Review: FrSky Horus X10S Radio Transmitter

In this article we will take a look at the Horus X10S – FrSky’s new flagship radio transmitter (TX). The X10 and X12 are probably the two highest quality TX Frsky has ever made. I love the X10S but there are reasons why you might not need to upgrade and continue to use the cheaper Taranis.

Further Reading: How to choose radio transmitter?

Where to Buy?

Spec and Features

  • MC12P ball bearing hall sensor gimbals – The “best of the best” gimbals from Frsky
  • 2 internal antennas (1 with detachable RP-SMA connector, the other is built-in inside the radio)
  • 480 x 272 pixels color LCD screen
  • Supports external TX modules
  • 8 switches & 3 pots & 2 sliders
  • Built in battery – 2S 2600mAh Li-Ion battery
  • Wireless trainer system using bluetooth (compatible with Taranis QX7S)
  • Operating System: FrOS pre-installed, but compatible with OpenTX
Radio Horus X10S Horus X12S Taranis X9D Plus Taranis QX7
Price $429 – includes R9M $498 $182 $110
Channels 16, Up to 32 16, Up to 32 16, Up to 32 16, Up to 32
LCD Screen 480 x 272 pixels color 480 x 272 pixels color 212 x 64 pixels mono 128 x 64 pixels mono
Model Memory 60 (extendable by SD card) 60 (extendable by SD card) 60 (extendable by SD card) 60 (extendable by SD card)
Number of Switches 8 8 8 6
Number of Sliders 5 5 4 2
Input Voltage 7.2V DC (built in Li-Ion battery) 9.6V DC (built in Nimh battery) 6V-15V (2S, 3S LiPo compatible) 6V-15V (2S, 3S LiPo compatible)
Battery Li-Ion 2S 2600mAh Nimh 2000mAh 2000mAh battery included No battery included
SD Card No SD card included No SD card included 2GB SD Card No SD card included
Current Consumption 350mA 350mA 260mA 210mA

Accessories that come with the package include:

  • Travel case
  • 2 x gimbal protectors
  • DC Adapter for battery charging
  • FrSky neck strap
  • Manual
  • FrSky stickers

Differences Between X10 and X10S

The X10S is $60 more expensive than the X10, but the main difference is just the gimbals:

  • The Horus X10 has M10 hall sensor gimbals with adjustable sticks
  • The Horus X10S is equipped with the best Frsky gimbal to date, the MC12P – Frsky told us that these gimbals has higher accuracy and gives better control precision

Product pages for the Horus X10: HorusRCBanggood | GetFPV | Amazon

X10S Physical Appearance

There are 3 different finishes/colors you can choose from with the Horus X10S

  • Carbon fiber
  • Silver
  • Amber

The X10S is 21cm wide, 21cm tall (including the folded antenna) and 6cm thick. It weighs about 1050g including battery.

Stick to stick distance is 123mm, which is 15mm wider than the Taranis QX 7, or 20mm wider than the Taranis X9D.

Here is how the X10S looks from the side.

Here is the back of the radio.

Handling

The X10S has rubber grips similar to the QX7 on both sides and the back. The X10S is very nice to hold, but the grip is not as deep as the the QX7 because of the flatter shape of the rubber. But overall the angular design is similar to that of the QX7, so if you have been happy with the QX7 you should like the X10 too in terms of handling.

Removable Antenna

The external antenna is removable and uses a RP-SMA connector. Being able to use a different antenna is very useful, but the socket is recessed so higher gain antennas with a bigger base might be difficult to fit.

It also has a much bigger handle than the Q7X and X9D (the bracket thing on the top of the radio).

Switches and Pots

The Horus X10S has 8 switches, 3 pots and 2 sliders, just 1 more pot than the Taranis X9D and that’s more than enough for flying multirotors and wings. The controls are located in similar locations seen on the Q7X and X9D.

There are 3 pots in the top center of the transmitter.

There are four switches and a rotary slider at the top corners of each side of the radio.

Same as the Taranis, the first switch on the top right is a 3-position momentary switch.

Buttons & Neck Strap Hook

The neck strap hook sits below the power button and doesn’t obscure the button’s operation. It doesn’t come with a balancer, a bar with 3-4 holes so you can adjust the “hang point” of the neck strap. The radio doesn’t hang flat without the balancer, I am using a 9mm keyring hoop to attach the strap and it balances well for me.

The LCD screen and menu buttons are located under the gimbals. The buttons on the left hand side of the screen are for accessing specific features and functions, while the scrolling wheel on the right are for navigating through the menu. The centre button on the spinning wheel is the enter key.

It’s the same he scrolling wheel from the QX7, and it’s just so much easier to sue than the buttons on the X9D.

Module Bay and Connectors

The external module bay is on the back of the radio, where you can install external modules such as the TBS Crossfire. Under the module bay you will find the USB port (Mini), Smart Port (for flashing Frsky receiver firmware) and trainer port.

On the bottom of the radio, you can find the charger port on the left, SD card slot in the center, and the 3.5mm headphone port on the right. Note that the MicroSD card slot has no cover over it and I worry about losing the card…

The Screen

I really like the larger and higher resolution colour screen coming from the old fashion Taranis.

The LCD screen has a dimension of 96x56mm and a resolution of 480 x 272 pixels. The viewing angles are better from sides than looking down from the top, but this doesn’t affect usage.

The colour display has significantly improves usability of the transmitter, information can be presented more clearly than a monochrome pixelated screen.

But expect to have shorter battery life due to the brighter, larger screen :)

Other Features

The audio speaker is located between the gimbals and the screen, and the two horizontal trim buttons. Audio quality is very good.

Haptic feedback works well, the vibrations feels stronger than the QX7 and X9D.

The MC12P gimbals on the Horus X10S are indeed very smooth, they feel very good in hands when flying. Stick ends are slightly taller than the M7 hall effect gimbals on the QX7 (29mm vs. 26mm), the difference is big enough to be noticed.

There are many options for replacement stick ends to choose from (HorusRCGetFPV | Banggood | Amazon)

Overall when holding the radio in hands there is no squeaking or cracking sounds. It feels very rigged and solid.

Battery Life

I didn’t measure it properly, but it takes about 6-7 hours to drain the battery from fully charged.

Does it work with FPV Simulators?

Yes, I tested the X10S with VelociDrone without any problems, I am sure it should also work with other sims too.

There is a really cool feature when connecting the USB cable, you get prompted by OpentX 2.2.1 asking if you want to use the radio as joystick (simulator) or get access to SD card as mass storage.

Further Reading: What’re the best FPV simulator?

X10S vs. QX7

Comparing to the QX7, you can see that the X10S slightly bigger, it’s also about 200g heavier.

Inside the case

To open the housing of the Frsky Horus X10, there are 4 screws to remove at the back of the radio. Once the screws are removed, the back panel just comes off completely free because there is no wires or electronics attached to it.

The first thing I noticed was the 3 U.FL connectors for the antennas: 1 is for the external antenna and two for the internal antennas. During testing, I didn’t notice any difference when using either antenna in terms of range or signal quality.

Down below you can find the 2S 2600mAh Li-Ion battery in the holder.

Under the battery you can find the Bluetooth antenna, near the SD card slot.

While we have the radio open I will show you how to adjust the stiffness of the gimbals. The stiffness of the sticks (pitch, roll and yaw) can be adjusted by loosening or tightening the tension in the springs.

The throttle stick also comes with ratchet (the clicking feel) which can be removed if you want.

FrOS – FrSky’s Own TX Firmware

Frsky has decided to use their own TX firmware on the Horus X10 instead of the beloved OpenTX on the Taranis.

Let me show you what FrOS looks like. If you don’t like it after using it, you can still flash OpenTX on your X10 and I will show you how on a future tutorial.

FrOS has an easy to understand menu, it’s straight forward to set up your first RC model and to get it up in the air. The main screen shows 3 pages:

  • SYSTEM
  • MODEL
  • TELEMETRY

All the settings can be found in these three pages.

FrOS supports external FrSky modules like the XJT or the long range R9M, but there is no support for third party modules like the Crossfire for instance. Unfortunately there is no support for LUA scripts neither, making it a less desirable system for mini quad pilots.

However I do find FrOS a pretty flexible system as it allows the users to highly customise the radio, putting different “widgets” on the screen such as important flight info, transmitter battery voltage, telemetry information, stick position, or timers.

OpenTX on Horus X10S

The good news is that OpenTX supports the X10/X10S and you can flash it.

OpenTX on X10 is basically the same system as the one on QX7 or X9D, they have just adjusted to fit the bigger colour display.

Flashing OpenTX to your Horus radio is completely reversible, so it is possible to go back to FrOS later on if you want.

We will explain how to flash OpenTX on your X10/X10S radio in a future article. 

The menus and setting are essentially the same in OpenTX on different radios.

  • Telemetry screen has “widgets” allowing to put sensors, stick ,telemetry info on the screen in highly customisable way.
  • Models can have their photos displayed on the screen from the image files stored on the “IMAGES” folder o the SD CARD.
  • External modules, including Crossfire are supported as well as LUA scripts.

Unfortunately we cannot have LUA script executed from the Telemetry screen on the Horus X10S, like on the QX7. Scripts have to be open manually via file browser on the radio. It is a bit annoying that you have do go through more steps to open the script, but we have heard rumours that this small issue will be fixed in future firmware updates.

I also noticed that after flashing OpenTX, the speaker makes a constant buzzing, it’s very quiet but it’s definitely there. It was completely silent before with FrOS, I can only assume OpenTX is causing this minor issue somehow.

FrSky R9M module support in OpenTX

The R9M module is fully supported by OpenTX on the Horus X10S. Transmission power can be selected during binding in new OpenTX 2.2.1 version. I have found that there is a bug in OpenTX GUI that prevents the radio from using telemetry in LBT EU version without a small trick.

In order to select 25mW mode with telemetry, I have to switch the R9M to FCC and check the option “Module telemetry”. Once that’s done, now it’s ok to switch back to EU LBT and bind to the 25mW mode. Hopefully this glitch will be resolved in future version of OpenTX.

Crossfire support on OpenTX

Crossfire and X10, X10S are not fully compatible without some complicated DIY mod. It’s been reported that the communication baud rate between the radio and the TBS Crossfire module is below 400KHz which is not ideal. This can result in LUA script doesn’t work, and constant warnings of “sensor lost”.

But it “kind of” works for me out of the box, in my testing I had telemetry fully working and carried out many successful flights without any issues. However, the only issue that troubles me is that LUA script not working at all.

Good things about FrSky Horus X10S

  • Nice an modern design, Excellent build quality, after trying the Taranis X9D and QX7, you can tell this is a premium product
  • Gimbals are very smooth – the difference between X10 & X10S!
  • Removable external antenna – allows you to use a higher gain antenna
  • Internal antenna – allows you to remove the external antenna and not worry about breaking it off anymore
  • More switches and Pots than you’ll ever need
  • Bright, large, colourful LCD screen
  • OpenTX Compatible
  • Menu navigation is ever so easy with the scrolling wheel
  • The radio is bigger than the X7D and X9D, but it doesn’t feel too heavy to hold

Negatives about FrSky Horus X10S

  • Not sure what Frsky’s problem is with TBS Crossfire, but it’s pretty disappointing to see all the new radios coming from Frsky are “incompatible” with it
  • The ergonomics can be better – especially the rubber grips, they can be made deeper like the QX7 to provide a stronger grip
  • It’s pretty expensive!
  • USB mini – I know it’s a tougher connector, but I kind of wish they would have used USB Micro connector
  • The slot for the detachable antenna connector is too small for fitting higher gain antennas with bigger base
  • There should have been some SD card cover of some sort
  • SD card not included

Conclusion

The Horus X10S is definitely the top of the line TX from FrSky, the build quality justifies for the high price. I love this radio, but I just can’t decide if all the advantages outweighs the downsides. I hope you can make up your own mind after reading this review.

Sure, you can spend a fraction of the price to get a Taranis X9D or Q X7, they get the job done all the same. But to me, I do think the Horus X10S is the best transmitter you can possibly get from Frsky in terms of aesthetics and usability.

3 thoughts on “Review: FrSky Horus X10S Radio Transmitter

  1. paul Holterhaus

    Just want to know if I can have complete telemetry without open tx, But using the x8r…….In other words, just the standard fros with x8r receiving both rssi and motor batt. voltage

    Reply
  2. T3chDad®

    Where did you get (or how did you make) the blue theme on the two pictures above? I have an X10 with OpenTX 2.2.2 and cannot for the life of me figure out how to get white lines/graphics and text.

    Reply
  3. J Denomy

    Excellent review, I like the objective approach. I have the x7 , X9D SE, and Horus x10s. I think they each fit there price point very nicely. The x7 is definitely the most ergonomic to me which is a huge benefit. The scroll wheel for programming on the newer radios is also a big plus, although once a model is set up you could argue that it’s no longer that relevant. I also have the spektrum ix12 and the Android touch screen does simplify setup, but again once a model is setup is complete a lot of that simplicity is irrelevant. The Horus x10s is very nice quality, I feel like the price is fair. The gimbals are super smooth, although the stick throw is quite long fory liking. I like what they did by adding the m9-r gimbal for the X9D, especially when used for throttle stick. Where the ix12 wins however is overall feel in hand, which is quite possibly the most important factor. The gimbal tension and throw is adjustable from the outside of the radio and the grips are excellent. It is also crossfire compatible out of the box. All things considered however, I don’t believe it fits it’s pricepoint as well as the frsky radios, and I think the X9D special edition is still the best value for money in a radio.

    Reply

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