The Roma F5 is a new 5 inch freestyle quadcopter from longtime quad maker Diatone. Diatone have launched with a number of configurations that differ mostly by video system:
It's been way too long since I last covered a Diatone quad, 2 years in fact since I looked at the GTR249+ here, a very well put together 2.5 inch micro. With the Roma F5 they have developed and all new frame, all new motors and VTX and ESC/FC combo under the Diatone Mamba Brand. They have gone top shelf with the camera on the analogue version too, the Runcam Phoenix 2 being one of the best currently available. I'm glad that Diatone and the other premium manufacturers are focusing on freestyle oriented ready to fly rigs rather than racing rigs as I think this is where the market is - Those who are genuinely interested in racing will tend to build them up from scratch to get the exact feel they want. Freestyle rigs on the other hand a more forgiving - for the most part frames, motors and other trends have remained more stationary so you know it won't date so quickly.
Let's look at the components more closely
The frame (sold separately here) is an all new design. It has a custom moulded aluminium cage to protect the camera, separate interlocking 5mm thick arms and 2.5mm thick top/bottom plates. So far sounds like any other frame but the devil is in the detail. They have gone with a stepped frame meaning more distance between top and bottom plates in the front vs the rear. This makes for a build that allows more component room that a simple slam style frame like my custom sweet spot build based on the lowrider XL5.5 frame. Speaking of components, there are holes for either 30.5mm or 20mm ESC/FC and room in the rear for a 20mm stack which can be moved back or forward
The other unique thing about this frame is that all of the plastic parts with the exception of the antenna holder are injection moulded. This represents a big setup cost so they are relying on selling a lot of these! The benefit for us is much greater durability, less weight and a much better appearance that 3d printed parts. This includes the landing feet, the camera cage protectors, the stack guards and the gopro mount. Also there is a spare blacks set included if you want something more discrete. I do like the white though...
A quick note that the there is a DJI edition of this frame that is a little longer in the front (to get the props out of view) and in the rear (to fit the air unit). Caddx vista users can use either frame.
Motors are the all new Diatone Mamba 2207.5 for this model and they are simply beautiful in real life, they remind me of some of the classic Rays racing car wheels. The motor bell is a single piece of alloy as with all modern premium motors. They have a proper 9mm bearing and curved magnets with a tight air gap. On my 6s model they are 1700kv which I think is just right for freestyle compared to say the 1950kv pacer motors on the T-motor FT5 (reviewed here) which were too power hungry. The tall, narrow stators on these will make them want to rev so a prop light in pitch and weight will be key.
FC & ESC
Flight controller on the 6s version is the Mamba F722s. Thank goodness we are moving to F7 processors that have built in UART inversion i.e. they don't need a special SBUS pad. Plenty of processing overhead for new features in betaflight as well and of course 6 full available UARTs.
The ESC is a 50A BLHeli_32 unit (Mamba F50PRO). I don't have a lot of experience with this particular unit but based on my experience with the rock-solid unit on the F405 Mamba Mk2 stack I have no reason to doubt it
The Camera included in this quad is currently one of the best available - the Runcam Phoenix V2 Micro which runs at 1000TVL. These supposedly give one of the nicest pictures available in an analogue camera so I'm very much looking forward to trying it. For reference the manual is here
VTX and antenna
On this round of development Diatone has moved away from using TBS VTX and are instead using their own design - the Mamba TX400. As the name suggests this VTX has a maximum power of 400mW which is modest but fine for this quad. It is a 20mm x 20mm board which mounts neatly in the rear stack. I'm surprised they didn't go with a 600mW + offering but will keep an open mind till I can test. Nice to see they are using a screw down bar to strengthen the UFL connection
Diatone have also gone with a new antenna here, a micro SMA RHCP antenna that is similar in size to a lumineer axii micro / foxeer lollipop v3. Personally I wish it was a little longer but seems fit for purpose.
I mentioned above that the 2207.5 motors would work well with a lightweight and light pitched prop and Diatone have made a good choice here with the Ethix S5 which weigh only 3.7g per piece. There is only 1 set but that is fairly typical these days since props are something of a disposable item and a personal choice.
Other stuff that comes with it
In order to keep costs down most quads don't include extras so it's nice for Diatone to include a few extra bits and pieces here:
Setup for flight
I'm pleased to say that Diatone has set the key parameters of this quad up - VTX tables set tup and a custom PID tune. I found out the hard way that air mode was not turned on so you'll definitely want to enable that. Of course you'll need to setup switches and OSD to your liking but that is about it. I've even resisted the urge to turn on RPM filtering in order to properly test the stock tune. Default factory diff for betaflight 4.1.3 if you ever need to revert back as are screen grabs with Diatone's key improvements to stock betaflight.
Man, that camera is gorgeous when you are flying. Obviously without a 60fps DVR it doesn't look as nice as it does through the goggles but the colours sure look pretty, certainly one of the nicest analogue video feeds I've come across.
As mentioned it's nice not to have to set up VTX tables. VTX feed appears clean which is probably due to a clean power signal from the FC and isolation from the rest of the electronics in it's own rear stack. Performance seems fine for 400mW. Please note to get the best video performance I opted for a longer antenna for the stock one so that there is was less signal blockage from the battery when flying back towards myself. I used the emax pagoda 2 which is now obsolete but would recommend anything around 80mm long for best transmission. For example the Xilo Axii is an excellent antenna and only around $20 for a 2 pack.
This is on 200mW only and running 2 directional patch antenna standing on the driveway, really should be using an omni. Very clean signal regardless.
First of all, great tune Diatone. I was planning on adding in RPM filtering and possibly updating to Betaflight 4.2.0 but I can see absolutely no need. I could get only the tiniest bit of prop wash when trying to fly back through dirty so full points here and the quad felt very crisp. Nice!
I feel that the performance of this quad strikes a lovely balance between power and efficiency and in this spot the quad feels great. What I mean by this is that it has all of the fine control in the world for flying smooth and slow and it has a real linear power build when you need or want it. I think a large part of this is the choice of spec and components - matching the motor stator size to the kv to the propellers and topping it off with the tune as mentioned above. There is no lump of power the makes low speed control awkward nor does it run out of puff when you put the hammer down. This means that battery life is hugely dependent on how you use the throttle. Check out the DVR above, just under 4 minutes on a fairly tired 6s 1000mah that I drained less than 800mah out of.
By all means try other props on this quad to suit your flying style but you may actually struggle to find an improvement over the HQ Ethix S5 props included here - they are an excellent match.
I thought this was going to be a power hog after my experience with the T-motor FT5 which is EXTREMELY thirsty. However, the FT5 had 2207.5 @ 1950kv rather than 1700kv here and whether it is the drop in kv or the motor design, the Roma F5 can be flown much more efficiently. It doesn't have the crazy efficiency of my custom sweet spot build as reviewed here but not by a lot and that was an uncommonly light build thanks in part to the lighter and much less powerful Emax ECO 2306 1700kv motors. Understandably like in flight performance, the powertrain on this quad strikes a nice balance between power and efficiency meaning it can be flown to suit a wide range of styles.
Straight up this is the best 5 inch freestyle quad I've flown. The components are well chosen, are high in quality and are nicely put together. Add in an excellent starting tune and this adds up to make for a really nice quad that can be flown slowly with great control and efficiency or more aggressively with a predictable linear response. Video feed on the 6s model is good. The VTX has only 400mW max but the quality of the feed (which this clearly has) is much more important to me. Going into this test I'd hear the Runcam Phoenix is the one to beat for quality and I must agree, the image although perhaps a little oversaturated is beautiful to look at and for an FPV cam that really improves my enjoyment. I do think it could use a longer antenna for the video signal to clear the battery when flying towards yourself but I'm getting into minor quibbles now.
I'm really happy to recommend the Diatone Roma F5 freestyle quad and the great news is that it is available in multiple options whether you run 4s or 6s and whether you run analogue digital air unit or caddx vista. Diatone have committed strongly with this quad as shown by moulded parts and you can see why, it really is that good that I don't planning on building another 5 inch freestyle in the near future.
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