We were huge fans of the original EasyStar back in the day: it was tough, flew well and had loads of room for electronics. But it was slow to evolve (terrible brushed motor, no ailerons, rudder too small) and our favorite beginners platform shifted to the Bixler, which came almost ready to fly and was much cheaper than the EasyStar. Last year, however, Multiplex released an EasyStar II in Europe, but it's only just now arrived in the US. So I bought one and put it together and flew it for a review here. 

First, the good news: 

  • Built-in ailerons
  • Excellent power pod allows for easy access to the motor. Designed for brushless motors
  • Folding prop
  • Easy-to-remove elevator for easy transport
  • Better ventilation
  • Bigger rudder

Now the bad news:

  • Expensive. $95 without motor, servos, or ESC (compare that to the Bixler, which is $58 with motor and servos already installed)
  • Hard to assemble: It basically arrives as bags of plastic and foam. Expect at least two evening to assemble. The Bixler, by comparison, goes together in about an hour, in part because the motor and servos are already installed.
  • Although the cockpit is longer than the EasyStar I, it's also narrower (by about 3-5mm), which makes for a tight fit between batteries and electronics. 
  • Nose-heavy, perhaps because of the longer nose. You'll have to push your electronics as far back as possible, and if you use a battery bigger than 2200mah, you'll need to add weight in the tail. 

Bottom line:

I was not as impressed as I'd hoped. Overall, I still prefer the Bixler for new users. I think the EasyStar II is too expensive and too hard to assemble, and requires ordering motor/esc and servos separately, which will confuse beginners. (Multiplex usually sells an optional power pack, which is a very expensive motor/ESC combo, but has not yet released that in the US. The one for for the old EasyStar, which may work, costs $80!). The EasyStar II flies well, but not noticeably better than the original EasyStar or Bixler in my limited testing. 

Now that I've bought the EasyStar II and set it up, I'm happy with it and it will be my main plane for APM 2 testing. But on balance, it doesn't represent enough of an improvement over the Bixler to justify upgrading. And remember, there's a Bixler 2 coming, too.  If Multiplex were to ship the EasyStar II with motor, ESCs and servos for under $100, I think I could recommend it, but for now I don't think it represents enough value and simplicity for new users.

Views: 18038


Distributor
Comment by UnmannedTechShop.co.uk on July 21, 2012 at 1:47pm

Very cool, we also like the bixler(you cant beat the price), but we found the sirius platform is nice too particularly because it has a nice platform that allows you to slide your electronics in and out easily,


100KM
Comment by Hein du Plessis on July 22, 2012 at 1:24am

Does it at least fly as well as the bixler?

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on July 22, 2012 at 5:10am

The lack of installed servos, to me, is actually a good thing.  Decent micro servos can be had for $10.  If I was putting $200+ of avionics in to a foam airplane, I don't mind spending $40 on good servos instead of using the junky $2 servos typically used.

So for me that's a plus.

Comment by Todd Hill on July 22, 2012 at 8:40am

I'm with Robert.  I would much rather select my own servos and electronics over using the budget gear put into some of the ARFs on the market.  Enough can't be said about the importance of newcomers learning proper hardware selection when setting up their first aircraft.  


3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on July 22, 2012 at 9:36am

Robert, I agree that for experienced users, the ability to add your own (superior) servos is a plus. But for newcomers, it's just one more bit of complexity to navigate (there are SO many servos available, and understanding the difference in size [even words like mini, micro, and submicro are not consistent], to say nothing of quality, is very confusing). These days even the cheapo servos that come with Hobbyking gear are pretty good; I've yet to have one fail on me. 


Developer
Comment by John Arne Birkeland on July 22, 2012 at 10:51am

I have to agree about the servos being important. I bought and tested a Bixler kit just to have tried the EasyStar/Bixler platform everyone talks about. And while the plane was slow and nice, the servos left me wanting more. Bad servo centering means the plane never trims out (changes direction depending on the last stick movement). Something you do no want on a beginner plane. It is hard enough for them to figure out how to fly with a good plane. The old traditional R/C trainer people used to lean with was a big 50-size high-wing plane with expensive Futaba or Sanwa servos. I agree we are long past that, but a good servo is a very cheap upgrade and perhaps the most noticeable improvement you will get in a plane that otherwise is correctly configured.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on July 22, 2012 at 11:50am

I'm actually trying out these Corona DS929HV for my flybarless 450 heli, and man, they seem really nice so far.  They can operate on 2S direct, they are quick, center well, quiet... really nice, at only... $14 each?


Admin
Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on July 22, 2012 at 12:30pm

@R_Lefebvre,

I have purchased the Multiplex upgrade kits for both the EZ* and the T*II and Multiplex uses quality Hitec servos. I have yet to have a problem with a Hitec servo other than to non-operation due to crash damage.

Just a thought.

Regards,

TCIII

Comment by Jasja Dekker on July 22, 2012 at 12:33pm

Thank you Chris for this review, I was just about to order one since I could find it here in the Netherlands and I just figured: V2 will be better than V1. Back to looking for a  Bixler. 

Comment by Mike O on July 22, 2012 at 1:56pm

In Continental Europe the price difference between the ES2 (kit @ EUR 65) and the Bixler ($ 51also as kit, no motor, servos etc) is rather limited.

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