The Eachine CVATAR is the first true Cinewhoop to fall under the Eachine Brand. A Cinewhoop is a larger ducted quadcopter which is safer around people and objects thanks to shrouding of the propellers and soft foam padding which allows it to bump off objects without damage to the quad or object. It is available in 4s and 6s version which differ only in motor KV. The Eachine CVATAR is available exclusively from Banggood here: Eachine CVATAR 3 Inch Cinewhoop Duct FPV Racing Drone
No doubt there has been an explosion in the popularity of Cinewhoops because of the kind of footage you can capture in HD - slower, smoother and more stable akin to a gimballed camera but without the limitations. The CVATAR follows the increasingly common format of 3 inch ducted cinewhoop in a very versatile package with mounting options for all the popular HD options including compact session-style cameras, full size go pro 6, 7, 8 cameras and the necessary parts for securely mounting the full DJI air unit. For this review well have a closer look at the specs, the setup of the quad and then the performance with the recommendation conclusions last.
For my review I've chosen the 6s version over the 4s as I have preference the versatility that lower 6s motors offer. Motor kV is the ONLY difference between the versions
The factory tune is based on Betaflight 4.2.0 which at time of writing is the latest main release. It already has a custom PID tune so I've chosen not to adjust. Since the ESC is BLHeli_32 and supports native RPM filtering, I haven't needed to update ESC firmware. All I have done is enable RPM filtering and adjust the filters to suits as below as per the betaflight 4.2 tuning guide. No hardware changes have been made prior to the first flight. With this configuration my motors have only ever been just warm and certainly not hot so given what I read about other models and tunes, I'm pretty happy about that.
Below is the Diff of my settings with the revised settings to take advantage of RPM filtering.
Nothing much to write about here. I'm very familiar with the runcam nano 2 now which is a simple cam with no adjustments that performs well. VTX offers a clean and powerful feed. You're probably fairly familiar with the runcam nano 2 image by now so haven't included the DVR
HD Video recorded with a Runcam5 turned superview with RCSchim's script. Need an ND filter and a less windy day but you get the picture.
This is my first time flying a cinewhoop so the loud noise these things generate take a bit of getting used to as do the flight characteristics. I'll cover off the flight performance first since I'll cover off the noise with some potential solutions below.
Flying a cinewhoop takes a little getting used to for the first time and it really helps if you consider the objective when you do - getting clean footage. This is because the ducts hugely change flight performance compared to regular non-ducted quads. Specifically they are more sluggish on pitch and roll, more hesitant to move quickly and are a little more uncomfortable with big stick inputs. All of these down sides actually helps to smooth footage though because they really take the 'jerkiness' out of flying. Furthermore the ability to fly close to the group and remain stationary to get your shot is vastly superior to conventional quads. I apologise that this is probably a generic 3 inch cinewhoop thing as being unique to the CVATAR but for what it's worth the CVATAR seems to have one of the lighter and better integrated designs in the category so I assume this would translate to a good performance within the category.
Personally I prefer to fly the 6s version as I have here on 4s. Although it takes more throttle to get moving, the additional throttle resolution is nice and I don't the extra thrust to do massive punch outs or pull out of power loops because this isn't what this style of quads is about.
The ducts of cause numb the flight characteristics and make them safer around people and objects but it also make it fun to donk into things and push light leaves, bushes and branches out of the way which is quite a unique and fun experience in a little quad. For this reason I strongly recommend turning air mode off to stop the quad freaking out. I don't this this will disadvantage you elsewhere since you aren't likely to use it anyway with cinewhoop style flying.
Cinewhoop style quads including the Eachine CVATAR are really sensitive to with. this is because they have such a large surface area and relatively low thrust to weight. On one flight on a particularly gusty day the quad had to work very hard to get back to me against a strong wind.
This is a FULLY loaded weight with a particularly heavy 1000mah 6s battery and HD Cam
As I mentioned the noise of these is disconcerting and at first you think something is wrong. Then you do a bit of reading and realise this is pretty much everyone's first reaction and just get on with it. It's a shame though - with the guards and foam bumpers these are much safer around people but the noise would just draw too much attention. The prop manufacturers have picked up on this and both gemfan and HQprop have released props to suit - gemfan with the 5 blade d76 prop and HQ with the 6 blade prop (will link here when released). Even if the design doesn't reduce the overall noise, the extra blades will increase the pitch of the noise and make it a less offensive.
The included 3d printed parts are really nice since not everyone has a 3d printer. These include options for mounting a 3d box-style cam like I've used, a full sized gopro 6/7/8 that includes a well made adjustable angle mechanism and of course the parts needed to soft mount the DJI HD air unit and hold it firmly in place.
Conclusion and Recommendation
If you are looking for a cinewhoop, the Eachine CVATAR seems like a good option and I'd recommend the 6s version as it gives you more versatility with batteries. Like every other cinewhoop in this size they make a lot of noise but this can be somewhat mitigated with the new generation of cinewhoop props that have more blades. The quad is very smooth and the design seems to remove the jerkiness from less controlled stick inputs which gives you a better opportunity to get the perfect shot. Furthermore the ability to hover in a stationary spot is second to none.
The Eachine CVATAR has a nice set of electronics with good future proofing and a reliable video system that is easily upgrade to DJI if you wish however I think these quads are more about getting the best HD footage with an external cam rather than the direct enjoyment through the goggles. The frame is well made and the foam bumpers are nice and given the circumstances are probably about as light as you can expect. The complex frames and relatively high grade of electrics required usually mean that Cinewhoops are not usually the cheapest quads out but the Eachine CVATAR is one of the less expensive ones out $180-190 retail but has been on special for as low as $148 - see my coupons page for the latest deals if you are looking to buy this in particular
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