JJRC X12 Aurora/Eachine Ex4 drone review( Cheaper Mavic Air Alternative)

What you'll learn in this review

The JJRC X12 Aurora is also known as the Eachine Ex4 and you can curently find it for sale only on Banggood, is a really great GPS drone with a 3 axis gimbal and a foldable design.
 
It's not on the level of the DJI Mavic Air (the drone that it resembles the most), but it certainly is a great way to start exploring having a good GPS camera drone.
 
I would personally recommend the Hubsan Zino drone instead, as it comes at a similar price, yet it has a considerably better camera.
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Pros

Cons

JJRC X12 Aurora

jjrc-x12-aurora-drone-review

JJRC X12 Aurora Specs and Features (vs competition)

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Battery Life

The battery for this drone is proprietary and doesn't come with smart discharging or anything like what you can find in much more expensive DJI drones.
 
But I like that way, because it's way cheaper to get spares.
 
What's the actual flight time you should expect?
 
The manufacturer put it at 25 minutes in perfect conditions, which is usually true.
 
However, that is in perfect conditions, probably until it goes to 0% battery life.
 
From real life tests expect no more than 22 minutes, which is still a whole lot for how small this drone is.
 
Most reviewers and myself got around 20 minutes, so it's reliable to say that's the standard you should expect too.

Range (Flight Distance)

The JJRC X12 Aurora has an FPV range of 1200m.
 
That's exactly how much the manufacturer said it has, and it seems they were true to their word again.
And that'a actual range of the FPV signal, not only the drone itself.

How much does it weigh?(is it under 250g?)

The X12 Aurora from JJRC weighs 415grams, so it's over the legal limit to fly without a permit in the US.
 
However, because it's so small in size and not intrusive to other people, you have a better chance of not drawing any attention to yourself.

How good is the GPS accuracy

The drone comes with GPS+GlONASS( russian satelite system) which makes it as stable as any DJI quadcopter.
 
It can hover pretty precise without any toilet bowl effect and returns to home within a distance of maximum 2m from the point it left from.

Does it come back after losing signal?

Yes, the X12 Aurora does come back by itself if it loses signal, to the point where you launched it from.
 
Besides the return to home button, there's also this safety mechanism that lets you sleep better at night.
 

 

Doesn't it?

Does it return on low battery?

Yes, the JJRC Aurora and Cfly Faith, both return to home if the battery gets to a certain level.
 
It's usually 15 to 25% that drones tend to prompt to return to home by themselves.

What's the maximum height it reaches?

The maximum height the drone reaches is 500m, but there's a setting that initially only lets you fly for 120m.
 
What's the maximum height you can fly in USA?
 
You should limit yourself to 120m, as that's the max you are allowed to fly in the United States legally.

Does it come with optical flow stabilization

Yes, the X12 does come with optical flow stabilization that's done by a camera underneath.
 
What's that, you ask?
 
It's basically a camera that shoots stills of the ground to help the drone find a pattern and remain steady in the same position.
It works at heights no bigger than 10m, but if you have GPS, it's just a bonus anyway.
 
However, it also comes with 2 ultrasonic sensors.
 
These help it calculate the exact altitude by bouncing the sonar to the ground and back to the drone. It also uses a barometer in combination.

What are the best alternatives for the JJRC X12 Aurora (table comparison)

The 3 best alternatives for the X12 Aurora are the Fimi a3, the Hubsan Zino and the Cfly Dream.
 
I have compiled the main specs you should take note of bellow in that useful comparison table.
 
Each has their own benefits and they all make some of the best drones under $300 in my opinion.
 
 
For example, the Cfly obtain is the only one under 250 grams, which means it's legal to fly in the States without registering it.
 
The Hubsan zino is the only one with 4k footage (the best camera out of all)
 
And the Fimi A3 comes with the Best controller, least FPV lag and can use goggles with it.

Add to compare

Bellow you can find a filtering system for the main competitor drones I reviewed and you can press the “Add to compare” button if you want to do so.

X12 Aurora
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Fimi A3
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Cfly Dream
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Hubsan Zino
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JJRC Aurora Camera specs(3 axis stabilization)

The camera is the main focus of this drone, and that's the 3 axis image stabilization it comes with.
 
Is it perfect?
 
Definitely not, but I could definitely say it's really rare to find one at this price that comes with proper 3 axis stabilization and all these features included.
 
The gimbal works by having 3 motors working simultaneously to help keep the camera facing the same direction (a bit like a chicken head).
 

 

Image stabilization is in my opinion the most important factor in a camera drone.
 

How good is the footage and photos

Photo taken by Quadcopter 101
The 1080p camera is definitely under what you can see on the likes of DJI Spark (that one comes with an actual 4k sensor).
 
But it's more than usable, and one of the main reasons why you can actually take great, almost professional looking footage with it is the fact that it doesn't come with the fisheye effect that most drones tend to come with.
 
The colors can be adjusted in post processing, but the FPS is smooth enough, doesn't have any bugs from what I've seen and most people don't seem to complain.
 
Here's a video review and footage to help you get a better view on the matter.

Can the camera be upgraded?

I really wish they would have invested maybe $50 more in the quality of the camera itself and it could have actually been a proper DJI Spark competitor.
 
Unfortunately, right now I don't know of any way to upgrade the camera and still maintain the gimbal.
It's also too light to mount an action camera on it, although it does come with really powerful brushless motors.
Print screen by Captain Drone

What smartphones work with it?

Short answer: any phone that supports 5g 802.11 ac wifi.

All the iphones have this frequency and usually newer android phones, but there are meny exceptions.

If you want to check your phone compatibility, go on GSM arena, search for your brand and then look in the specs if it has 802.11 ac wifi (the AC part is important).

And no, it's not Air Conditioner.

Parts and Accessories

Best accessories for the Aurora

Unfortunately, at the time of writing this article, the JJRC Aurora doesn't come with many accessories online, as it's really recent on the market.
 
You can find spare batteries, charger and spare propellers.
 
But one of the reasons there aren't many accessories for it is that it already comes with a lot in the package.

Spare Battery

You need at least one of these, as you might find yourself not having enough time in the air.​

A good carrying case

This is a great way to carry this quad around, with a few spare batteries also.

Props and other spares

If you don't want to wait up to 2 hours at a time for one battery to charge, why not do a few more in paralel.

Design and Unboxing

The Aurora is a really tiny drone while folded down.
 
It's 17.2 X 9 X5.5 cm which makes it the smallest drone in this price segment with these flight capabilities, and especially a 3 axis gimbal.
This mean it might just fin in a bigger pocket.
 
The look is obviously inspired from the DJI Mavic Air, and the option to pick from 2 colors is nice to have.
I personally prefer the black version.
 
The build quality is really good and  it's impressive how smooth and well designed the plastic its made of is.
 
One really nice feat is that it comes with an included carrying bag.

Transmitter And Mobile App

The controller for the Aurora /CFly Faith is quite special in a few ways:

  1. It comes with a rechargeable battery (no need to buy external ones)
  2. It has a built in 802.11ac wifi relay
    • This means you will have to connect the phone to the controller
    • And the controller will relay the signal to the drone and vice versa
    • This will make for more stable signal overall and that's why the FPV range is 1200m
It also comes with some of the basic but really useful buttons to use like:
  • mode switch to use altitude hold instead of GPS
  • landing and launching button
  • button for taking photos and video
  • return to home button
  • scroll wheel for turning the gimbal up and down

How to connect to the app

The app is called Enjoy-Fly on google apps tore and Itunes, but you can also use the Cfly app, since is the same exact drone.
 
As mentioned before you can restrict the drone altitude to whatever you want, the maximum being 500m.
 
In the settings of the app you can also change between flying mode one and mode two.
 
There's also the option to do both compass calibration and Gyro Calibration.

What flight modes does it come with?

The standard flight modes most GPS drone come with, but this time they work quite well, mainly thanks to the smoother footage quality.
 
Follow me
The follow me actually also turns around to see the subject followed (the transmitter with the phone). And does a pretty smooth follow motion, not jerky at all.
Of course, it's far from perfect, but actually usable, compared to cheaper camera drones.
 
Circle me
This mode is limited in a radius of 15m around the subject and you can change the height the drone flies at in real time from the app.
 
Waypoints
Waypoints, well…
 
I don't really use them, but it's an included option, if you're that type of person.

Price, Manual and Instructions

How to start flying the X12 Aurora

1.Start the drone by pressing on the button for a few seconds.
 
Do the same with the transmitter. Let them pair.
 
2.The gimbal will start calibrating and moving around. Don't panic. Lol.
 
If you experience any issues with that, just make the camera face forward and up a bit and then you won't get any errors during the calibration.
 
3.Connect to the remote wifi from the phone (Make sure your phone works with 802.11ac wifi)
 
4.Do the Compass calibration dance.
 
First turn the drone around 3 times while paralel to the ground, and then 3 times while it faces the ground.
 
5.How do you start the motors?
 
You can only start the motors after you did the compass calibration.
 
To start the motors you need to bring both sticks down and to the exterior corners.
 
Then you can use the launch button or do it manually by the left stick.
 

How to turn the GPS on or off?

You can turn the GPS onor off by the press of the “m” button ont he transmitter.

How to change the camera angle?

You do that by the conveniently placed scroll wheel on the top left side.

Who should buy it (is it worth the price)?

There are certain main reasons why you'd want to buy the Aurora and who it's best fitted for.
  • If you want to inspect your roof or a building for yourself or a friend
  • If you want to take videos and photos for a vacation
  • If you want to explore a town or have a different perspective on a landscape
  • for selfies and taking videos for your vlogs

Where to buy it from?

Who should buy it (is it Because it's a recent drone, there aren't that many places you can get it from.

However, I found the drone to be the cheapest on geekbuying, this might change, but bellow are the daily updated best price offers I could find. the price)?

Readers Questions answered

Can you fly the drone without connecting to the wifi and app?
 
No, this is a bit strange, but this drone cannot be flown without connect it to the app.
 
Is it legal to fly in US?
 
Yes it is legal to fly it in the US, but you will need a permit for it (because it's over 250grams).
 
You also need to respect the limit of 120m altitude.
 
Can it be used for professional video/photo?
 
No, this drone isn't really in the professional cateogry, you need to invest a bit more to get into that range.
 
Does it have altitude hold?
 
Yes, the drone does have both a barometer and sonar for maintaining altitude.
 
Does it come with a case?
 
Yes, the drone does come with a great case included.
 
How many batteries does the X12 come with?
 
Depending on the price and the package you're willing to get, you can get up to 3 batteries in the package and evne more spare ones.
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How to find the best drone for your needs

You can check out our drone searching tool and see what drones are for sale, filter them by price and other specs like battery life, range, weight, etc.

You can click the button  bellow to use the tool.

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How do you make money with your drone, though?

Okay, so you got your new and fancy drone, but how do you stand out from any dad out there who has the same drone and watched some tutorials online?

I did exactly that and barely had any success. 

But now I'm charging 5x as much as before and even have to refuse clients from time to time.

I even bought about 7 online courses… and I didn't make much progress.

So how did I finally make it to this level?

If you want the short answer, I learned everything from this guy Alex, who's making $200 per hour with his drone. And he's even teaching exactly how to do that.

This is pretty much what you need to know:

how-to-make-money-with-drones

1. Make sure you have a proper drone.

If you have any of the latest DJI Drones, like the Mavic Air 2, for example, you're ready to start making money.

No need to overthink this, but if it's any help, check this comparison of the best camera drones compared in 2020.

types of drones

2.Learn how to create the best content to stand out

You won't stand out from the next dad who bought a DJI drone for Cristmass in the eyes of your clients if you don't do this.

It's WAY more important to know what you're doing than the gear you have.

You'll need to learn and master the following:

  1.  

This is why you HAVE to invest in a proper way to learn things (instead of watching tutorials here and there).

3.Find clients that pay 5x more than regular

But not so fast.

You won't make a penny if you don't know how to find your clients.

I have struggled finding clients even when my videos were getting pretty good.

Until I learned a few tricks and how to find and approach them so they won't be able to say no.

And what's best, I learned how to get the price I asked for.

How can you do the same?

I have tested quite a few courses online and watched tons of videos on youtube, but frankly, I have learned more from one single course than from everything else… and all that in like a weekend.

Made back the money from this investment in myself in a single week and then much more.

 

How do I learn all of this? From youtube?

You could simply go online and learn everything in terms of video from youtube, forums, facebook groups etc.

However, let me tell you, it's the worst way to learn all of this(and the slowest).

You won't have a Complete Step By step guide on how to do everything.

I found myself frustrated, even after I learned how to do most of the video stuff that I still lacked some knowledge and I didn't know why my shots weren't standing out.

I got some general promotion ideas from some articles online, but again… I didn't have much success and was charging too little for my time.

This is exactly where I learned how to make $200 per hour with my drone (From A to Z)

This course is hold by Alex Harris, who's an international video creator, director, and drone operator with tons of experience.

And I had a great time stealing his know-how(and greatly profited from it, lol).

I recommend you watch his video presentation bellow and check out the course sales page. It's quite cheap, considering you're getting 320+ minutes of everything you need to know, step by step and 80+ minutes on how to actually find the ideal clients for you.