The much-anticipated BetaFPV Pavo Pico, a cinewhoop weighing less than 100 grams, has finally made its grand entrance. It’s potentially the world’s smallest FPV drone equipped with DJI O3. BetaFPV released a beta version of this drone a few months ago, but I didn’t test that, so this review and my opinion will focus exclusively on the production version.
Currently, the DJI O3 Air Unit is considered one of the most popular FPV systems. With its growing prominence, I foresee an increasing number of new FPV drones being designed around it. However, I think it’s going to be hard to beat the compactness and lightweight of the Pavo Pico.
Where to Buy?
You can get the Pavo Pico here:
- BetaFPV: https://oscarliang.com/product-9jth
- RDQ: https://oscarliang.com/product-f56v
- AliExpress: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_DBF8dh3
Keep in mind that the DJI O3 is not included, you can get it here:
- RDQ: https://oscarliang.com/product-sadl
- GetFPV: https://oscarliang.com/product-4blv
- AliExpress: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_DdQYArv
- Amazon: https://amzn.to/3RtWfm1
In the package, it comes with the following accessories:
- 1 * Pavo Pico Brushless Whoop Quadcopter (Without HD Digital VTX & Camera)
- 1 * 2S 450mAh Battery 45C XT30
- 4 * GF 45mm-3B Propellers
- 1 * USB Parameter Adjustment Cable
- 1 * 5.8G Copper Tube Antenna Package
- 1 * VTX Bracket Screw Package
- 2 * DJI O3 HD Digital VTX Antenna Mount
- 2 * DJI O3 HD Digital VTX Mounting Bracket
- 1 * VTX Mounting Plate (Vista/Avatar HD Digital VTX Version Only)
- 1 * DJI O3 Lens UV Protector (DJI O3 HD Digital VTX Version Only)
- 1 * DJI O3 Lens Protective Case (DJI O3 HD Digital VTX Version Only)
Get spare batteries here: https://oscarliang.com/product-9jeh
Get spare propellers here: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_DnoeSxj
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, let’s talk about how this thing fly.
The Pavo Pico has plenty of power for a 2S whoop. It’s locked in and appears to be well tuned out of the box. I was genuinely impressed with its flight performance – it was smooth, stable and locked in when flying indoor as well as outdoor in calm weather.
Now, despite its small size and lightweight, the Pavo Pico showcases surprising resilience in windy conditions too. Of course, there’s a touch of wobble in 15MPH gusts but that’s to be expected for a little guy like this. Anyway, the HD footage from the O3 Air Unit comes out looking smooth and stable, thanks to the wizardry of Gyroflow stabilization software.
A word of caution, though – the Pavo Pico is not a beginner’s practice drone. This drone isn’t built to endure aggressive flights or crashes. It’s designed for smooth and stable, cinematic cruising. If you’re still learning how to fly, I’d recommend starting with the Meteor 75 Pro, or the Sub250 Whoopfly16, both are more durable and flies great indoor and outdoor.
The Pavo Pico is the same size as the Meteor75 Pro.
A lens protector is included in the kit, it provides some protection for the O3 camera, but it’s not bulletproof. The DJI O3 is expensive so it’s recommended to fly it safely. The Pavo Pico does come with prop protection. However, it’s flexible and could potentially break in a hard crash, so I would be extra careful with it as well.
The Pavo Pico comes with XT30 battery connector, is specifically designed for a BetaFPV 2S 450mAh battery. You can expect approximately 3 to 4 minutes of flight time, depending on your flying style.
It sounds pretty quiet too, noise level is about the same as a 2S tiny whoop.
- Here’re my DJI O3 camera settings: https://oscarliang.com/dji-o3-air-unit-fpv-goggles-2/#Best-Settings
- I am using ND filters for the O3 to make footage look more cinematic: https://oscarliang.com/flywoo-nd-filter-o3/
- Here’s a tutorial on how to do basic color grading for your FPV videos: https://oscarliang.com/color-grade-fpv-videos/
When you’re running a micro like these with the O3, if your voltage drops down to 5.6V, your VTX will shut off.
A Detailed Look at the Pavo Pico
Specifications of the Pavo Pico Kit:
- Frame wheelbase: 81mm
- FC: F4 1S 12A AIO Brushless FC V3 with Built-in Serial ELRS receiver
- Motor: 1102 14000kv
- Props: Gemfan 45mm-3B black propeller
- Weight with DJI O3, no battery: 72g
- Weight with DJI O3 and 2S 450mAh LiPo: 99g
- VTX/Camera not included
- Recommended Battery: BetaFPV 2S 450mAh 45C
- Battery connector: XT30
The Pico is designed for mounting the DJI O3 Air Unit, with the mount now come with injection-molded plastic rather than what looked to be possibly resin 3D printed in the beta version. The frame kit including electronics is just $110, adding the $229 DJI O3 on top, the total comes to $339, honestly it’s not bad for a small cinewhoop with 4K capability.
The Pavo Pico weighs around 72g (the UV filter adds 0.8g), and it’s less than 100 grams including a 2S 450mah LiPo battery, it’s extremely portable. The height of the drone is only about 50mm, making it easy to go through tiny gaps.
The camera lens was quite exposed in the initial design, which raised concerns about potential damage. In response, they have included a UV filter protector for the lens in the kit.
Also, they’ve added a 3D printed piece that slides on to the lens to give you some additional camera protection. It’s worth noting, though, that it stops you from putting ND filter on. Also it might be visible in your footage though it’s minimal or disappear completely once you apply image stabilization. That’s why I am not using it.
If you’re a fan of the stock O3 antenna, you’re in luck – the frame kit comes with an antenna holder to accommodate it. If you’re looking to shed some weight, consider the whip antennas (dipole antennas) included in the kit. These slip neatly into the frame antenna holder, secure and ready for action.
When it comes to assembly, the Pavo Pico is as straightforward as a ducted drone can get. The arm/bottom carbon fiber plate is 1.5mm thick, providing a sturdy base without adding too much weight.
There are rubber grommets in-between the VTX and frame to minimize vibrations. As for the prop protection, the plastic material is relatively flexible, so bear in mind it’s not crash-proof.
The flight controller has no USB connector, instead it’s broken out to an extension board, to save space. But it’s easy to access and plug in.
Room for Improvement
No product is without its flaws, and the Pavo Pico is no exception. If I were to single out an area for improvement, it would be the battery mount.
It appears to have a small battery bay, only accepting BetaFPV’s own 2S 450mAh 45C battery (height/width: 13×15.5mm). This is a bit of a bummer since the mount proved too small for all other 2S batteries I have, including the GNB 2S 450mAh (14×17.5mm), 520mAh, 650mAh. Or even too small for BetaFPV’s own 2S 300mah (12x17mm)!
Testing the Pavo Pico has been challenging because I only have one compatible battery on hand. After all, no one enjoys a 20-minute timeout after just 3 minutes of flying.
Get some spare batteries here: https://oscarliang.com/product-9jeh
Get spare propellers here: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_DnoeSxj
The Pavo Pico, equipped with DJI O3, is a real game-changer for those seeking a lightweight, compact FPV drone with powerful HD video recording capabilities.
I absolutely LOVE how it flies. The flight experience is nothing short of fantastic, with no “jello” whatsoever. It’s truly an excellent quadcopter for both indoor and outdoor (when it’s calm) flights. Mild wind? No problem! Let Gyroflow smooth it out for you. I just wish the battery mount was slightly larger so it can support more battery options.
The other thing I love about this drone is its portability. It’s so compact that it fits right into my pocket! Cruising around my local park has never been more low-key, attracting minimal attention. The combined range of DJI and ExpressLRS gives me the confidence to explore every corner of the park.
I hope this review has given you a comprehensive insight into BetaFPV’s Pavo Pico and all the features it brings to the table.
Pavo Pico vs. Mobula 8
Both the Pavo Pico and Mobula 8 are tiny little whoops designed to carry the DJI O3 Air Unit. While they are quite similar in form factor there are quite a few differences in design and performance. You can check out my review of the Mobula 8 here fore more detail: https://oscarliang.com/happymodel-mobula-8-dji-o3-whoop/
First of all, when flying indoor, both drones handled well flying at a slow pace. Their performance was relatively similar in such environment where throttle is relatively low and constant. But the Pico Pavo is slightly smaller and lighter making it more agile and easier to go through smaller gaps.
In terms of outdoor performance, it’s essential to note that the wind can impact both drones significantly. However, the Pavo Pico offers the option of removing the prop guard, which can provide smoother videos outdoors. The Mobula 8 lacks this option as the whoop protection is part of the frame. Both drones are jello free. Both drones struggle equally in windy condition. The Mobula 8 is equipped with slightly larger motors and propellers, therefore it has slightly more power and faster top speed. But please note that if you’re planning to fly these quads aggressively, their camera is unprotected, making it susceptible to potential damage in a crash.
How to Setup the Pavo Pico
To assemble the Pavo Pico, it cannot be easier. All you need is just mounting the DJI O3 in the bracket, securing the camera, plugging in the cable from the FC to the O3, screwing the bracket into the main frame, and that’s it!
Tuck the camera wire inside the bracket and make sure it’s not dangling which can cause vibration and mess up your gyro data – I suspect some people are having jello in their footage because of this.
The FC comes with Betaflight 4.4.1, FC board target is BETAFPVF405. Here’s the stock CLI diff:
I did the following before the first flight:
- Setup arm switch in Modes tab
- Enable Telemetry in Receiver tab
- Load ExpressLRS 500hz preset in the Preset tab
- Bind radio (by flashing receiver with bind phrase, the receiver device is BETAFPV AIO 2400 RX ELRS)
- Bind DJI O3 to goggles