Whether you’re a drone flying enthusiast or a novice who wants to take a budget-friendly model for a spin, you should check out the Blade 350 QX3.
This affordable ready-to-fly (RTF) model is loaded with features that appeal to both beginner and advanced users alike.
The addition of the high-quality video recording capability to this model makes it a popular choice in the Blade line up, and the internal micro SD card stores all your videos and photos on the aerial flyer.
In this review, we’ll check out the features of the 350 QX3. We’ll translate them into benefits to you, and break down what you need to know about the drone.
We’ll also compare it to other models that cost about the same or have similar features, and then wrap up with our final recommendation.
Here’s what you need to know before you buy.
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What Is The Blade 350 QX3 And How Does It Work?
The Blade 350 QX3 is an aerial camera drone platform. It uses third-generation firmware and components and hardware that have been refined through three iterations of design to give you one of the most user-friendly and high-tech devices from the manufacturer.
It delivers longer flight times or between 10-15 minutes and has a full range receiver and SAFE technology that gives you a smooth flying experience even if you’re new to controlling a drone.
There are three different versions of the device to choose from, and which is best for you will depend on your intended use.
- AP Combo
Below, we’ll give a high-level review of the main differences between the three options.
If you want to capture high-quality video and still images from your eye in the sky, and don’t yet own a GoPro, the AP (or Aerial Photography) combo package is the best bet.
It includes the three-axis high-definition stabilized camera, the CGO2 GB. You’ll get crystal clear photographs and high-quality video images that you can send to your compatible iOS or Android device via the built-in 5.8 GHz downlink.
You can view the images on your screen when you download the mobile app thanks to the included DX4 transmitter.
This feature also has a Gimbal Control switch that enables you to make adjustments using your throttle stick to tilt your camera up or down to capture the perfect shot.
You can simply toggle back and forth between flight control and Gimbal Control by flipping a switch, and the drone knows to suspend throttle control when the transmitter is in use.
Because the camera is included in this package, the AP combo set up does not include a GoPro compatible camera mount in its construction.
The Ready-to-Fly option features the same transmitter, battery, and charger as the AP Combo, but has one notable difference.
Rather than coming with a built-in camera, instead it has a fixed GoPro compatible camera mount where you will install your own device.
This option saves you around $400 off the retail price and is perfect if you already have a camera and simply need the drone and transmitter.
If you’re upgrading your entry-level drone and are considering the 350 QX3, then the Bind-N-Fly package might be right for you.
Users who already have both a camera and transmitter can get away with this bare-bones package that includes the drone, battery, charger, and camera mount.
It’s the least expensive option and saves you around $50 off the Ready-to-Fly version if you already have a transmitter.
What Makes The Blade 350 QX3 Unique
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The Blade 350 QX3 has all of the same features and functionality that you expect in a ready-to-fly drone, but they do some things exceptionally well.
Here, we’ll outline a few notable capabilities that make this model a popular option among enthusiasts.
Whether you elect a to purchase a package with their transmitter, or you use your own, the navigation capabilities of this model are excellent.
The 350 QX3 features several different modes that make it both easy to fly and adaptable to various conditions and needs.
For example, the standard setting is called smart mode, and it’s perfect for new pilots learning to operate the equipment.
In this mode, you have stick relativity, which means that the quadcopter will move in the direction you move the stick.
You won’t need to learn any complicated command sequences or directional oppositions in this mode.
Rather, forward means forward, and left means left from your point of orientation. This feature works regardless of the direction of the nose of the quad, or if you have it spinning in midair.
If you’re planning to use the drone for aerial photography, the AP mode is another helpful option.
If you switch to this setting, the drone turns off stick relativity and instead gives you the ability to tweak how the quadcopter hovers.
That way, you can capture more complex action or tracking shots by making smaller, more precise adjustments.
If you purchase the AP Combo configuration, it comes with a mid-range aerial camera. At 16 MP is delivers good picture quality, saturated video images, and offers HD ranges at 1080p and 60 frames per second.
Although it’s not a top of the line camera, it is better than what you’ll see in some competitor models at similar price points.
One of the most impressive aspects of this Blade model are the included safety features. You have access to conferrable flight boundaries which allows you to define your own as long as they comply with federal and local flight regulations.
Out of the box, it’s configured to operate 50 meters above and 100 meters away from the point where the motors are started, but you can extend those up to 400 feet and any distance within your line of sight.
A second safety feature is the Return Home program option. When you flip the switch that activates it, then the drone will automatically fly itself back to the location where you originally enabled its motors.
As the pilot, you don’t need to do any directing to land the device safely. This is helpful not only for new flyers who might be unsure about how to land the aircraft, but also if you accidentally lose sight of it and need to regain visual contact.
You can turn off the Return Home command at any point during the process and resume control.
Also, if something goes wrong with your transmitter and you lose the signal, the Return Home functionally will automatically take over and send your quadcopter back to you.
The last differentiating feature worth mentioning, though not in a positive way, is the battery life of this model.
The 10 to 15 minute average flight time produced by its battery is, at best, average and clocks below average when compared to other devices at a similar price point.
If you’re planning to use your quadcopter for lengthy photo or video shoots, the time span you have with the 350 QX3 likely won’t cut it.
The three versions retail for different amounts. Here is the breakdown of what you’ll pay for each.
The AP Combo retails for $$$ from Horizon Hobby and comes with the quadcopter, camera, and transmitter.
Manufactured by Horizon Hobby, the Blade series of quadcopter are well-liked by average users and enthusiasts alike.
The company was founded in 1985, and since they have been on the cutting edge of innovations in their market.
They were the first to produce ultra-micro first-person view quadcopter at an affordable price point back in 2016, and their SAFE stability and technology platforms have won awards and accolades from experts in the field.
Overall their products are well-reviewed by users with the most significant current complaint being that it’s hard to find them in stock.
For example, all of the QX3 package options are sold out not only via the Horizon Hobby website but also on their authorized retailer partners sites.
How It Compares
In the under $1000 drone market, there are hundreds of options. Here are two top conductors with built-in cameras that are at similar price points to the AP Combo and have many features in common.
1. DJI Phantom 2
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DJI is a fan favorite quadcopter manufacturer, and most of their models get excellent reviews from users. The Phantom 2 is no exception.
It’s equipped with an HD camera mounted on a three-axis gimbal which gives you smooth video and lots of control over your images.
Many of the maneuverability and safety features are comparable to the Blade model, but there is one notable difference between the two.
The Phantom 2 boasts an average of 25 minutes of flight time thanks to its 5,200 mAh battery, a significant increase over what the 350 Q3 provides.
Retailing for around $$, it’s a comparably priced option that might be a good choice if you want longer flight times.
2. Autel Robotics EVO Drone Camera
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If your goal is capturing the most vibrant, epic images and videos possible, then the EVO Drone Camera from Autel might be your best bet.
It features 4k resolution and captures 60 frames per second making it one of the fastest, cleanest cameras on the market.
The drone itself is a compact, foldable design that’s equipped with upgraded technology that makes it easy to fly and land.
It has a dual GPS/GLONASS satellite positioning system and syncs to the Autel Explorer App to give you live footage while you’re in flight.
The remote has a 3.3 inch OLED display, and the drone has a range of up to 4.3 miles from the controller.
The drone averages 30 minutes of flight time per battery charge, and the included 32 GB MicroSD card can hold up to one hour of 4K video footage.
The priciest option on our comparison list, this model retails for $$.
3. Holy Stone HS100G Drone
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A more budget-friendly alternative, the Holy Stone HS100G Drone comes equipped with a 1080P FHD camera and 5G wifi transmission that shows you live video feed from up to 1600 feet away from the device.
It also has a GPS Auto Return Home program that will send your drone back to its starting point if the battery gets low or your signal is lost.
Like the Blade model, it has up to 15 minutes of flight time and also includes a Follow Me Mode which is perfect if you want to take action shots of yourself. Users call it the ideal selfie drone.
It retails for just $$ and is an excellent choice for beginners who don’t need a lot of bells and whistles or flight time.
What We Think
The 350 QX3 is a solid performer in the quadcopter market, and it comes stocked with enough features and functionality that beginners and enthusiasts will get a lot of use out of it.
We particularly like that you have the option of purchasing the complete platform with a camera or buying the parts of it you need and then using your own GoPro and transmitter if you prefer.
The only major drawbacks are the short battery life, and more experienced users or those who plan to do extended video shoots with their drone might be disappointed with these limitations.
Otherwise, this model has a lot of features that are worth the cost, and it’s an excellent investment with capabilities that will grow with you as you become a more adept pilot.