There's an adage that says it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Whoever came up with this obviously didn’t own a drone like the Odyssey Toys X7 Microlite. This is a drone that announces its presence. Not by cursing, but with an array of bright LEDs that make it a definite eye-catcher. It’s a decent flier, too, with sensitive controls and a lightweight body. It lacks fancy features like a camera, but for $60, it is a great pick for the inexperienced flier.
When the power is off, the X7 looks like most other drones, sporting a white plastic case with red detailing. Parts of this plastic case surround the small rotor blades. Flip the small power switch under the body, though, and it reveals its superpower: a series of colored LEDs embedded inside the rings that surround the rotors. Odyssey Toys gives this the overly grand name of Superbody LED lights. It is effective, though: the LEDs make the plastic body glow, giving it an almost UFO-like look. The model we reviewed had red (front) and green LEDs, but a blue/green version is also available.
Credit: Richard BaguleyI wish I had more control over these lights. In flight they are constantly on until the battery runs low, when they start blinking. It would be much better to be able to do things like turn the lights on and off, or have different blinking patterns. It might also improve battery life.
The X7 is extremely light, weighing in at just 2 ounces with the battery. That means it doesn't need to be registered with the FAA.
Measuring just under 6 inches wide, it's about the same size as other small drones we have looked at, like the Parrot Minidrones. The rotors are also a little unusual, with three blades instead of the more common two or four. Those blades are protected by guards that will come in handy if flying inside. It will help limit the damage when the blades run into things.
The controller shares the white plastic look of the drone, but not the embedded LEDs. Instead, a single set of red LEDs near the top indicate that the controller is turned on, and its status. It blinks slowly while connecting to the drone and quickly when the four AA batteries it needs (not included) are running low.
Two chrome plastic control sticks provide the main controls, along with a series of trim switches and a power switch in between. Two shoulder buttons control the speed mode and activate the flip feature. A screen and a series of chromed “buttons” look like additional controls, but don't actually do anything. It's a pretty typical controller for a cheap drone, similar in design and usability to those that come with other low-cost drones such as the Blade Nano QX.
The X7 is a simple quadcopter to fly, responding quickly to the control sticks. It did require some tweaking to get it to hover in place, though. Out of the box, it had a tendency to slip to one side when the controls were not being used. This was quickly dealt with by using the trim controls: a couple of taps on one of these and the quadcopter hovered in place nicely.
The X7 doesn't go very fast. It can zip around a bit, but it is no racing drone. Two speed modes are activated from the right shoulder button, but there isn't much difference between them. It is quite maneuverable. Being so small and light makes it highly prone to being caught by even light breezes, though: A slight gust can easily push the X7 away, and can even tip it over easily. That is usually the case for small, cheap drones like this. They don't have the smarts and motor power to compensate for wind like their larger and heavier cousins.
The 500-mAh battery that powers the X7 has a limited life: We found that it gave 6 to 7 minutes of flight. That's typical for a small drone like this, and is the same as drones like the Pocket Drone. It is shorter than larger drones like the Swann Xtreem Gravity, though, which can fly for twice as long.
The battery is easy to swap on the X7: you simply slide a panel back on the base and pop the battery out. A USB charger is included, which takes a rather long 35 minutes to charge. Spare batteries cost about $15 from Odyssey.
Repairability & Parts
A spare set of rotor blades are included with the X7, as well as a small screwdriver for removing the bits that hold the case together. Other spare parts are also available from Odyssey, with a set of two motors costing $9, and a set of blades costing $8. You can't buy other parts, though: if you break the case or controller, you'll need to buy a whole new drone. Mind you, with the whole thing costing just $60, that isn't a major cost.
The X7 is a fun, colorful drone that is easy to fly. It isn't especially fast, but it is quite responsive and maneuvers well. The highlight here is the color, and it looks very cool, especially at night. And, priced at $60, it is a very affordable drone for the trainee pilot who wants a splash of color.