I recently received one of the first ViFly R130 race drones to be shipped to consumers. There has been a lot of interest in various drone communities about hearing more about it, so I decided to do a little unboxing and quick review.

First Impressions

My very first drone was a Eachine Wizard x220. One of the first things I immediately hated about the drone was that it was packaged so poorly. The box arrived terribly beaten up, and only by some small miracle was it not broken. The cardboard was crushed on all corners and the drone was encased in some soft closed cell foam that barely held its shape.

The ViFly R130 was a very different experience. It arrived in less than 5 business days via DHL, and was really well packaged. The box was a nice open cell outer cardboard shell, and the drone itself was encased in really sturdy foam. I knew immediately this was going to be a quality experience. Any manufacturer who takes the time to properly design their packaging usually has done a great job designing their product.

Opening the box revealed a quick-start manual (more on this later), a propellor wrench, a small bag of extra hardware including a set of rubber pads that can be used in place of the foam pads that come pre-mounted to the arms, and the quad.

[quote_left]”It feels remarkably dense and high quality in your hand. This is no toy.”[/quote_left] After carefully pulling out the R130, the very first thing I noticed was how lightweight it was. Throwing it on the scale, it came in a just 5.9oz, or 169g. You expect something this small and light to be very toy like, or at the least, like you are going to immediately break it. This R130 though, while incredibly light, still feels remarkably dense and high quality in your hand.  This is no toy.



Features

This little drone is packed with quality parts. It has a 700TVL camera, an F4 flight controller with Betaflight, 20A BLHeli-S ESCs, and a 25/200/500mw VTX. While I was researching components to buy, and even looking at my first Eachine, these were all minimum specs to have in your quad if you wanted it to be good quality.

A quick overview of the specs:

  • Size (L x W x H): 125x115x30mm
  • Wheelbase: 130mm
  • Weight: 169g (Battery excluded)
  • Flight Controller: Omnibus F4, CPU 168MHz
  • Firmware: BetaFlight (3.1.7)
  • OSD: BetaFlight OSD
  • Brushless Motor: 1306-4000KV
  • ESC: BLHeli-S 15/20A
  • Gyro: SPI, 8KHz loop speed
  • Propeller: DAL T3045BN
  • Battery: xt30 connectors –  3S  /  4S Li-PO
  • Camera Resolution: 700TVL
  • Field of view: 120°
  • Output Power: 25mW / 200mW / 500mW
  • Channel: Group A/B/C/D/E 40 channels
  • Receiver: FrSky, Spektrum, or Flysky (choose at purchase)
  • LED’s: Front and rear integrated
  • Arms: 3.5mm Carbon Fiber
  • Bottom plate: 2mm Carbon Fiber
  • Top Plate: integrated PDB
  • Hardware: 1.5mm hex heads
  • VTX Antenna: Mushroom polarized.

Design

The R130 is really well designed. The top plate is an integrated circuit that acts as part of the power distribution board and connects all the components to the flight controller. The flight controller sits on top of the board and connects via pins to the PDB below and holds the xt30 sized battery connector. They don’t disclose the connector type on the site, I had to order some xt30 plugs and smaller batteries.

The motor arms are about 3.5mm carbon fiber in 2 solid pieces. One solid CF piece for both the front and rear arms. This will definitely prove more durable than 4 individual arms. The bottom plate is 2mm carbon fiber. Along with its body spacer this is one tough bird. Additionally, it comes pre-loaded with 4 foam landing pads that are easily replaced with the 4 rubber ones in the box.


The camera is mounted on a pivot with the wires running through the side and out under the motor wires. It’s also encased in a rubber housing to keep it safe from dirt and debris. It has a decent range of adjustment for the camera angle, going almost full 90 degrees. It holds position well, but there is no way to tighten it in position. Firing it up, it is an ultra clear picture with very little lag in the OSD. The horizon display is crisp and quick, you can also see battery voltage, flight mode, flight time, power on time, etc…


All of the components are so tightly integrated I’m not sure how you could possibly repair this drone without basically just buying a new one.

One thing I really love is that there is an integrated voltage display and a buzzer. They don’t tell you this information on the site, but those are 2 really important and valuable additions to the quad. At this price point that’s a great add.

The battery standoff is hard formed metal, and the battery strap has a rubberized coating on the inside to help with slip. The kit also comes with some Velcro, which I assume is because this thing probably hauls with its high power motors and those batteries were flying all over during testing.

On one side you will find your USB port, bind, and VTX channel button. The flight controller comes loaded with Betaflight 3.1.7, and is pretty much fully configured for you. The PIDs come in a little hot and I’m still learning to fly, so I turned them down a bit. We’ll see how it affects the flight dynamic once I get some batteries.

The 4100kv motors have no protectors, but they are set back far enough that I think they are safe from damage in a crash. The nuts are both CW and CCW non-locking, but are easy enough to snug down. There is a lot of motor body to grab onto.

Flight

I ran 2 flights on the first pack of batteries. First, LOS to get used it it, second FPV with my attitude V4s. Total flight time was about 10 minutes using a very oversized 1300mah battery. This battery is definitely too large, but I couldn’t wait to get it in the air for its maiden voyage.

LOS was solid. The quad felt very stable and responsive, even with the PIDs dialed back. Turning them up may prove challenging for a new pilot, I’ll stick with where it’s at for now. It is very very fast.

FPV was challenging. I flew at dusk and the light made the picture a bit over saturated and the OSD very difficult to see. This is a rookie move, but I got in a few punches.  There is a bit of distortion in the camera, which I’m hoping was due to the battery sitting right under the antenna, or because I had the power set too low at 200mw. Either way it was tolerable, even for a new pilot. Otherwise it was smooth.

This little quad is very responsive. Even dialed back to beginner settings, it’s way more punchy and can handle sharp concise movements much better than the Eachine x220. I know they are in 2 different classes, but as a newcomer it’s amazing how drastically different they feel.

Concerns

This drone came with a quick start guide. Thumbing through it, it has all the detail about how to connect your radio and the basics of controls. What gave me a moment of pause was this page. It tells you to put the props on backwards and shows the wrong motor direction. It’s unclear to me if this is describing how to tighten the props or demonstrating rotational direction. But the pictures of the blades themselves also look wrong. The quad had correct orientations out of the box, but this would really confuse people who didn’t know better.

Another concern is that the prop nuts, are not locking. I havent experienced it yet, but I would imagine these can come loose especially as you are ripping around in this thing.

Lastly, I couldn’t figure out why I was getting distortion in my FPV goggles. Neither my tiny whoop or my wizard had this issue, so I’m hoping an antenna swap or better battery position does the trick.

Final Thoughts

This quad is amazing quality. All the solder joints are clean, the components are well thought out, the arrangement and layout is solid, and it seems at face value to be very durable. Bonus points for the buzzer and battery volt meter, also the betaflight OSD! Love seeing the artificial horizon while flying FPV.

I really love the 130mm sized quads. I’m just getting into flying, but I can already tell I will be more comfortable flying around my yard and other tight places with something a bit smaller like this. I highly recommend picking one of these up. It is a high quality and fun quad for the terrific price of just $169 (BNF). Can’t beat it for the money.