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BetaFPV Pavo360 First Impressions: 18 things you need to know (updated)

BetaFPV Pavo360 hands-on first impressions
BetaFPV Pavo360 hands-on first impressions

Here are my hands-on first impressions of the BetaFPV Pavo360 invisible 360 drone.

I love invisible 360 drones — drones that can capture 360 videos without being visible in the shot.  The newest one is BetaFPV Pavo360 (previewed here), which has cutting edge features such as a retractable landing gear.

I ordered one and just received it.  Here are my first impressions.

BetaFPV Pavo360 hands-on first impressions (review coming soon)
BetaFPV Pavo360 hands-on first impressions (review coming soon)
  1. This is by far the best looking FPV quad I have.  It looks so cool.  Even the motor’s colors match the Pavo360’s striking red and black color scheme.  I love it!
  2. Build quality seems pretty good.  There is excellent attention to detail.  Even the decals aren’t simply ordinary stickers that will peel or turn yellow over time but are more of semi-hard plastic decals with matte finish.
  3. Yes, it is much more powerful than the Invisi360.  With Invisi360 I hover at around 60% throttle.  With Pavo360, hovering is around 35% throttle.
  4. However, because the Pavo360 is significantly heavier, it flies somewhat like a tinywhoop in my opinion.  It is more challenging to fly smoothly than other cinewhoops I have.  I strongly recommend using a lens protector until you get used to it.
  5. Speaking of lens protector, the SMO 360 has a matte finish that makes it difficult for the One X2’s adhesive lens protector to stick to it.  I use scotch tape to keep the lens protectors attached during practice runs.
  6. The tuning is mediocre, in my opinion.  While I’m flying at slow speeds, the Pavo360 seems to vibrate a bit.  However, the shaking does not appear in the SMO 360 video.  Please note the flight controller has no built-in blackbox.
  7. Flight time is better than I expected — about 5 mins. 26 secs. at cruising speed, with the two 850mah 3S batteries in series (acting as a 6S 850mah).
  8. At 6S with 2400kv motors, some people thought the Kv was too high, but after a flight at cruising speed, the motors weren’t even warm.  Please note it’s currently around 56F in our area.
  9. Inserting the battery is hard but you get used to it.  It is a very tight fit.  If you use a battery that is even slightly longer, I can imagine it could be even more difficult to insert.
  10. Inserting the camera the right way takes more effort than I expected.  Make sure none of the wires are in the way and that the camera is fully inserted.  The frame around the camera should be flush to the top frame.  Otherwise, it means the camera is not inserted correctly.
  11. Accessing the flight controller’s Micro USB port is quite inconvenient.  It is angled diagonally and is partially blocked by a power cable.  You need to uninstall the camera to push the cable out of the way.  I use a magnetic swiveling USB cable.
  12. It is possible to access the Micro SD card from the side, without uninstalling the camera.  It is easier to remove the Micro SD if you have angled tweezers.
  13. It’s nice that the receiver’s bind button is easily accessible but one of the stickers will block it so you should bind before applying the stickers.
  14. Speaking of stickers, you’ll almost certainly need to remove the top frame to apply the stickers cleanly.  The sticker goes below the bolts that hold the Caddx Vista, and the bolds can’t be removed without using pliers to grip the nuts.
  15. Everything is tightly packed in this drone.  I highly recommend having a hemostat.
  16. Setting up the landing gear is more straightforward than I expected.  Just keep in mind you’ll be using Aux 4 for the landing gear.  I created a new model with a different aux channel assignment to use the button I wanted.
  17. One of the curve balls was that my unit came with the Caddx Vista in CE mode, which is limited to 25mw.  I had to use the naco hack to switch it to FCC mode with 1200mw maximum output.
  18. The stitching isn’t as bad as I expected it to be.
  19. There is something weird with the exposure that causes bands to appear in low light.  When I’m shooting in the same conditions with the Insta360 One R, I don’t see the bands.  The bands seem to be triggered by the motor (when the motor is turned on in low light, the bands appear).  Using a slow shutter (1/30) mitigates the bands but does not eliminate it.  In daylight, or even in office-level indoor lighting, the bands are not visible.
    UPDATE: BetaFPV has found a fix for this issue which will be addressed in all units going forward.  For existing users, they will post instructions for a fix on their website.
    The banding is caused by magnetic interference generated by a closed loop circuit formed around the camera by the power cables that go from the front of the camera, pass along both sides of the camera, to the power distribution board in the rear of the camera.  The solution is to remove the power distribution board and instead create a series power cable using the existing XT30 pigtails and one of the long power cables.  You’ll also need to relocate the camera power cable to the battery pad in the flight connector, although I strongly recommend using a 9V BEC instead of directly soldering the camera cable to the battery pads.

Stay tuned for my full review, with samples.  Meanwhile here’s Nurk FPV’s review.  Some comments about his review below that:

Some comments:

  • In his review of the Pavo360, Nurk frequently uses tiny planet view, perhaps to show that it is 360.  I want to emphasize that that is definitely not the only way to use 360 video, and when I use it for cinewhooping, I rarely use tiny planet, as you’ll see in my review.
  • I agree with Nurk that it would have been better for the SD card slot to be on top or below, but for what it’s worth, it is possible to access the SD card without removing the camera from the quad by removing it from the side (in the battery slot).
  • The most concerning thing is the banding in low light videos.  I found the same issue when shooting with the SMO 360 in low light.  I’m wondering if it’s possible to avoid them by using a slower shutter speed.
  • Landing gear reliability – it would be nice if the OSD had some kind of indicator of whether the landing gear is up or down.
  • Because the landing gear might not work 100% of the time, it may be better to try one of these 5 ways for landing an invisible 360 drone.
  • Nurk said the X-Knight 360 is “hot garbage.”  I admire Nurk’s skills but I have to strongly disagree with his assessment.  I have the X-Knight 360 and I really like how it flies.  To me, it flies like a toothpick quad, with props that are very large in comparison to its weight.  Its hover point is something like 15% of throttle.  When Nurk reviewed the X-Knight 360, he crashed it into water only a few minutes after the flight, so perhaps he might have a more positive opinion if he had more time to fly it.  Here is my review of X-Knight 360.  I like it so much that I’m on my third unit (first one was analog, second was digital and I sadly lost over the ocean, and my third one is also digital).

Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions.  If you are new to FPV, or are curious to learn, you probably already have everything you need and you can start learning FPV for free.