Today we will be looking at the Taranis Xlite. Its smaller, Lighter and just as easy to use. With smaller switches, gimbals and toggle buttons this Tx fits just about any where . Its available in two Colours, Red and Black. After using the Xlite for a month, I can honestly say I haven’t picked up my QX7.
I approached other pilots to have a feel and a fly with it, it quickly became apparent you they either liked it or just was not comfortable. There are number of Tx currently available, and like most things in FPV you need to choose the equipment for your specific needs. We have a detailed guide on quadcopter remote controllers so be sure to check it out.
In the box
Upon opening the box I was greeted to a hard case. Quite strong and durable and up to the challenge of being tossed in your bag. It has the X-lite printed on the top and then Taranis Logo imprinted underneath making for an appealing case.
Unzipping the case reveals a beautiful futuristic looking Xbox control well that was my 1st thought. Inside the lid is a pocket to store things in, such as the Instruction manual, Plugs for screw holes or a set of Frsky Stickers.
In the bottom you are welcomed to the Transmitter being set in a moulded base, sitting perfectly with slots to get your fingers in. A slot for your 18500 LiIon’s, when you eventually get them.
Features and Specs
The X-lite boast being compact with the same features as a full size Tx. But they had to make sacrifices somewhere. Basic specs:
- Smartport Output
- Micro SD card slot
- Mini USB connection (simulators)
- Headphone Jack
- RP-SMA connector
- Internal iXJT RF module
- 18500 Li-ion batteries
If you are new in the FPV, check out our quadcopter remote controller guide first.
Design - Ergonomics
When 1st holding the X-lite, you immediately notice the almost velvety smooth feel of the matte finish between your palms, then the light weight becomes apparent.
Putting your thumbs on the sticks it feels weird at first, they’re much shorter, but it takes 5mins to get used to. You wont believe how small these switches are until you feel them. Not even the width of a fingernail.
The light weight feel compared to an X9D and QX7 makes for more comfortable flight experience. In saying that it does not come with a spot to attach a neck strap, not sure if it’s a bad thing or not, But I never used a neck strap in the past.
With its sleek looks, light weight and Matte finish it definitely feels great in the hands. The weight and it's compact size are top advantages compared to it's bigger brothers.
The gimbals have hall effect sensors for quick precise movements in that time of need, plenty of tension on the sticks in all modes. Taranis really thought it thru when it comes to mode switching, tighten or loosen a screw to switch between mode 1 and 2.
Flicking the gimbals around they have great tension and feel nice under the thumbs, tight and reactive. I found my flying has improved greatly flying with the X-lite.
But I believe that is because I have averaged sized hands. Anyone with larger hands may not be able to grip this as comfortably as myself. Especially pinchers, you would need to become a thumber to make it practical.
The Xlite has 4 switches in total and 2 Sliding wheels. Two 3 way switches, two 2 way switches. The location of the wheels is really comfortable at then points of index fingers. Making them easy to locate and slide.
Assigning channels and switches is very much the same process as any other OpenTX transmitter making it an easy transition. Compared to other gamerstyle Transmitters on the market such as the evolution I think this is the step ahead.
Antenna - Modules
In the top of the Xlite there is a plug covering an antenna port. If you already use Frsky Rx then you are ready to Bind and Fly. The X-lite boasts a range of 350m-500mts. You can attach 5dbi antenna to add a bit of extra range.
Though it boasts full range as other Transmiters, Frsky have released optional antenna you can purchase. Mini T-antenna, 2dB whip, 5dB whip and a 7dB patch avaialable you can have one to suit all your needs.
On the rear of the Tx you’ll find a cover, take it off and you can add modules, such as crossfire and fly further than you thought you ever could. The X-lite uses the same pin out as Jr modules, With a bit of ingenuity you can attach pretty much any module to the bay.
With the D pad looking after the trims it leaves the Toggle button to navigate the menu and a select and back button.
Connectors - Ports
Looking at the bottom of the Xlite you'll find and a headphone jack, SD slot, Usb Slot (not for charging) and a smartport for updating receiver firmware and such. With all this in such a tight little compact unit, it makes me wonder why you would need a bigger Transmitter.
Headphone jack is great for the pilot that wants to practice a routine to a certain soundtrack.
It’s got a slot for your SD card. Perfect to upgrade OpenTX, load Lua scripts and customize your X-lite.
Unfortunately in this case its the ridiculous sized LiIon it requires 18500’s. With the 2 Cells in the grips it gives you a voltage range of 6.0-8.4v. I get a good afternoon flying out of a fully charged Tx (am known to leave it on when not in use).
Turning the bottom of the handles opens up to reveal to slots for your 18500 batteries. You can print and build 18650 extenders but I chose to hunt down some 18500 ‘s finding them at a local store. Re-installing the end caps can be a little difficult and if you put the grip on the wrong side it can be even more difficult to remove.
The X-lite comes pre loaded with OpenTX 2.2.2. Meaning you will need to hold the power button down to turn on. Holding it down again will start to power off. If you still have a model plugged in it will ask if you would like to continue turning off before actually turning off.
When switching on the X-lite you notice its little lcd screen light up just as another Taranis does with OpenTX. Meaning its just as customizable as your Qx7 or X9D.
Offering full 16 channels and telemetry on both D8 and D16, you covered for all your needs.
In Open Tx you can map songs to certain switches. The micro USB port allows for Programming via OpenTX, OTG cable to your phone or tablet but regrettably no charging available. Smart port making it easier to download receiver firmware to SD card and update your receivers.
The toggle switch moves 360d making it easy enough to navigate the menus and set up channel maps and setting up your models. To Navigate the menu you simply hold the toggle switch to the left. It will bring up 1st page, toggling left takes you to the next and so on.
Pushing up or down on the toggle, navigates that pages menu. Clicking down on it can confirm or make changes. Using the upper of the 2 buttons is select and the bottom, is your back button.
So I bound all my Quads to the X-lite. I was not disappointed at all. I worried about shorter stick throw, and being able to disarm quick enough with such small switches. Well I was happily proven wrong. I did not notice the lack of stick throw. I was able to have full deflection both ways with out adjusting my palm to reach.
I heard of others putting heatshrink over their switches to improve grip. I think I will be following their advice.
With an Xm+ installed on my 5” Martain III, I hit the local football fields to test the range of the unit. I flew all the way around the field as I would normally with my QX7. I was receiving similar rssi values as I would with my QX7 and I was flying up to 480mts away from myself. So very happy with the range.
Overall I'm very happy with the X-lite. After hearing all the nonsense about stick throw I was worried. But after flying with it for a month, its one of the most comfortable Transmitters I've used.
The size of batteries are a pain, but if you do your research properly you wont get caught out like myself. If your tossing up between a Turnigy Evolution and X-lite, I hope this review will help you to make the best decision.