Review: Emax Babyhawk R 3″

With the racing/flying season coming to a quick close, I wanted to purchase a new PNP quad, in order to save some time in having to build a custom quad. I also wanted to have a quad that I could fly in my backyard and save the time of having to drive to any nearby fields. After some research, I figured I would want to purchase either a 2.5″ or a 3″ quad. With these being half the size of your normal 5″ mini quad, the micro size is a perfect backyard flyer.

The other requirement was finding something I could buy state side, so that I didn’t have to wait 2 to 4 week for shipping. This ruled out a lot of models and I finally found my new quad, the Emax Babyhawk R 3″.  Emax definitely has a winner on their hands with the entire Babyhawk line of products.

The Babyhawk R 3″ has some great parts inside and only weighs 83 grams (without the battery).

Flight Controller

The Babyhawk R 3″ is running on Emax’s F3 Mini Magnum Fly Tower stack. This means that the flight controller is an F3 board. It is not the latest and greatest F4 board, but it does allow you to run on the newest Betaflight 3.5 version. It also has a built in OSD, so that you can see your battery voltage, RSSI and other vital information overlaid on top of your video feed.

If you already know how to fly in acro mode, I recommend you install the Betaflight 3.5.1 performance edition, as it unlocks a lot of the new filtering options that are not available in the normal 3.5. The performance edition can be downloaded from here. Download the betaflight_3.5.1_OMNIBUS_Performance.hex file.

I am running with the stock stock PIDs, but there are a few settings I would recommend that you turn on. Please do note that most of these are only available in the performance edition.

First, head over to the Configuration tab and ensure that the ESC/Motors Features is set to use DSHOT600 and set the Motor Idle Throttle to 5.2

In the Other Features section of the Configuration tab, set AIRMODE, ANTI_GRAVITY and DYNAMIC_FILTER on

Next, head over to the PID tuning tab and, in the PID Controller settings, turn on I Term Rotation, Smart Feedforward and I Term Relax

I won’t go into detail about binding your transmitter and modes in this article, but if you have any questions on these, please do not hesitate to leave a comment or use my contact us page and send me a message.

ESCs

The F3 Mini Magnum stack comes with an 4-in-1 ESC board already installed.

This ESC board is able to provide up to 12 Amps of current to the motors, which is plenty of current for the setup. This also allows you to run 3S or 4S without worry of burning up the ESC board. Unfortunately, they are unable to run DSHOT1200, as the board is a BLheli_S board. But, honestly, this does not bother me any, as the flights are butter smooth.

Motors

The Babyhawk R 3″ is sporting Emax’s RS1106 4500KV motors.

These motors have been on the market now for over a year and have great reliability and can support both 3S and 4S batteries. I am personally running my Babyhawk on 3S and find it to be plenty powerful for a beginner quad. If you choose to step up to the 4S batteries, I would recommend getting some 2.5″ props to go along with them.

Propellers

The Babyhawk R 3″ comes stock with Emax’s own propellers, the Emax Avan 3024 tri-blade props.

These props are amazing and make the Babyhawk scream through the air. They are also very durable and, if bent, are easily bent back into shape. Although, I do always recommend swapping out bent props, as bent props can cause motor noise and unnecessary motor heat.

In the box, you get 4 CW props and 4 CCW props, or 2 sets of props. They are the red ones shown in the picture above. Additional props can be purchased from Amazon. Currently a 24 pack of props (6 sets) runs about $15.00. It comes with the clear and the red ones. Or, you can get a 12 piece of the blue ones for $11.

If you want to step up to 4S batteries, then get the Gemfan Flash 2540 3-Blade Props. I have not personally tried these out yet, but have read and watched enough good reviews on them to recommend them. In the next month or so, I will be ordering some of these, along with some 4S batteries to test out with.

VTX

The Babyhawk R 3″ comes with a VTX that is part of the flight stack. The video transmitter is a 40 Channel 5.8g VTX switchable 25 mw and 200 mw of power. Since I do most of my flying LOS, I haven’t found the need to use the 200 mw setting. The transmitter comes with a dipole antenna, already attached. I do recommend mounting the antenna on the top of the bird, where it will give you the best reception possible. I widened one of the holes on the top canopy, attached a zip tie to it, then used heat shrink to attach the antenna to the zip tie.

Unfortunately, the VTX does not offer smart audio. Meaning, in order to change channels, you will not be able to use your transmitter or the OSD. You must use the button on the VTX itself. I don’t find this to be an issue, since I do not race officially yet. So, I stay on the same channel at all time. If you’d like to learn more about how to adjust the channels, etc., Emax has made a great YouTube video covering it all.

Tutorial – Babyhawk R 3 Inch VTX How-To

Camera

The Babyhawk R 3″ comes with a Foxeer Arrow micro CCD camera. It offers 600tvl resolution and has good color output and clarity. It is not the greatest of cameras, but it will do a great job in getting you in the air safely. It has a 2.1mm lens and does have a little smaller field of view than what I would prefer. It is also a 4:3 camera. I have plans to upgrade the camera soon, as my goggles are 16:9. I am going to go with the Foxeer Monster Micro Pro, as it offers 1200 tv lines (tvl), is a CMOS camera and comes in 16:9 aspect ratio. I’ll be doing a separate review on this camera soon.

Batteries

The Babyhawk R 3″ does not come with any batteries. So, you will need to either already have some or purchase some. I have been testing out 3 different 3S batteries, all in the 650mAh size, and they all perform very well. I recommend to get at least 4 batteries, but the more you can afford the better. Currently, I have 6 batteries. At about 4-5 minutes of flight time on each, that comes out to about 25 to 36 minutes of flying. I will place the 3 batteries I have used in order of my preference. But, as I mentioned, they are all great batteries.

  1. GNB 650mAh LiPo Battery 3S – I get the longest flight times from these
  2. RDQ SERIES 650MAH 3S – These are only a few seconds behind the GNBs. I also prefer the GNBs for the free shipping, if you have Prime membership.
  3. TATTU LiPo Battery 650mAh 11.1V 75C 3S – These are the smallest and lightest of the bunch, but are also a few seconds less of flying from the RDQs. I personally don’t see that the lighter battery gives me any better flying characteristics to be noticeable.

I’ll write a separate review on these 3 batteries soon, with some more specifics on why I prefer one over the other. Still, none of them are a bad choice.

If you want a lighter battery, for faster flying but less flight time, check out the GNB 450mAh 3S or the 550mAh 3S.

Where to get one

The Babyhawk R 3″ is available directly from Amazon.com and comes in 2 variants:

BNF

The BNF version comes with an 8 channel FrSky receiver already ready to go. So, all you have to do is bind your FrSky transmitter to it. Please do note that the receiver that it comes with will not allow you to do telemetry. More on this in a little bit

PNP

I ended up purchasing the PNP version, as my original plans were to use my Devo 7E transmitter. Unfortunately, my Devo self destructed and I ended up purchasing a FrSky transmitter anyways. This ended up working to my advantage, as I purchased a R-XSR receiver, which offers telemetry.

If you are ok with soldering on 4 wires, then go this route. You’ll be able to not only get voltage and RSSI warnings through your transmitter, but you will also be able to change your PIDs and rates from the controller as well.

Final Thoughts

Whichever one you choose, you won’t be disappointed with the awesome flying and aerobatics you can do with this little rocket. Go out in the backyard, throw on your goggles and have a blast! The price is just right to get started in this amazing hobby and spare parts are plentiful. Amazon offers spare arms as well, if you happen to break one.

Emax is a very reputable brand in the quad industry and put out very reliable and fairly priced products. The Babyhawk R 3″ falls into one of these products. Fantastic quality and a very reasonable price. Pick one up and I’m sure you won’t regret it!

I will do some follow up review on this product very soon, along with some flight footage. Currently, my goggles do not have a DVR, but I have one on the way and should have it in the next week or two.

There is also a newer version of this quad. It is not 3″, but instead is 2.5″ and does cost a little more. It comes with the newer F4 board and also supports smart audio. I have not personally seen this version yet, but it does look very promising. One other issue is that it does not come with replaceable arms. If you break an arm, you have to replace the entire frame. If you wish to check it out, it is also now available on Amazon.com, here.


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