Review: iFlight Nazgul ECO FPV Drone – Cheaper than Building Your Own?

by Oscar
Iflight Nazgul Eco Fpv Drone Bnf Prebuilt 5inch

The iFlight Nazgul ECO is likely one of the most affordable BNF (bind-and-fly) 5-inch FPV drones available in 2024. At only $199.99, it competes with DarwinFPV’s budget model, but the Nazgul ECO offers better hardware, making it a compelling choice for many. We are reaching a point where buying a prebuilt drone makes more sense than building one from scratch, not only because it’s easier but also because it can be cheaper. Let’s find out if the Nazgul ECO is the right choice for you in this review.

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Learn more about FPV Drones in this beginner’s guide: https://oscarliang.com/fpv-drone-guide/

Where to Buy?

You can get the iFlight Nazgul ECO here:

It comes with the following accessories.

Iflight Nazgul Eco Fpv Drone Bnf Prebuilt 5inch Unbox Accessories

Note that batteries are not included. You will need some 6S LiPo batteries; I recommend 1100mAh, 1200mAh, and 1300mAh sizes: https://oscarliang.com/lipo-battery-guide/#5%E2%80%B3-Freestyle-and-Racing-Drones

For spare propellers, get them here:

Specifications

  • Flight Controller: BLITZ ATF435
  • ESC: BLITZ E55S 4-IN-1 ESC
  • VTX: BLITZ 1.6W
  • VTX Antenna: Albatross V2
  • Motors: XING E Pro 2207 1800KV
  • Propellers: Nazgul F5
  • Receiver: iFlight ExpressLRS 2.4GHz RX

Nazgul ECO = Cheaper Nazgul V3?

At first glance, the iFlight Nazgul ECO looks almost identical to the popular Nazgul V3. It has the same design, motors, frame, and 3D-printed parts. Even the LED logo on the bottom is the same. However, the ECO is almost $40 cheaper than the V3. How is that possible?

Iflight Nazgul Eco Fpv Drone Bnf Prebuilt 5inch Front

The ECO uses a new FC/ESC stack with the more affordable AT32 chip instead of the STM32 F7. I believe this is the main reason why iFlight is able to offer this drone at such a low price. As discussed before on this blog, the AT32 chip is helping to make FPV more affordable, and I think we’re finally seeing that trend take hold.

Interestingly, the default craft name in the Betaflight OSD is “Nazgul V3”, which further confirms my suspicion that the ECO is just the V3 with a more budget-friendly FC/ESC stack. They probably just copied all the config over and forgot to change the craft name.

Closer Look at iFlight Nazgul ECO

The iFlight Nazgul ECO has a long body, designed primarily for freestyle and cinematic flying.

Iflight Nazgul Eco Fpv Drone Bnf Prebuilt 5inch Top

It comes with a GoPro mount for easy installation on top.

Iflight Nazgul Eco Fpv Drone Bnf Prebuilt 5inch Gopro Camera Mount

And the top plate offers plenty of room for a large LiPo battery.

Iflight Nazgul Eco Fpv Drone Bnf Prebuilt 5inch 6s Lipo Battery Mount

The build quality is impressive for a drone that only costs $200, with ample space between components for cooling. The design is simple and minimalist, focusing on performance without unnecessary side plates that add weight.

Iflight Nazgul Eco Fpv Drone Bnf Prebuilt 5inch Side Fc Esc Stack

The Nazgul ECO includes a buzzer, nicely mounted in the front behind the camera using a 3D-printed holder, which is rare in RTF (ready-to-fly) quads, especially in this low price range.

Iflight Nazgul Eco Fpv Drone Bnf Prebuilt 5inch Buzzer Beeper

The motors are Xing E Pro 2207 1800KV, the same as those in the Nazgul V3. These are some of the best budget motors available. The motor wires are protected with plastic tubes, which look tidy and professional. While opinions vary on the effectiveness of these tubes in protecting motor wires from prop strikes, they do add a clean look and only weigh 2 to 3 grams.

Iflight Nazgul Eco Fpv Drone Bnf Prebuilt 5inch Xing E Motor 2207 1800kv

The ECO features iFlight’s logo with LED light on the bottom, similar to the V3.

Iflight Nazgul Eco Fpv Drone Bnf Prebuilt 5inch Bottom

It comes with a powerful 1.6W VTX, making it a possible candidate for long-range flying. This VTX can indeed deliver the advertised 1.6W output power, as tested here: https://oscarliang.com/iflight-blitz-1600mw-vtx/

Iflight Nazgul Eco Fpv Drone Bnf Prebuilt 5inch Blitz 1.6w Vtx

One difference between the ECO and the V3 is the antenna. The ECO uses the latest Albatross V2, which looks cool and has an acceptable SWR, as tested here: https://oscarliang.com/fpv-antenna-swr/#iFlight-Albatross-V2.

Based on my antenna and VTX testing, channel 1 might be optimal for the best range.

Iflight Nazgul Eco Fpv Drone Bnf Prebuilt 5inch Antenna

The FPV camera is fairly exposed to damage in crashes. It would benefit from more protection from the front bumpers.

Iflight Nazgul Eco Fpv Drone Bnf Prebuilt 5inch Analog Camera

The flight controller stack uses AT32 chips which are supported in Betaflight 4.5. This flight controller offers 6 UARTs, with only two being used (for the receiver and VTX), leaving 4 spares.

Taking the Nazgul ECO apart is easy; just remove the 8 screws on the top plate.

Iflight Nazgul Eco Fpv Drone Bnf Prebuilt 5inch Dissemble Tear Down

I am pleasantly surprised that it includes an Anti Spark Filter, eliminating the spark when you connect the LiPo battery. Initially it was a weird feeling when plugging in the battery because I would normally expect a spark, but it’s now completely silent which makes me wonder if the drone has an issue, until I hear the ESC initialization beeps. It’s such a nice touch!

Solder quality appears top-notch.

Iflight Nazgul Eco Fpv Drone Bnf Prebuilt 5inch Xt60 Soldering Receiver

Improvements I Want to Make

The ExpressLRS receiver is connected to the flight controller via a connector. The first thing I’d do is remove the connector and solder the receiver directly to the flight controller. I’ve had a couple of instances in the past where similar connector failed on me, causing random failsafe mid-flight. We don’t normally unplug the receiver, so it’s pretty pointless to have the connector, it’s just asking for trouble.

I will add my own GPS to use Rescue Mode in Betaflight (similar to return to home). Although iFlight offers GPS as an option when you purchase the drone, it costs $39 more! I am not sure what sort of premium GPS they are using, but it feels slightly overpriced to me. If you are not afraid of soldering and setting up GPS, you could save quite a bit of money by doing it yourself. I have a guide explaining how to setup GPS and Rescue Mode: https://oscarliang.com/setup-gps-rescue-mode-betaflight/

The analog camera “RACECAM” is mediocre. It’s flyable, but the field of view is quite small and the exposure changes are quite slow when lighting condition changes. I’d probably upgrade it to something better like the Ratel V2: https://oscarliang.com/fpv-camera/#Analog

If you wish to improve range, you should consider mounting the receiver antenna vertically as explained in this guide: https://oscarliang.com/antenna-positioning/

The current sensor is way off, and needs calibration.

How to Setup

The included manuals don’t provide much detail, so I’ve included the process I went through to set it up before my maiden flight.

Iflight Nazgul Eco Fpv Drone Bnf Prebuilt 5inch Manual Instructions

First of all, attach the VTX antenna, battery pad, and battery strap, and get the propellers and nuts ready for installation.

Iflight Nazgul Eco Fpv Drone Bnf Prebuilt 5inch Get Started

Binding Receiver

The manual doesn’t specify the receiver device target, so I had to find out in WiFi mode. The receiver is the iFlight 2.4GHz RX, and it comes with ExpressLRS 3.3.0 firmware. I flashed the receiver with the latest firmware, along with my bind phrase.

Learn more about binding ExpressLRS receiver here: https://oscarliang.com/bind-expresslrs-receivers/

Betaflight Configuration

The iFlight Nazgul ECO runs Betaflight 4.5.0 out of the box, and the FC firmware target is IFLIGHT_BLITZ_F435. You can find the default CLI Diff here. Here are the configuration changes I made:

  1. Preset: Apply the ExpressLRS Preset according to your packet rate.
  2. PID Tuning, Rate Profile Settings: Apply your own rates.
  3. Modes: Assign switches to Arm, Angle, Beeper, and Flip Over After Crash.

Final Thoughts

Iflight Nazgul Eco Fpv Drone Bnf Prebuilt 5inch

I absolutely love the iFlight Nazgul and Evoque series. They have been my go-to pre-built 5″ FPV drones, and now with the Nazgul ECO, it’s even more affordable. It’s even cheaper than the “cheapest 5″ FPV drone parts list” I put together, very impressive.

Some parts of this drone might show signs of a budget build, such as the FPV camera and lack of GPS, but most of the components are solid with great build quality, it’s hard to beat the overall value of the Nazgul ECO.

If you don’t want to build a drone from scratch and just want to fly, you can’t go wrong with this FPV drone. Not to mention it’s well-tuned out of the box. Just slap a GoPro on this thing and you are going to get some pretty awesome footage.

You can get the iFlight Nazgul ECO here:

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12 comments

IffyFPV 12th June 2024 - 12:48 am

The GPS has a magnetometer which is why it is so expensive, it could also support inav because of that

Reply
Oscar 13th June 2024 - 3:38 pm

No, the price difference between having a compass and without is only $2-$3. Check out Flywoo’s GPS lineup.

Reply
206 Box 11th June 2024 - 11:35 pm

hi oscar,
the nazgul eco frame parts are more thick than the mario ?

Reply
Coleon 11th June 2024 - 8:26 pm

For what its worth the Amazon link just brings you to there page that list the parts used for this drone and not an option to actually take advantage of this price cut, and simply buy. Thought that was slightly weird to be honest..

Reply
Oscar 11th June 2024 - 10:16 pm

If the BNF drone isn’t there, it just means they don’t have it in the warehouse in your region. Amazon has warehouse in every country, and they all have different stock. Consider getting it from AliExpress or Banggood, which takes around 2 weeks to get to Europe or North America in my experience.

Reply
Carl 4th June 2024 - 6:48 am

is the dimension same like nazgul xl5 v5? is the TPU parts interchangeable?

Reply
Oscar 4th June 2024 - 3:28 pm

It is the XL5 frame but I am not entirely sure what version it is. They do look pretty similar though from the photos.

Reply
CBU 2nd June 2024 - 7:41 am

Hello Oscar,
the default CLI Diff doesn’t seem to be linked (“here”). I’m hoping that it could help me to upgrade my Nazgul V3 to BF4.5 although it has a different FC.

Reply
Oscar 3rd June 2024 - 4:41 pm

Sorry I forgot to link it, it should be available now.

Reply
marvin 1st June 2024 - 6:38 pm

Sorry, here is question in Englis :))

I like it. But as a beginner who only has experience with Avata, I should build my first custom quad to be able to repair it afterwards. Is it a good idea to buy the individual parts of this quad and try to build an identical model?

Reply
Oscar 3rd June 2024 - 4:37 pm

You could, but try to get a different camera, like the Ratel 2.

Reply
marvin 1st June 2024 - 6:36 pm

Páči sa mi. Ale ako začiatočník, ktorý má skúsenosti s len s Avatou, by som si mal svojho prvého custom quada postaviť, aby som ho bol schopný následne opravovať. Je dobrý nápad nakúpiť jednotlivé diely tohoto quadu a pokúsiť sa postaviť identický model?

Reply