In this shootout I'll be using my opinion to compare some of the most popular radios on the market to an incumbent and a dark horse. I'll give you some insight to what drives my opinion so you can see why I've made the decision I have. Specifically I'll be looking at:
Personally radios, goggles and chargers are not something I replace regularly. Since they are not subjected to the "unexpected landings" that our quads are they tend to last longer, especially if you but the right product. I've had the Xlite for nearly 2 years (reviewed here) and it has been the only controller I've used over the whole time. As a reviewer with access to all of the new stuff this is an age for me and I don't think I've had any piece of gear longer than this. Prior to this I used the Taranis QX7s which was a great controller but just not portable enough for me due to its size. Without me rambling too much I'm trying to say if you find the right controller for you based on your needs then it should last you a LONG time. In this shootout I'll look at the characteristics, benefits and limitations of these four controllers to help you understand what might be important to you. First let's start with a quick overview of the controllers I'm comparing
For an idea of size, there is how they look in hand pinch and thumb. I am 178cm tall so medium sized hands I guess? Click and of these to embiggen.
The Radiomaster TX16s is the most fully featured of all the radios listed and can natively accept all of the crossfire module variants. It has an internal multiprotocol module mean it'll run practically anything except TBS crossfire or R9 out of the box although TBS micro V2 tx is an option on Banggood. It is the most versatile of all options here.
Up until recently the TBS Tango 2 was the least versatile option but a recent upgrade saw hardware and software support arrive for an external 'lite' module meaning a multiprotocol module can be added to the internal crossfire module so that it can control practically anything. FreedomTX (which is a fork of OpenTX) is unique to the Tango 2 but it will revert to OpenTX later in 2020. Controller is limited to 6 auxiliary switches with no pots but this should not be an issue for most quads and wings. There is an internal 1s 5000mah battery in this which charges via USB which is such a good idea (great battery life too)
The Jumper T8SG is also heavily featured with an internal multiprotocol module which makes space for any of the crossfire module via the full sized JR port. This small controller still manages 6 side switches and 2 pots which will allow a lot of control. Although easier to use, DeviationTX firmware is not quite a feature-rich as OpenTX although most users won't find it's limits.
The FRSKY X-lite is probably the most limited of the bunch since you need to choose either crossfire or multiprotocol - you cannot choose both at the same time. Even then crossfire support has required a hardware workaround as reviewed here until very recently when the TBS nano crossfire module was made available. This limitation is obviously similar to all FRSKY radio because of their understable push for FRSKY protocol. Like the T8SG there are 6 switches plus 2 pots in the form of sliders. Full Open TX supports any module via software.
Who do each of these transmitters suit?
Why I've chosen to go with the TBS Tango and Conclusion
Personally the most important things for me other than base requirements of decent gimbals (of which all of these have) is portability and simplicity. For this reason I have chosen not to use the Radiomaster TX16s regardless of it being the most full optioned transmitter here.
Up until recently I've been using the FRSKY X-lite but now that I'm moving to crossfire, the solution I have used to physically fit the JR module was clunky and inconvenient.
Even through the form factor is a little different, the Jumper T8SG was a genuine dark horse option for me - small sized, internal multiprotocol and JR bay for crossfire and this would have actually been my daily driver had TBS not announced an important update to the TBS tango 2...
Before the August 2020 update to the TBS tango 2, the only protocol it supported was TBS crossfire (CSRF). That was a shame because they design and hardware was just what I was looking for. However when it was announced that a new software update and a stick on module bay would allow multiprotocol module support I bought one then and there. The size and game control format was similar to the game-controller style that I love about the X-lite but with larger gimbals, a convenient internal battery and all the protocols I need in a clean package. The screen is very small but honestly once I have the controller set up I do not use it at all because, well, FPV.
As you can see my final decision was driven by my own unique set of needs but hopefully this breakdown has given you more insights to these controllers so you can make your own decision.
Honourable mentions go out to:
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