Yuneec Typhoon H

Yuneec’s Typhoon H review: this drone has reached full beast mode

6 rotors. Collision prevention. Foldable arms. Retractable landing gear. 360-degree range of motion camera. The Yuneec Typhoon H has gone full beast mode.

It looks like a Tornado, but it’s priced like a Typhoon Q500. Meet, the Yuneec Typhoon H.

The $1,299 Yuneec Typhoon H is unlike any other drone in its price range that I have reviewed. It has the qualities you would expect for a professional level drone, but at a consumer price tag.

First things first: wipe the words quadcopter from your vocabulary if you’re referring to this. It’s a hexacopter (6 rotors), meaning it is able to continue flying with 5 rotors in case one fails. It also has quick-release propellers, which are easier to mount and dismount than the Q500 before it. The foldable arms also make it much easier to travel with.

But the gem of this copter is its collision prevention.The Typhoon H comes with two sonar sensors on the front, just above the camera, meaning it can sense and avoid objects in front of it.

Like its predecessor, the Q500, the drone has a 3-axis anti-vibration CGO3+ gimbal camera that produces 4K, ultra-stable high definition video and 12 megapixel images. What’s cool about this drone is it can be rotated through 360-degree range of motion. Which leads to the next new feature about the drone — retractable landing gear. The touch of one button on the controller and the landing gear can retract, ensuring that the legs never get in the frame of your shot.

The 360-degree range of motion camera is really important to me because — I’ll admit it — I’m TERRIBLE at flying nose-in. But sometimes, you need to photograph something behind you! This feature is perfect because it allows you to fly with ease while getting the shots you need — from any direction.

The Yuneec Typhoon H has a ton of flight modes. I’ve only flown the Typhoon H one day so far, so I’ll be honest — I didn’t even get to demo the other flight modes. Here they are in a nutshell (and I can’t wait for my next Flyday to continue trying them out myself!):

  • Journey Mode: Rises up to 150 feet high and then takes an aerial selfie.
  • Orbit Me Mode: Flies a circular path around you, keeping the camera trained on you the whole time.
  • Point of Interest Mode: Orbits a selected subject autonomously.
  • Curve Cable Cam: Flies between pre-set coordinates enabling the user to independently control the camera position.
  • Team Mode: Allows the pilot operate the drone separately by binding it to the Wizard, allowing the filmmaker to control the camera at the same time by binding it to the ST16 Ground Station.
  • Auto Take Off: Takes off with the tap of a button ground station.

All those features means the Typhoon H has a beast of a ground station too. One of the features I have always loved about Yuneec’s products vs. competitors is that it doesn’t require the drone to be linked to a smartphone. I can see the drone’s camera view directly from the 7-inch screen on the controller, and not mess around with my iPhone battery dying (which happens often). Everything you need to operate the drone comes in the box. The controller looks pretty complex, but it also means the user has options to use the modes described above as well as program fully autonomous flight and adjust camera settings.

Yuneec’s controller also has buttons like “H” which stands for home — as in flipping the switch will bring the drone right back to where it took off, and turtle/rabbit buttons to control the speed of the drone. Both are really handy when flying with beginners. I was flying in Golden Gate Park and got into a conversation with a passerby. He wanted to fly it, so I discretely flipped the switch to the turtle mode for safety.

The Typhoon H also comes with a free Wizard, a remote-like device that allows you to pilot with one hand. Yuneec says the Wizard, which retails on its own for $199,  will only come with the Typhoon H for a limited time. Check out my Wizard review here (it’s a nifty little gadget).

I loved the Typhoon Q500 4K when I reviewed it in August. At the time, it cost $1,299 (the same price that the Typhoon H costs now). The Q500 4K is now down to $899.99.

If your budget, is under $1,000, I still love the Q500 4K and would highly recommend it for someone looking for professional footage.

But if you can afford the upgrade, it’s worth it for the retractable landing gear, extra autonomy and safety features in this drone. While in a perfect world the drone would have sensors on ALL sides, the two sonar sensors on the front of the drone are a huge leap in the direction of drones being able to make decisions for safe, autonomous flight. And they work! I tried flying the Typhoon H directly at my flying buddy (of course, DON’T try this at home) and the ground station won’t let the drone go any further, no matter how much throttle you give it. Filmmakers may also prefer upgrading to this over the Q500 for the retractable landing gear, which previously was only available with Yuneec’s $3,499 Tornado drone. That allows the camera to get a 360-degree shot and ensure the legs never appear in your footage!




Of course, someone with more money to invest and who is looking for ultra-high quality footage would likely still want to opt for the Tornado. The Tornado’s CGO4 gimbal camera incorporates a Panasonic GH4 micro four thirds camera sensor with a 3x optical zoom lens, housed on the 3-axis gimbal system. But, a hybrid Tornado and Typhoon H could end up being the ultimate super-safe, super-smart, high-quality camera in the air. I can’t wait to see if/when that comes out.

typhoon h batteryThe battery flight time of the Typhoon H is 25 minutes. A second battery costs $109. I wish I timed it, but flying at full speed and a higher altitude meant slightly less time than 25 minutes. Also, the battery takes a long time to charge. I’m a pretty fast writer, but I wrote this review faster than how long it took to charge the next battery. (I would estimate about two hours to charge). I wish I had two batteries for this review!

The failsafe is useful. I actually tested this (yep!), and the controller can sense there is a rotor down and will prompt you to land — giving you a stern (ie. bold, red font) alert that not all 6 propellers are there. This is really a necessity for people looking to fly over crowds. I felt significantly more confident flying over trees or people in Golden Gate Park with this drone because I knew even if one prop went down, my drone wouldn’t come crashing through the air and get caught in a tree.

My complaint about this drone as a consumer ready copter is it is really large. I’m a tiny person, so I think smaller is better! I’ll write a DJI Phantom ($1,399) vs. Yuneec Typhoon face-off later, but I’ll give you a preview and say that the Phantom is much smaller. While size shouldn’t matter to professionals on a film shoot, a regular consumer might not want to pack this on a trip abroad or even tote along to a picnic.

The dimensions of the box it ships in are 21.2 x 17 x 12.5 inches. For comparison,  American Airlines’ carry-on luggage dimension limit is 22 x 14 x 9 and  Alaska Airlines’ is 24 x 17 x 10. (Of course, check with your airline and airport before traveling with a drone and its accompanying LiPo batteries). I use the same box the Phantom 4 came in as my carrying case. It’s perfect! However, while the Typhoon case is great for storage, it has a flimsy lid and no handle. Thus, it’s not ideal if you need to walk a long distance with it (walking from my apartment in downtown San Francisco, then down to the MUNI (our subway) and out to Golden Gate Park with this foam case wasn’t really the most comfortable experience.) I’m guessing Typhoon H users will end up buying a separate drone case.

This Yuneec Typhoon H is incredibly low-priced for an incredibly powerful piece of equipment. You’ll definitely want to spring for a case (Yuneec’s Typhoon H backpack retails for $149) and an extra battery ($109), which means realistically you’ll end up spending $1,557. Still, that’s a steal for a product that offers not only stable, high-quality video but also the security of failsafes and collision avoidance technology.

From the Wizard to all the flight modes to the 360-degree camera view, there is so much I want to try with this drone. Yuneec has been known to release perfect products, and they’ve done it again. It’s easy, it’s safe, it’s fun. Yuneec has also been known to price its products lower than its main competitor, DJI. (The similar Phantom 4 is $100 more than the Typhoon). You won’t find anything on the market that does this much for this low of a price. The competition better watch out — and look up. A drone of this quality and at this low of a price means the Typhoon H will be dominating the airspace.yuneec typhoon h folded

18 thoughts on “Yuneec’s Typhoon H review: this drone has reached full beast mode”

  1. How did you test the 5 Rotor mode? I was flying mine yesterday and the controller started to vibrate! Saying 5 rotor mode is on or flying in 5 rotor mode. I did notice 1 prop not spinning as I nervously brought the H down. It was not easy to fly in that mode. Did you have a rotor fail?
    Nice review by the way!

    Best,
    Bo

    1. Put a broken prop on one of the arms, and the drone was able to sense that only 5 rotors were in service. I was able to take off, but yes, it’s not easy to fly in that mode.

      1. Thanks for the reply! I think the motor just failed. It just stopped spinning in mid flight. Disappointing since I just got it a couple weeks ago. 3rd time up. 🙁

        1. Any hint as to what went wrong, Ive had mine since Wed. the 29th and been flying it daily. Monday 3-4 minutes in same thing, one rotor down. landed it, restarted and flew the rest of the Battery up with no problem. Today i nervously went up and 3-4 min in, same thing. Landed, restarted and 30sec in, same thing. waited a few minutes and flew the battery down without further incident.

          1. Seems to me that the motor is starting to fail when it gets hot. Mine flew for 15 minutes before the typhoon went into 5 rotor mode.
            I’m trying to send it back to Ritz. I don’t want to try and diagnose a new drone.

  2. I would agree, especially since it is already so hot here anyway. However each fail on my unit was early (3-4 minutes) into my flight, followed by 15 minutes of flawless performance. I”m hooking up to GUI now per yuneec’s suggestion. If I find anything I’ll post back.

    I would rather diagonose and fix than take a chance on getting another with the same issue (If this does prove to be a common problem)

      1. Yuneec had me check firmware for most recent version, then connect to the GUI, everything worked fine with no errors, finally I emailed the telemetry from the ST16 and a separate email with an RA#, to which I was supposed to respond with a copy of my proof of purchase. I have been waiting for a shipping label, they were supposed to send it to me after they received my emails. I didn’t get it so I called today and was informed that “he” was supposed to send a shipping label. (which I just Received)

        All my contacts with Yuneec have been pleasant and productive.

        I’ll post as more info becomes available.

        1. Good to know their customer service is will to help!
          thanks for the reply. I’m dealing with Ritz Camera thru Amazon.com.

  3. I would just like to share my experience with this drone.

    From the second I took it out of the box there were issues. It started with the memory card not ejecting from the controller. I ended up having to put tweezers in my drone kit to remove it.

    Next the camera unbound itself from the remote. After figuring out how to rebind it, I learned a password was needed. After about an hour searching the web I found the password (1234567890). However, now the camera was not leveling properly.

    Finally, on my 5th flight the camera and gimbal just popped right off the drone. At closer inspection I realized that they were both held on by two small strips of plastic. My theory is that one of these strips was already broken (which is why I lost camera connection and the camera wasn’t level) and the other finally gave out too.

    This was well over 2 months ago and I still have a useless drone sitting on my floor. Fry’s electronics refused a refund and so has Yuneec. Dealing with both of their customer services has been insanely frustrating. The people at Yuneec just run in circles and act like they will help you. Many times responding with what looks like a copy+paste response that ignores all previous emails in the chain. I tried talking to people on the phone there. They were useless… particularly the supervisor (her name starts with an A) who hung up on me because I cursed.

    My frustration level with this experience is beyond max level and I am now just trying to damage this horrible companies reputation as much as possible. They cost me $1400 and I guarantee I will cost them more than that in sales.

  4. Don’t waste your considerable time and money!!!

    I purchased a Typhoon H Pro with Intel Real Sense technology back September of 2016. The 1st unit Yuneec sent me, even though I went through the set-up with the manual AND calling Yuneec’s technical support department, the drone flew for a few minutes then became uncontrollable when I was bringing it in for a landing and started to fly in large circles uncontrollably and eventually crashed into some trees. The unit was sent back to Yuneec, they said they repaired the problem and sent me the unit back. I tried another flight, same thing. Fly for a few minutes, try to land, the Typhoon would start fly in directions off on its own, uncontrollably. I sent this unit back and Yuneec again said they repaired it. Again, same issue, uncontrollable flight after a few minutes. The Typhoon H was getting pretty beat-up, rotor’s continually breaking and frustration mounting as each time the unit would come back “repaired” I spent hours updating firmware and speaking with Yuneec’s technical support department to ensure I have set-up the Typhoon H correctly before I would attempt flight only to have the same issue keep arising.

    My frustration was increasing considerably as this was costing me time and many missed video opportunities that were planned well in advance so this purchase would be ready for these events.
    I asked this time for a brand new unit to be sent. Yuneec sent me another unit. This time, I decided not to read the manual any longer as it is missing information and incomplete and instead called technical support and spent hours on the phone with them making sure the set-up was perfect. AGAIN, the drone flew off uncontrollably, but this time I was ready for it and was able to bring it down without crashing to bad and breaking parts. I again sent this unit back to Yuneec. That was 4 weeks ago and they have yet to send me a working Typhoon H. They have my money, refuse to give me a refund and are, for some reason, delaying sending me a new drone. I’ve requested to speak with a supervisor to have this resolved at least 5 times. Each time I am told I will be receiving a call from the “escalation person” within 24 to 48 hours. I have NEVER EVER received a call from the escalation person and I still am without a working drone and Yuneec has refused to refund my money. They have even lowered the cost of the Typhoon H during the holidays to attempt to sell more units quickly! Don’t waste your time and money.

    This unit is clearly not ready for production.

  5. I would love to have one of these for the Presidential Inauguration to use and for the day after. Can I find someone living in the DC area who would use it to photo the events on January 20th and 21st 2017. Those two days will mark the change in American History and its direction.

  6. My controller sometimes displays 18 satellites & then. NA for satellites displayed, then It will flash up 18 satellites again

  7. Only had dron for 10 days love it very much done cracy thinks with it must of flown it 200 times or more had one landing problume wich was my fauilt no worries as of now.

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