I am on the verge of putting in an order for an Iris either today or tomorrow.

However I have read quite a few discussions which highlight quite a lot of niggles or negative points about the build quality of an Iris.

Is it worth buying an Iris or should I invest in another brand of RTF quadcopter?

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  • I think that the best way that a beginner can truly learn and should learn about a multirotor is to build one themselves. The Iris is good but if something goes wrong you hear a lot of complaints because the typical user is a beginner with little building and flying experience. They expect to fly without having to know how it's put together and how it works. If you build it yourself and set everything up if something goes wrong you would have a much better breadth of knowledge to troubleshoot from. Buy a frame, flight controller, motors, ECSs, props and build one up. That is the best way to learn because these are sophisticated machines.

    Also no matter how 'Ready to Fly' something is you NEVER pull it out of the box and fly it without doing a full inspection of everything especially the fasteners. A lot can happen between the time it is built and the time that you receive it.

  • In my opinion people with complaints tend to be louder than people without complaints. People who are happy with a service or product just go about using it. 

    The only issue I have had with Iris so far is the short motor screws.  I had read about this ahead of time and made the correction.  Other than that I am happy with Iris.  Would I buy Iris again?  Yes.

  • As a device for a beginner, my expectation fell completely short. So far I have spent more time troubleshooting IRIS than I have flown her. And I haven't even attempted to "pimp" up the device. This was just for fixing the basics. 

    So far I only had a single crash out of about 100 flights, I did have some funky experiences where altitude would suddenly drop and IRIS would land itself or where it would start flying away. In both cases I was saved by flying in a wide open Baseball field and quick reflexes. 

    Some of the marketing for IRIS is a bit exaggerated with flight times of 15 minutes that nobody has been able to reach with the stock batteries or features like "Focused Flying" that isn't available yet.

    From what I can tell from my own IRIS but also from reports here or over at Ardupilot the build quality let's a lot to be desired with quite a few QC mishaps. It's definitely not what I would have expected from a company like 3DR. 

    Extensibility is very limited as IRIS is rather underpowered and adding to many gizmos (gimbal, FPV, ...) will reduce flight time considerably, if you even get her off the ground. While the closed shell design makes her look nice, it doesn't help you with extending the platform. 

    With that I would call IRIS a mixed bag and you need to know what you are getting yourself into. If you goal is flying and doing as few modifications/fixes as possible, stay away. If you like tinkering with IRIS and want to take her apart and change things, go for it. If you want to extend IRIS with Gimbal, FPV and all kinds of other things, rather go for another platform that doesn't have the closed shell.

    Last but not least: 3DR has been very good on replacing broken parts or an entire IRIS. Yet at the same time they are overpolicing their support forums, trying to quiet down (censor) complains and/or dismiss reported issues. Hopefully they will (quickly) understand that they need to better listen to their customers and work with us on issues. 

    If I had to make a decision over again, I would probably wait and see how things develop. Imho we are at a turning point where 3DR can decide to listen and make things better or go the other way. Time will tell. 

  • Mr Lemming,

    There are 2 items that are issues for me. The battery thing is no big deal for me. Since I need about 6 batteries I never really planned on using the stock batteries. Don't buy more than one or two or them.

    The GPS and vibration issues caused by some Iris copters have the GPS pressing against the Pixhawk is an issue that I"m sure 3DR has mitigated by now. For me it's really been a big problem and I"m having to make design changes on my own.

    The only alternative in this price range is the DJI which I have no plans of venturing into. I'll stick with 3DR since I'm staying away from the NAZA stuff. I tend to have loyalties like that. I'd push a Ford before I drove a Toyota:)

    There is absolutely no way a person will progress in this UAV hobby without learning the technology anyway. RTF just means it's ready to fly. Doesn't mean you can master the skills without learning the technology. 

    Like someone said below(or above) most issues are with the pilot. Some people start flying and don't even understand the individual flight modes.

    The Iris is a good design IMO. 3DR is just have a few small issues with the initial offering.


    • I would say go for it. I have had one for just a few weeks. Great quality. Had a jdrones arducopter previously, cant even compare the two. If you want a quick fix for the gps/pixhawk vibration issues, rotate the gps 90 degrees, set the 90 degree offset in mission planner, recalibrate compass and you are ready to go. I have been very impressed by 3dr also when an issue did arise. As an owner, I highly recommend, especially if you want to jump right into an autonomous vehicle.

  • None of the issues are deal breakers and I'm sure any small problems will get ironed out. Its a great little copter and even though it cost me a lot of time working a few things out I'd still get it over a Phantom. I'd only get a Phantom if I really just wanted a no hassles flying camera to play around with or do real estate or similar. If you are interested in the technology and learning how it all works then I'd definitely go for an Iris. Plus Iris can fly auto missions with the pixhawk. Only thing that makes a Phantom tempting for me is the 3 axis gimbal.

    • I think the people that had their engines fly out of the mount during their first few flights would call that a deal breaker :P Of course that can be solved by some loctite but a beginner wouldn't necessarily know to do that.

      I've probably flown mine 20 hours a week or so since I got it in March and have zero issues with it. The only thing that would give me pause about buying it again is the flight time is somewhat lacking. Couple that with the fact that because of the enclosed battery bay getting larger batteries in there is difficult without damaging something. If you're going to buy one, I highly recommend buying at least four batteries and a different charger than what it ships with it. That charger is a pos that takes quite awhile to charge anything and often doesn't result in a balanced charge across cells. A cheap alternative is the IMAX B6-AC but I'm sure others have suggestions too.

      Am I glad that I bought it? Yes. Am I ready to move on to something else that I can customize a little more? Yes.

      PS - If you're going to buy the tarot gimbal (which I recommend), make sure you pick up a tiny nano battery or something to power it. The trade off of weight to increased flight time is worth it.

  • In IRIS we trust ! The proof on walkingworking.com "Walking with a drone 2014"

    • And how does that answer my initial enquiry about the current build quality of an Iris drone?

    • You can put spots of Loctite to secure the beast. The number 1 issue is generally... the pilot!

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