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Written by Matt Ruddick
A radio that is loaded with features and style.
Product Review
As seen in the August 2018 issue of
Model Aviation.



Bonus Video


Specifications

Modulation: FrSky FrOS (supports OpenTX systems)
Power: Built-in Li-Ion battery
Weight: 2.2 pounds (980 grams)
Operating voltage: 7.2-volt DC
Operating temperature: 14° to 140°F (-10° to 60°C)
Operating current: 350 mA at 7.2 volts
Channels: 16 to 32
Display: Industrial LCD 480 x 272 readable outdoor color screen
Flash memory: 16 MB (extendible by TransFlash card)
Transmitter panel: Silver or amber available
Price: $399


Pluses

• Built-in iXJT+ module (enhanced radio-frequency performance and less latency).
• Wireless trainer system.
• Support with FrSky Free Link App.
• MC12P, all-CNC, digital higher-accuracy 10 ball bearing Hall sensor gimbals and extendable stick ends.
• Beautiful design and build quality.
• Ergonomics feel nice, even with large hands.
• FrOS and OpenTX support.
• Internal diversity antennae in addition to standard external antenna.
• Support for up to 32 channels.
• FrOS is intuitive and easy to use.


Minuses

• Internal battery.
• Small neck-strap attachment point.




The Horus X10S is the new transmitter from FrSky. It comes with a hard-shell carrying case, gimbal protectors, an AC power adapter, and an FrSky neck strap.



Product Review

Throughout the last few years, FrSky has become a major player in the RC world—especially with the multirotor community. The Taranis X9D, and now the Taranis QX7, have become widely adopted by drone pilots across the board thanks to the company’s versatility, dependable radio link, and affordable prices.

FrSky has now brought a new flagship radio to the market with the introduction of the Horus X10S. This 16- to 32-channel radio brings all of the functionality that Taranis users are accustomed to and combines it with a modern look and feel that will surely turn heads at the flying field.

If you think this radio is only for drone pilots, however, you’re going to be in for a surprise. The X10S has all of the bells and whistles that fixed-wing, helicopter, and glider pilots will love as well.


Build Quality

The first and most obvious thing you’ll notice about the X10S is the build and construction quality. Although many radios on the market seem to trend toward lighter, cheaper materials, the first thought in my mind when I picked up this transmitter was how sturdy and premium it felt.

The plastic housing has a gorgeous matte finish with metallic accents. The gimbal rings even appear as though they’re forged from bronze and they complement the color scheme impeccably. The sides and rear of the radio feature comfortable faux-leather grip pads that are perfect for keeping the radio secure in my hands.

One complaint about the design of the X10S is the neck-strap attachment point. It certainly feels secure; however, it’s quite small. In fact, aside from the premium strap that shipped with the radio, most of my neck straps would not fit through the hole. As with radios, pilots often have a preference when it comes to neck straps, and I could see this being a problem for some. I was able to thread a key ring loop through it to make it compatible with any neck strap.


Features

Eight switches (six three-way switches, one two-way switch, and one momentary switch) adorn the top of the radio. Each switch is smooth and secure with a satisfying click to each position. There are three potentiometer dials along the top with knurl-style knobs that can be programmed for a variety of functions. The left dial is unrestricted with no hard stops throughout its travel. The middle dial functions as a six-way switch, and the right dial features an indent in the middle of its travel.




Three rotary potentiometer dials are on the face of the radio.





Each side of the radio has a slider dial as well.


The built-in color 480 x 272 LCD screen is more than bright enough to be readable outdoors on a sunny day. Although it’s not touch sensitive, there are controls on either side to navigate the installed FrOS system. I’ll touch more on that later.

The radio system is able to use three different antennae. The external antenna, which you’re likely used to seeing on any modern radio, is present, as well as two diversity antennae inside the top of the case. This allows you to use the radio without an external antenna attached to the SMA connector.

I can think of a couple of reasons why you might want to use the diversity antennae, including increasing portability by removing a piece of the radio that can easily be broken. If you do break the antenna, you have these internal diversity antennae to back you up. In my testing, I found that any loss in RSSI signal was negligible at best; however, you’ll want to do your own range test at your local field to verify that there isn’t any external interference.

Finally, let’s discuss the gimbals. Gimbals are the most important thing about the feel of a radio. The X10S features CNC-machined, 10 ball bearing Hall sensor MC12 gimbals that provide higher resolution and accuracy with the inputs.




The X10S features all-CNC, 10 ball bearing Hall sensor gimbals that offer high accuracy and precision with each stick input.


According to FrSky, they offer the most precise control for your flying experience. Although you could chalk that up to product hype, I could absolutely tell the difference between the MC12 gimbals and the M7 Hall sensor gimbals in my Taranis QX7. The MC12 gimbals are incredibly smooth, and I felt as though I had far more fine-tuned control with each input I made. I’ve rarely felt a big difference between gimbals on various radios, but these MC12 gimbals have made me a convert.


Battery

Let’s discuss the battery. I’ve become used to being able to swap out the battery pack in my Taranis QX7 while at the field, and I became concerned when I learned that the battery in the X10S is completely internal. It comes preinstalled with a 2,600 mAh Li-Ion pack inside that has its own charging circuit and is charged through a barrel jack on the bottom of the case. A power adapter is included with the radio.




The internal battery is charged via this barrel jack on the bottom of the radio.


I found that I could get approximately 6 hours of flight time out of the cells, and it would take approximately 90 minutes or so to recharge, so you’ll need to keep that in mind as you prepare for a day of flying.

If you insist upon changing battery packs at the field, you only need to remove the four screws on the rear of the case to gain access to the battery. It simply unplugs and can be replaced.


FrOS




The X10S is preinstalled with FrOS, a capable, straightforward operating system.


The X10S comes preinstalled with the new FrOS operating system, designed specifically for the Horus family of radios. I have always been partial to the operating systems of some other brand-name radios on the market because of their ease of use. One of my biggest gripes with open-source leader OpenTX is that, although it’s incredibly versatile, it can be somewhat clunky and unintuitive.

I was pleasantly surprised with what FrSky was able to pull off with FrOS. The company was able to take nearly all of the versatility of OpenTX and combine it with a straightforward and intuitive interface that made programming painless and fast. Everything from assigning audio tracks to play via switches, to highly sophisticated input mixing, is present in the menus.

FrOS allows for five types of models and an unlimited number of model memory slots, provided you have enough storage via the micro-SD card slot on the bottom of the radio. You can choose between airplanes, helicopters, gliders, multirotors, and custom model types.




You have the option to use the internal FrSky protocol or a different protocol using an external module.


Each will provide you with a different set of model options. For example, for fixed-wing aircraft, you have a gamut of input-mixing options to suit any aircraft and any style. Adjustable pitch curves, aileron differential, camber mixing, and even the ability to assign a snap roll maneuver to any switch, are all available to you.

I feel that users of all radio systems out there will feel at home with the FrOS, and will find that all of their needs will be met with its functionality.




Model programming inside of the FrOS is simple, yet powerful. The large, color LCD screen gives you plenty of real estate to precisely dial in your preferred settings, such as an exponential curve.



Final Conclusions

It goes without saying that choosing a transmitter is a personal choice for any pilot. You have to hold it in your hands and know that it’s comfortable to use because any uneasiness or lack of confidence can translate to your flights—flights that lack that confidence have a tendency to end in abrupt and uncontrolled contact with the ground.

The X10S is unlike most other radios out there, both in terms of ergonomics and its vast feature set. At a retail price of $399, I expect that this radio will be priced out of the budget of a lot of new hobbyists. However, if you’re looking for a feature-rich radio that can allow you to grow into nearly any aircraft out there, and is, quite frankly, a beautiful piece of industrial design, I would encourage you to give the FrSky X10S a close look.

—Matt Ruddick
mattr@modelaircraft.org


Manufacturer/Distributor:

FrSky
frsky@frsky-rc.com
www.frsky-rc.com

Ready Made RC
support@readymaderc.com
www.readymaderc.com


Sources:

FrSky Free Link App
www.frsky-rc.com/app






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