Tuesday , June 15 2021

Review: Flywoo Firefly Hex Nano – Little Hexacopter Flies Surprisingly Well!

I didn’t expect much from the new Flywoo Hex Nano, why would you add two more motors and ESC when a quad is totally capable of doing what we want? Well, I am not so sure now, the Nano Hex actually flies better than I thought!

Flywoo created the Long Range Hexplorer (Review) a few months ago and that was a really interesting idea. They took that idea further and released a nano version of it – the Firefly Hex Nano.

It’s absolutely tiny, at about the size of a tiny whoop 🙂 Technically it’s a 1.6-inch drone with those 40mm propellers.

How cute is it? It looks comical and ridiculous with that “huge” HD camera on top.

Betaflight Version:

INav Version with GPS: 

You can also purchase prop guards in case you want to fly indoor.

What I am reviewing here is the Betaflight Version without GPS and prop guards. It comes with the following items:

  • Frame: Firefly Hex Nano (90mm Wheelbase)
  • FC: Goku HEX F4 (16×16)
  • ESC: Goku Hex 13A 6in1 (16×16)
  • Motors: Flywoo Robo 1202.5 5500KV
  • Propellers: HQ 40mm 4-Blade Props
  • FPV Camera: Caddx Ant Nano
  • VTX: Goku VTX625 450mw
  • Antenna: RHCP Atomic 5.8GHz Antenna (30mm long)
  • Supports 4S LiPo Battery
  • Weight without LiPo: 66g
  • Weight including Naked GoPro and a 4S 450mAh LiPo: 146g

The Hex Nano appears to be well designed, all the components fit nicely inside the frame.

The cable that sticks out is the power cable for the SMO 4K camera, it’s pre-soldered to the FC out of the box. The Hex Nano comes with two 3D printed TPU mounts for the SMO 4K camera, and the Insta360 GO.

I “modified” the TPU mount to fit the Naked GoPro, it’s not ideal, but it works for now.

The 3D printed antenna holder works well for holding the antennas securely in place. The overall design and build quality are excellent.

The motors are 1202.5 5500KV, paired with HQ Micro Props (40mm 4-blade 1.5mm hole) which are usually used in Tiny Whoops. Yes you heard me right, this 4S hexacopter is using tiny whoop props, crazy right? 😀

The F4 FC, ESC and VTX stack is designed specifically for this Hex Nano.

Here’s the pinout / wiring diagram:

I like those fading RGB LED lights coming from the ESC and FC. They are quite bright, and help you spot the drone from far away. You can disable them in Betaflight LED tab if you want.

Repairing should be easy, there are only 3 screws to remove and the top plate pops right off.

Now, onto the things that can be done better.

The bottom plate (arms) is quite thin (1.5mm thickness), it actually flexes when you press on the arms. Note that it’s a uni-body design, which means if you break one arm, you’d have to replace the whole bottom plate.

Hexacopter is cool, but moving 6 motors across to a different frame is 50% more work than a quadcopter. I wish Flywoo could use thinker carbon fibre in the future, not only it’s more durable, but a stiffer frame is actually better for flight performance.

The FPV camera sticks outside of the camera cage, it would have been safer if they made the TPU mount a bit longer to provide more protection. Camera tilt angle is around 15° to 90°.

I am not a huge fan of the battery strap, but I guess it’s a way to save weight, and it does work in the beginning, but it slowly loses stickiness. On top of that, the battery pad is also a bit slippery, and the battery can slide out of the strap occasionally. It would have been nice if sticky and thicker pad was used.

Finally, I am not sure if the Firefly Hex Nano will make a reliable long range drone because the antennas can be completely blocked by the HD camera in the front when the drone is flying towards the pilots.

But for short range (within 500m), the Hex Nano has been performing perfectly fine for me signal-wise. However I was getting a bit more breakup in the video than models that use longer unobstructed antennas.

Together with the fact that there’s no buzzer onboard, I would avoid flying too far away to avoid losing it in high grass, it would be challenging to find it, especially it’s so tiny 🙂

The handling of the Hex Nano definitely feels different from a quad, but in terms of power and agility it’s quite similar to a 3″ toothpick (without the extra weight of the HD camera).

Out of the box, it’s very stable and locked in cruising flights even when it’s breezy. Flywoo did an excellent job tuning this quad!

Mind you it’s not super powerful because of the small 40mm propellers, but freestyle and acro moves are totally doable and feels like a larger 3″ ultralight quad.

However, in sharp turns, it loses more altitude than a quad, and you can feel it carries a bit more momentum too because it’s heavier, and those tiny props are just not generating a huge amount of thrust.

Although it has two more motors than a quad, it’s actually not as noisy as I expected. Again, comparable to a 3″ toothpick, and it’s definitely more stealthy than a 2.5″ cinewhoop like the 95X V3.

With 4S 450mAh, I get about 5 mins of flight time just cruising (without the HD camera), and if I push it really hard, it’s about 4 mins. When carrying something like a Naked GoPro on top, flight time is reduced by about half a minute, but it’s still quite impressive.

I was getting some interference in my FPV video (black bars) as you can see in my flight footage. It’s a little distracting but not the end of the world.

Get some spare props, you will need them because they are just “pushed in” and can break or fly away in a hard crash: https://oscarliang.com/product-u2ui

It is recommended to use 4S 300mah (4min) or 450mah (5min) batteries: Best 4S LiPo Battery for Whoop and Micro Quad (300mah-650mAh).

Setting up was slightly confusing, I hope they fix it in the production version.

Basically, they designed this quad with GPS in mind. I guess they later decided not to do it on the Betaflight version, but left GPS enabled on UART2 in the Ports tab and forgot to change it? So instead of putting SmartAudio on UART2, they put it on Soft Serial, which also works, but a confusing configuration for beginners.

GPS feature was enabled in the Configuration tab – you could disable it to save some CPU load.

Make sure to check Failsafe is set to “Drop”, and not set to “GPS Rescue”, just in case it won’t do anything unexpected in the event of failsafe.

OSD also had all the GPS stuff turned on, which we won’t use. The FPV camera is NTSC so make sure to put OSD elements in the correct portion of the screen so they don’t get chopped off.

Apart from that little setback, the rest of the setup is simple and straight forward.

  • Bind the Crossfire Nano
  • Turn off Motor_Stop in the configuration tab (air mode is enabled anyway, I don’t understand what they enabled Motor Stop for)
  • Turn on ESC Beacon since it doesn’t have a Buzzer, it’s better than nothing
  • Change rates
  • Setup switches for Arming, Beeper and Turtle mode in the Modes tab

VTX was in “locked mode” out of the box, meaning some of the channels are inaccessible in order to comply with regulations. And if you select those channels it will just put you on another random channel. For example, on Raceband only R4, R5 and R6 are available.

To unlock the VTX, simply hold down the button on the VTX for 10 seconds. Fortunately the button is easily accessible without much effort.

While everyone in the FPV industry is literally just copying each other, I am glad Flywoo is making something that’s truly unique and interesting. And it actually performs well and deserves our attention!

Because it’s a hexacopter, it’s gonna be more expensive than a quad with the two extra motors and ESC. It also takes two more props so in the long run it’s going to cost more. But it gives you decent flight performance in such a small form factor, it’s a pretty exciting new concept and idea!

There’s no DJI version yet, only analog for now. But it’s lighter anyway. I do hope they release something that uses the Naked Vista in the future. 🙂

You can get the Flywoo Nano Hex here (Betaflight Version):

As I mentioned in the review, the antennas are not optimally placed in this quad… I mean hex, it’s not exactly the kind of drone I’d use for long range. But Flywoo decided to release an iNav version with GPS module on top. I guess it would be cool to have features like return to home and altitude hold. I might check it out when it’s available. Get it here:


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