Happymodel Mobula8 Review: The Best Tiny Whoop with DJI O3 in 2024?

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RCHobby Lab’s Author: Daniel Henderson
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Reviewed by Kristen Ward
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Reviewed by Kristen Ward

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As a super fan of UAVs, I can clearly feel that the world of tiny quads has exploded in popularity over the last few years.

Thanks to advances in miniaturization, it’s now possible to get high-quality HD video transmission and recording in a tiny 85mm frame. This opens up all kinds of possibilities for cinematic FPV flights.

The latest innovation is slapping a DJI Air Unit with its 4K / HD camera into an 85mm frame for a micro digital quad that can still rip like a proper FPV racer.

In this in-depth review, we’ll be taking a close look at the Happymodel Mobula8 HD digital quad to see if it lives up to the promise of being a “Cinewhoop” that doesn’t need an action camera.

Overview of Happymodel Mobula8 HD

The Mobula8 HD from Happymodel is part of an exciting new generation of micro quads rocking the DJI Air Unit. This combo allows you to record stunning 4K/120fps video without needing an action cam like a GoPro.

Happymodel sells the Mobula8 HD in several versions:

  • With DJI Air Unit and camera pre-installed
  • “Air Unit Ready” version without any HD transmitter, for user-supplied Air Units
  • Versions with either HDZero or Walksnail transmitters

In this review, we’ll be looking specifically at the DJI Air Unit version to see how well it performs as a micro digital Cinewhoop.

What can we find in the box?

Cracking open the standard Happymodel packaging, we find:

  • The Mobula8 HD fully assembled quad
  • 4x 1103 11,000KV motors
  • Full set of tri-blade 2″ props
  • 450mah 4S HV battery
  • Battery charger
  • Set of spare props and hardware

Everything you need to get in the air comes neatly packed. Let’s take a closer look at the components.

Design & Features of Happymodel Mobula8 HD

The Mobula 8 HD uses a ducted 85mm frame with 1103 motors to lift the DJI Air Unit HD camera.

This allows capturing cinema-quality 4K video in a tiny and convenient micro quad package, this integrated design eliminates the need for a separate HD action camera.

Here are more key specs and features of the Mobula 8 HD:

  • 85mm 3″ prop quad
  • 1103-sized 11,000KV motors
  • 20A 4-in-1 ESC running BlueJay firmware
  • F4 FC with built-in ExpressLRS receiver
  • DJI Air Unit with 4K/120fps recording
  • 3-4 min flight times

With the Air Unit and 1103 motors, the AUW is around 160g. This puts it on the heavier side for a “whoop” style quad, but the power system can handle it.

Let’s take a closer look at the components that make this micro HD rocket possible.

Frame and Motors

The Mobula8 HD uses an 85mm wheelbase frame made of durable 3mm thick carbon fiber.

With the 85mm size, it’s able to fit the larger 1103 motors needed to lift the added weight of the DJI Air Unit.

1105 or 1106 motors would struggle on a 75mm frame like the Beta75X or Meteor75.

The 1103 motors have just enough power for impressive agility given the size.

The motors use a 1103 stator size with a kV rating of 11,000. 2″ tri-blade props are the sweet spot for 85mm quads carrying HD gear.

You could go up to 2.5″ or 3″ props, but 2″ still allows for good performance without too much more bulk.

The included tri-blades are durable and provide a good thrust boost over the 2-blade.

Combined with the 2 blade props, this allows a 4S battery to be used to hit the ideal RPMs for the weight

DJI Digital HD Transmission Props

Of course, the star of the show is the DJI Air Unit. This video transmission system is leagues ahead of analog systems for FPV.

With the Air Unit, you get:

  • 4K resolution
  • Low-latency digital video
  • Long range transmission
  • Onboard DVR recording
  • HDMI output

And perhaps best of all—no video breakup or static!

Having the Air Unit integrated directly into the body means you don’t need to mount a GoPro or other action cam. There’s zero jello in the footage thanks to the soft mount isolating the camera sensor.

The only downside is that the recording quality and bitrate are not going to be as high as a GoPro. But the convenience factor makes up for it.

No need to mount and unmount a GoPro, forget batteries, worry about starting/stopping recording, etc. It’s just ready to fly out of the box.

F4 Flight Controller and ESC

The included F4 FC handles all the quad’s processing needs. It includes an ExpressLRS receiver for a strong control link.

Having the receiver integrated directly into the FC helps save weight and complexity.

The only downside is the small receiver antenna which is prone to damage, replacing it with a UFL connector and external antenna would improve durability.

Also nice is seeing PID values and filters pre-tuned instead of completely stock.

While only minor changes from default, it shows Happymodel has optimized performance a bit already.

The F4 flight controller included is Happymodel’s 40A ESC combo. It comes pre-flashed with BlueJay firmware for better performance than factory BLHeli_S firmware.

The 40A ESC rating provides plenty of overhead for the 1103 motors and 3-4S battery sizes. Rated for up to 4S, a 2S 450mah battery is recommended by Happymodel for best flight times.

Out of the box it comes configured in Betaflight 4.3. Unlike the Mobula6, it does not use an all-in-one FC/VTX board. The VTX is separate so you can use your own Air Unit without issue.

Happymodel Mobula8 HD Setup Before Flying

To get my Mobula 8 HD test unit ready to fly, just a few quick steps were needed:

Update Firmware

The quad ships with Betaflight 4.3 rather than 4.4.

Since 4.4 has better OSD support, updating the firmware is recommended if you’re comfortable doing so. If not, 4.3 is still perfectly flyable.

Bind Receiver

The built-in ExpressLRS module required binding to my radio.

Following Happymodel’s instructions, I put my TX in binding mode and powered on the quad while holding down the bind button on the FC.

Activate Motor Beacon

In Betaflight Configurator, under Modes, I enabled “Motor Beacon” for the beeps when armed. This can help find a lost quad in the grass!

Enable Lost Model Alerts

Under Modes, enable “Lost Model” alerts. This will make the motors beep when disarmed, which helps locate a downed quad in tall grass.

Set Max Arm Angle

Under Arming, I set the Max Arm Angle to 180. This allows the quad to arm even when not perfectly flat. Helpful for uneven ground.

Tweak OSD Layout

The default OSD layout is a bit basic. Moving some elements like battery voltage to the edges makes better use of the 16:9 digital video space.

The default PIDs and rates felt dialed, so I left them all at stock values. That’s it! The Mobula8 HD was ready for its maiden flight.

My Opinion of the Mobula 8 HD Flight Performance

In my flying experience with Mobula 8 HD, I noticed some differences from the image quality you’d get with a GoPro.

There are more compression artifacts in areas with fine details like trees and grass. And the dynamic range is narrower compared to a Hero 6 or 7.

So the sky is overexposed in some scenes where a GoPro would retain highlight details.

The footage you transfer off the microSD card will be much higher quality, especially if captured in a flat color profile.

For FPV racing and freestyle videos, this is certainly good enough! And the convenience factor of not needing an HD cam is huge.

Overall, as long as you fly the Mobula8 HD within its limitations and design goals, it performs admirably.

The HD footage is detailed and stable enough for casual cinewhoop shots, the 85mm frame and 1103 motors provide a good blend of power and efficiency.

It’s not going to rival a 5 or 6-inch racer for speed or acro performance. But it fills the micro HD cinewhoop role very nicely. Just be ready for flight times of around 3 minutes or less.

Cruising and Cinematic Flying

I tried to test the Mobula8 HD as a cruiser for cinema-style flying. This is where the buttery smooth 4K footage and tiny form factor come into play.

The Mobula8 felt very floaty and locked in, even just running 2S batteries. This made it easy to film nice and smooth with the HD footage.

Having angle mode and horizon mode available also helps for buttery footage.

The one downside was flight time. Just casually cruising around, flight times were 2:30-3:00 minutes on the 450mAh 2S batteries.

This is to be expected given the AU and 4K recording overhead.

When you’re used to 5-7 minutes flight times with a GoPro-style cinewhoop, it takes some adjusting!

Acro Mode Flying

If you want to be more extreme test Mobula8 HD and see how it handled aggressive acro flying such as plenty of split S maneuvers, sharp punches, and dives in the Propwash.

You need to prepare a more capacity battery meanwhile, when flying on 2S with the 450mAh battery, the power felt lacking. Acceleration was sluggish. But when I moved up to the 650mAh 3S battery, the motors came alive!

It was impressive how the Mobula8 could cut fast and deep lines even at high throttle. The DJI HD footage stayed solid with minimal jello thanks to the soft mount.

As a pure acro trainer, it can’t compete with brushless whoops like the Mobula6. The flight time of just 1:30-2:00 minutes when flying aggressively is the biggest limitation.

The Mobula8 HD holds its own respectably for a micro HD quad, but being gentle on the throttle will get the best performance.


  • Excellent HD video from Air Unit Camera
  • 85mm size allows good performance with HD gear
  • Pre-tuned PIDs provide good handling out of the box
  • Integrated ExpressLRS receiver minimizes weight
  • 20A ESCs give a good power buffer


  • Short flight times – 3 minutes or less
  • Small receiver antenna prone to damage
  • Can’t unlock the full acro performance potential

HHappymodel Mobula8 HD vs BetaFPV Pavo Pico

The closest competitor to the Mobula 8 HD is the BetaFPV Pavo Pico. It’s another 85mm quad designed for the DJI Air Unit. Let’s look at some key differences:


The Pavo Pico is about 10 grams lighter without the battery. This gives it a nice boost in flight times. Expect around 4 minutes on the Pico vs 3 on the Mobula8. The Pavo Pico is about 10 grams lighter without the battery. This gives it a nice boost in flight times. Expect around 4 minutes on the Pico vs 3 on the Mobula8.


The Mobula8’s 1103 motors and ducted frame design make it a bit more powerful than the Pico. But the Pico may feel more agile due to its lighter weight.


Here the Mobula8 likely has an advantage. The folding arm design protects the motors and props better compared to the exposed motors on the Pico. Those exposed motors are easily damaged in crashes.


A big advantage of the Pavo Pico is the microphone in the Air Unit picks up excellent flight audio. The fully ducted props on the Mobula8 mean less prop noise is audible.


The Mobula8 HD is generally easier to find in stock and ships faster than the often out-of-stock Pavo Pico.

Overall, I’d give the edge to the Mobula8 HD due to its greater durability and availability. But the Pavo Pico is an extremely similar quad and also a solid choice if you need every last gram of weight savings. You really can’t go wrong with either for a micro HD build!

Who Should Get the Happymodel Mobula8 HD?

The Mobula 8 HD is a great option for:

  • FPV pilots looking for HD video without a GoPro
  • Anyone wanting a versatile micro cinewhoop
  • Pilots who prioritize durability over ultra-lightweight

It’s not the best choice for:

  • Serious racers – a 3″ build would be faster
  • Maximizing flight times – expect only 2-3 mins
  • Flying in tight spaces – 85mm is still fairly large

Final Thoughts

After many packs through this micro HD rocket, my overall opinion is positive, the Mobula 8 HD hits a nice sweet spot in combining an HD camera, 85mm power system, and ducted 5″ frame into a potent little micro cinewhoop.

It packs some impressive tech into a tiny and convenient package. The integration and performance of the DJI Air Unit on a mini 85mm frame are seriously impressive.

As expected, the flight times are short. This is the cost of getting HD recording and transmission on a micro quad. But 2-3 minutes is still very usable if you’re sticking to a smaller field or park.

The DJI digital footage looks great considering the size. It’s not going to match a full GoPro – but it eliminates the GoPro’s bulk.

For serious acro and freestyle, I’d still recommend a dedicated 2-3″ toothpick build. The power ceiling is too low on these 1103-powered micros.

But as an ultra-portable way to get cinema-quality FPV video and have flights when a 5″ is not practical? The Mobula8 HD hits the mark.

It also makes an amazing indoor racer. Put it in stability mode and blast down hallways or through your home seeing the environment in stunning HD.

As long as you work around the limited flight times and understand it won’t rival a dedicated race quad, the Mobula8 HD is an awesome way to get HD footage with a tiny cinewhoop.

So while not the perfect micro for all scenarios, the Mobula8 HD opens up HD recording and digital video to an ultra-lightweight package. This brings cinematic FPV possibilities that simply weren’t available before!

In short, HAPPYMODEL MOBULA 8 HD does have a lot of highlights, but before you make a decision to buy, please be sure to take a look at my evaluation of BetaFPV Pavo Pico.

Enjoy your flying, buddy!

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Written By Daniel Henderson

My name is Daniel Henderson and I'm an avid FPV pilot and videographer. I've been flying quadcopters for over 5 years and have tried just about every drone and FPV product on the market. When not flying quads, you can find me mountain biking, snowboarding, or planning my next travel adventure.

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