frSKY Taranis qx7

REVIEWS

Probably the most well-known transmitter in the hobby due to its low price and great range of features, this is a great radio for beginners and experienced pilots. It doesn't have many of the features you'd expect from a higher-end transmitter, like Hall-effect gimbals, a replacable antenna, a built-in multiprotocol module (which isn't neccessarily something that you'd only find in high-end transmitters - even Jumper's lower spec transmitters have a multiprotocol module), or even a colour screen (and to be fair, neither does the more expensive X9D). In this respect, the QX7 seems to be lagging pretty far behind more modern radios, but in my opinion, it's still a great option for people with a large FrSKY ecosystem, or if you want to get into the hobby and don't want to splash out on an X9D. Before I write this review, as always this is my subjective experience. You may find that you disagree with me, and if that is the case then please let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Form Factor:

 

The form factor of this TX is great - if you're a thumber (like me). It's a very wide radio. This comes with its pros and cons: it feels nice and chunky, and it has a lot of area to grip, but the sticks are so far from the sides that it can occasionally be a little awkward if I need to push them far towards each other. I imagine that it would be even more difficult for a pincher - I have tried and I found it too uncomfortable.

 

The back has some nice rubberised grips that make the radio comfortable to hold, and they're deep enough that you can kind of hook your fingers around the sides for a little bit extra grip.

 

The balance bar is a nice touch: you screw it in to the hoop on the front of the radio and you get four separately drilled holes where you can attach your neck strap depending on how you like your radio to balance. I personally prefer my radio to hang completely neutrally, so I have my strap hook in the hole furthest away from the attachment point.

 

As this is the standard QX7 model, and not the S version, the switch position is in a slightly different place (apparently), and it is meant to be more convenient on the S model, but to be honest I've never had any problems with the switches on the Taranis.

 

Form factor is probably the most subjective of all of the review areas - I personally like the radio a lot. Its a bit wide, but it still fits in my bag perfectly and there are loads of 3D printed accessories available online, such as gimbl guards.

 

 

Hardware:

 

The QX7 has all of the hardware that you'd expect on the mid-tier radios, but could do with a few upgrades:

 

The radio uses bearing gimbals, which use mechanical sensors to detect the positions of the sticks. This means that, compared to Hall effect gimbals that are used in higher-end radios such as the X9D and Jumper T16 Pro, the mechanism won't feel as smooth or last as long. That's not to say that the gimbals are bad by any stretch of the imagination - they feel perfectly smooth for me and I've never had a rpoblem with them. frSKY also sells individual Hall effect gimbals that you can install yourself fairly easily. You can also open up the back and change the resistance and stick feeling (including whether or not it is sprung), so you can switch your from mode 2 to whichever mode you prefer (you also need to chane this in the software).

 

The QX7, like most hobby-grade radios, also has a JR module bay, which means you can install a multiprotocol module, a Crossfire, an R9M or any future modules you may want to use

 

The menu navigation takes place on a monochromatic screen, and you'll use a scroll whell (with a click functionality), page, menu and exit buttons. This makes changing settings fairly easy, though these features aren't as modern as the colour touchscreens that are in use on other radios.

 

The battery is where this radio really falls down: it doesn't come with one. You either install a battery tray and 18650 cells, use a small 2S LiPo and plugh in the balance lead to the PCB, or use a NiMH battery that, as some people (not including myself) have been able to do, can work with a chaging mod. I find this a bit too much of a hassle, so I just use a Turnigy Nano-Tech 2S 1300mAh LiPo, but I feel scared of damaging the board wheneer I need to unplug the balance lead to charge the battery.

 

On the bottom, you'll find a USB type D port to connect to your computer (either to access the micro SD card contents, to use the OpenTX Companion or to use the radio with a simulator) a micro SD card slot and a smart port that allows you to flash your receivers (I'll talk about this a little later on). This is all protected by a rubber flap.

 

The radio has 4 three-position switches, one 2-position switch and a momentary, as well as 2 potentiometers - I find this to be more than enough for flying my quads.

 

The radio also has a speaker to give you warning bleeps and voice alerts (if you set them up).

 

Software/non-hardware features:

 

The radio runs OpenTX, like most hobby-grade radios, which means you can set up voice alerts, telemetry etc. 

 

My favourite feature of this radio is that you can hook up your receiver through the Smart Port on the bottom and update/change the firmware, for example from EU-LBT to FCC.

 

Other notes:

 

These are just some notes that you might want to consider:

 

First, my antenna housing snapped. I don't put it through a lot of punishment and generally take pretty good care of my tech, so it seems like there might have been a weak point at the hinge. Nothing a bit of spare plastic, some epoxy resin and some heatshrink couldn't fix. I've not seen too many people with this issue, so it's possible I was just unlucky or bumped it in the wrong way.

 

FrSKY have also recently (as of this article) brought out the new ACCESS protocol, which the QX7 doesn't support, so won't have those new features. Whils't we're on the subject of protocols, you'd need an external multiprotocol module if you want to use the radio with models running different protocols, as opposed to some radios, like the Jumper T16 Pro, which have internal multiprotocol modules. you can install one in the JR bay, but you might prefer to have it built in so you don't have to pay extra.

 

In terms of range, I've never lost signal, but I don't fly very far away.

 

Conclusion:

 

Overall, I'm pretty happy with my choice of radio, and I think it's one of the best radios you can get for the price. If you're willing to spend a bit more, you can probably get something a decent amount better, but this radio should serve you well - in fact, a friend recently asked what budget transmitter they should get, and I sent them the link to this radio.

 

 

 

Date written: 8th January 2020

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