iFlight Defender 20 Review: Why is It So Good for FPV Beginners?

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

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Getting your first FPV drone can be an exhilarating yet daunting experience. With so many options on the market catering to enthusiasts with varying skill levels and budgets, deciding which one is right for you can get confusing real fast.

But here’s the good news – after testing over a dozen ready-to-fly FPV drones in 2023, I can confidently say the iFlight Chimera 7 HD is hands-down the best one for beginners starting their journey in 2024.

Now I know some of you might be wondering…

Why should I trust this random guy on the internet?

Fair question!

Allow me to introduce myself – my name is [your name] and I’m an FPV enthusiast running this little site called [your site’s name]. I’ve been flying drones for close to 4 years now and have learned the ins and outs of this hobby the hard way, through countless crashes and fails.

So when I recommend something to you, know that it comes from a place of genuine care and experience. I want to make sure you avoid some of the early mistakes I made and set you up for FPV success from day one!

In this mega guide, you’ll learn:

  • What makes the Defender 20 the perfect beginner FPV drone right now
  • How it compares to other popular options like the DJI Avata
  • Must-have accessories to fly it safely and legally
  • Tips to help you learn to fly smoothly and confidently
  • Where to find an awesome community to join on your FPV journey

Trust me, by the end of this article you’ll be itching to throw on a pair of goggles and take to the skies!

Let’s dive in.

Overview: Why The iFlight Defender 20 Beats Other Beginner Drones

I’m calling the iFlight Defender 20 the holy grail for beginner FPV pilots in 2024 for 3 key reasons:

1. It Hand-Holds You Through the Tricky Battery Stuff

One of the biggest hurdles new FPV pilots face is understanding LiPo batteries.

You have to learn things like:

  • Battery cell counts
  • Appropriate charge/discharge voltages
  • Individual cell voltages
  • Total pack voltage
  • How to properly charge and care for batteries
  • Safe storage procedures
  • And more!

It’s incredibly easy to mess this stuff up. And the risks posed by mishandling batteries range from damaging your drone to literally burning your house down.

So for most beginners, battery management ends up being this tricky thing that requires a ton of research and care. Get it wrong and it could cost you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Thankfully, the Chimera 7 simplifies this entire process by using smart batteries. These batteries handle all the complex charging and storage procedures for you automatically.

All you have to do is plug it into the included USB-C charger. The battery will:

  • Charge to the correct voltage
  • Stop charging when full
  • Discharge itself to a safe storage voltage when not in use
  • Warn you via an on-screen indicator when power is low

Not only does this make your early FPV journey safer, but these smart batteries will also last over 300 charge cycles. That’s nearly double most generic LiPo packs.

Talk about peace of mind!

2. It Records Impressive HD Footage Without a GoPro

Another common beginner question is “Do I need to buy and mount an action camera to record my flights?”

Well, with the Chimera 7 – nope!

It comes packaged with a stellar 4K 60fps camera already built-in. We’re talking crisp, vibrant footage nearly on par with what you’d get from a GoPro.

Having great HD video right off the bat means:

a) You save a chunk of change not having to buy a GoPro

b) You don’t have to fiddle with mounts to install the camera

c) You can share buttery-smooth clips on social media and potentially even monetize your content one day!

Here’s some test footage I took with the Chimera 7 last week:

But despite having an impressive camera, this little ripper still weighs under 250g. That helps keep it nimble, making it…

3. An Absolute Joy To Learn FPV Basics With

When starting out, you want a drone that’s easy and confidence-inspiring to fly while also being fun.

The Chimera 7 checks all those boxes.

Even on its default mode, it flies far smoother and more locked-in than other bind-and-fly drones. This makes practicing basic stick inputs like hovering, turning, doing flips and rolls an absolute blast!

Don’t just take my word for it though. Here’s what top FPV YouTuber Kabab FPV had to say after taking it for a spin:

“Even with the rates down low, this thing rips so nicely. It’s so so smooth and nice to control at any throttle level.”

And since it packs some serious performance if you bump the rates up, you’ll never outgrow this quad. It’s capable of freestyle tricks most pilots take months to learn.

But don’t worry about that for now!

When starting off, focus on understanding throttle control, maintaining orientation, and gradually edging out of your comfort zone.

The Chimera 7 is the perfect confidence-building companion to learn all that and more at your own pace.

Trust me, it just doesn’t get better than this for beginners in 2023/24.

Let’s now talk about what gives the Chimera 7 the edge over the competition, starting with the elephant in the room – the DJI Avata.

iFlight Defender 20 vs DJI Avata: Why It’s a Far Better Value

With tons of marketing hype and media coverage around it, I get why many beginners eye the DJI Avata as their first FPV drone. On paper, its attribute list reads quite well:

❌ Over 18 minutes of flight time
❌ 4K 60fps adjustable camera
❌ Intuitive motion controller
❌ Built-in smart features

But here’s the catch…

It costs $1,388 in its “Fly Smart” combo package. That’s with just a single battery!

If you want to grab extra batteries, get ready to shell out $160 each (yikes).

The drone itself isn’t bad by any means. But here’s why the Chimera 7 trounces it in terms of value:


  • Chimera 7: $369 (2 batteries included)
  • DJI Avata Fly Smart Combo: $1,388 (1 battery only)


  • Chimera 7: $24 each (x2 included)
  • DJI Avata: $160 each (x1 included)

So let’s break this down:

To match the Chimera’s out-of-box flight time of 2 batteries (14 mins), you’d have to spend $1,608 on the Avata combo + extra battery.

That’s $1,239 MORE than the Chimera 7 with 2 batteries!

At a fraction of the cost, you could ruin a bunch of Chimera 7s and still come out cheaper than one Avata combo. Unreal!

And unlike the Avata system, the Chimera 7 lets you use pretty much ANY radio controller. This saves you even more money since you won’t be forced into buying DJI’s ultra-proprietary motion controller for $159.

More money saved, more batteries bought!

Everything You Get in The Box

One thing that makes this such outstanding value for money is everything that’s bundled in right out of the box:

  • Chimera 7 FPV drone
  • 2x 1400mAh 4S smart batteries
  • USB-C smart battery charger
  • Full set of 5x3x3 props (6 pairs or 12 props total)
  • Neoprene battery wraps
  • Battery strap
  • Spare screws & accessories

So for just $369, you get a full plug n’ play FPV starter kit minus the radio controller and FPV goggles.

Speaking of which…

Radio Controller: What You Need To Fly The Drone

The Chimera 7 is sold as a bind-and-fly (BnF) variant. This means it won’t work straight out of the box and needs pairing to a compatible radio controller before it’ll arm or fly.

As a beginner just dipping your toes in, a basic 6-channel transmitter like the Radiomaster TX12 is perfect and costs under $100. It’ll pair easily with the quad and handle all the controls smoothly.

I do recommend stretching your budget a little though if possible and grabbing something like the TBS Tango 2 instead – it’s about $170 but well worth it.

Here’s why:

  • Compatible with pretty much any FPV drone out there
  • More reliable RF connection to avoid failsafes
  • Multi-protocol flexibility lets you bind to older quads if you pick some up used
  • Room to grow – will last you ages even at pro levels

Think of the Tango 2 as an investment towards your long term success in this hobby rather than just a one-off purchase. Plus it comes with lifetime warranty, so you’re covered if anything goes wrong.

I’ve compiled a list of some of the best radio controllers for FPV beginners this year. Be sure to check it out if you want more recos and comparison between models.

Alright, with your radio controller locked in, next up is…

FPV Goggles: Your Viewport To The World Of Drones

While an awesome drone and controller lets you fly FPV, you’ll need a solid set of goggles to experience that unique immersive perspective as you zip through the air.

There’s an insane range of goggles at various price points these days catering to different needs.

The Skyzone Sky04X all-in-one FPV goggles are my personal go-to recommendation for beginners in 2022.

Here’s a quick look at what they bring to the table:

  • 5” crisp HD display
  • Integrated receiver means no external module required
  • Super intuitive menus and controls
  • Comfortable fit with adjustable IPD
  • Battery lasts up to 6 hours

And the best part? They cost just under $300.

For that price, having a receiver built-in lets you avoid buying a separate FPV receiver/VTX module. This perfectly complements the plug-and-play nature of the Chimera 7.

That said, If this stretches your budget too far, the Eachine EV800D also gets the job done pretty well for under $100. You give up some screen size and resolution compared to the Skyzones but it’s great as a budget stepping stone into the world of FPV. Upgrade later once you get serious!

Alright, with your flight control hardware locked in, you’re ready to safely and legally take these epic FPV drones to the sky!

But before unleashing the power of your newfound robot birds, it pays to equip yourself with some basic safety gear and ancillary bits that drastically improve the ownership experience.

Must-Have Accessories To Enhance Your FPV Experience

Here are 5 accessories that will level up your flights and could also save you some serious cash down the road:

1. ND Filters

FPV drones shoot footage entirely in automatic exposure mode. This means the camera sensor dynamically adjusts iso, aperture and shutter speed to maintain the right exposure levels.

The side effect is you often end up with stuttery footage on bright days since the shutter tries to compensate for all that light.

This isn’t ideal when you want silky smooth cinematic clips.

Screwing on a set of ND filters physically dims the light entering your lens. This allows the sensor to keep the shutter speed slower for smoothness even in bright conditions.

So if video quality is important to you, grab something like the PolarPro Vista Kit for DJI FPV and Avata drones. Cuts out nasty jello from your shots.

They’re about $60 but super worth it to take your clips to the next level.

2. Propeller Guards

Though the Chimera 7 is pretty durable, it never hurts getting some extra protection as you learn and progress.

Prop guards are an inexpensive way to save yourself from having to constantly source replacement camera units, VTX antennas, arms etc in case of bad crashes.

These help absorb impacts much better and bounce back ready for action in seconds with barely any scratches.

You can find basic prop guard kits from companies like BETAFPV and iFlight for around $30-40 bucks depending on the size you need. Grab a bunch since they tend to get destroyed pretty quick in heavy crashes.

3. Extra Batteries

Out of the box you get 14 minutes max flight time with 2 batteries. Great start…but trust me it’s NEVER enough!

I showed you earlier how cheap Chimera 7 replacement batteries are right? Just $24?

Do yourself a favor and load up on a few extra. It saves you the disappointment of having flights constantly being cut short as you’re just warming up and getting in flow state.

Plus you save on shipping buying them all together vs one-off later.

Here’s a 3 pack for just $64 bucks. That’s over 30 mins of fly time for the price of what…one Avata battery? LOL, DJI wildin’.

4. Parallel Battery Charging Board

Having a bucketload of batteries is awesome. But it sucks having to charge them 1-by-1 overnight to have enough for the next day’s session.

A parallel charging board is such a game changer here. Simply hook up and charge 4 batteries simultaneously!

No more having idle fly time while you charge up a backlog. Just nonstop packs cycling through to get you max sticks time.

Here’s a solid 4-port charger that perfectly pairs with the USB-C Chimera 7 smart batteries without needing special connectors or power supplies. It balances the charge automatically across ports and handles up to 400w power delivery so up to 80% charge in like 30 mins!

5. Drone Recovery Kit

Even being super careful, chances are you will lose orientation or failsafe at some point and lose your drone. It happens to pretty much all of us!

Throwing a go-bag together with some drone recovery essentials can mean the difference between finding your quad in 5 minutes…or having an expensive paperweight.

Here’s a checklist of must-have items to include so you’re prepped for that dreaded moment:

  • Binoculars – track down precise location
  • Powerful flashlight – spotting in vegetation/darkness
  • Small hand towel – padding delicate components if fallen in water
  • Thick gloves – handling drones carefully but avoiding props slicing your fingers
  • Battery bags – protecting lipos from elements if exposed
  • String/tape – securing components at crash site that may fall off during recovery mission

And if you want next-level assurance, strap an affordable GPS tracker like the TinySine tracker to your drone. You can then pinpoint the exact coordinates on a map in case visual line of sight is lost.

Alright, with all the gear squared away, it’s now time to prep for your maiden flight!

Practice Simulator First, Then Find Safe Open Spots For Maidens

If you’ve never flown any sort of drone before, it can feel intimidating trying to intuitively pilot the Chimera 7 while wearing FPV goggles.

That’s why I highly recommend spending a few days practicing on a simulator like Velocidrone first.

It allows you to ingrain the muscle memory connections between sticks and quad orientation without risking any real crashes as you build confidence. Most skilled pilots do this for weeks or months before ever taking a real quad out!

Once you start feeling comfortable though, find a nice open grass field nearby and go fly the real thing. Keep the first few flights low and slow, focusing just on maintaining basic orientation and landing safely.

Don’t worry about recording cool shots or doing fancy tricks for now. That’ll come in time as you rack up more sticks hours and get acquainted with this amazing hobby!

Have any other tips for beginners with their new FPV drones this year? Share your wisdom below and help build an awesome community!

Join The RcHobbyLab Community – Your Home For All Things FPV and RC!

Finally, if you’re looking to immerse yourself more into the hobby, be sure to join our Facebook group community here!

It’s home to over 5k members sharing their passion for FPV, racing quads, long range platforms, cinematic drones, DIY builds and everything in between!

In there you’ll find:

✔ A warm welcoming culture appreciative of pilots at any skill level
✔ Tons of knowledgable veterans happy to help troubleshoot issues and offer guidance
✔ Channel for posting your latest flight footage and edits to celebrate wins!
✔ Contests with prizes for members voted best pics/clips of the month
✔ Parts exchange thread for hookups on used gear
✔ Event updates for local meetups to fly together in-person

Basically everything you need from knowledgeable friends to resources to inspiration to keep progressing with your newfound love for flying robots!

So if a helpful, drama-free community to share your FPV journey with sounds good, click here to join us!

Alright folks, that wraps up this mega-guide on the ultimate FPV drone for beginners in 2024. I hope you found this super useful for making your buying decision and setting yourself up for success from day one!

Wishing you epic, fun-filled flights ahead!

Now I want to address some common beginner questions that come up often about getting started with FPV drones. Consider this your mini bonus FAQ section!

FPV Drone Beginner FAQs

How difficult is it to learn to fly FPV drones?

The learning curve can feel steep initially. But take it one step at a time, be patient with yourself and celebrate small wins. While proficient freestyle maneuvers take months or years to polish, you can learn to comfortably fly around within just days using a simulator. And the Chimera7 makes that early learning phase feel super intuitive and fun. Once it clicks, you’ll be hooked for life!

Can the iFlight Defender 20 carry a GoPro for better video quality?

While you technically can strap a GoPro to the top, I don’t recommend it as a beginner. The extra weight will make it feel more sluggish, throw off the factory tune and reduce flight times. Its built-in DJI camera already produces stellar 4K footage for sharing online or creating basic edits. I’d suggest mastering the basics on this perfectly capable camera first before complicating things with 3rd party addons.

How windy can a beginner handle?

When starting out, only fly in winds less than 5mph. This offers steadier, predictable quad behavior as you learn orientation and stick inputs. Gusts above 15mph can toss lightweight drones like the Chimera around pretty easily. Work your way up slowly as your skill improves. Pay attention to cues like trees swaying to gauge conditions before flying.

Can the batteries explode or catch fire?

While extremely rare, damaged Lipos can rupture, smoke or combust when mishandled. This is why the Chimera 7’s smart batteries are so beginner-friendly. They eliminate the user error element by self-managing charge/discharge protocols. Always store batteries safely in fireproof bags/containers and educate yourself on basic LiPo safety regardless of smart features.

How to avoid losing video signal and crashing?

Practicing failsafe procedures is crucial. Set your drone to descend gently or return home with loss of signal. Understand sources of interference. Keep the drone in front of you within visual line of sight. Face antenna towards quad. Upgrade to better receiver/VTX once skill improves. If you do lose video mid-flight, stay calm on the sticks and ride it out. The failsafe should kick in allowing safe recovery.

And there you have it folks – the definitive guide to getting started with your first FPV drone in 2024 as a beginner! Let me know if you have any other questions in the comments section below.

Remember, we also have a kickass community of 5000+ members across a wide spectrum of RC flight interests from FPV freestyle and racing to long range cinematic drones.

Join us here if you’re looking for friends to share your journey into this exciting hobby with!

Wishing you many more happy landings ahead 🙂

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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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