It was known for being acquired by Intel, and amazed everyone at CES by performing a stunning obstacle avoidance show, which was revealed as a fake one. Its flagship, Typhoon H is seldom seen in Chinese market. But the reason behind it seems to be Yuneec’s focus abroad, nothing strange if the Typhoon H is little known in China. And today I’m going to give review to another Yuneec product, Yuneec Breeze.
Unboxing | Build Quality
The box is white, same as the aircraft itself, showing a sense of minimalism.
In the box: accessories as well as a storage box, which I personally like, for it makes the drone’s storage easier.
Aircraft X1, propeller protector X4, flight batteryX1, storage box X1, spared propeller set X1, charger X1, cable X1, user menu.
There are screws for the spared propellers, but no screwdriver is included. The capacity of the battery is 1150mAh, a little higher than Dobby’s 970mAh.
The plastic storage box is quite soft but with a very tight “Push” button, creating a lot of trouble when trying to open it.
Yuneec Breeze has soft lines, which makes it look chubby and cute, despite an obvious bump on top of the aircraft for GPS antennas. The white color is also appealing, though might be a bit hard to keep it clean, I guess.
Like many drones in the market, Yuneec Breeze is plastic, too. But its shell is thinner, with a poor texture and even some cracks on it. The build quality is not impressive in general.
Sensors at the bottom of the drone: the large one is IRS, and small one is OFM, for hovering and positioning respectively.
Landing gears at the bottom need to be unfolded manually, otherwise the glass of the sensors will directly touch the ground and get scratched, affecting the precision of hovering and positioning.
When the landing gears are unfolded, the Yuneec Breeze is lifted to about 1cm above the ground, giving effective protection to its bottom. But folding the gears back is a tough job, because the springback is very strong. With no cushion on the gears, the frame arms are hurt due to the strong impact force when folding the gears back.
And the openings on aircraft body is rough too. You can see the cables connecting the main board and motors straightly from the back of the battery compartment. Thermovents are set on the top of the arms, left no cover or protection from the rain which can directly get to the battery and main board, and you can say goodbye to your drone.
Rain can get into the aircraft body from the thermovents on top, risking short-circuited problems.
Cables can be seen from the gap between a motor and the frame arm.
Probably because Breeze is not properly sealed, I found something inside the IRS (on the other side of the glass).
There is no way to remove it, driving an OCD like me crazy.
A huge interface exposes the USB connection as well as the main board inside the aircraft, something so rough that I’ve never seen in other drones…
The camera of the OFM is not at the center, again, driving me crazy.
Though the build quality is not impressive at all, still there is highlights. The camera, for example, is 1-axis and can be adjusted with the dedicated app, instead of doing it manually like Dobby.
Mounting propeller protectors to Yuneec Breeze is very easy, because they are simply fixed by snaps. It brings convenience for setting, but also risk of falling off by a slight impact.
Though Dobby’s body is thick, thanks for its foldable design, it’s still narrower than an iPhone 7 Plus. Apparently Breeze is less portable than Dobby. Its size reaches 196x196x65mm, larger than iPhone 7 Plus even when it’s folded up, impossible to fit in your pocket.
Put Breeze in the storage box and it has nothing to do with portability anymore. The box is a bit larger than an 8-inch cake box, which can only be put in a backpack instead of a chest bag.
Flight | Control
Because the controller and the aircraft is connected with Wi-Fi, the maximum controllable range of Yuneec Breeze is only 80m (at height) and 100m (at distance), typical spec of mini drones emerged since last year. Selfie is the main application scenario.
Yuneec Breeze uses app— the most common way for control. There are two ways of control, joystick and slider. The former serves just like a controller, with the right stick for horizontal moves, and left for ascend/descend and heading. But still, the virtual sticks are not sensitive enough to peer the real ones.
Also when you are flying Yuneec Breeze in joystick mode, you can press a button and the drone will mimic your smart phone’s motion. Latency for this mode is not bad, but still not sensitive enough to get the drone back when accidents happen. So my suggestion is to fly in a wide open space.
The setting of Slider mode, on the other hand, is disastrous. Pushing up for controlling the done back and forth, down for heading, right for ascending/descending and left for pitch. The design is unreasonable and every difficult to predict the attitude of the drone if you don’t look at it.
But the most complicated thing is you can’t control the flight and camera simultaneously.
There are six flight modes:
Pilot Mode：Joystick control, ordinary flight mode
Selfie Mode：Slider control, with the drone facing to the pilot
Orbit Mode：Slider control, using GPS to circle around a certain point
Journey Mode：Slider control, by using camera pitch to calculate the trajectory of the aircraft, Breeze will fly away from you and then back to you.
VisionTrack Mode: Joystick control. In Follow Me, Yuneec Breeze uses GPS to track your movement.
*FPV Mode: Not released yet.
Orbit: In Orbit mode, you need to manually choose a point, and Breeze will circle around it basing on the GPS information of this point. Besides, the camera gimbal also needs manual adjustment, too. But due to GPS error, Breeze is often astray when circling.
Journey: By using camera pitch to calculate the trajectory of the aircraft, Breeze will fly away from you and then back to you. Because Breeze doesn’t have any obstacle avoidance on board, always watch out for obstacles when using this mode.
VisionTrack: In VisionTrack mode, use two fingers to frame a target on the screen, and Yuneec Breeze will adjust its heading and automatically follow the target. You can switch between Watch and Track modes manually.
In our test, the Watch mode is very unstable, with a lot of shakings during recording, because the gimbal keeps tilting up and down. While the Track mode often goes off course when following a target. Can’t figure out why.
Yuneec Breeze is equipped with a 13 megapixel camera, capable of recording 4K/30fps without electronic stabilization, common among small-size drones.
Remember Dobby’s image quality? Due to the lack of built-in damping balls and stabilization gimbal, the edges of images that Dobby shoots will blur out, and videos shows severe jello effect like the screenshot above.
Equipped with built-in damping balls, Yuneec Breeze does a much better job in shooting and recording, compared to Dobby. No sign of jello effect basically. However, limited by its flight stability and camera quality, the overall camera performance is just so-so.
Resolution of the above image reaches 4160X3120, but image quality is not impressive. Color reproduction isn’t precise; details are not clear; ISO and shutter cannot be adjusted either.
In terms of recording, the footage at 1080p shows visible shakings even when Breeze is hovering and with stabilization. It seems the single axis can only control the camera’s pitch, instead of reducing shakes.
Although Yuneec Breeze manages to satisfy the most basic shooting needs, consider its price is as high as 3000RMB (3299RMB originally), its price/performance ratio is low.
Duration | Summary
After several landings and taking-offs, the real flight time of Breeze is a little longer than 10min, still a gap with the announced 12min. Given the wind speed and operation during the test, such a gap is acceptable, anyway.
Still, 10min flight time is too short for a mini drones with portability and such a high price, meaning it’s not suitable for daily use. Few people will spend this amount of money and effort just for a 10min flight.
But on the other hand, it’s encouraging to see drones like Breeze launched to the market. Small and smart drones are the future of drone industry. In whichever industry, it’s good to have someone dare to give it a go.
- Adorable appearance, fresh color, appealing to female consumers
- Storage box to protect the aircraft from collision and scratches
- Built-in damping balls reduces shakes and increase camera performance
- Single axis gimbal to control camera movement
- Poor build quality and material texture. Exposed connector and unreasonable design
- Not foldable. Poor portability.
- Mushy control. Slider design is a nightmare
- Flight and camera cannot be control at the same time
- The quality of images and videos is not satisfactory
- Flight time is too short
- The price is too high.
Tear apart | Notes
From top to bottom: cooling fin, IRS and OFM. Processor and ISP should be behind the fin. Modules are properly set on the main board, cables are well organized and neat.
The camera in Yuneec Breeze can be tilted by a steering gear, and the camera is directly connected to the main board. Damping balls serve as cushions between main board, frame arms and motors, effectively reducing vertical high frequency shakes, the best way to solve jello effect problems.
The build quality inside Breeze is better than that of Typhoon H. however, Yuneec should really improve Breeze’s shell…