Review: HGLRC Toothpick Parrot120 Pro Micro Quad

HGLRC is taking a different approach at the “toothpick” style ultra-light micro quad. They are using bigger motors with much lower KV and pair with heavier triblade props. I can’t wait to try this out! Spoiler: it’s a freestyle beast! :D

Where to Buy HGLRC Parrot120 Pro?

They also do the “non-pro” version (product page: http://bit.ly/2kodFVY), which uses 1103 8000KV and bi-blade 65mm propellers. Nothing special about this one though, just seems to be another regular “toothpick” and it’s a bit heavy anyway, so I’d decided to try to pro version instead.

In the box, there are the following accessories:

  • the Parrot120 Pro drone
  • 6 propellers (2 spare)
  • LiPo battery strap
  • spare antenna plastic tube
  • screws for mounting the propellers
  • manual
  • stickers

Specification

  • 120mm wheelbase Frame, 2.5mm thick arms
  • FD413 FC Stack – F4 FC + 13A 4in1 ESC + 400mW VTX
  • HF1106 6000KV Motors + Gemfan 2540×3 Props (2.5″ triblade)
  • Caddx EOS2 FPV Camera
  • Frsky XM+ receiver
  • Weight without battery: 71.4g 76g (quite a bit heavy than claimed)

Closer Look at the Parrot120 Pro

I wouldn’t consider this to be a “toothpick” because it’s about 20 grams heavier than a typical toothpick. But the different motor/prop combo is an interesting approach, I want to see how it performs.

At first glance, it looks a lot like the iFlight Turbobee 120RS we only just reviewed, mostly because of the canopy. Most of them use 3D printed TPU canopy nowadays for weight saving, durability and convenience of the integrated antenna mounts.

But the Parrot120 frame appears to be beefier as it has additional braces for higher degree of stiffness and crash-resilience.

The FC stack is the FD413 which is a 16x16mm stack, consists of a 400mW VTX, F4 FC and a 13A 4in1 ESC. We used the exact same stack in our last toothpick build. It’s been a reliable stack so far, but as I mentioned in the build log, it’s a “very tall” stack due to the design.

Taller FC stack = taller canopy = extra material/hardware = heavier weight and increased air resistance…

There is a 25V 470uF capacitor soldered to the power lead pads for reducing voltage spikes and noise. Micro builds like these might or might not need one, but always reassuring to see one :)

Both RX and VTX antennas are nicely mounted on the canopy.

However camera tilt angle adjustment is very limited. I wish the opening is wider. I guess you could just trim it yourself with a pair of cutters.

The motors are HGLRC’s own HF1106 6000KV.

The props are loose fit so you do need the mounting screws.

Rubber tape on the bottom for battery mounting.

Manual for the HGLRC Parrot120 Pro:

How to Setup

Install propellers in normal configuration (not reversed).

It comes with Betaflight firmware version 4.0.4. I didn’t update and just set it up for first flight. Firmware target is HGLR/HGLRCF411(STM32F411).

Disable “Motor Stop” in Configuration tab.

Enable “Airmode” feature.

Set your own Rate and Expo in PID tab.

Bind receiver to your radio. I have the XM+ version, this is how to bind to Taranis. Default channel map is AETR, change to TEAR if your throttle is in channel 1. USB cable also powers the receiver, making the setup process easier.

Setup switch for arming in Modes tab.

Setup OSD screen.

Flight Performance

I have so much to say about flight performance from the HGLRC Parrot120 Pro. It’s SO GOOD!

The Parrot120 Pro weighs 76 grams, in the ultra-light 2.5″ class, this is considered REALLY HEAVY. I expected a slow and sluggish quad.

And I was partly right, it’s not the fastest quad, but it’s surprisingly nimble and an awesome acro machine!

The heavy weight gives the quad more momentum and longer “hang time”. Inverted moves like the “split-S” and “inverted yaw” feel a lot like a heavier 5″ quad. So being heavier wasn’t totally a bad thing after all. As you can see in the video, I probably spend half of the time flying inverted LOL (exaggerating a little bit).

The low KV motor + “high pitch” triblade props combo works well for compensating the extra weight.

It’s really smooth too, hardly any jello in the video. The PID tune is really nice out of the box, probably the best stock tune I’ve experienced out of a pre-built 2.5″ micro quad so far. Kudos to HGLRC!

However the motor and prop combination is far less efficient. I was getting about 2:30 minutes of flight time on a 3S 300mAh, which would normally be 5+ mins on a 1103 8000KV + 65mm prop combo. Regardless, it is an enjoyable two-minute flight so I am not disappointed at all :D

And it’s so quiet as well! Great if you don’t like attention from dog walkers.

If I have to change one thing, it’d probably be the camera. I mean, It’s flyable, but not the most enjoyable. It is an NTSC EOS2 camera and everything just looks so “red” on a sunny day…

For some reason, ESC beacon doesn’t seem to work on this quad (motors don’t beep when I flip the beeper switch). So make sure to connect a buzzer to the FC or you will have a very difficult time finding it in the brushes.

My last complain is the battery strap, it’s too long even for 3S 450mah.

Conclusion

Highly recommended if you like freestyle flying :) I took 6 quads with me yesterday, and I ended up flying the Parrot120 most of the time!

Battery Choice

My first choice would be 3S 300mAh (more nimble), or 450mAh (more flight time). If you have 2S 450mAh-650mAh, it also works too, just slower (75% speed of 3S). See my 2S/3S LiPo recommendations.

Get Spare Props

I have yet to try other props on this quad, but so far the Gemfan 2540 triblades are great.

6 thoughts on “Review: HGLRC Toothpick Parrot120 Pro Micro Quad

  1. JOE

    What mounting pattern are the motors on this drone? I wad thinking about getting it and swapping them, or maybe you had better ideas for weight savings to get it a little faster?

    Reply
  2. Andrew Blanche

    Oscar do you know if there is a difference in the tunes depending on which source you purchase from? I know it’s prob not big deal as Hglrc most likely will have a cli dump for those DIY’ers.

    Reply
  3. Arne Petry

    Great review as always!
    As you pointed out correctly, this is a rather standard 2,5″ quad – not a toothpick anymore… building those since 2 years by the dozen (ahh, maybe not quite… :) )
    I am surprised this setup works with a 300mAh battery – in my experience with 1105/6 6000kV you are above the current limit those batteries can supply on 3s – I typically use 450/550mAh batteries, which allow to use the potential of the motors to the max. which should be around 25-35A at full throttle.

    Reply

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