Shipping just took a ridiculous amount of time. Ive never had to wait so long for something like this. Conversely, the tires I ordered for my 1/10 rally arrived in less than 5 days. Strange stuff.
Unboxing the QR-1 was pleasantly surprising. Packaging felt a bit cheap and i was surprised that there is no clear window in the box cover so you can see the actual quad. Once opened I found the TX, the quad, the charger, a set of spare blades, a phillips screwdriver (I assume for inserting the AAA's into the TX) and 4AAAs for the TX. Literally everything you could need to run it. The only thing I can think of that might be missing is a cheap USB wall plug. Not everyone has their computer accessible and/or turned on all the time. Any USB wall adapter will work so this isnt a big issue.
Charging of the batteries took longer than expected but was very simply to do. No real info needed. Just plug it in and wait for the red light to go out. The good thing about it taking a little while the first time is that it gave me time to read the WHOLE manual. And I strongly suggest you read the WHOLE manual BEFORE flying. The reports of people crashing and wrecking their QR-1s on the first flight is not the least bit surprising to me after my first go at it and I think reading the manual helped me alot.
My first impression of the radio is that it feels kindof cheap. The sticks have some free play in them and the throttle stick seemed too loose to me. However, the shape of the transmitter is excellent. My big hands fell right on the sticks and it was comfortable the whole time I flew. The actual QR-1 itself felt very well built to me. Its heavier than i thought but ALOT smaller than even the pics and video id seen had me believe. It looks cool and after fondling it a bit I felt that it was well put together. On things for sure, their aint any extra space on board.
Once the packs were charged and the batteries were in the TX it was time to fly. Inserting the lipo into the actual quad was easy and the tiny little plug was surprisingly easy to use. I turned on the radio, plugged in the pack and the bind process was completed after only a few seconds. All lights solid and ready to fly.
I took the time to do the pre-flight checks the manual suggested. Get the blades spinning a bit and check all the directional functions. This was interesting and gave me a better understanding of how this bird flies. I then attempted to SLOWLY lift off from the ground. This didnt work. As soon as it gained even an inch of altitude it wanted to drift forward quite fast. I tried to trim this out but it didnt work. I thought maybe something was messed up but I remember the last time i had a helicopter (not a good experience) the only way to really get it to fly was to get it a few feet off the ground or the rotor wash effected stability. So, I gave the QR-1 a squirt of throttle and it jumped up into the air and hovered mostly stable. A few clicks of the trim buttons and it was hovering with no issues. This was all happening in my very cluttered basement but I figured if I kept it above the clutter everything would be find. I quickly found out, this thing is no walk in the park to fly. Even on beginner mode, or whatever its called, it takes ALOT of concentration to keep it under control. For someone like me, with very limited time on a 4ch twin stick radio, things did not come naturally.
So i took it outside into my back yard. There was NO wind and lots of space. This was much better. I got it up in the air and started testing functions and directional changes. The actual quad responds quite slow to easy inputs. Its very mellow. Which is good if your in control, but not good if your trying to stop it from crashing into a tree or the house. Mild inputs were the key. What I found most difficult was getting my brain and my thumbs to do the right things, specifically with the left rotational stick. Ive flown 3ch planes alot and can handle the right stick no problem. But add in the 2nd channel to the left stick and I get way confused.
I ran a whole pack through it with only a few panic crashes. I did find the seam in the plastic arms that hold the motors to come undone quite often. Its not a big deal, it just snaps back into place. But it would be better if this didnt happen. I crashed mostly onto the grass so no damage to the motors or anything like that. After each crash I inspected things and found no issues. In terms of durability, I was pleasantly surprised.
After the first pack I thought id try re-calibrating things. Just to see how that worked. I reset all trims to zero and did what the manual said. At first things werent working. I had the left stick in the bottom right corner and was pushing right stick left and right... nothing. So I tried it faster... that was the trick. You really need to flick the right stick back and forth quite fast to get it to calibrate. Once I figured that out it worked perfect.
Now, I need to make a comment about how the QR-1 flies in relation to durability. Ive read a number of reports of serious damage on the first outing. Some are disappointed and feel the QR-1 isnt durable enough. I disagree. I can absolutely see how a person with limited experience with any airborn RC would be crashing the crap out of this thing in no time and could easily wreck it with little effort. Its small, its light, its plastic, its fast and its capable of flying 30 feet in the air. If you fly it over a hard surface and your not taking things slow... like SNAILS pace slow, your going to wreck it. BUT... if you take TIME to learn to fly it, get used to the controls, develop the necessary reflexes to keep it in control and recover from mistakes, you sohouldnt be crashing it so hard and therefore you shouldnt be wrecking it. I put 2 packs through it and by the end I could fly it directly in front of me very well, I was JUST learning to spin it 360 degrees and was starting to turn corners... but thats it. I wouldnt even DREAM of going to advanced mode... its going to be A LONG time before I do that.
The QR-1 is not a "buy and fly well" toy. Just because its small doesnt mean its automatically a beginner vehicle. Your going to have to expect a longer learning curve than any land based RC and plan to not be an top gun pilot for a while. If you want to show off on day one, your probable going to crash and break something.
My overall rating of the QR-1 is a 4/5. I think little things like no wall charger and the cheap feeling radio are forgivable in light of performance and little extras like a DUAL lipo charger and spare set of blades. I think the skill level traxxas has attached to this (I think its a 2) is too low. 4 channels is alot to get used to if your used to driving only 2 channel land based vehicles. Overall im very happy with it. Time will tell if its holds up to more abuse. But its a vehicle I will be keeping and will continue to practice with.
I hope this helps manage the expectations of anyone thinking about buying a QR-1.