Gadgets for humans

Aerix Black Talon 2.0 is drone racing’s gateway drug


Calling the Black Talon 2.0 the best racing drone for beginners is doing it a great disservice. As someone who has flown everything from $29 micro-drones to several-thousand dollar quadcopters, there’s something insulting about slapping Aerix’s latest entry with a “for beginners” tag.

But I’m going to do it anyway, only with one caveat: no matter what your skill level, the Black Talon 2.0 (BT2) is a lot of fun.

Like the previous Aerix drone we looked at, the Vidius HD, BT2 has a lot to like. It’s cheap (around $100), small enough to fly indoors, and offers a great camera capable of piping out 720p video to either a first-person headset, a smartphone mounted to the controller, or the internal storage system that allows you the option to view the footage later.

Like most of these cheaper cameras, the performance is directly dependent on the lighting, but overall it does pretty well.

It also features superior flight mechanics that allow you to spend your time racing around between rooms rather than constantly adjusting altitude or directional orientation. When you push forward on the sticks, the drone moves in the direction you’d expect forward to be.

For beginners, they seem to struggle most with orientation. Forward isn’t always forward, depending on the orientation of the drone. So pushing forward with the camera pointing 90-degrees right would actually make the drone continue in that direction rather than its intended course. BT2 has solved this problem, which makes it something even a completely new beginner can pick up and fly immediately.

And flying is where this thing excels. Built-in trick buttons and the ability to pilot the mini-quadcopter in a first person view (with optional $25 headset) offers a rather cool experience that makes anyone feel like a seasoned pilot. And unlike the Vidius HD —  which was a capable indoor flier but got a little bogged down outside with even the slightest breeze (I later learned) — BT2 can handle the outdoors a bit better.

Being able to seamlessly move from indoors to out without making adjustments (or switching drones) is a plus. That said, it’s still very light, and I wouldn’t trust it in anything other than a slight breeze or at altitudes above 15-20 feet.

All told, though, at around $100, you really can’t go wrong with either of the Aerix drones we’ve tried. For my money though, it’s the Black Talon 2.0, all the way.

You can get yours at the Aerix website.

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Published April 25, 2017 — 21:18 UTC