Two of the key components missing from cheap quadcopters are a GPS and barometer. These are essential if you want your drone to hover when you let go of the controls. They’re also crucial if you want to shoot higher-quality aerial footage, as you get a much more stable flight.
The V303 has both and – as is plain from looking at it – is a copy of the popular DJI Phantom. Compared to other WLtoys quads, such as the V666 the V303 has a white body, white propellers and a white transmitter. It isn’t an exact copy of the Phantom, though: the landing skids make it look much more like a lunar lander.
There are various models of the V303: we tested version ‘A’ which comes with a GoPro mount, but there are others with included cameras, gimbals and more. The mount is very basic and will accept a GoPro Hero 4 (or Hero 3), but not GoPro clones such as the Keecoo Wi-Fi sports camera which is fractionally too deep.
ou’ll need to do a little wiring and potentially soldering to connect the belly wire to your chosen gimbal, and it’s well worth choosing one which is known to work with the V303 so you can control the camera’s pitch from the stock transmitter.
What you won’t be able to do compared to the Phantom 2 Vision+ is see a live feed from the on-board camera, nor start and stop recording remotely. Again, though, considering the cost saving, these are limitations worth living with. (If you buy an iLook camera, you can view a live feed as this action camera also acts as an FPV camera.)
Flying the V303 is pretty much exactly the same as a Phantom. To start the motors, you pull the sticks downwards and outwards (not inwards like the Phantom) and then apply some throttle for take-off.
Bright blue and red LEDs under the arms mean you can easily see the quad’s orientation, and a flashing status light on the rear tells you when there’s a GPS lock. The first time you fly, you’ll have to wait a few minutes for it to locate the satellites but after that it get a fix much more quickly.
The V303 is pretty stable, and can cope with light winds without too much trouble. It’s pretty agile and fast, too, but it doesn’t take much to push it outside of its comfort zone. When you’re too ferocious with the controls, the status light turns yellow.
You can expect around 10-15 minutes of flying with the standard 2700mAh battery, and spares cost about £22. However, you can buy 2200mAh batteries with similar dimensions for one-third of the price, making them much better value (albeit a shorter 8-9 minutes of flight time). Recharging the standard battery with the flimsy-looking bundled charger takes a long time – almost two hours in our tests. This means spare batteries are essential.