the problem with the Yuneec watch-me mode is that the camera stays pointed at the controller, meaning your subject will need to be holding a controller.

The CGO3 camera boasts a 14mm lens with no distortion, and it can capture UHD 4K/30p video. 

Yuneec has had some challenges with their flight-control systems. Their drones have been known to suddenly 'fly away' and occasionally crash. It’s a rare enough event that there have been no recalls, but common enough that nearly every review of the Yuneec includes one of these stories; YouTube is full of videos of them (like this one). Luckily, we haven’t heard of any drone crashes into people or property resulting in lawsuits… but it's something to be aware of.

Also, the video-transmission range is limited to 400m (not much better than the Parrot BEBOP 2). So, in the event of a fly away… you won’t be able to tell where the drone went down, and will probably have to rely on the kindness of others to find it and call you for a reward.

The Yuneec Q500 Typhoon 4K has a flight time up to 25 minutes, and batteries are affordably priced at $54.99

Due to the 'fly away' issue with the current Yuneec products, I can't recommend this drone (for now). Hopefully it’s a software issue and not hardware. And maybe (just maybe) it can be fixed with a firmware update. 

Yuneec Typhoon (Q-500) 4K

Build Quality

Ease of Use
Camera Gimbal

Sensors/Flight Control System

Range
Weather Resistance (rain/wind) Portability
Battery Life Crash Resistance/Repair Cost
Value  
Overall Rating