BetaFPV has been cranking out quality mid-size 2–4S quads for the last year, but their earliest products followed the traditional “tiny whoop” formula (a 65mm frame, 31mm props, and a 1S battery). Their newest release is a return to their roots, bringing all of the latest innovations into a firmly indoor-oriented package. BetaFPV’s brushless micro, the Meteor65, may be this season’s king of indoor racing.
Features, Specs, and What’s Included
- 65mm frame and dry weight of 22.85g
- 0802 22000Kv brushless motors
- 31mm tri-blade propellers
- Single-board F4 Brushless flight controller and 5/6A ESC with Betaflight OSD
- 600TVL camera and 48ch 25mW VTx
- Receiver options for FrSky, Futaba, DSMX, or none (PNP)
- Accepts 1S battery (up to 4.35V)
- BT2.0 battery connector
In the box, you get the Meteor65 quad fully assembled, a BT2.0 300mAh battery, a BT2.0 to JST-PH adapter, a 25° camera mount, and a card with links for social media and product support.
Frame and Canopy
The Meteor65 starts with a newly developed frame. Evolution away from the Cockroach frame continues: motor mounts are now held in place by six thinner, rounded struts oriented vertically. The frame has more flex than its predecessors, likely because so much less material is used to construct it. It’s a bit lower profile as well, bringing the battery closer to the center of mass. Atop the frame is a lightweight canopy that hasn’t changed much if at all since earlier designs.
Providing thrust are 0802 22000Kv motors. These are very powerful, with generously-sized curved magnets and small air gaps. One reason 1S brushless quads have been slow to market is that small motors are rough and noisy. This was certainly true of BetaFPV’s earlier 65 Pro, and the reason NewBeeDrone hasn’t brought a brushless micro to market yet (though we expect one soon). However, the motors on the Meteor65 have bearings! This makes them run much smoother. One can immediately tell the difference just by the sound they make. BetaFPV also claims that using bearings improves the durability of the motors. Matched with the motors are tri-blade props; it’s a good, responsive combination.
The battery is connected with a new BT2.0 connector designed by BetaFPV and released for the first time with the Meteor65. This connector has solid pins that are larger than inside the JST-PH connector now widely accepted as standard. Larger, solid pins should improve the ability to deliver higher current and therefore provide more power to the motors. (Though no significant independent testing has yet been done to prove this out.) This unfortunately means that none of your existing chargers will support the new format, so you’ll need the adapter or a new charger. It also means your current stock of PH/2.0 batteries can’t be used on the Meteor65 unless you modify the craft. The power on this quad is exceptional for a micro, so perhaps the connector is an important part of this delivery.
The flight controller and ESCs don’t jump out as innovative, but are light weight and a great match for the craft. An F4 processor with OSD is a standard, and 5A (6A burst) ESCs should be plenty. BLHeli_S firmware means the ESCs are DShot600-capable; you don’t have to calibrate them and the quad has access to crash-flip mode and ESC beacon. The pre-installed version of Betaflight is only 3.5.7, so power users might consider upgrading to take advantage of Betaflight 4’s newest features. But it isn’t really necessary.
The Meteor65’s camera is good for a micro quad but doesn’t provide anything exceptional. It provides a fairly unsaturated picture, but there’s good detail and the lens distortion isn’t too bad. It performs nicely in low light, though there’s some visible color banding when it’s at the limit of its exposure range. Light/dark transition times are reasonable, about 1s to fully adapt to a full scene change. I had no significant complaints about the picture and it was easy to fly with.
The default 35° camera mount is pretty high for an indoor quad. This choice speaks to the target market—the Meteor65 is a racing machine first and foremost. Traditionally micro quads had a low camera angle for cruising, but also because high angles weren’t sustainable by the motors and battery. On this craft, power isn’t a problem! You can swap in the optional 25° mount if you prefer to cruise instead of race.
The video transmitter is a fixed 25mW, and has 48 channels across 6 bands—at least that’s how the specs read. I was happy to find that SmartAudio was already configured for changing settings within the Betaflight OSD. In reality, I was only presented 5 bands through SmartAudio in the OSD and there’s no external buttons for changing bands or channels. For output power, I measured indirectly with an RF power meter and found it putting out over 150mW at times! This can be good or bad depending on your perspective: you’ll get more range than other transmitters, but you might cause issues for other pilots in the same building.
The Meteor65 is well built. The frame looks like it will take a fair beating, but paint comes off when abraded, struck by a prop, or flexed in a collision. The canopy is a proven design. While I’ve broken this style canopy on a 2S quad, the design has survived everything I could throw at it on 1S—including handing the controls over to inexperienced pilots.
All of the electronics I’ve owned from BetaFPV have been built to a high standard, and these don’t appear to be different. Soldering looks good and components are mounted in a way that should protect them in crashes. One interesting point is the VTx mount; the transmitter is simply floating freely on a piece of foam inside the canopy. A piece of foam tape would secure this better and prevent some vibration on the connecting wires, but perhaps BetaFPV hasn’t found this to be necessary.
It’s been a while since a crash on one of my 1S micro quads threw a prop, but I did experience this with the Meteor. Since the frame is a little less rigid, the props hit the side of the ducts in a crash. Beware of this possibility, because the Meteor65 doesn’t ship with spare props. They’re 1mm shafts; larger than most “tiny whoop” propellers which are 0.8mm.
For a seasoned pilot, setup on the Meteor65 was quick and easy. Binding is simple—on the FrSky version, I simply powered on the flight controller, then found and held the easily-located bind button. You can also put the board into bind mode from within Betaflight instead of using the button. I didn’t run into any strange setup issues like backwards motors or important missing parts of the configuration. However, this is a quad designed for experienced racers. To get the Meteor65 set up, you need an understanding of how to set up your radio switches and channels, how to bind, and what to do in Betaflight if you want to customize the settings. For example, the default yaw rate was extremely high. I prefer a softer, smoother yaw to enjoy the quad to its fullest. I also immediately disabled telemetry in Betaflight to avoid the lockup bug that still plagues many flight controllers with on-board FrSky receivers.
The most important question: how does it fly?
Very well, and very fast. This quad is born for racing.
If you’ve never flown a brushless 1S before, you’ll be surprised and excited by an impressive increase in power. It will take some getting used to, as it simply outclasses almost every brushed micro I’ve ever flown. There’s tons of thrust available, which makes the quad very responsive. It doesn’t drift much, contributing to a locked-in feel that’s great for racing. Punching out quickly can put you into the ceiling, and you actually have a chance of recovering from a drop. You’ll need to learn a lot more throttle control than you’re used to. You might even consider dialing in a throttle limit, as the full throttle is often too much for small indoor spaces. Dialing it down can make racing easier. (Don’t feel bad about this, even top pilots do it.)
While one brushed quad—the AcroBee Lite—gets close to this kind of power, its brushed motors get hot quickly and should rest between flights as to not burn out. The Meteor65’s brushless motors stay cool so you can put in pack after pack without concern for longevity.
Contributing to the Meteor65’s speed is the high camera angle. That 35° mount influences how far forward the quad must tilt to feel level, which in turn influences how fast the craft is traveling. This makes it feel like the quad wants to race. Swapping to the 25° camera mount will reduce this tendency and make the quad easier to control.
The Meteor has an impressive ability to maintain flight. Less powerful micro quads often have problems staying up when anything starts to go wrong. Tapping a wall or a race gate, flying under another quad, or even just descending slowly downward through your own propwash are all scenarios that take a lesser micro quad out of the air. Not so with the Meteor65. It not only stays afloat, but maintains its heading instead of spiraling out of control. In a race, this can save you tens of seconds in recovery time for each incident. The higher power output makes this possible.
The cost of this power is shorter flight times. The included batteries are large 300mAh packs, and these provide a 2–2.5 minute flight.
The BetaFPV Meteor65 is serious machine. It’s the fastest and most powerful 1S quad I’ve ever flown. It’s responsive and carves turns easily. It delivers power cleanly and smoothly through brushless motors with bearings. This is rolled up in a well-built package with proven components and software. All together, it provides a wonderful experience for an indoor racer or enthusiast. This is truly a quad to be feared on the race circuit, should its operator be skilled enough to keep it under control.
The BT2.0 battery connector is part of this formula, for better or worse. Buying into this means you’re beholden to BetaFPV for batteries, unless you’re prepared to modify your quad with a new battery pigtail. BetaFPV is currently the only provider of batteries or chargers in the BT2.0 format. It would be a stretch to complain about much else on this quad, as even the weakest areas meet today’s minimum standards. Of course, the BetaFPV Meteor65 is also the most expensive micro quad I’ve come across.
This is certainly an enthusiast’s quad and not suitable for complete beginners. For example, you can’t buy the Meteor65 bundled with a control transmitter. The ideal owner has a developed throttle control and enough skill with quads to not be intimidated by setting it up on their own. For someone with less gear or experience, I’d suggest BetaFPV’s Whoop Racing Advanced Kit or NewBeeDrone’s Acrobee Lite RTF Kit.