iFlight iH3 Review

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Author Marshall Abrams
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Reviewed by Kristen Ward
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Reviewed by Kristen Ward

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What is iFlight iH3 BNF?

iFlight iH3 BNF: performance

Overall the Transporter 2 HD hits a sweet spot for those looking to get started with HD FPV without spending a ton. Definitely worth considering if you want to experience HD drone footage!

But sometimes, five inches is a bit too much. You want something a little smaller, easier to handle, and quieter. That’s why I’m so excited to show you the quadcopter I’m looking at today.

The world of FPV quadcopters is filled with so many options these days. From tiny “whoop” style micro quads all the way up to giant long range cruisers and everything in between. Each style and size of quadcopter has its own strengths and weaknesses. The key is picking the right one for your needs. In this article we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the iFlight iH3. This 3.5” quadcopter aims to be a versatile middle ground between the agility of smaller quads and the comfort of 5” models. Let’s see how it stacks up!

Overview of the iFlight iH3

The iH3 sits right in the popular 3-3.5” class of FPV quads. At this size, they are still very nimble for freestyle flying but have more stability than the smaller 2-2.5” offerings. iFlight built this quad with two main goals in mind:

  1. Provide an excellent beginner friendly model with great HD video built-in.
  2. Create a versatile platform that can be configured for freestyle, long range, or cinematic flying.

To accomplish these goals, they’ve equipped the iH3 with premium components throughout:

  • iFlight F7 flight controller
  • BLHeli_32 ESC’s
  • 1504 3100KV motors
  • M10 GPS module
  • DJI HD FPV system

Let’s take a closer look at the design and component choices on the iH3.

Frame Design

The frame on the iH3 follows a pretty standard 3” quad layout. There’s a bottom plate with standoffs to a top plate. The overall construction is very clean and well manufactured. iFlight designed the frame with some unique shapes in the carbon fiber to increase strength in high stress areas. This helps prevent cracks from developing over time. While not the most exciting design, it provides a solid and durable platform to build on.

One downside is that the entire bottom plate is a single piece of carbon fiber. So if you happen to break an arm, you’ll likely need to replace the entire bottom plate instead of just one section.

F7 Flight Controller

At the heart of the iH3 is an iFlight F7 flight controller. This gives it fast processing power and plenty of I/O for all desired functions. The F7 CPU has more than enough speed to run Betaflight smoothly even on very high rates. And it has enough memory available to run other firmware options like iNav if desired.

The built-in PDB provides clean power distribution and plenty of solder pads for connecting accessories. And it has a plug for an external GPS module which is included stock on the iH3.

One very nice feature of this flight controller is that it comes pre-loaded with Project Mockingbird. This is a tuning preset developed by iFlight that works extremely well out of the box. No PID tuning required to get it flying great!

BLHeli_32 ESC’s

Another high-end component choice is the use of BLHeli_32 ESC’s. These offer faster response times and more programmability over the more common BLHeli_S ESCs. While not completely necessary on a quad like the iH3, the extra headroom and customization options are nice to have.

An interesting side note is that these same ESC’s are used in iFlight’s 5” BNF racing quads. So they are seriously overkill on a 3.5” build, which just means you get silky smooth performance.

1504 3100KV Motors

On 3-3.5” quads, 140X sized motors are the most common choice. iFlight went slightly bigger with 1504’s on the iH3. The slightly larger stator size improves torque and low-end power delivery. This was likely done to compensate for the iH3 being a bit heavier than a typical 3” build.

The 3100KV rating gives a good balance of power and efficiency on 4S batteries driving 3.5” props. Thrust levels are perhaps not peak performance, but still very strong. Of course the benefits are added durability and less amp draw from the motors and ESCs.

M10 GPS Module

Having GPS on board allows for advanced functions using iNav – return to home, position hold, waypoints, etc. The iFlight iH3 includes their new M10 GPS module. This represents a big upgrade over older GPS chips like the UBlox M8 which was the standard for years.

The main benefits of the new M10 chip are much faster satellite acquisition and improved stability. In testing, M10 modules consistently get a GPS lock twice as fast as M8 models. And once locked on, they rarely lose signal due to much better multi-path rejection. This results in way more reliable navigation when using GPS dependent flight modes.

One thing to note is that the GPS module in the iH3 does not contain a compass. So it may not work the best with iNav compared to an all-in-one GPS/compass unit. But the fast satellite locks and stability are still a big improvement over older GPS units.

DJI FPV System

One of the biggest selling points of the iFlight iH3 is the DJI FPV system that comes pre-installed. This includes the DJI camera/VTX module as well as a shark fin style antenna mount on the back.

Having HD video built-in makes the iH3 a great choice as a first FPV drone or for newer pilots looking for an RTF model. The convenience of recording HD footage without needing to mount a separate action cam like a GoPro is super nice.

However it’s worth mentioning that the DJI FPV camera does have some drawbacks compared to analog solutions or standalone cams. The image quality is great, but dynamic range is limited resulting in blown out highlights and dark shadows in high contrast environments. And the durability of the camera leaves something to be desired – the lens scratches easily and replacements are expensive.

But again, the simplicity and HD recording capabilities make up for these shortcomings for many pilots. Just be sure to add a lens cover to help protect the exposed optics.

Flying the iFlight iH3 FPV Quad

So now that we’ve talked through the various design aspects of the iH3, let’s get to the good stuff – flying it! I spent a number of packs putting the iH3 through its paces to test its capabilities as both a freestyle ripper and a long range cruiser. Here are my thoughts after getting stick time on this versatile little quad.

Weight and Thrust-to-Weight Ratio

My first impression was that the iH3 feels very solid in the air – not the most agile, but very locked in and confident. I attributed this at first to the extra weight from the HD system. To get some actual numbers, I weighed the iH3 in a few different configurations:

  • Dry weight, no battery: 211g
  • With 850mAh 4S: 310g
  • With 1,000mAh 4S: 364g
  • With 3,000mAh 4S Li-Ion: 410g

So even in its lightest freestyle setup, the iH3 is still 60g over the 250g threshold for many regulations. Not a micro quad by any means. iFlight seems to have optimized the power system for running 4S 850-1,000mAh batteries in terms of throttle resolution and control feel. Running it on a heavy 3,000mAh 4S pack significantly increases its flying weight. More on that later.

The thrust-to-weight ratio with the lighter packs still feels very good. Plenty of punch-out power and it carries speed very well through maneuvers. But you can tell the efficiency isn’t peak performance – worth it for the added durability in my opinion.

Freestyle Handling

Once I got used to the weight and power combo of the iH3, I started pushing it harder through freestyle maneuvers. All I can say is this thing absolutely rips! The stock tune felt dialed in perfectly with no tuning needed at all. The quad felt very locked-in and confidence inspiring. I was really impressed with how well it handled typically difficult tricks like split-S’s and matty flips. The inertia of the additional mass makes everything very smooth and floaty.

The one handling trait I needed to adapt to was the prop wash on this 3.5” setup. When blasting out of tricks at high speed, the quad would sometimes get bounced around in its own turbulence. I found easing off the throttle gently when leveling out helped smooth things out. Just something to be aware of compared to 2.5-3.0” builds which shoot through prop wash effortlessly.

Overall though, I’d say the iH3 can hold its own performance-wise with pure freestyle race quads. The precision more than makes up for any lacking in outright acceleration and agility numbers. This is definitely not just a long range cruiser – it shreds!

Long Range Cruiser

To test its capabilities as an LR rig, I strapped on a 3,000 mAh 4S Li-Ion pack. As mentioned above, this raised the quad’s flying weight significantly. My first impression was that efficiency and flight times will definitely suffer compared to a dedicated long range model. But that was expected going in.

What I was happy to find was that the iH3 actually feels great with the heavier battery! It noticeably tamed down the twitchy characteristics and made the quad feel much more like a 5” machine. Having a high quality tune really showed here – the handling was simply solid at any throttle level or speed.

Cruising around easily got 10+ minutes of flight time. Probably not enough for hardcore LR missions, but plenty for most pilots’ extended flying needs. And a huge upgrade over most HD quads which struggle to hit 5 minutes.

The only issue I ran into was losing video at a certain distance during my test. This is not uncommon for HD quads – the battery blocked the antenna radiation pattern resulting in premature signal loss. Just something to keep in mind.

Crashes and Durability

Given iFlight’s focus on durability with this quad, I deliberately tested its limits with some crash testing. I repeatedly threw it full speed into the ground and trees to see how it would hold up. The results were seriously impressive!

The combination of carbon layup and rubber dampers allowed the iH3 to bounce and skid with minimal damage. The motors held up to heavy frontal impacts way better than I expected. And the full bottom plate prevented any cracked arms in even the hardest hits.

After several very hard slams, the only damage was a slightly bent motor shaft that caused a little extra prop vibration. I was able to easily bend it back straight. Overall the durability proved to me this quad could take the abuse that beginners are sure to put it through. Yet provide a flying experience that will continue to satisfy as their skills progress.

iFlight iH3 Price

Who is the iFlight iH3 good for?

FAQs about the iFlight iH3

iFlight iH3 Alternatives

Final verdict on the iFlight iH3: should you buy it?

So after getting to test out the iFlight iH3, would I recommend it to other FPV pilots? I think for certain users and applications, it makes for an excellent choice that balances capability and value. Here’s a quick rundown of who I think would really enjoy this quad.

Newer pilots – The durability, easy HD setup, and flight performance make the iH3 a great first drone that won’t quickly be outgrown. It takes the crashes and bumps in learning with no worries of breaking. An awesome confidence builder!

FPV racers – Don’t underestimate the iH3 as just a long range rig! Its agile handling seriously impresses and provides buttery smooth lines. Freestyle pilots will love its precision and ability to hold speed through technical maneuvers.

GPS experimenters – Having GPS onboard makes the iH3 a perfect platform to test out more advanced iNav features. Get your feet wet with waypoint flying, auto take-off and landing, and other self-driving modes without needing to build a custom rig.

DJI pilots – If you fly with DJI goggles already, being able to add an HD air unit equipped quad for $300 or less is awesome. Enjoy HD video with your existing goggle setup at an affordable price point.

That being said, there are situations where other options might be better suited:

  • Pure long range flight – Dedicated long range models offer longer flight times on heavy battery packs. Look at something like the Flywoo Explorer LR if this is your main goal.
  • Cinewhoop filming – While great for general HD footage, the iH3 isn’t ideal for smooth cinematic flying. The extra weight limits its agility a bit compared to lighter and slower 3″ cinewhoops.
  • Ultra portable – To stay under 250g, a 3″ model like the BetaFPV Beta85X HD Whoop is more portable while still offering HD video.
  • Saving money – Getting an analog 3″ BNF like the Diatone Taycan with an Insta360 Go camera comes in cheaper than the HD version iH3 if budget is critical.

So in summary, I think the iFlight iH3 makes an excellent addition for a number of common FPV use cases. It really bridges the gap nicely between a dedicated racer, long range rig, and cinematic quadcopter. The quality shows throughout with premium components on a proven frame. I can easily recommend it for newer and veteran pilots alike looking for a versatile, durable, HD-ready quadcopter.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick look at the capabilities of the new iFlight iH3 3.5″ FPV drone! Let me know if you have any other questions about this quad. And please contact me if you need any assistance getting started with your first drone purchase or build – I’m always happy to help new pilots join our amazing hobby.

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Written By Marshall Abrams

My name is Marshall Abrams, and I am a filmmaker and FPV pilot who's been flying professionally for about four years now. Thanks to FPV, I get to travel to so many amazing places, and it's honestly completely changed how I run my business.

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