The EMAX Tinyhawk 3 is a new ready to fly (RTF) FPV drone kit for beginners that has everything you need to fly: a drone, goggles, controller, charger and battery. It’s one of the best RTF kits to date and yet, for most beginners, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are absolutely sure you only want to fly indoors. Here’s why, and what I would recommend instead (updated: August 31, 2022).
If you want to learn how to fly FPV, you’ve probably discovered how complicated it can be. Even just buying a drone has an overwhelming number of choices and it can be bewildering. I know because I’ve been there.
Because buying FPV gear can be very confusing for beginners, it is very tempting to just buy a ready-to-fly (RTF) kit instead. RTF generally means a kit that has everything you need – the drone, the goggles, controller, often the charger and one or two batteries as well. What’s more, they’re usually already paired with each other. It’s as convenient as it gets in this hobby.
The disadvantage of RTF kits is that they often have crappy goggles and controllers, and you quickly outgrow them.
Introducing Tinyhawk 3
The EMAX Tinyhawk 3 is an RTF kit that is designed specifically to address that issue — it includes better goggles and controllers that you won’t outgrow as quickly. The Tinyhawk 3 drone appears to be a decent 1S quad (I don’t have it but I have Tinyhawk 1 and Tinyhawk 2). The specs are similar to the Tinyhawk 2, which was my first FPV quad, but with a sturdier frame, and a canopy that is easier to remove to access its flight controller.
More importantly, the goggles and controller are far better than the ones that are included in typical RTF kits, including EMAX’s own Tinyhawk 2 RTF kit.
The Transporter 2 goggles have a built-in DVR, which lets you record your flights and review them or post them to social media. (Most RTF goggles don’t have a DVR). The LCD display is also removable and can be used as a monitor. In the future, when you buy better goggles (yes, you will), you can let your friends use the LCD monitor to watch your flight in realtime. How cool is that? It even has a standard 1/4-20 tripod hole to let you mount it on a tripod.
The E8 controller is larger and easier to hold, has better gimbals and better build quality. It even comes with a mount for the LCD monitor, which lets you fly your quad the same way as a DJI drone, which may feel more familiar and possibly less claustrophobic for new pilots.
Why I still wouldn’t buy it
There are many reviews of the Tinyhawk 3 and all of the ones I’ve seen are positive. But even though the Tinyhawk 3 RTF is better than most other RTF kits, personally, I wouldn’t recommend this for beginners. Here’s why.
My first FPV quad was the EMAX Tinyhawk 2, and in retrospect, it held back my progress for a very long time. Tinyhawk 2 is a tinywhoop, a palm-sized drone, just like the Tinyhawk 3. With its small size, light weight and prop guards, it seemed like a good and safe drone for beginners, which is why I got one. And it’s cool that I could also fly indoors. But there’s a catch.
The problem with Tinyhawk 2 is that with its 1S power (1S means its batteries have only 1 cell) and tiny props, it is very weak. If there is any breeze, it will struggle. This means that most people wouldn’t fly it in a large space where it could be blown away by the wind and not have enough power to come back. Nor would they want to crash into thick foliage where it could get lost. So I just flew in my backyard and front yard. There, I was never a danger to anyone and I could always recover the drone after it crashed.
But the truth is that a large space will let you learn FPV a lot faster. But I didn’t know that when I started or when people were recommending a tinywhoop to me. So I learned to fly FPV in my backyard, struggling for several months. It was only after I got a larger Beta95X 2.5 inch quad months later and flew in an open field that I started to truly learn to fly. At first, I was intimidated by it because it was much more powerful than my Tinyhawk but it was actually easier to fly. So, although the Tinyhawk 3 may be much better than other RTF kits, IMHO, it is not an easy way to learn FPV.
Another reason not to buy this kit is that the controller can only be used with FrSky D8, which is a common receiver protocol, but in my opinion, is a dead end because of its short range. Frsky D8 (or D16) is so weak that I would sometimes failsafe if I flew from our backyard to our front yard (and we have a small house). It is hard to learn confidently when you are always worried about losing control of your quad. Moreover, Frsky has angered the FPV community by using its popularity to try to prevent its users from using other receivers and radios. If you buy other quads that work with Frsky, you will likely regret it (as I did) and have to change the receivers in the future unless you only want to fly nearby.
If not Frsky then what? Obviously, it would have been unrealistic to expect EMAX to use a high-end receiver protocol like Crossfire in an RTF kit but it would have been much better if EMAX had used the inexpensive but highly regarded ExpressLRS 2.4 or 900 instead of Frsky. Even though the controller can’t be used with other receivers, at least ExpressLRS is an excellent receiver protocol that has a bright future.
What about the goggles? At least those are useful right? Yes and no. The monitor function is kind of useful but the video quality will be terrible. It will have a lot of static and will flicker a lot. That’s just the nature of analog FPV (unless you buy a high end video transmitter or VTX). The only people who would care to watch that kind of video is either the pilot himself or other FPV pilots. If you really want to record video for social media, you need a drone that can carry an external camera like the Insta360 Go 2 or a drone with DJI digital system. The Tinyhawk 3 drone can do neither.
What I would buy instead
If you want to learn FPV here are other choices I would recommend instead:
- EMAX Nanohawk X ($139 with Frsky receiver). This is a 1S quad like the Tinyhawk 3 but it has much larger 3-inch props. It flies amazingly well for 1S and you can even zip tie an Insta360 Go 2 to it (and it would still fly reasonably well). And it is even cheaper than the Tinyhawk 3. The downside is that you’ll need to buy goggles, controller, and charger separately. But it uses XT30 connectors, the same ones used in many other drones, so you’ll be able to use your charger for your other batteries in the future. Note that it doesn’t have prop guards so you shouldn’t fly this near people unless you know what you’re doing. Another issue is that the camera angle is not adjustable and is angled for moderate speed, which may be too fast for beginners, so you’ll either have to get used to the camera pointing up, or you should fly it in a larger space. Tip: the only receiver option for Nanohawk X is FrSky. Instead of buying an FrSky radio like a Taranis QX7 or X-Lite, choose a radio with a multiprotocol module, such as the Jumper T-Pro.
BetaFPV Pavo25 (starting at $349). This is a digital 2.5-inch cinewhoop — an FPV drone designed for shooting cinematic FPV video. This is the new version of the Beta95X v3, which is the quad that really let me learn to fly FPV. It does have prop guards and if you fly it at moderate speeds, it will be durable. As with the Nanohawk X, you’ll need to buy goggles, controller, and charger separately. Alternatively, you can get other 2.5-inch cinewhoops. The GepRC Cinelog25 costs significantly more but has much better tuning. Holybro Kopis 2.5 also flies well but the flight controller is very inconvenient to access if you want to change the receiver or fix anything. iFlight Protek25 is durable and flies well but it’s very loud and not very reliable – mine has developed a problem in one of the motors or possibly the ESC, even though it’s never been in a hard crash.
- DJI FPV Combo ($999). If you want a drone that is incredibly easy and convenient to use, can fly decently, has optional prop guards, and most importantly, has best-in-class goggles that you’ll never need to upgrade from, this is it. Yes it’s pricey but if you consider the cost of the goggles by themselves ($429), the price of the drone, controller, battery, and charger are reasonable. And unlike any of the other FPV drones on the market, this has a panic button feature that will stabilize the drone in the air even if it is upside down (note: it takes a couple of seconds for it to work). It can also be flown in GPS-stabilized mode, like a typical DJI drone (but please don’t stay in that mode or you’ll never learn FPV). The downside is that if you want to fly other FPV drones with the goggles, you can do that but you do need to buy another controller, charger, and batteries (the ones that come with the DJI FPV combo only work with this drone). More info here.
- DJI Avata ($1168 & up). If you want to shoot flythrough videos, the Avata will enable you to do that much more easily than a traditional FPV drone. It can also be flown manually if you want to learn traditional FPV skills. The downside is that it is pretty much incompatible with almost all other FPV drones. The controller works only with the DJI FPV (see above). The new goggles don’t work with other drones yet. The batteries and charger are also unique to the Avata.
- Eachine Novice IV ($419). This is an RTF kit with a 4S 4-inch freestyle quad, decent goggles, controller, charger and batteries. If you want a “real” FPV starter kit, with components that an FPV pilot would actually care to use, this is it. The quad is powerful enough to fly almost anywhere – you’ll never need to buy a bigger quad. The controller is a Radiomaster TX12. It has multiprotocol capability (it has built-in support for other protocols, not just FrSky). More importantly, it can be upgraded with JR module that can be used for best-in-class receiver protocols such as Crossfire or ExpressLRS. I have a similar controller – the Jumper T12 Pro – and it’s one of my two primary controllers.
The EV800DM goggles are ok goggles for analog (I have a pair of the EV800D, which is similar). Sure they are not sexy like a Fatshark, but they do the job and have a large display. If you want to just fly analog, you can fly with them and never need to upgrade them. I just want to caution that if you’re older like me, box goggles like the EV800DM can cause eyestrain because it’s harder for old folks like us to focus on close objects. There are spacers for the EV800D but they don’t work for the EV800DM. If there is a downside to this kit, it’s that you need ample space to fly this powerful quad. A beginner won’t be able to fly it in a small backyard or a small playground. You should have at least a football field size or larger space. And please start with a very low camera angle like 5 or 10 degrees.
- GepRC TinyGO RTF ($259). This is an RTF kit that is similar to Tinyhawk 3 RTF but is much more powerful. Like Tinyhawk 3, it has better goggles and controller than typical RTF kits. As with Tinyhawk 3, the goggles have DVR and can record videos. The quad is about the same size as Tinyhawk 3. The difference is that this one has two battery plugs, so it uses 1S batteries but has 2S power. Moreover, it can use 2-inch props instead of the included 1.6 inch props. With 2S power, larger props, and larger 1102 motors, it will be much more powerful than Tinyhawk 3 and should be able to fly outdoors in a light breeze. The TinyGo RTF also happens to be slightly cheaper than the Tinyhawk 3 RTF. There is a version of this kit with 4k video but I wouldn’t suggest that. Just save up for a digital quad in the future.
- HGLRC Petrel 75 RTF ($219). This is similar to Tinyhawk 3 RTF but is much cheaper. Radiomaster T8 Lite is a “real” FPV controller that uses the FrSky D8 protocol, but like the Emax E8 controller for Tinyhawk, it is not upgradeable. This kit costs almost 1/3 less than Tinyhawk 3. The downside is that the goggles don’t have DVR and can’t be converted to a monitor.
- Newbeedrone Acrobee RTF ($269). This is a clever RTF bundle that actually stores your drone, batteries, and charger in the goggles. The Acrobee 65 itself flies pretty well (in my opinion, it flies better than the Tinyhawk) and has powerful brushless motors. Like the Tinyhawk 3, the goggles display can serve as a monitor. My only criticism is the same as for Tinyhawk – this is intended for indoors, which is not an easy environment for learning. But if you insist on learning on a tiny whoop, this is a pretty good kit.
- If you really, really want a simple RTF kit, the BetaFPV Cetus Pro has similar pros/cons, but is about 25% cheaper than Tinyhawk 3. It even has a basic type of altitude hold, which you can use as training wheels as it were. The controllers are ok, but not upgradeable either. There is also an even cheaper BetaFPV Cetus kit (which I have) but it has much less powerful brushed motors and would be hard to fly outdoors in the slightest breeze, so I would suggest Cetus Pro instead. The disadvantage of the Cetus Pro is that the goggles are smaller and can’t be converted to a monitor. The goggles also don’t have a DVR. But again, as with Tinyhawk 3, you’ll outgrow this, but at least, you’re spending less money than Tinyhawk 3.
DarwinFPV Baby Ape ($79 without receiver). This is a small 2S-3S freestyle quad with 3-inch props that is very affordable but flies really well. The biggest downside for beginners is that it has no receiver included. You’ll have to add a receiver, which requires soldering four wires. If you do know how to solder though, this is the best value for beginners. I recommend adding an ExpressLRS receiver such as the Happymodel EP2, which is long range, low cost, low latency, very compact. The goggles and controller are not included. For beginner goggles, I recommend Eachine EV800. For the controller, I recommend Jumper T-Pro with built-in ExpressLRS.
I still like my tinyhawk 2 after flying 5″ 3″ 4″ , I feel like it has a purpose and that is to fly indoors. another excellent option is the tinyhawk freestyle 2, plenty of power in and outside, I think I learned more from that quad than anything, and durable AF. also my tinyhawk 2 does 7.4v but honestly it flies better on 1s. If your stuck indoors, tinyhawk 2 , outdoors, anything but.
Thanks Bonzai. Yes it is great for flying indoors (especially during winter), and won’t annoy the rest of the family 😀 As for TH2 Freestyle, I’ve heard good things about it and have been tempted to buy it before. My only hesitation is the RTF kit’s controller and goggles are nearly worthless. May as well just buy the quad. And if you’re going to do that, I think Nanohawk X is a better option. It flies amazingly well!
I own two drones, the Tiny Hawk 3 and the Beta 95X V3 and completely disagree with this article. I have only been flying the TH3 outside on 1S 450mah HV batteries and I absolutely love it. It’s the first drone I flew and it immediately felt great and very stable outside. That’s just my experience and opinion.
I just came to drone fpv from RC motor assist gliders and can’t recommend these two drones enough.
Hi JKD. Which do you prefer for flying outside: your 95X or TH3? And if you like the TH3, I highly recommend trying out the nanohawk X. It’s going to blow your mind!
So if you dont have the tinyhawk 3 howl can you review it? pffft.
Hi Goober. I didn’t review it. I’m just saying tiny whoops in general are not good quads to learn from, and I explained why.
Never had any issues with power on the th2. Several of your suggested drones would not be good for indoor. NONE of the goggles that come as a kit are very good. Th2 on 2s is a monster. Tinyhawk seems to be popular, oh and you can tilt the canopy on th2 or 3 so camera angle IS adjustable.
Thanks Tonyhawk2. Re googles in the kit, the EV800 in the Eachine one is decent. And the goggles in the DJI FPV kit are pretty good too 😉
Re indoor, yes definitely several of these suggestions are not appropriate for indoor. But if you’re learning, you will learn faster outdoors. Flying indoors can come later.
Re TH2 on 2S yes it is powerful for its size, but it’s still not ideal for outdoors. No doubt it is popular. It’s just not a good choice for beginners, is my opinion.
Re camera angle, I said the one on the Nanohawk X is not adjustable. I didn’t say that the TH2 or TH3 is not adjustable.
All of the Tinyhawks can fly on 2s, which makes them great yard flyers. You don’t just ignore that fact completely here, you talk about the lack of it being a negative…. when it isn’t. A Tinyhawk on 2s is a great little outdoor drone to learn with.
Thanks raketemensch. No problem I’ll add that you can use 2S. But do you agree that it is better to learn to fly outdoors, and that other quads with larger props (e.g. 2.5 or 3 inch) and longer range would be better for outdoors than tinyhawk 3?
Mic Ty, my goal is to first learn fpv and try to learn my 8 year boy also. I decided to take the path of buying a controller as first controller/radio that will use for a simulator and keep him for later on (JumperRc T-Pro, 1000mw elrs – i’m waiting to arive).
As a 2nd step i was thinking a small quad with prop guards(? would be nice for the kid to learn) that could carry a small cam(? 360 or a naked gopro?!)
What are your thoughts on that? Thank you (all) in advance for your time!
Hey there Chris. Jumper T-Pro is a great choice! I love mine. As for ELRS it’s a good choice too but could limit the available BNF quads (unless you know how to solder). Yes I highly recommend getting a cinewhoop around 2.5 inch or 3 inch. It’s neither too weak nor too powerful in my opinion. I would suggest the Cinelog 30 or if you want a very sturdy one, the HGLRC Racewhoop, which is extremely durable and is the easiest quad to maintain because of its elegant design.
If your budget permits, I would jump straight to digital with DJI — the quality is so much better that it will make it easier to fly. I wouldn’t worry about getting a camera on it yet but if you really want one, I like the DJI Action 2 (you can get the base model). Another possibility is the Insta360 One RS, which can convert from a 4k action cam to a 360 camera. It can also be powered by an iFlight USB C connector so you can leave out the battery to save weight (I would suggest using a 3D printed frame for it). I have a review of the RS here: https://360rumors.com/insta360-one-rs-review-comparison/
I’d like to thank you Mic Ty for help. I’m ok with soldering. I was thinking also the cinelog35 as (a later) option. DJI is the way to go.. i “little” up – price wise …. When i get there , I will check it again (may be there is an alternative also 😛 )
Thank you again – impressive 360 videos, nice job
Sorry one more camera recommendation, which I totally forgot — Insta360 Go 2 (duh!) Because it is so small and light, it is very popular for FPV and even some tinywhoops can carry it. It will be very easy to mount it to a cinewhoop (many mounts are available). Here’s my review of Go 2: Insta360 Go 2 Review: 46 features + 10 weaknesses you should know (updated November 4, 2021)
Some of the drones you listed are definitely not for beginners. Most of this is based on opinion and the way you fly I love my tiny hawk too and I have flown an outdoors a lot even with light wind. I don’t feel that it holds you back as it is a completely different style of flying from being outside on a freestyle 4S or 3s. Personally I wouldn’t recommend any of the kids I would buy the item separately as the goggles and controllers at least for the tiny Hawks are crap.
Thanks Tony. As you said, it’s a different style of flying. To me, tiny whoops are “jumpy” (opposite of “floaty”) because of the small props. A less jumpy quad is better for beginners, which is one of the reasons why I don’t think tiny whoops are good for beginners.
You seem to be at a point in using drones where you’ve lost sight of what beginning even is. I am an absolute beginner and I don’t know everything I need and I don’t know what I don’t know yet. I’m going to make mistakes because of those unknown unknowns and if I couldn’t even fly the thing I spend $200 on then I’d definitely get frustrated. This makes your suggestions of buying disparate parts without clear connections and pitfalls of some protocols not playing nicely a very big problem as an entry level suggestion.
Instead as a beginner I want a full set or bundle of things to buy that would work together out of the box. Price point is also important because as a beginner I don’t want to buy something top of the line if I decide I don’t care after a few weeks of use and it ends up sitting on the shelf.
I plan to make a more comprehensive guide to FPV for beginners, including what you need to buy. But trust me, you will quickly outgrow many RTF kits (with some exceptions, such as DJI FPV).
Totally new to fpv. What do you think of the Eachine ex2 as a starter fpv drone? It comes with goggles, and I think it is like a bugs 3,but with altitude hold. ThNks
Hi Brad. I’ve never tried the Eachine EX2 but from videos it looks like a toy grade drone. I do have some toy drones that have altitude hold that are kind of ok to play with, but nothing like a real FPV. I guess if you aren’t sure if you will like FPV, you can try it out 😀
Ok I was surprised by this post, I fly 3,4, and 5inch freestyle and mini and micro whoops. I got the THIII rtf bundle to start teaching my daughter. I wholeheartedly could not disagree with you more. Sounds like you’ve had issues with emax. I fly that little whoop outside Dailey from my porch. I live in Kansas, so wind is always a factor. In acro mode the TH3 flies awesome outdoors. Easily 10 to 12mph winds with ease (in acro) 20mph hell no. It is also a very good habit to learn to handle a breeze or wind. This is a great rtf bundle for indoor and out. I have tons of dvr flights in a solid 10 to 12mph constant with higher gust if anyone would like to see I’ll be more than happy to post. Read the hundreds of other reviews that contradict this review. Added note, the goggles are great in this kit. Own several different brands and the new emax Transporter 2s are top of the line in box goggles. Try not to persuade people to avoid something you don’t even own it fly.
Hi Vizz. Thanks for your feedback. Have you flown the Nanohawk X? I highly recommend trying that and then letting me know how it compares to the Tinyhawk, or any of the other quads I suggested, which either fly better or are cheaper.
Hey Mic Ty,
I got it in my head a few days ago to buy a fpv freestyle drone. After extensive research, I decided to buy either the Tinyhawk 3 or the Cetus Pro, but then read your review and now I’m not sure, since I mainly want to fly outside. I now see the Eachine Novice IV as a possible solution as it also comes in a complete package (controller, battery, charging station and VR goggles). However, I noticed that the drone is bigger then the others (or am I wrong?) and has no protection around the propellers. That’s why I wanted to ask if you need a drone license for the Eachine Novice IV and if this drone can really withstand bigger crashes? Would you recommend another drone for me (that comes as a whole kit) and if so, which one? Or would the Eachine Novice IV be just right for me (I am really still completely inexperienced when it comes to fpv drones)?
Thanks a lot for your response!
Hi RazenReaq. Eachine Novice IV can withstand crashes but you’ll need to replace props when you have significant crashes. If you want less hassle from that, you can add prop guards to the eachine novice.
Whether you need a drone license depends on your local laws. In the US, a Part 19 license is required if you are earning any money from it. For example, if you post to a YouTube channel and you earn ad revenue from your YouTube channel, the FAA will want you to have a Part 19 license.
As a beginner, I purchased a happymodel and a beta tinywhoop for indoor flying only and was about to give up on flying all together as even with months of simulator time, I just felt the skill requirement was too high to enjoy. I was constantly crashing and stressed. It wasn’t enjoyable. Lucky I found a Tiny Hawk III on sale and thought I’d make one last try. It is a bit slower to get speed up than my other tinywhoops, with less flight time, but that is honestly perfect for me, the other tinwhoops had too much power/weight ratio and were way too twitchy, needed far more skill than I have at this point to enjoy flying and I was constantly worried they were about to break from my constant crashes. The VTX was also more reliable for me in the tinyhawk which added to my ability to fly well.
I understand the author is making valid points about flying outside in larger spaces to build skill etc, but I just wanted something for indoor flying with solid prop guards, as outdoor fpv flying is not an option for me where I live. So if you’re a noobie that plans to fly around the house mostly, the tinyhawk III is a great option for low stress enjoyable flying. Just to flag I didn’t buy the RTF kit, I purchased the BNF kit and I used an 8 year old taranis X9D controller and old fatshark dominator v2 goggles.
Happy flying all.
You should update this for the DJI FPV where you mention a downfall is the lack of compatibility with the controller that comes with it, but recently with a firmware update in 12/2022 the Caddx Vistas are now able to use the new Goggles 2 AND the FPV Remote Controller 2. This effectively allows the remote that came with DJI FPV to work with nearly any quad built or bought.