If you haven't yet seen the first part of my review of the new T-motor FT5 5 inch freestyle quad, I looked at the specification of the components used, the build quality and betaflight setup here:
T-MOTOR FT5 PNP REVIEW PART 1: FIRST LOOK AND BETAFLIGHT SETUP
This means that for this second part of the review I can focus in on flight performance and any recommendations. For the purpose of flight performance I'll break this down into FPV performance, performance on 6s and performance on 4s
A quick word from our sponsors... Banggood is running a large promotion at the moment calle "Summer Prime". They've put a big spreadsheet of discount coupons for me here Furthermore you can try your luck on their promotion pages:
Price storm strike page, RC toys page, Coupon Centre, Summer Prime Sale
The Caddx Ratel has been around a little while and has been hugely popular. This is the second commercial FPV camera made with the massive 1 1/8" CMOS sensor that makes for an image that is pushing the quality limits of the NTSC/PAL protocols for analogue FPV. This is my first chance to use one and I've been impressed. It is comparable to the Runcam Micro Eagle but more compact, lighter and at a much more reasonable price. Caddx camera QA has been benefiting from their partnership with DJI as well, presumably from an upgrade to their manufacturing facility. My guess is they have a better, cleaner manufacturing error that keeps the dust off their sensors. The unit included with the FT5 has a 2.1mm lens which offers a fairly mid-range field of view. It's a really nice camera from the goggles especially since I have been flying micro quads a lot recently but of course the DVR (below) never really does it justice.
Because this frame is made for analogue and digital I don't love how the camera is mounted here, the location feels like a bit of an afterthought. Sure there is no frame in view but it does sit proud of the frame and is more prone to damage depending of course on how you fly.
The Rush Tank VTX is arguably the best around at the moment. It offers excellent reception and is highly durable and offers between 25mw and 800mw power - more than enough for a freestyle quad. It has been paired here with a Cherry Rush Antenna. Although it should offer a really clean signal due to having an MMCX connector only (i.e. no SMA adaptors) it is a little short for my liking - ideally it would come up above the battery in order to get the best signal.
There is more to FPV performance than components though, execution is key and T-Motor have done it spot on here:
DVR can be found below. Please note I usually run LHCP so only have one RHCP omni antenna on here i.e. far from optimal setup on my goggles.
DVR from the T-motor FT5 running a 4s 1800mah pack. My goggle antenna choice was not optimal in this DVR
A quick note on the motors
Firstly I want to make it clear that the 6s motor spec is the Pacer 2207.5 1950kV, not 1750kV as per the Banggood description. 1950kv is one of the most popular sizes at the moment as you can viably run 6s (obviously!) but also 5s and 4s depending on what you want to achieve. Interesting that these are almost and identical spec to Minchan Kim's brand new 2207.5 motor (also from T-motor)
6s Flight performance
Running 6s on 1950kV is like running 4s on 2925kV - very high speed. Pair that with a very well built 2207.5 stator and bell and you have a huge amount of power available. This will give you massive acceleration and ability to change direction in freestyle flight. You do of course get the big current pull to go with the power so you'll need to make sure your battery is up to the task. I used GNB 6s 1100mah which were up to the task but would probably recommend a 1300mah pack (like these CNHL Black ones) for a little more headroom. You'll be pleased to know however that the ESC is well capable of these powerful motors and never skipped a beat. The props scream at top throttle on 6s!
If I'm honest the FT5 has more power than my skill set is capable of and so I made the most of the betaflight throttle control and limited to 85% on a switch (see my article here on how to do this). This approach means that as I become more confident with the quad I can gradually wind up the top throttle point and take advantage of the power.
The rest of it feels pretty typical for a top mounted squashed x style from that has a relatively high weight:
4s flight performance
Running 4s on a 6s quad sounds like an odd thing to do but actually makes more sense that you think and the relatively high (for 6s) kv rating of 1950kV makes even more sense. If you are lucky enough to have this as a first or learner quad the benefits are obvious, less top speed, less voltage and less current draw means you have less change of breaking or otherwise damaging it while you learn the ropes.
This is underselling it though because although 4s doesn't give you the top speed of a 6s it does give you a whole new level of throttle resolution and linearity which make it ideal for more smooth and cinematic flying, more control for flying in a tighter space, running low to the ground or even in a new space as a warm up pack. Make no mistake, this is still VERY powerful even on 4s. I've done this with my custom sweet spot build on Emax Eco 1700kv 2306 motors but the few extra kv on the ft5 quad made this better still with just that bit extra ability to pull out of dives and big maneuvres.
I seem to crash less these days but other than the props which, being lightweight are inevitably fairly weak the frame and motors are tough. TPU bumpers haven't been overdone here and cab be found only on the "chin" of the quad. Since the front fuselage is long (to keep props out of camera view) the chin is expose so is a nice addition.
Upgrade to DJI HD
I'm personally looking to make the switch to DJI HD fairly soon so I am reluctant to get too much stuff that isn't compatible. The great news is that this frame can is also designed to take DJI/CADDX Vista HD Unit where the VTX is presently mounted and so an upgrade path is clear. If you do want to go straight to a DJI BNF the T-motor FT5 HD is available here.
There is no HD cam mount included in this quad however a mount for the full sized gopro 6,7,8 is directly available from resellers. I have no doubt that this quad has the power to haul one of those heavy things around. Strangely there is no mount for a session 5 / runcam 5 square cam available directly although there is a 3d print file available here - supposedly it is the same for a cockroach frame.
Summary and Recommendation
5 inch Freestyle quadcopters are largely a sum of their parts and that is why we so commonly build our own - so we can choose exactly the components we want such as I did with my sweet spot build. The beauty of the T-motor FT5 though is that so many of the parts on here are what many would general choose as first choice components - Motors are from the best manufacture in the hottest size and speed, the best value for performance FPV cam presently available, arguably the best VTX presently available, One of the best and most reliable ESCs presently available and a very good flight controller. The frame is not especially exciting but is well made and reliable with a nice access feature for electronics. All of this comes together as a durable high powered freestyle quad that is very reliable (as a result of the quality assembly) and even has a clear upgrade path should you wish to move to the DJI HD FPV system Of course it's certainly not the cheapest but if you price these components out it's certainly good value not to mention convenient.
The niggles are fairly minor: I feel the camera sticks a little too far out of the frame and that the VTX antenna is a little too short.
If you do purchase this quad please stick with a light load motor or you will really hurt your batteries. The T-motor T5143 as included are excellent but also consider:
Betaflight settings are also covered in part 1 of the review
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