Searching online for a inexpensive quadcopter that flies well can be quite challenging. With all the choices in the growing sub-$100 market, picking one for review that looks to be worthy is tricky business. The Dromida Ominus RTF (Ready-To-Fly) $80 quad recently caught my eye and I decided to purchase one for review. It’s advertised as a “nearly impossible to break” indoor/outdoor flyer which sounded too good to be true. More on that later.
The 9.4 inch (3.6 oz) Dromida Ominus is a little too large to fly safely indoors. No propeller guard option is available for this model, so there is an indoor injury risk with its unprotected rotor blades, not to mention home furnishings.
Although this quad has a unique rotor safety mechanism which stops the blade on impact and prevents it from continuing to rotate, the risk of indoor injury or property damage is still a factor. The mechanism seems to be a type of clutch that prevents further rotation of the individual blade, therefore minimizing the risk of personal injury and any further propeller damage. It’s an ingenious and welcomed feature that I’ve not seen on other quads.
Inside The Box
- Dromida Ominus Quadcopter
- 2.4 GHz 4-Channel Transmitter
- (1) 3.7V 700mAh 1S 25C Li-Po Battery
- USB Li-Po Charger
- (1) extra set of propellers (green & black)
- (4) AAA Transmitter Batteries
- Instruction Sheet (detailed Owner’s Manual available online)
The following video shows in detail what comes in the box.
Dromida (a Hobbico company) has definitely raised the bar for affordable quads with the recent release of the Ominus. Instead of a copter that carries a video camera of questionable quality, designers of the Ominus have focused on building a quad with features that make flying easier and more fun.
One such feature I’m pleased to see is a bright red LED mounted on the tail section of the body which really helps the pilot know the orientation of the model. Even in daylight the LED can be seen and really aids flying when the Ominus is getting a little too far away to tell which direction it’s headed.
Another great aid to orientation is the bright colored front propellers and matching colored frame arms. The quad is available in four vivid colors; green, yellow, blue and red. The ability to fly with other pilots of different colored Ominus’ must be a blast! Intense LEDs mounted under the airframe act as battery and operation status indicators, as well as providing awesome night flying effects.
This is the first quad I’ve seen with a mechanism at each propeller-motor assembly that acts as a clutch-type design which stops the propeller and prevents damage to objects that come in contact, as well as preventing further damage to the propeller.
The airframe is extremely rigid and appears to be quite durable. Dromida markets the Ominus as “Nearly impossible to break.” However, during flight testing I discovered a major design flaw. Housing each of the four motors are plastic covers that also serve as landing pads (landing gear) for the Ominus. Upon landing the quad in park grass at somewhat of an angle (not a totally vertical landing), the removable motor cover popped out of the airframe causing not only damage to the motor cover, but more importantly causing the motor with pinion gear attached to completely eject out of position with the propeller gear. The quad cannot be repaired without unscrewing the motor cover, repositioning the motor with its delicate wires and installing a new motor cover, which I purchased on Amazon.
All parts on the Ominus are replaceable and easy to find on Amazon. However, no buyer should be searching for replacement parts after only one week of ownership. My hope is that Dromida will redesign the motor housing to address this issue. Since it happened twice to my quad in one week I suspect it’s a reoccurring issue.
The Remote Unit
Included with the RTF version of the Ominus is a basic 2.4 GHz transmitter that has been bound to the quad at the factory. Simply insert the included four AAA batteries into the radio, turn it on, wait ten seconds, plug the flight battery into the Ominus and quickly place the quad on a flat horizontal surface. The red LED on the tail and LEDs under the airframe arms will flash followed by even faster flashing of the red LED and now solid airframe LEDs indicating that the quad is linked to the radio.
The transmitter is equipped with the standard trim buttons used to adjust throttle, rudder, elevator and aileron functions. Beep tones are emitted when making trim adjustments. No LCD display is included with this radio.
A flip button allows for multi-directional rolls, and a flight mode button (F-Mode) allows the pilot to select easy, normal, advanced or expert flight settings. Selection of setting is completed using a combination of the F-Mode button and the elevator-aileron control stick which controls rate selection; either high or low. To the right of the red power LED is a blue LED which indicates flight mode either by it being off, on or flashing.
Although the manufacturer advertises it can be flown indoors, Ominus is best suited for outdoor flying. No available propeller guard and its 9.4 inch size are reasons enough to limit the flying fun to park spaces.
I was really impressed with how the Ominus flew at a nearby park. My first flight was in normal flight mode with high rate and it flew better than expected. The 3 axis gyro and 3 accelerometers worked great at keeping things stable as it flew and the quad was very responsive to radio input commands. As with most copters, small movements of the control sticks are required for keeping the model under control. Fly the quad close to your standing position until you are comfortable with how it flies.
One great feature of the Ominus is the extremely bright red LED mounted on the tail. As with any quad, the greater distance away from your position the harder it is to determine your quad’s flying orientation. The bright red LED gives you instant visual indication of the Ominus’ orientation. Even in daylight the LED can be seen.
Evening flights are a lot of fun with the bright LEDs aiding its orientation. Winds tend to be calmer in the evening which makes flying even more enjoyable.
As the landing pads on the Ominus are fairly short, I find hand-launching to be a better alternative to lifting off from thick grass. Keeping grass blades out of the gear assembly is important.
I really enjoy the flip feature on this quad. After pressing the flip button on the transmitter, the Ominus will roll in any direction that you move the aileron-elevator stick. Some quads in this price range will drop several feet in altitude as they recover from a roll. The Ominus does a superior job of roll recovery, with only minimal loss of altitude.
Some quads are better than others at flying in 5-10 MPH winds. I tested the Ominus in such winds and found it to be a very competent flyer. It cuts easily into the wind and has impressive speed when pushed to its limits.
The following video shows the Ominus being flown in 5-10 MPH winds.
Battery and Charger
The Ominus comes with one Lithium Polymer (Li-Po) 3.7V 700 mAh flight battery which provides around 10-12 minutes of flying time. This higher capacity battery really extends your time in the air, as most quads in this price range run on batteries lasting around 7-8 minutes. I purchased another battery on Amazon to extend the flying fun for around $13.
Low battery is indicated by flashing of the LEDs located on the underside of the airframe. Land the Ominus as soon as possible to avoid losing control or crashing to the ground.
Recharging is done using an included USB charging stick. A full charge takes approximately 45 minutes.
With its 4 flight modes; easy, normal, advanced and expert, anyone can learn to fly the Ominus with its 3-axis gyro and accelerometers providing solid stability. The option to fly without stability assistance using the advanced and expert modes really allows for an exciting challenge.
The Ominus has the potential to be a great outdoor quad. Features like the intense red LED tail light for flight orientation, and the propeller saving clutch-type mechanism are evidence of thoughtful design. I truly hope the manufacturer takes steps to remedy the motor cover issue. Correcting this flaw will almost certainly increase the quad’s popularity. Until then, I cannot recommend the Ominus. I suggest taking a look at these other outdoor quads that I have reviewed; Syma X5C Explorers Quadcopter, and the UDI U818A Quadcopter.
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