JJRC X12 Aurora/Eachine Ex4 drone review

Updated in 2021

camera icon small

1080p

small battery life icon

25min

distance icon smal

1km

drone gimbal small icon

3 axis gimbal

jjrc x12 aurora review

The JJRC X12 Aurora is also known as the Eachine Ex4 and you can currently find it for sale, is a really great GPS drone with a 3 axis gimbal and a foldable design. It was in my top drones under $200 list for a while now.

But is it still worth buying it in 2021?

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.

My youtube review on it

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JJRC X12 Aurora Specs and Features

specs camera drones

In this section we're going to go over what the JJRC X12/Eachine Ex4 has in terms of specs and features and what you should look for in 2021.

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.

How good is the GPS accuracy?

The drone comes with GPS+GlONASS( Russian satellite 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.

I have also made another article with drones that can return to home with GPS .

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.

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 the USA?

You should limit yourself to 120m, as that's the max you are allowed to fly in the United States legally. But if you want to check out more info, read my USA drone laws article.

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.

The best alternatives for the JJRC X12 Aurora

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In this section we're taking a look at the competition and whether there's something better out there that's more worth your money.

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.
best-drones-under-300-hubsan-zino-vs-cfly-dream-vs-x12-aurora-vs-xiaomi-fimi-a3.jpg

JJRC X12 Aurora Camera, Footage and Photos

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In this section we're taking a look at the camera, how the photos look, what my experience with it is and why you should care.

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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 are the footage and photos

jjc x12 aurora footage sample

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.

Camera Settings

The ISO can manually go up to 3200 or you can let it set on auto.

You can fully control every standard camera setting like shutter speed, EV, and more.
There's also white balance and color to play with.

Does it come with D-Log? (flat color profile)

There's an F-Log mode to record in if you want a flatter image that you can play around with more in post-production.

drone-image-sample.jpg

Photo taken by Quadcopter 101

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 or even on par with the new DJI Mini 2

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.

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

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In this section we're taking a look at what accessories you can find online for the JJRC X12 Aurora and which are the best.

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.
bugs 5w spare battery

Spare Batteries

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

storage bag for bugs 5w case

A good carrying case

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

props

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

jjrc aurora cfly faith package

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 means it might just fin in a bigger pocket.

The look is obviously inspired by 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 it's made of is.

One really nice feat is that it comes with an included carrying bag.

  • Battery (multiple, depending on the package)
  • Charger
  • Screwdriver
  • Remote
  • Spare props
  • Included Case
  • Drone
  • Phone holder

Transmitter and mobile app

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In this section we're taking a closer look at the transmitter itself and the Mobile app and especially what flight modes this drone comes with.

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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

enjoy fly app flight modes
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?

flight-modes.jpg
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

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In this section we're drawing the conclusions and reaching out to tutorials on how to fly it, where to buy it (cheapest or fastest) and much more.

I suggest you read till the end.

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)?

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Hope you liked all that I had to say in this drone review and its specs so far. I take a lot of time to create these articles so it would be a great help if you'd share it with your friends 🙂

Paul

Frequently asked questions

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.

jjrc x12 folded view

Hope you enjoyed all the details so far, if you want to check out other drone videos, I suggest you subscribe you my youtube channel.

This is the JJRC X12 Aurora drone review, also known as the Eachine EX4.