The Fullspeed Tiny Leader is a new sub-micro class quadcopter from FullSpeedRC.com that is ducted and competes in the now popular and increasingly competitive brushless whoop market. Full Speed is a now well known and respected producer of micro brushless quadcopters including the original Leader 120 (review here) and more recent Leader 2.5 (review here) and Leader 3 (review here). Below I will outline the published specs and what sets this apart from other brushless whoops - good, bad or indifferent. To clarify there are 2 current Full Speed Tiny Leader models: The TinyLeader Regular and TinyLeader HD with onboard HD recording. This review is for the TinyLeader regular
Weelbase: 75mm plastic + carbon frame (1mm) Lightweight carbon frame to which 4 injection moulded flexible ducts attatch. The motors attach to the ducts. Feels very durable prior to flight and nice touch that ducts are identical for individual replacement if needed. Replacement frame here
Weight: 45g (without battery) This is the heaviest whoop with 75mm props to date by some margin but also the most heavily specced. I am concerned about disc loading
Flight controller: FSD408（F411 FC） 2-3S built-in OSD Nice to have an f4 processor here. Rather than using a whoop sized board this is a more traditional 16mm 2 layer stack
ESC: FSD408（1-3S ESC） BLHELI_S 4in1 ESC Dshot600 3s!!! This is a big deal not just for this model - a 16mm x 16mm flight stack has never been able to do 3s. This flight stack can even run on 1s
Motor: 1103 11000KV with connector This is where a bigger portion of the weight comes from but these motors should be more efficient and more durable in the long run with twin bearings as opposed to bushings. The Betafpv 75x uses similar motors.
Propeller: 40mm 4-blades props, 1.5mm shaft hole Same design as the Mobula 7, Beta75x with larger 1.5mm hole for 1.5mm motor shaft on 1103 motors
Camera: Caddx Micro F2 camera with angle adjustable（0°- 45°）This is a standout over all other whoops thus far- a true micro camera with much better colour reproduction and light handling than any AIO or EOS unit. This is the main reason for the weight penalty. As for angle adjustment, this is the best, most positive and reliable angle adjustment in any whoop bar none.
VTX: FSD TX600 Pit/25/100/200/400/600 switchable VTX（support IRC Tramp）An overkill allowing up to 600mW? Adds weight but this is one of the best VTXs I've come across on a 3" quad (used for Leader 3, 2.5) let alone a brushless whoop.
The design objective for this brushless whoop truly sets it apart from other brushless whoops: good, bad and indifferent. My opinion here is based more around design than flight performance for now:
The TinyLeader software comes heavily customised and tuned from the factory. I would recommend trying as is with your rate, switch and OSD configuration. I have kept all of the stock settings below in screenshot form for quick reference. Please note although current sensor is turned on, there is none present.
A note on batteries
If you have seen any of the Full Speed TinyLeader flights on Lewis Lees Youtube Channel the you will know that this tiny quadcopter will take 2s or 3s - the first of its kind to do so. Small, high discharge 2s batteries are becoming more common thanks in part to the Beta 75x and here are my favourite 2 options below:
3s batteries that fit this quad on the other had are simply hard to come by at the time of writing in a suitabe size - I am picking 250-300mah. There are however a few options available for 350mah but these may require replacing the battery holder with a rubber band:
As expected this is the best image and signal performance I have seen on a ducted brushless quadcopter. Although it is not great at low light conditions the Caddx micro F2 offers a superior image to any camera currently found on brushless whoops (even including the EOS which several have used as an upgrade). Better yet you can easily swap out for any other micro cam if you wish. Similarly the VTX (FSD TX600) is vasly superior in power options and transmission quality to anything from any other brushless whoop. I would recommend against any setting above 200mW because it will start to noticeably impact your battery life. See below for camera perfomance in very low light (11pm)
Just to get some personal bias out of the way I do prefer super lightweight quadcopters that do not overload the prop. I light the way the change direction quickly and are use the battery more efficienty. Good examples of this are the original Leader 120 (reviewed here), my micro 2 inch build here and my old racing floss 2 build here. The Tiny Leader is not light - in fact it is the heaviest in the 75mm prop class as you can see below (obviously not all these are 75mm).
The TinyLeader is fast, can do a passable powerloop, split-s and can dive without a significant amount of yaw wobble. It can even do turtle mode in the way that you would hope. I cannot help but feeling the weight though on the little props. I need 40-45% throttle to hover which is an indication of the thrust to weight ratio however it is the feel of pulling out of maneouvres and dives that make me uncomfortable as is its lesser ability to change direction in fast low racing-style flight where much heavier use of the throttle is required. This makes it more of a point and squirt style flyer than being able to make longer flowy sweeping turns that inevitably use more roll than yaw. Again, not bad, just not the way I like to fly. Update: as I spend more time with this little quad, I am starting to get the hand of flying it more. By keeping the throttle up I find I can maneouvre and control it much better. You will see this in the video below where I pull off a decent powerloop, spit-s and faster turns.
A quick note on noise
The side effect of loading up these props tends to be noise - it is noticeably louder than other quads running the same props on a lighter build. This is just the price you need to pay though for a superior FPV system - nothing comes for free.
Battery life and voltage sag
Battery life is not great on this one owing to a heavier than average all-up weight and larger than average motors. I have been using the GNB 2s 300mah HV battery charged to 4.2v per cell and have typicaly getting 2:30 or less flight. Charging to 4.35v per cell may get me another 10-20 seconds but I would rather look after this battery.
Battery sag is at an absolute minimum owing to the quality of the battery and the xt30 connector used. In fact I had to increase the warning voltage to 3.5v because of the lack of sag - the battery did recover to a higher voltage after the flight finished. This means you need to be careful - unlike the mobula 7 and whoops in general you cannot run the voltage down as low with the expectation that it will bounce back up again.
I currently do not have a suitble size 3s battery (smallest is 450mah at 40g) but will look to order tosee if I can get the kind of performance hit that the Full Speed team got in their prototype videos - see below
Opportunities to modify
Disclaimer: this is my opinion only, read on if you dare... Not sure if I mentioned it above but the tiny leader is physically small for a quadcopter but large from a whoop, even a 75mm one. You can see below that external dimensions are close to a 2 inch mico and that is in essence what I think it should be. Making a single piece 2mm carbon frame without ducts than can take a 1.9 or 2 inch prop would certainly be an interesting proposal for mitigating some of the weight. It would of course create a new limitation in that it could not be flown indoors however at 65g including battery I feel it is already too heavy to fly indoors anyway (in my opinion). I believe a larger prop would allow us to take better advantage of the 1103 motors and at 11000kV would be ideal for 1s or 2s (maybe 3s).
Conclusions and recommendations
There are no 2 ways about it, the TinyLeader has the best FPV setup by some margin for any brushless whoop released as at end December 2018 - genuine micro camera size, VTX with up to 600mW output and a handsome canopy that allows an adjustment of up to 40°C camera angle that doesnt move when set (looking at you mobula 7). Additionally this has perphaps the toughest 2s whoop frame I have come across with provision for individual duct replacement if required.
However between the FPV system, the stronger frame and the larger and more powerful (but heavier) 1103 motors, the TinyLeader has ended up quite heavy at 45g without battery. This can have a negative impact on battery life and propeller noise but the good new is you can fly through it. Furthermore you can still perform all the freestyle maneouvres we have come to expect from 2s brushless whoops.
The TinyLeader offers quite a different flight experience to the Mobula 7 (reviewed here) and other micros, good news being that we now have another option that may suit your style. Better yet the HD option with Caddx turtle V2 offers you a cinewhoop option right out of the box.
Full Speed have created a well thought out model here that has been fully set up out of the factory. Personally I think the weight is a little to high but after a few flights it is certainly manageable.
The TinyLeader as reviewed here is available for order presently here from Full Speed RC or here from Banggood, both ship internationally. In addition Full Speed has worked hard on distribution meaning it may well be available in your own country from a retailer.
As well as the standard model, an HD version is also available that has a Caddx turtle v2 hd cam seamlessly installed. Likewise this is available direct from Full Speed RC here or Banggood here.
All spares are available from FullSpeedRC.com and I suspect these will trickle through to retailers as well.
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