I feel pretty safe in assuming that just about everyone in the world is digging drones at the moment. Small drones, large drones, camera drones, survey drones and so much more. Drones are really starting to become a normal thing in our world now as both the consumer and commercial markets are crawling with them. The only individuals not praising their abilities are those in fear or privacy concerns (sorry to break it to you, but big brother isn’t the only one watching now).
Today we get to focus on a tiny drone by MOTA. In fact, this is *one* of the smallest drones in the world. It is called the JetJat Ultra and it easily fits into the palm of your hands.
As you can see from the image, it’s not only tiny, but it also has a tiny little camera on board as well. It has the ability to fly up to 100ft away and take both video and images at a simple resolution of 640×480. I choose to say simple since they claim it takes HD video and 640×480 is barely higher than VHS quality (not so HD really).
Anyways, before we get into that, I want to finish talking about how freaking small this is. It’s just less than 2-inches both front to back and side to side. The blades are just slightly more than an inch in length and the drone is just over a inch tall. It also stores inside a front hatch on the controller, which makes it easy to carry around without damaging it. It is absolutely the smallest drone we have tested here.
As mentioned, it can fly up to 100ft away, keeping it within FAA limits while still being able to get some distance from the controller. It gets about 5 minutes of flight to the charge (“up to”) and takes around 20-30 minutes to recharge while plugged in.
You can control it via that controller or via the JetJat app on iOS or Android phones. We tried an Android tablet but it wouldn’t allow the app to download, so we are assuming that want the screen attached to the controller using the grip or no screen at all to avoid distractions. That’s a guess at least. Then again, you can control it via the app without the controller so difficult to really say. You can use the app to control or switch controls back to the controller and only use the phone to view the live feed. The controller also expands (the grips slide outwards) so that you can find the best size for your comfort and confidence.
It features one-touch takeoff and landing via the remote or app so you don’t have to worry as much. This does work flawlessly and hasn’t failed us once. Although, you will want bring it close to the ground before triggering it to land else it does have a tendency to come down a little hard causing it to bounce and end up on it’s back.
You can do 360 degree flips as an extra effect (mostly to impress your friends because they won’t look so well on video).
Controls are simple as you only have takeoff, land and directional control. It seems you can do the flip with the controller, but we were only able to get it to do it from the app. The app controls mimic the controller as well as gives you option to customize a few simple things and control the camera.
Ok, moving back to the camera. 640×480 isn’t really anything to brag about outside of “hey it’s better than nothing”. For the price point of the drone, we would have liked to see at least 720. We have seen cheap Chinese micro cams built into various gadgets like pens and cigarette lighters that had a better camera than this. So although it has a camera, don’t get too excited. At first, we thought we were missing a setting somewhere, but sadly we were not. The 480 resolution is degraded by a strong compression rate which causes a lot of jitter in the video and image (causes…JetJat in the image).
We still found that younger consumers will still have a lot of fun with it, despite the resolution. Kids tend to be more accepting of things than picky adults (aka big kids).
I guess it’s really hard to be “too” picky because you can only fit so much into a tiny bit of space. Sure you can fit a tiny camera with better quality into a small pen, but can that pen fly? Can it be remote controlled from up to 100ft away? I would assume not, so I “guess” 640×480 isn’t as bad. At least until you factor the price back into things.
Then again, the compression should be all to do with the phone as all the drone is (or should be) doing is sending a video downlink back to the app. So it’s more than likely a compressed downlink than the encoding itself. It probably can’t afford to send anything of higher quality without either taxing the battery further or requirement more space for hardware.
It doesn’t feature any microphone, so you won’t be getting any audio into the mix, but this is common with most drone as the noise from the drone itself will typically overwhelm anything else going on anyway. Usually, you don’t see the option of sound unless you’re attaching a 3rd party camera (like a GoPro) to a drone. That of course I won’t get further into since that only applies to larger drones anyway.
When using the app to control the drone, we did find there to be a little delay between control and action. If you find the controller to be easier for you, you can switch back to remote and only use phone for video and stats. You do this by pressing the “Controls” icon in the app to make the controls vanish from screen. Remote controler should start to function after that. Both can’t be used at the same time (for controls).
It flies pretty well. As I said, the takeoff and landing is great and controls via the controller are pretty solid. We spent a lot of time flying it around. We did notice that it doesn’t take much to blow it around (consider its size after all). A small breeze outside or something as simple as a fan in the room will cause it to float around. It doesn’t exactly hover in place so well because of this. Thankfully, since the controls are so easy, it’s simple to stay out of trouble for the most part. I would recommend using it indoors more than anything unless the wind outside is absolutely dead.
MOTA supports a VR headset option that allows you to see the drone in first person as if you were flying. This is a highly demanded feature with drones, but mostly with drones with a solid downlink and true high definition video, no less than 1080p. We chose not to press further into this direction asking questions because we could only assume how exhausting it would be to the eyes trying to view the download in 640×480 with grainy picture. It would probably cause motion sickness real quick, even in those with strong stomachs.
Also as mentioned, it gets about 5 minutes of flight time and around 20-30 minutes to charge. It does come with a small proprietary USB cable for charging it with. There is no AC adapter so you will have to use another for one of your other devices or a USB port on your computer. The USB side of the cable lights up red during charge and goes out once it is finished.
Along with the cable, it comes with 4 replacement blades in case you damage one. What’s really nice, is that these can take a beating. A normal drone, once you crash and cause any damage to a blade, you want to throw that blade out and replace it immediately. These, you can gently bend back into place and get back to business. That’s obviously not the advised method if you cause damage to them, but hey, it worked for us–although it did cause it to float around even more vs hovering in place.
You also have a small guard that you can apply to the unit to protect the blades with. If this is your first time flying a drone, it would be wise to apply it. However, since we have flown many drones throughout recent years and have giant egos when it comes to them, we never bothered. Plus, it’s kind of flimsy and not worth the trouble. Again though, if it’s your first time, you might want to take the time out to apply it.
Finally, the grip for your phone comes detached in the box and you have to apply it yourself the first time. No big deal as it pops right into place. No instructions needed unless you’re a character out of a Roger Rabbit film.
It does come with some good yet simple instructions to get you started with the drone and walk you through a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to FAA guidelines and drones (good luck getting your drone ID number on there if you wanted to though). Thankfully, I don’t believe that last part is required for a drone this small in size.
It’s a fun little drone–and so very very little it is. You get a lot of play out of it and easily find yourself passing the remote to others as you draw a crowd (or if you work in an office filled with big kids). It comes with replacement parts and is very user friendly to control. For the price, we feel it’s too expensive. Especially when you can find the Parrot Bebop drone for around $229 now. An extra “especially” when you factor in the poor camera quality. It feels more like a $50 drone to us. Nothing that a serious enthusiast would spend money on. For kids and the like though, this is a great drone to start them off with. You won’t cry nearly as hard if you crash it somewhere (“especially” if the price came down).
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
- Number of Rotors: 4
- Product Size L x W x H (in):
- Flight Time: 5 min.
- Charge Time: 25-30 min.
- Range: 30 m.
- 4 Channel Control
- One-Touch Take-Off / Landing
- Gyroscope Stabilization
- 3D Tumbling
Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.