Bwine F7GB2 Drone Review - Not Competition Yet
Competition in the consumer drone space is lackluster. One company dominates all tiers, from beginner drones to professional tools. That is why when drone enthusiasts hear about a new drone maker, it gives hope while still inducing skepticism. Bwine contacted us with a proposal to provide a drone for review, and we agreed. They sent us the Bwine F7GB2. We did as many tests with this drone as we deemed necessary; this is our honest opinion. Bwine does not get to read this review before publication or have any influence over it.
Bwine F7 Kit
The drone kit has two batteries, a remote controller, an extra propeller set, a couple of USB A to USB C cables, and a few other bits packed in a decent carrying bag. As a single option for the price, this is not bad.
The drone is made of basic plastic. The Bwine F7 has short foldable arms and a bottom-mounted gimbal between its landing legs. A middle-of-the-ground construction between a fully rigid quadcopter and a compact foldable one. Fundamentally the structure of the drone is sound, and the build quality is decent for the price.
The remote controller is OK too. The fold-out bottom makes it comfortable to hold. At the same time, the top smartphone mount is the correct placement for a screen, in our opinion. The RC has six buttons, a couple of dials, and a simple screen for telemetry. The additional screen, however rudimentary, is always nice to have.
Bwine F7 follows many of the established basic rules for quadcopters. It has the same stick control scheme as usual; it has the return to home functionality and lands by holding the left stick down. If you are an experienced operator, there will be no surprises, or if you are a beginner, you will learn the established control scheme of consumer GPS quadcopters.
But there is little positive to be said about the drone dynamics during flight. It is only good enough. The inertia is relatively high for such a small drone, while the responsiveness is relatively low. The input lag is not a huge factor, but the motors/battery do not seem that powerful. However, the drone lasted 16 minutes of real-world flight time, which is OK.
But most importantly, the issue is the old-fashioned way of connecting your phone. The phone connects via regular wifi directly to the drone and not via a cable to the remote. This means that the range and live feed quality is only as good as the connection to the phone. Also, it makes maps pointless because the phone we tested (Xiaomi Mi 11) had to be in airplane mode during the flight. So no mobile data to download maps while wifi connection is in use with the drone.
Finally, the drone has no obstacle avoidance or even ground sensors. It has a GPS and a compass, and possibly an IMU. When you land it - the process is quite a bit longer than usual it takes a hot minute for the drone to settle down. But with careful landing, we had no issues with the drone bouncing around or tipping over.
This is the part where our review takes a turn. Yes, drones can be toys made just for the fun of flying. Still, those are typically either FPV-style acrobatic drones or much less expensive, lighter units. Bwine X7 is a GPS-enabled camera drone that even has a 4K label on it (the label is false, and this camera is not 4k in any possible way). Flying is a relatively small part of the experience - taking photos and video, looking at the views, and enjoying them afterward is the central part.
Sadly the camera is useless on this drone. It contains some cheap, off-the-shelf, 10+-year-old at best 720p sensor, usually found in toy cameras or most inexpensive webcams with a poor fisheye lens in front of it. There are no photo or video exposure settings to adjust and no resolution or format settings. Most importantly, the image quality is abysmal and unusable for any purpose. Unfortunately, our unit even arrived with a misaligned lens, which worsened matters, highlighting possible QC issues regarding the camera. Because of this, we will not do any detailed camera or video tests or see how it could work for photogrammetry.
The drone has a tracking feature, and the camera is mounted on a very basic but perfectly functional 3-axis gimbal. Still, sadly everything is undermined by the useless camera quality. Tracking is only helpful if you can make a decent image or video.
We appreciate any new drone makers in the market but we need legitimate competition. Bwin F7 does not compete for its price. If it was cheaper, it could be a beginner's drone for learning quadcopter control fundamentals, and everything other than the camera is fine. Such a construction has plenty of space for a decent camera. For every other mediocre aspect, the camera should be the redeeming factor. For example, if it had a Phantom 4 Pro equivalent camera for the price - everything else could be forgiven, but alas. We hope Bwine can steadily improve and release something competitive in the future.
Photographer - Drone Pilot - Photogrammetrist. Years of experience in gathering data for photogrammetry projects, client support and consultations, software testing, and working with development and marketing teams. Feel free to contact me via Pixpro Discord or email (email@example.com) if you have any questions about our blog.
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