29 Nov 15, Update mine is coming! It’s going to be my XMas gift to myself!
13 Jul 16, wow, it took a long time! I finally ordered one 6 months later! Wow what a ride it is! More to come with my mods to make near perfect!
I decided to go with the Vortex from Blade(Horizon Hobby because of 2 reasons: First one is the color green and the new rx from Spektrum DSMX Quad Race Rx with Diversity.
ImmersionRC did it again! They are releasing the new Vortex 250 PRO hopefully this month! As soon as it will become available, I will have one to make this review more personal! After 2 Vortex 285, I need something new!
Start with the best ARF Race Quad, Listen, and Improve it
The Vortex 285 (the first in the Vortex family) has experienced incredible success, and has changed the Race Quad market. The Vortex 250 Pro is the result of listening to their top pilots, taking the product to a new level, with the same level of integration as it’s big brother.
- $479 USD (ARF, foam packaging), $499 USD (zipper case)
- 250-sized Race-Quad
- State-of-the-art ‘F3’ FC processor
- 2nd Generation 20A EzESCs, with custom 2204-2300kV motors
- Built in black-box recorder (2MB)
- Rigid 4mm Carbon Fibre arms (non-foldable)
- Direct connection to PPM, Spektrum, S-Bus, XBus receivers
- Ear-piercing Lost Model Alarm (much louder than it’s predecessor)
- GoPro-3/4 mount included
Building off of the success of the Vortex 285, and listening to the dreams and wishes of their customers, the ImmersionRC team designed the Vortex 250 Pro, a purebred racer which ticks all of the boxes.
We swapped out the ‘F1’ processor for the ‘F3’, added an integrated Black Box recorder, swapped out the 1806 motors for potent 2204/2300kV custom motors, Gen2 20A ESCs, Serial receiver support… the list is long and colorful.
As with the Vortex 285, the 250 is ARF, just add a compatible R/C Rx (CPPM, Spektrum, S-Bus, XBus, EzUHF, etc. etc.), and a battery, and go race, everything else is included, from the SpiroNET Tx antenna, to the props.
NOTE: Compatible receiver and display device required for initial setup and during use, items not included.(you need to provide your Rx)
The Vortex 285’s foldable tubular arms are replaced with virtually unbreakable 4mm Carbon Fiber flat arms, with twelve M3 aluminium spacers wrapped in custom plastic.
The frame is designed to hit objects which don’t like to move out of the way, and survive to fly again in the next race.
The 2mm Carbon Fiber top-plate is designed to take some serious abuse, backed up by 2mm FR4 skid plates which survive scraping across the occasional parking-lot floor.
Fusion Gen2 Flight Controller
The ImmersionRC Fusion, a highly integrated state-of-the-art flight controller, gets an extensive update for the Vortex 250.
The ‘F1’ class processor is updated to an F3, flash memory for BlackBox log storage is integrated, the buzzer is replaced with one MUCH louder, and a port is added for direct serial receiver hookup (5V and 3.3v supply options).
As for the Fusion Gen1, the Gen2 is pre-loaded with a custom build of CleanFlight, and is future-proof, supporting future updates.
The high performance ‘F3’ processor provides > 2x the performance of it’s predecessor, allowing lower loop times, and better flight performance.
PIDs are adjusted on-screen, in easy-to-use menus, driven directly from the R/C Tx.
Integrated 5.8GHz Video Tx with RaceBand
An on-board NexWaveRF 5.8GHz video transmitter, with 40 channel support, ensures compatibility with any 5.8Ghz A/V Rx on the market.
New for the Vortex 250, is Dynamic Power Control. Transmitter power is lowered automatically when the quad is disarmed, or ready for a race to start, to reduce interference to other pilots.
ImmersionRC’s exclusive RaceBand allows 8 pilots to fly together, while being 100% legal for US resellers to distribute. All channels fall within the legal US Ham band.
The on-board OSD allows video transmitter channels to be chosen using the R/C transmitter, no more dip-switches to flip, and no more frequency lists to remember.
Full compatibility with all ImmersionRC/FatShark, Boscam, Team Black-Sheep, DJI, and ImmersionRC RaceBand channels.
NOTE: US Resellers may lock domestic shipments to avoid channels outside the legal Ham band.
Flexible Camera Options
The flexible Vortex camera mount supports both a flight cam, and an HD camera such as a GoPro. This mount is included in the box with the Vortex 250, and doesn’t require the purchase of an add-on product.
The flight cam is protected from impacts, and is suspended from a vibration-dampened carbon-fibre plate. An adjustable bracket allows the camera to be tilted to ensure a good forward view during high-speed racing.
As the icing on the cake, a monster 3A switching regulator allows any HD cam (GoPro included) to be powered from the flight pack, allowing unnecessary camera batteries to be left at home.
Pro-Tuner, In The Box
The Vortex 250 continues in the footsteps of it’s Vortex 285 big-brother, and not only ships with a pro-tune that flies like it is on rails, but adds a selection of pro-tunes created by some of the experts in the hobby.
Some of the biggest names in FPV Quad Racing have abused countless LiPos tuning the Vortex for peak performance, and have produced some stunning videos in the process.
Lights!, Music!, Action!!!
Ok, there is no music, we’ll leave that to the post-processing, but there are lights, and plenty of action!
A set of 8 24-bit RGB LEDs sit on the tail of the Vortex, sandwiched safely between the upper, and lower frame plates.
These LEDs, controlled by a dedicated 32-bit ARM processor (yeah… what were we thinking!), can show something as mundane as the pilot’s favourite color, just about anything else we decide to roll into the user-upgradable firmware.
Brake lights?, Shift to white for max. acceleration?, Indicators for polite left/right turns?, or just a pattern to remind you of 80’s Discos.
Since Airgonay’s now-famous ‘Star Wars’ video, rear lights on miniquads have become not a ‘nice to have’, but a ‘no fun without ’em’.
‘Gen2’ Custom 32-bit, 20A ESCs, with OneShot125
Custom 20A ESCs (22A Peak), with OneShot125, and regenerative braking, for crisp-responsive flight using CleanFlight. A 32-bit ARM processor runs each ESC, ensuring plenty of processing power to drive even the most fussy brushless motors.
The second generation of ImmersionRC’s ‘EzESC’, with race-proven reliability, and the extra punch required to spin the 2204/2300kV motors.
These ESCs also support our innovative rotorSENSE, which programs prop direction with the flick of a finger. No more swapping motor wires.
Blackbox is a high speed recorder for flight controller data, which is stored in an integrated flash memory on the Vortex 250’s Fusion Gen2 board.
This extremely powerful tool can be used to tweak your PIDs to perfection with your choice of props, battery, and camera.
Full Graphic OSD, with EzOSD pedigree
An on-board full-graphic OSD provides in-flight updates of critical parameters, and sports a menu which allows all options to be programmed in the field using the R/C Tx, and a set of goggles, or an LCD screen.
A real-time interface with the flight controller enables artificial horizons, F-18 style displays, and exchange of flight parameters.
Seven! 32-bit ARM processors
There are not many quads out there with that claim to fame… the Vortex 250, like its 285 big-brother, sports no less than seven 32-bit ARM processors, all working together for maximum fun-factor.
A dedicated ARM for the flight controller, another for the full-graphic OSD, even another for the LED board at the back of the quad, and then four high performance ARMs for the custom ESCs.
Custom OSD Layouts
Several OSD layouts are included in the package:
- A classical EzOSD-type layout, with all critical parameters available on-screen.
- A Heads-Up display which would be more at home in a fighter-jet, with artificial horizon and altitude indicator.
- A Race layout, with just the critical parameters, tucked around the edges of the display.
- A Gaming layout… they’ll explain that one just before launch
All OSD layouts include screen-center alerts for critical warnings, such as battery voltage, EzUHF Link Critical, etc.
Pimping accessories for the Vortex 250 Pro are available at launch, in vibrant colors:
- Hot Pink
- Lime Green
The difference between the 250 versions, and the 285 is that we are not calling these ‘Crash Kits’… these parts are pretty difficult to break 🙂
Vortex 285 vs. 250 Pro Comparison
The Vortex 285, and the new 250-Pro are quite different quads. The 285 has the advantage of foldability, making it ideal for transport, and building into compact flight-cases.
The 250 Pro has the advantage of a more powerful processor, higher-current ESCs, and some larger (and heavier) motors.