Syma X5SW Review: Less Than $40, But Is It Any Good?

Last updated November 4th, 2019
Syma X5SW Drone in black and white

A lot of dirt-cheap toy drones have been in the market for years now. Copycats and knock-off products have littered the budget market for a long while, with differences between products often being nothing more than a logo.

However, a select few budget drones have managed to catch the attention of beginners, sell in good numbers and actually build up a reputation for being not too shabby.

Is the Syma X5SW one of these exceptionally-priced, good quality products? Or is it likely to die on you before you ever really got to know each other?

Despite the apprehension surrounding these suspiciously affordable crafts, the Syma X5SW has been a strong contender for budget-oriented pilots and beginners.

Read on to find out what this drone offers and where it flatters to deceive in this comprehensive Syma X5SW review.

Quick Specs

WeightUnloaded: 119g
SizeLength: 12.4 in
Width: 12.4 in
Height: 4.13 in
Speed2-level speed (low and high)
SignalController Range: ~50 m
Operating Frequencies: 2.4 GHz
BatteryFlight time: 5-7 mins
Capacity: 500 mAh
RecordingFPV camera: 0.3-MP, 480p
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Syma X5SW Features

6-Axis Gyroscope

The Syma X5SW has a 6-axis gyroscopic system installed, meaning stability is superb while flying. The standard pitch, yaw, and roll sensors are already capable enough of controlling the Syma X5SW accurately, but the 3 added accelerometers boost its stability capabilities through the roof.

For a drone this cheap, a feature like this is already a win. Beginners will find the Syma X5SW a dream to fly.

360-degree Rolls

What good is a toy drone that can’t pull off gimmicks? Although this might be an unnecessary feature for some people, this is definitely great for impressing children when given as a gift. There’s nothing better than knowing that your drone can perform aerial acrobatics at the press of a button!

You can tick 360-degree rolls and 3D flips off your bucket list, as the Syma X5SW is highly capable of these. This is due to the incredible gyroscopic features of the Syma X5SW and its dedicated roll button, meaning you won’t have to fumble around when showing your friends this party trick.

Headless Mode

Another beginner-oriented feature is the Syma X5SW’s Headless Mode. Basically, you don’t have to get the Syma X5SW facing the right direction to operate it, ignoring the front-end orientation, making operation simpler for the uninitiated.

LED Lighting

The Syma X5SW has LED lighting on its legs, making night-flight or low-visibility conditions operation viable. And of course, who doesn’t love some of that good ole’ LED bling on their craft? It stands out like some futuristic spacecraft — miniaturized for your enjoyment.

Battery Life

The Syma X5SW has 500 mAh LiPo battery powering its systems and camera, making for a flight time of 7 minutes, more or less.

This isn’t all too impressive considering some drones can go double nowadays, but remember that the Syma X5SW is an entry-level offering. At this budget price, 7 minutes is pretty much the norm.

You can extend the flight time by a minute or two without the camera, though you won’t have the ability to access its First Person View (FPV) mode. If you don’t want to sacrifice the convenience the FPV camera offers, you can always purchase extra, higher capacity batteries for good measure.

Charging the Syma X5SW’s batteries is somewhat of a drag, running for over an hour and thirty minutes before restoring its full capacity. This might be a bit of a turn off for others, but as we said, for a price point like this, you really don’t get to complain.

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Camera

The Syma X5SW has a fixed FPV camera with a 0.3-MP sensor, supporting video and photo capture resolutions of 480p.

Not the best in the world, but it is more than enough for providing crucial live feed footage for the FPV functionality. This is where the camera is most useful on this drone — not for amazing photography and videography, but for allowing you a first-person view of where it’s flying.

You can access the FPV mode by wirelessly hooking your smartphone up to the Syma X5SW’s controller and downloading the Syma FPV app. We do not recommend relying on the FPV mode at all times though, as it uses Wifi as a connection medium, where latency is a big problem.

In short ranges, the transmission signal is fine, but as you near the 50m limit, noticeable footage lag will occur, sometimes turning out so bad that the delay can reach up to two seconds at its worst, and you ending up with a laggy slideshow of what was supposed to be live footage.

If you don’t plan on being 50-meters away from your drone then you shouldn’t have too much of a problem.

Keep an eye on the Syma X5SW even if you have the FPV mode enabled, so you can react accordingly when obstacles are around.

Ease Of Use

The Syma X5SW has a sizable controller with excellent button placement and ergonomics.

The standard dual joystick layout is present, with dedicated buttons for the camera, power, headless mode, and more. Trimming buttons are also present for calibration purposes. There are bumper buttons on both edges for yaw and 3D flips as well.

More than that, the Syma X5SW’s controller also has a simple monochrome visual interface for its diagnostic readouts. Battery levels, direction, and Wifi strength are just some of the stats that are displayed on it, allowing you to properly gauge its flight performance. Of course, you get greater control when you use the dedicated Syma app on your smartphone, which the controller accepts without any hassle.

Overall, the Syma X5SW’s response to its controller is seamless and reliable, which is a far cry from the dismal video transmission experience.

Design and Build Quality

The Syma X5SW goes for the classic quadcopter layout and looks suspiciously similar to a mid-end DJI drone.

While the Syma X5SW doesn’t specify what type of plastic it uses for its construction, it is surprisingly durable, given its size. This may be due to the fact that the Syma X5SW has a lightweight profile, so there’s less momentum in the event of a crash. Still, don’t drink and fly.

In the event that you do damage some of the parts, you can replace them technically for free as you get extra propellers and shields delivered with the product.

Performance

The Syma X5SW has two speed modes to ease beginners who are just getting the hang of the controller buttons. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can flip onto the high-speed mode to zip through your course or do tricks like flips.

The 7-minute flight time isn’t all that impressive, but you can disconnect the camera to extend it by a good minute or more. It might be frustrating for beginners who run out of flight time without even getting the basics down. Like we said earlier, extra batteries are the way to go.

Controller response is seamless until you’re close to that 50-meter range with the Syma X5SW though, so you won’t have to worry about it going astray or suddenly doing its own bidding. Be careful flying on windy days though, as the powerful and silent brushless motors won’t do much against a healthy 10mph gust.

You can recalibrate the Syma X5SW via its trimming buttons to find the perfect balance and responsiveness, which is extra helpful for beginners to experience.

Syma X5SW Drone with Camera
170 Reviews
Syma X5SW Drone with Camera
  • Color: Black
  • Fits most RC cars and trucks. Lightweight upgrade instantly enhances overall performance...
  • Takes 7 to 15 business days by standard airmail shipping. 80% of packages arrive within 10...
  • Features: 6-axis gyro based on 4 channels ensures a stable and fast flight Capable of...
  • Expediated shipping is shipped by DHL or Fedex. Arrives in about than 2-5 days. Major...

Final Thoughts

Balance in all things. That’s what the Syma X5SW shows us.

While it is perfectly fine in terms of flight performance and responsiveness (making it a great platform for novice pilots to start on), the short battery life takes some of the fun away.

The camera isn’t all that bad for FPV functionality, but the Wifi connection limits it quite hard, and you’d have to keep it within your range of vision to operate it accordingly.

All that said, we still think that the Syma X5SW is a well-made drone for its price bracket. It responds well to your commands and is stable in flight, which is all you really need when practicing.

We’d rank the Syma X5SW up high when it comes to bottom-of-the-budget toy drone territory, that’s for sure.

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