EMAX TinyHawk Freestyle: The Best Path For Beginners?

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I am excited about the new EMAX TinyHawk Freestyle micro drone. It is fast, fun, and relatively safe. It is also inexpensive, and it is a fantastic upgrade for beginners on their path towards flying full-size FPV miniquads.

We finally have an awesome upgrade path for beginners!

I started flying with a Spektrum DX6 radio. I believe they cost about $230 at the time. That was only the radio. Then I bought a toy quadcopter with no FPV camera, a Blade Nano QX, for $60.

The TinyHawk and TinyHawk Freestyle

Today, you can buy the TinyHawk Ready-To-Fly kit for $165. That bundle includes the original indoor TinyHawk drone, a set of FPV goggles, a radio, one battery, and a charger. My old DX6 is an infinitely better radio than the one in the TinyHawk bundle, but that doesn’t really matter. Throw in a 6-pack of extra batteries for $25, and you’ll still be under $200.

Not only will you still be under $200, but you’ll already be flying FPV. When I bought my radio, that $230 just gave me the ability to fly something. I still needed to buy quadcopters, goggles, and chargers. I spent so much money!

Until the TinyHawk Freestyle showed up, the upgrade path from the TinyHawk kit was bumpy. You could stick to micros, like the Diatone GTR349, or something like my 3” Kestrel. Maybe you’d want to skip that, and move up to a real 5” miniquad. Your goggles will work well enough, but the radio in the EMAX kit isn’t ideal for something so big, aggressive, and dangerous.

This is where the new TinyHawk Freestyle comes in. Unlike the original TinyHawk, you can fly the TinyHawk Freestyle outside, even when it is windy. In fact, that’s the only place you should fly it. It is much too powerful to fly indoors. If you’re a beginner, though, you may have trouble flying the Freestyle on a windy day. It took my friends and I lot of practice before the wind stopped being an issue for us, even with our heavy quads!

If you’re a beginner, here’s what I suggest you buy:

That’s $295. You certainly don’t have to buy it all at once, but all that stuff costs less than what I spent on just [my Spektrum radio][dx6] and a toy quadcopter with no camera. This blows my mind. You can get into the air flying actual FPV, and you can have the tools to practice in the simulator for less than I paid for my first radio.

NOTE: I’ve read and watched in several places that you can bind the RTF kit’s controller up to the TinyHawk Freestyle, but a friend of mine has been having some trouble. It seems possible, but it may not be as easy as I hoped. Stay tuned, and I’ll let you know how it goes!

I wish this was available when I started flying three years ago. Having to spend $500 or more just to get started flying FPV required some deliberation. Spending $165 would have been an impulse purchase. I would have bought a TinyHawk RTF kit immediately after seeing my friend Alex fly his old Blade Vortex 250!

Are the TinyHawk and TinyHawk Freestyle the best in their classes?

It probably depends on your definition of best, but I would have to say that they are not. The whoop-like TinyHawk isn’t the fastest or best handling brushless whoop. It does hold its own, though, and it is probably the most durable brushless whoop you can buy.

The TinyHawk Freestyle falls into the toothpick class of drones. Toothpicks are supposed to be small, light, fast, and safe. The more weight you add to a quad, the more damage it will do to a person when you accidentally fly into their face. KababFPV has a video where he flies his 35 gram toothpick build into his face at full speed. This is the sort of toothpick I want.

The TinyHawk Freestyle pushes the definition of a toothpick a little past KababFPV’s specifications, but it isn’t too bad. I should point out that EMAX doesn’t claim the TinyHawk is a toothpick-class drone.

There are bigger, heavier, insanely faster quads than the TinyHawk Freestyle that claim to be toothpicks. By some definitions, those quads are much better than the TinyHawk. If you want something quick, snappy, and relatively safe, the TinyHawk Freestyle is probably the quad for you—especially if you’re already flying a TinyHawk or TinyHawk S!

Did you buy a TinyHawk Freestyle? What do you think of it?

I did buy a Freestyle, and I like it a lot. When I saw the specs, I was excited. The first thing I thought of was my old KingKong 90GT—my first micro FPV quad.

The motors are the same size and of a similar KV. My modified 90GT ran 2.5” props, just like the Freestyle. They’re similar enough in weight and size. Micros have made a lot of progress in 2 years. I figured the motors on the TinyHawk are more powerful, and I was confident that the ESCs are a huge upgrade, too.

I was right. It is a huge upgrade over the KingKong 90GT.

Pat created a problem for himself

I plugged in my TinyHawk, unlocked the VTX, bound it to my Taranis X9D, and pasted the configuration for my OSD and switches into Betaflight. I was ready to fly, so I put my batteries, goggles, Taranis, and TinyHawk Freestyle into my little backpack, hopped on my electric bike, and rode to the park.

I’ve had a concern since placing the order for my TinyHawk. After I started using TBS Crossfire, I wound up taking my Taranis apart to tuck my FrSky antenna inside the radio. This hasn’t been a problem with the original TinyHawk, but I was concerned that I wouldn’t have enough range outside.

My worries were quickly confirmed at the park. I lost my control link as soon as I went behind a big tree. I couldn’t powerloop or S-turn any trees, but I still gave it a bunch of stick, and I ran it through its paces in the open space.

How does it fly?

I hear the Freestyle flies better on gentle 65mm biblade props. I don’t have any of those yet. I’m pleased with how it flies on the heavy triblade props that it ships with. They seem to have good grip down low, and they handle propwash way better than I expected, but they quickly run out of steam at full throttle.

If you’re a beginner, this won’t matter. You won’t be breaking any speed records, but it sure isn’t slow. I think EMAX chose the right props. The TinyHawk Freestyle is targeted toward beginners. You don’t want to lose a 95 MPH drone on your first flight!

I think it feels great. It is quick, crisp, and responsive. I saw that AndyRC has a tune to eliminate some of the high-throttle oscillations, but I didn’t even get a chance to hear them. The little guy is so quiet, and I’m an old man. I’ll have to do a full throttle punch right next to myself and listen for it!

Did Pat choose the right toothpick?

The original TinyHawk isn’t the best brushless whoop, but it is the best brushless whoop for me.

The TinyHawk Freestyle isn’t the best toothpick. It is a bit on the tubby side for a toothpick, but it isn’t the biggest. Being heavy makes it a little slower and a bit less safe than the lightest toothpicks. That said, I think the TinyHawk Freestyle is a good compromise and a great value, especially if you’re already a TinyHawk or TinyHawk S pilot!

Ever since KababFPV showed off his first toothpick, I’ve been wanting one. Specifically, I wanted a toothpick that could make use of the batteries and charger that I already have for my TinyHawk. Batteries and chargers are one of my biggest investments. Sure, whoop batteries are cheap, but I don’t want a fourth set of batteries to maintain and carry!

At any rate, I needed to try the TinyHawk Freestyle, because I want to be able to recommend it to you. I don’t like recommending things I haven’t used myself.

I suppose the answer is yes. I definitely chose the correct toothpick for my purposes!

I have to complain about a few things!

The TinyHawk’s camera is awful. The Freestyle seems to have the same camera as the original TinyHawk. It is fine for whooping around the house, but it was a real disappointment outside. My FPV camera standards are pretty high, though. I doubt I’d be happy with any of the whoop-size cameras.

I’m also disappointed that the VTX is only 25mw. One of the reasons that I upgraded from the Leader 120 to the Leader 3 was the higher power VTX. I would feel more comfortable with a 200mw video transmitter. It isn’t the end of the world, though. When you fly a tiny drone so far away that you need 200mw, it usually becomes extremely difficult to locate your quad after a crash. They’re so tiny!

EMAX TinyHawk

I know a lot of people will be excited about the nice carrying case. It is the same case that the original TinyHawk ships in. The trouble is that the TinyHawk Freestyle doesn’t fit in the foam insert with the props on. I took the foam out, and it just barely fits in there.

I’m not excited about the carrying case. I’d rather have cheap packaging and an extra battery or something. I assume I’m in the minority!

Conclusion

I’m way too excited. EMAX has just made life so much easier for new pilots. You don’t have to think about it. You can just buy a kit with everything you need to get in the air and also practice in a simulator. When you outgrow the indoor TinyHawk, you can easily upgrade to your first outdoor FPV quad.

This is so much better than when I got started!

What do you think? Do you like the original TinyHawk, or do you prefer a different brushless whoop? Are you looking to upgrade to a toothpick? Is there a toothpick that you like better than the TinyHawk Freestyle? Do you think this is as fantastic for beginners as I do?

Let me know in the comments, or stop by the Butter, What?! Discord server to chat with me about it!

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