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DronesWatch Flight Demo – The Deer C D20
Summary of the Deer C D20 mini drone
**Yes, that’s right, I like to start with a summary as I know you guys don’t necessarily have much time to spare. And yes, this review is based on the assumption that you’re thinking of buying for a child, so it will focus on child-related issues. Ok, let’s do this!!**
Right out of the gate, I’m going to tell you, I don’t really know who this drone has been made for and I don’t particularly recommend buying it.
It’s not awful, but there are just better options.
The problem as I see it, is that Deer C seem to have tried to build a drone that will appear desirable to people who want a ‘proper’ drone but don’t want to spend a proper amount of money. And the result is inevitably disappointing regardless of whether you’re buying it as a toy or as an outdoor-capable camera drone.
The rest of this review deals with the drone as a toy, and I’ll crack on with that in a second. But first I’ll quickly address the main issues it has if thought of as a ‘proper’ drone:
- Whilst the D20 looks fairly large and robust, with its bulky construction and large rotors, it is actually still quite small and underpowered in the context of the whole gamut of drones. Alongside this, in order to keep costs down, Deer C haven’t included a gyroscope or any top-end stabilisation software. Put all this together and you’re left with a drone that you might expect to be good for taking photos in the great outdoors, but in reality will blow away at the slightest provocation and if you’re hoping it will hold steady long enough for you to take a nice picture, you will be disappointed.
- The camera itself. Again, to keep costs and weight down Deer C have equipped the D20 with a very low resolution camera and, arguably worse than that, have not included a remote-controlled gimbal. What this means is, you have to set the camera angle before take-off then go and take whatever low quality images you can manage with that pre-set angle. Add to this the above point about stability and suffice it to say, you won’t be winning any photography awards.
So that’s why you probably don’t want to buy it for use as an adult. Let’s now look at some of the specifics of the D20 in the context of kids toys.
Ease of use
Battery clipping in/out – Nice and easy. They use a battery in a removable casing, so it could hardly be simpler to remove it and replace
Assembly – All you need to do is pull the rotor arms out, attach the prop guards and stick a battery in.
Easy to launch? – It uses the popular ‘up/down on the left stick’ combo to link the remote, then it’s up twice to lift off. Pretty simple.
Easy to trim? – Press one button to put it in trim mode, then use the right stick. This is not a great system, because using one of the sticks to set trim level is so much vaguer than the more frequently used method of having buttons that change the trim by small, fixed increments.
Headless mode? – Yes.
Does the remote turn off automatically to save the battery? – No.
Because I don’t love the D20 I haven’t flown it much, and my kids haven’t bothered with it at all so I can’t provide much anecdotal evidence here.
I can tell you that it feels and looks cheap. I can also tell you that the very first time I flew it, the left stick snapped off. I wasn’t doing anything weird with it, it’s just the plastic is really thin. I’ve seen this mentioned by other online reviewers, so it’s not just me!
Weight – Low
Speed – Quite fast.
Propeller guards – There are some but there are purely designed to stop the props hitting obstacles, as they are just thin fingers of plastic extending beyond the props. There is no coverage above or below the blades, nor any around the rest of the perimeter, so people are not protected.
Size and rigidity of props – Quite large and quite rigid.
All in all, the D20 is about as dangerous as a small drone can be. It’s large unprotected propellers could cause injuries, especially to younger children. And the aforementioned instability (due, I suspect, to the large props on a small frame) doesn’t help either; even if you’re being careful, you can’t control its movements with real precision.
Speeds – Fast enough to be fun, certainly.
Lights – None.
Tricks – Just the standard flips that all toy drones can do these days.
Camera – Yes! A rare plus point for the Deer C. But not as much of a plus as you might imagine. See point 2 in the Intro for details.
What’s in the box?
- 2 batteries
- Charging cable
- Controller (requires AAA batteries)
- Full set of replacement propellers
Is maintenance easy/possible?
Like most small drones, maintenance isn’t really possible for the D20. It comes with replacement props, and they are easy to take on and off, requiring just a screwdriver, but no other spare parts are available. This is partly due to there probably being very little demand for such parts, as most people will simply throw a cheap drone in the bin if it goes wrong, and partly because the D20 is so small making repairs would be beyond the abilities of 99% of users.
Is it noisy?
Yes! It is a bit noisy this one!! I don’t know if it’s the size of the rotors or something else, but the D20 is surprisingly noisy given its size. It kind of feels like you’ve unleashed a demented, flying lawnmower into the room. Cat owners beware.
I got one to hover for just over 8 minutes which is on the good end of normal for a toy drone.
Can it be flown outside?
Only if you’re happy to lose it. Wind affects small drones like the D20 like you wouldn’t believe. A breeze that you can barely detect will blow it off course.
Having said that, if you take it to a large, open space where losing it isn’t possible, you could certainly have fun battling the elements.
Any recommended accessories?
Just this power bank, which is useful for charging drone batteries if you’re on the move or if you simply want to avoid clogging up your wall sockets.
Summaries of online reviews
My review above is subjective and other people won’t necessarily feel the same way. So, in order to provide an alternative point of view, the below sections are summaries of a bunch of other online reviews for the D20. The first section will summarise some positive reviews and the second will be based on negative reviews.
Online love for the D20
In terms of the positives, the drone is commended for its compact size, speed, and responsiveness. Users mention that the drone can resist wind, making it efficient even in breezy conditions, which came as a surprise for some given its small size. It’s also deemed fast and quite maneuverable, especially at its third speed level. The fact that it comes with a carrying case and extra parts is also appreciated.
Battery performance is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the drone comes with two batteries and two charging cables, allowing for quick turnover between flying sessions. The batteries are reported to last for around 5-7 minutes depending on usage, and they can be recharged quickly using a quick charge adapter. Some users, however, found that the battery life could be improved.
Users highlight that the drone is robust, being able to withstand multiple crashes with only minor scratches. Functionality-wise, features like 360° flips, trimming, headless mode, and one-touch take-off/land worked well for the most part, making the drone accessible to a broad range of users, including beginners.
Despite these strengths, the drone’s application has raised some concerns. Several users have reported crashes and connection loss issues with the app, leading to loss of control over the drone during flight. Users also found that the drone can lose calibration in headless mode, which could make it challenging to navigate back to the controller.
Camera functionality is another area that drew criticism. Although some users found the camera quality to be better than expected, others were unable to use the video feature due to problems with the app’s connection. The absence of a microSD card slot was also a point of contention.
In summary, the D20 drone is recognized as a fast, responsive, and robust mini drone suitable for both beginners and experienced users, provided they are looking for a drone primarily for flying rather than for capturing high-quality images or video. The drone’s app and camera functionalities need improvement, and potential buyers should be aware of the potential for calibration and connection issues. Despite these caveats, the drone’s features and performance at its price point make it a compelling option for those interested in drone flying.
Online hate for the D20
The D20 drone has garnered poor reviews from numerous customers due to a variety of flaws. A commonly reported issue is the drone’s lack of stability and inability to hover in place, with many buyers noting the device’s tendency to drift off significantly upon takeoff. This made it difficult for users to learn or adjust the controls effectively. The drone also demonstrated a proclivity for malfunctioning on its initial use, with incidents ranging from flying into obstacles, ascending to an uncontrollable height, or just veering off and disappearing.
There are also concerns regarding the build quality of the drone. It’s been described as ‘cheap’, ‘flimsy’ and resembling a ‘one time use’ product. Some customers even received their drone with visible scratches and damage right out of the box, raising doubts about its durability and longevity.
Several customers have also expressed dissatisfaction with the drone’s app, describing it as unreliable and difficult to sync with the device. The requirement to pair, calibrate, and connect to the drone every time it is used or crashed was found to be tedious and cumbersome.
Other negative experiences highlighted in the reviews include a broken joystick, unresponsive customer service, and an unfulfilled promise of a replacement drone. In addition, the requirement to attach a phone to the controller for a viewing screen was an unwelcome feature for some, particularly parents.
In summary, most users advise against purchasing the D20 drone due to its lack of stability, poor build quality, and unreliable application, compounded by poor customer service. It has been described as being unsuitable for beginners or children, with the general recommendation being to save money and opt for a higher quality drone instead.