The new TX16S from Radiomaster looks highly similar to the Jumper T16 at first glance, but it’s made by a different company and has different specs and features. Is it a better radio or just a cheap clone? Let’s find out.
The Radiomaster TX16S is basically an improved version of the Jumper T16 Pro (see review). According to the maker, Radiomaster, they used to work with Jumper on the T16, but for some reason they went their separate ways. And now Radiomaster decided to release their own version of the radio, hence the similarity.
The Radiomaster TX16S is an alternative to the popular Frsky Taranis, but while Frsky is pushing towards their new ACCESS protocol, the multi-protocol module in the TX16S allows you to continue using the older Frsky protocols, as well as protocols from many other brands including Flysky and Spketrum.
Apart from the better features, the TX16S is $30 cheaper than the Jumper T16 Pro, making it much more attractive. Now let’s go through all the details and features of the TX16S in this review.
New to FPV? Do not miss out on my radio transmitter buyer’s guide to learn all the basics about radios.
Update (Jan 2021): Radiomaster released the MAX Edition of the TX16S. But don’t panic, it’s still the same as the original TX16S, just with some aesthetic upgrades.
Where to Buy TX16S (Affiliate Links)
- Amazon: https://amzn.to/3eesfWh
- RDQ: https://bit.ly/3cY6IQw
- BuddyRC: https://oscarliang.com/product-b992
- Supports 40+ protocols
- Touch screen (on Hall gimbal version)
- Built in Charging
- Separate USB-C ports for charging and data/simulator
- External SD card slot (SD card included)
- Two external UART ports for updates and DIY
- Improved menu navigation with separate Page back and forward buttons
- Better housing design with improved grip ergonomics
- Official OpenTX support
- Built-in Multi-protocol module
Just like the Jumper T16, the Radiomaster TX16S has lots of switches, buttons and knobs, probably more than what you need if you only fly multirotors. Anyway it’s nice to have them available in case you get into flying other models like RC planes and wings in the future.
This is a multi-protocol radio, which means it can bind to a large number of receivers of different protocols and brands. It’s really handy that you can fly all of your models with just one radio. To find out what protocols and receivers it support, check out this list.
- Size: 180x190x58mm
- Weight: 880g including 2×18650 batteries
- Input Voltage: 7V – 8.4V DC
- Battery Support: 2S LiPo or 2×18650 (holder provided)
- Operation Current: 350mA excluding external module
- STM32 F429 MCU
- 4.3″ 480×272 Color Screen
- Roller menu button
- Full Size Hall Gimbals
Major Differences Between T16 and TX16S
The T16 (Pro Hall Edition) is manufactured by Jumper, the TX16S is manufactured by Radiomaster.
|T16 Pro Hall||TX16S|
|USB Port||Mini USB||USB-C|
For other differences please keep reading.
Closer Look at the TX16S
The Radiomaster TX16S has a black matte finish. The shell plastic quality is average, similar to the T16 I’d say but can’t complain given the low price.
The most welcome improvement is probably the USB-C port and built-in charging feature.
USB-C is far easier to use, and more common than the old Mini USB port in the T16. The built-in charging feature means you don’t have to remove the battery from the radio in order to charge it, and you don’t need a separate charger either.
It’s an integrated BMS (battery management system) that is capable of charging 2S Lipo or Li-ion cells with cut-off at 4.2V. It also has over current protection and over temperature protection to increase safety during charging. But one annoying thing is it doesn’t like charging adapters for phones/tablets that can supply higher current, only low current sources like computer USB ports work. When it’s charging, the LED under the power button turns green.
Note that you should only use LiPo or Li-ion batteries with an end voltage of 4.2V per cell if you intend to use the built-in charging capability. You are not supposed to charge LiFE or older 3.6V Li-ion cells in this radio. According to Radiomaster:
Approved battery for internal charging:
- 2x 3.7V Li-Ion 18650 cells (7.4V using supplied tray)
- 2x 3.7V Li-Ion 21700 cells (Assembled as 7.4V 2S battery pack)
- 2S LiPo
DO NOT use:
- 3.6V Li-Ion cells (unless the cell is capable of charging to 4.20V)
- 2S 6.6V LiFE battery pack
- LiFEP04 cells
Note that the TX16S doesn’t have over voltage protection, therefore if you plug in a 3S battery it could potentially damage the radio.
There are two USB connectors on the TX16S – top USB is for data and simulator, the bottom USB is for charging. It’s an odd design to use two separate USB ports, because it means you can’t charge while playing sims (i guess you can but very awkwardly). And the trainer port is located on the top too.
The antenna is sadly not removable, I guess the reason behind this design choice is to comply with regulations (to stop users from using higher gain antennas). You can however, modify your TX16S to have a removable antenna :)
The TX16S is officially supported by OpenTX, just like the T16. It has its own firmware, and doesn’t use the same firmware as the T16 because of the hardware differences. That means it supports LUA scripts, as well as OpenTX Companion, so you can copy/transfer models from other radios easily.
The TX16S is fully compatible with TBS Crossfire. In fact, you can purchase the TX16S and Crossfire Micro TX module as a bundle to save money :) Apart from Crossfire it also works with Frsky R9M. And it supports Frsky D16 and D8 modes in case you are wondering.
Radiomaster claimed they improved the switches and buttons for better ergonomics, but I don’t really notice any difference from the Jumper T16 in that regard.
The sliders are very loose and have weak center detent, not as nice as the ones on the Taranis X9D+.
However the grips of the TX16S is indeed better thanks to the thicker rubber back plates, it offers a deeper grip and improves stability. And the neck strap also balances really well.
The SD card slot in the TX16S has been moved to the bottom of the radio for easier access. On the Jumper T16, it’s inside the battery bay. Honestly I don’t think it’s a big deal since we normally access the SD card in bootloader mode anyway.
The color screen is huge and really bright, some people love it, but some people don’t. Because it’s an LCD screen you can’t really see it that well under the sun, and it also drains your battery faster. But it’s so nice to look at and there is so much you can do with it like customized theme, displaying logos and images of your models etc.
What’s even better, it’s a touch screen! It’s only available on the Hall gimbal version, but at the time of publishing, it’s still a work-in-progress feature. I believe it will work in future OpenTX releases, V2.4 to be exact.
By the way, some reviewers reported problems with the screen, but really it’s an user error. If you notice some grid patterns on the screen, it probably means you haven’t peeled off the protective layer.
The TX16S offers two “external UART” ports on the bottom, which are missing on the T16. According to Radiomaster, you can use them for “updates and DIY”, I am not quite sure how useful these are yet, just thought I should mention it.
The battery bay in the TX16S is significantly bigger than the T16, so potentially you can use a larger 2S LiPo battery in there. However it won’t make a difference for 18650 users, you can only use 2 cells.
The TX16S has an extra menu button for “Page Back” and “Page Forward” to “improve menu navigation”. But I feel like it’s a little unnecessary to be honest. In the T16 you simply press the Page button for “Page Forward”, and hold it slightly longer for “Page Back”, and I’ve never felt the need for an extra button. Maybe I will like it more after some time, who knows :)
They even engraved my name on the buttons… how nice! But I can’t sell it on eBay now can I? LOL :D Just joking!
Some people had their plastic roller broken in the T16 because they pressed too hard, so Radiomaster decided to put a metal rollers in all versions of their TX16S, hopefully these will be more durable. It has a really solid feel to it, definitely feels better than the plastic one on the T16.
But it seems to be just a tiny bit too sensitive, sometimes it skips an option when you scroll down too fast. But it’s not a big deal once you get used to it. Hopefully they will reduce sensitivity in the future, surely it can be done in the software.
Speaker volume is about the same as the T16 or the Taranis X9D.
Looking Inside TX16S
Taking the TX16S apart is easy. There are only four screws at the corners, and you need to remove the rubber plates on the sides.
The TX16S is using standard cables and connectors internally to make it more reliable and easier to service – no more ribbon cables other than the LCD screen, TP and Main board break out.
PCB quality seems to be really good for the price, can’t complain!
How to Setup TX16S
You can follow my TX16S setup guide, it’ll walk you through how to set it up from scratch.
Adjust Gimbal Stick Tension
Apart from stick friction, you can also change the radio from mode 2 to another mode, i.e. mode 1, mode 3 and mode 4.
Is the TX16S Better Than T16?
It’s clear that RadioMaster has put in a lot of thought into the design and detail. The TX16S has proven itself not only a cheaper T16, but an overall better radio! It has more features, and it’s $30 cheaper!
It’s certainly by no mean a perfect radio, but it gets all the important stuff right, e.g. ergonomics, build quality, protocol support, easy charging etc. And for only $120, I really can’t complain.
T16 owners should not feel bad however, the T16 is still a really good radio, the improvements on the TX16S are not enough to make the T16 obsolete.
If you want to get a controller for all your models, or you are new to the hobby, the TX16S is definitely a great option. You don’t really need anything else since the TX16S is so versatile.
Is the TX16S Better Than Taranis X9D?
Yes. The Taranis X9D+ used to be my go-to radio when it comes to versatility, but the Jumper T16 took its place, and then the T16 is surpassed by the TX16S.
Should I Get Hall Gimbal Version?
Yes. I think it’s a worthy investment. Hall gimbals feel slightly smoother and last much longer too.
- May 2020 – review published
- Jan 2021 – added extra info (in conclusions) and updated product links, additional info from RM regarding battery