Yuneec Typhoon H Pro with Intel RealSense

12.4MP 1/2.3" sensor | 98º FOV | Includes Intel RealSense 3D modeling

What we like:

  • Hexacopter design
  • Intel RealSense technology
  • 360º gimbal rotation
  • Dedicated controller with integrated 7-inch screen

What we don't:

  • Unpublished video bitrate

The Yuneec Typhoon H Pro with Intel RealSense ($1199) provides a somewhat unique (pun intended) mix of features and technologies not found on other drones in the prosumer class. In particular, the Typhoon H's hexacopter design and inclusion of Intel's RealSense technology set this model apart.

Why a hexacopter? On any drone it's possible for a rotor to fail for various reasons – motor failure, blade shattering, ESC (electronic speed controller) burnout, etc. If this happens on a quadcopter it most likely ends with the drone falling out of the sky. In contrast, with six rotors there's still sufficient balance and flight control to bring the drone down safely, and possibly even back home. It's a good safety feature. Other flight characteristics are typical for this class; flight time is around 25 minutes, and extra batteries retail for $139.

RealSense is a technology developed by Intel. It's used to digitize the environment into a 3D model in real time, and is used for everything from facial recognition logins for computers to real-time 3D digitization of real world objects for video games. By making a 3D model of the environment, RealSense not only allows the drone to stop if it encounters an obstacle (as collision avoidance does), it also allows the drone to autonomously plot a flight path to avoid the obstacle and keep itself flying. As a result, obstacle avoidance is where this drone really shines, though it's worth noting that RealSense only works in forward flight.

The Typhoon H's hexacopter design and inclusion of Intel's RealSense technology set this model apart.

This is especially helpful in modes like follow-me, where other models may stop dead in their tracks when encountering a tree or other obstacle. With RealSense, the Typhoon H will plot a way around the obstacle and keep tracking the subject. There's one catch though: the Typhoon H with RealSense doesn't do visual tracking of targets, so the subject must have the remote in their possession. Other useful flight modes include Orbit Me, Point of Interest, Cable Cam, and Journey Mode.

The feature-laden ST16 controller includes an integrated 7-inch LCD screen, eliminating the need for a mobile device and keeping setup very simple. Additionally, it's possible to bind one controller to the aircraft and another to the camera, allowing a pilot and camera operator to work in tandem.

The landing gear on the Typhoon H retracts, meaning the 12.4MP, 1/2.3" sensor camera can rotate 360º, allowing it to be used in any direction regardless of where the drone is facing. It provides a 98º field of view. Unfortunately, the camera is where this impressive drone falls a little bit flat. The CGO3+ camera is a slightly better version of Yuneec's CGO3 camera. It records 4K/30p, but Yuneec doesn't publish the video bit rate. Users report that it's in the range of 50Mbps using the over-processed 'gorgeous' mode, but that it drops to 29Mbps in LogC. Photos can be captured in Raw.

The Typhoon H with RealSense is a compromise in technology. Its hexacopter design, and the inclusion of Intel's RealSense technology, set it apart from other drones in its class. If that appeals to you, it's a good option. However, if image quality is your main concern, you can get models with better photo and video specs in the same price range.