The Taranis X9 Lite is something to look out for. It resembles the Taranis X9D-Plus in some way, and yet it’s only a fraction of the cost. Most importantly it comes with Frsky’s latest air protocol – ACCESS.
Update Sep 2019: Frsky also released a X9D+ 2019, basically a full size radio of the X9 Lite, which I personally prefer. Check out my review for more.
Disclaimer: I don’t actually have the radio, I am only giving you my opinion on this radio based on information I have.
Where to Buy
The Frsky Taranis X9 Lite is a budget radio, it’s even cheaper than the QX7.
It seems like Frsky is trying very hard to push this radio, they are currently selling it for only $60-$70 depending on where you are getting it from. My prediction of the final price is around $80 when the promotion ends.
Key Features of the X9 Lite
The Taranis X9 Lite is an entry level radio, aiming at the multirotor / FPV / drone racing market. In my opinion, however, it does not replace the X9D-Plus. But maybe it replaces the QX7 to some extent since a lot of their features actually overlap, and the X9 Lite is slightly cheaper :)
It comes with the latest ACCESS protocol (vs. ACCST on older radios), and it will support both OpenTX and ErskyTX open source operating system.
Here is a summary of the features:
- Ergonomic design – same shape as the X9D-Plus
- Compact – smaller and lighter than the X9D-Plus
- Comes with the latest ACCESS protocol
- Supports spectrum analyzer function
- High-speed module digital interface
- G7 Noble potentiometer gimbal (it’s saying it’s not hall sensor gimbal, not sure if this can be considered a feature :) )
- Supports wired training function
- Haptic vibration alerts and voice feedback
- Takes two 18650 batteries – but no internal charging
- Micro USB port – you can play simulators
Taranis X9 Lite Appearance
Let’s take a closer look.
The Taranis X9 Lite looks almost exactly like the Taranis X9D-Plus at first glance. However there are some differences when you look closer, and it’s actually considerably smaller and lighter in weight. It’s almost the same size as the Jumper T12.
It has the same LCD display as the Taranis Q X7 with a resolution of 128×64 pixels.
Here is my review of the QX7 and X9D-Plus.
It has a micro SD card slot, haptic and voice feedback just like the Taranis X9D-plus. The trainer port, Smart Port and Micro USB port are located at the bottom of the radio.
So here are the differences from the X9D-Plus.
Firstly, they replaced power slider with a push button, a bit more like the QX7.
They have also removed 3 switches and 1 potentiometer (pot) in the new radio. You now have 5 switches and 1 pot remaining, which should be more than enough for FPV quads anyway. Although there are no more sliders, it should not be an issue for multirotors as they are not normally used.
The gimbals appear to be the same ones in the Taranis Q X7 (non special edition). Just pot gimbals, not as durable / good as the hall sensor gimbals, but work just fine for the most part.
For menu navigation, they replaced the three push button with a roller button, which reminds me the Jumper T16 I recently reviewed. It’s a great addition because it’s very user-friendly, speaking from experience.
On the back of the radio, I noticed they replaced the standard JR external module bay with the mini module bay, the same one in the X-Lite. It’s a bad choice, unless they did it on purpose to make it difficult for people to use the Crossfire, which is understandable as they are “at war”.
If you want to run long range RC system, you can get the Frsky R9M-Lite module, it’s designed for mini module bay. But actually with some modifications, it’s been proven doable to run Crossfire on a mini module bay (update Sep 2020: TBS released Crossfire Nano module for this radio).
The Taranis X9 Lite uses two 18650 Li-Ion batteries, but no built-in charging capabilities (you have to remove the battery for charging). Not ideal, but forgivable given the low price.
It’s an interesting radio. Should I get this radio and do a more in-depth review? Let me know what you think.