Review: RadioMaster Zorro Radio Transmitter

by Oscar
Published: Last Updated on
Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Edgetx Logo Screen

The Radiomaster Zorro is a gamepad style RC transmitter. It comes with EdgeTX firmware installed, offers multiple versions of different RF systems and bundles. It’s a compact and powerful radio that can meet all your FPV needs. In this review I will compare it to the Jumper T-Pro which is also a hot radio in the same category.

New to FPV? Check out my radio transmitter beginner guide.

Where to Buy?

There are 5 variants of this radio, different in the RF modules:

CC2500 ($80)

4in1 ($100)

ELRS ($100)

ELRS Starter Set ($140)

CC2500 + TBS Nano Crossfire Combo ($150)

If you don’t know what to get between ELRS and 4in1, I’d probably go for the ELRS version.

The CC2500 is a good choice if you want to mainly use other protocols such as Frsky D8/D16, but these are kind of obsolete and slowly phasing out. Or if you are buying an external ELRS module for the radio, then it makes sense to get the CC2500 as you don’t want to have another ELRS module onboard doing nothing. An external ELRS module has the advantage of higher maximum output power of up to 1W. Check out all the ELRS module options here (you need the smaller “Lite Module” for the Zorro, not the full size JR module).

The 4in1 costs $20 extra but it supports extra RC protocols including Spektrum and Flysky, which is nice. However, to be honest I have never needed to use any of those additional protocols… Ever!

If you know you are never going to need to use Frsky D8/D16 or any other RC protocols, just ExpressLRS, then just get the ELRS version. The ELRS Starter Set comes with 3 extra receivers which is not a bad deal. It’s going to be the major RC protocol in the near future as it’s so powerful and affordable, with a wide range of inexpensive ELRS receivers available. See my article explaing why ExpressLRS is so good. And honestly the internal module’s 250mW is plenty for FPV pilots, giving you miles of range in ideal conditions.

The ELRS receivers are tiny!

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Elrs Expresslrs Combo Receivers Rx

18350 Li-ion batteries are not included and needs to be purchased separately, you need two of them:

Carry case:

Specs and Features

Here’s a list of notable features:

  • Oversized LCD Display
  • Supports OpenTX and EdgeTX Firmware
  • USB-C Charging
  • Supports External 2S Power Supply
  • Supports external RF module
  • Multi-protocol and ELRS internal RF module options available
  • Highly adjustable Hall sensor gimbals
  • Great ergonomics
  • Foldable Antenna

It runs EdgeTX out of the box, which is really cool! That’s what I am using now on my daily driver – the Radiomaster TX16S. I have a whole article explaining why EdgeTX is better than OpenTX. But for whatever reason you want to use OpenTX you can also flash OpenTX to the Zorro.

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Edgetx Logo Screen

Specifications:

  • External module bay: Nano size (Compatible with TBS Nano Crossfire / Nano Tracer / IRC Ghost)
  • Operating system: OpenTX / EdgeTX Compatible
  • Control channels: Maximum 16 (Rx dependent)
  • Internal RF Options: CC2500 multi-protocol
  • Operating frequency: 2.400GHz-2.480GHz
  • Supported protocols: Module dependent
  • Physical dimensions: 170*159*108mm
  • Charging: Built-in USB-C Charging
  • Display: 128*64 Monochrome LCD
  • Operational current: [email protected] for CC2500 and 4in1 versions, 400mA for ELRS version
  • Operational voltage: 6.6-8.4v DC
  • Battery: 2 x 18350 Li-ion (Not included)
  • Folding Antenna gain 2db
  • Weight: 350 grams

Closer Look at the Radiomaster Zorro

I will be comparing the Radiomaster Zorro to the Jumper T-Pro since they are both in the same category and released around the same time. You can learn more about the T-Pro in my review here.

User Interface

The Radiomaster Zorro has a much larger and brighter screen than the Jumper T-Pro. It’s much easier to read especially under sun light. But it also takes up more physical space and some people might actually prefer the T-Pro due to size.

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Side By Side Jumper T Pro

Screen for ExpressLRS settings:

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Elrs Expresslrs Configure Settings

The menu buttons and layout mimics the full size TX16S radio, which are user friendly and easy to use.

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Menu Buttons Roller Wheel Close Up

Gimbals

The gimbals on the Zorro feels decent, nothing fancy, but good enough for most ordinary pilots.

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Gimbal Close Up

Those are Hall Gimbals, which will feel smoother and last longer than cheaper potentiometer gimbals. In fact Radiomaster will release AG01 upgrade gimbals for the Zorro in the near future.

Update (20 Apr 2022): Radiomaster finally released the AG01 mini gimbals for the Zorro, I will show you how to install them here.

The gimbals on the Zorro are highly adjustable.

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Gimbal Stick Screws Tension Travel

On the front of the gimbals, there are two screws which allows you to adjust the travel/throw of the sticks.

On the back of the radio, you will find two screws for each gimbal, which allows you to adjust the tension of the gimbals without disassembling the radio. It also allows you to switch the radio from mode 1 to mode 2 (swapping the throttle stick to the other gimbal) using those screws.

Gimbal stick ends are M3 (3mm threads). If you want upgrade this is a good option: https://oscarliang.com/product-g79x

It has traditional trim switches, which are really useful if you fly fixed wings and planes. Otherwise they are pretty irrelevant.

Switches and Buttons

The Zorro doesn’t have the 6 flight mode buttons like the T-Pro (on the front of the radio), but there are way more switches and controls on the Zorro to make up for that.

These controls feel more traditional and familiar too because they are similar to what we normally use on a larger full size radio.

  • 2x 3-position switches
  • 2x 2-position switches
  • 2x sliders
  • 4x momentary switches

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Top Switches Slider Buttons

On top of the radio, starting from the front, we have two 3-position switches. In the middle we have 2 sliders, but they don’t have centre detent for some reason. On the back we have two 2-position switches.

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Back

There are also two momentary switches next to the 2-position switches. And on the back of the radio, there are two additional momentary switches as well.

One thing that I noticed is how big the gap is between the slider and the housing, maybe dust and debris can build up inside the radio over time?

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Slider Gap

Ergonomics

To be honest, I prefer the ergonomics of the Zorro to the T-Pro. First, the stick length of the Zorro feels about right, on the T-Pro they are just slightly too long even at their shortest configuration. And the switch positions are also better on the Zorro, they are easy to reach and there are just so many more switches available than the T-Pro.

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Hand Hold Grip Ergonomics

Just like the T-Pro, I feel like the Zorro is for thumbers only, it really doesn’t feel good when you try to pinch.

The Zorro has slightly wider and thicker handles, which feels noticeably different than the Jumper T-Pro. It depends on how big your hands are I guess, but for me the Zorro gives me a more solid grip.

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Side Handle Screws Accessories

There are a couple of screw holes on the left and right sides of the radio, which are supposedly for mounting accessories that will be released in the future, or perhaps DIY 3D printed parts created by the community, the possibilities are endless.

External Module Bay

On the back of the radio, there is an external module bay (for Lite modules, NOT standard JR module). It supports all the popular modules, like Crossfire, Tracer, ExperessLRS and ImmersionRC Ghost.

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter External Module Bay Lite

Battery

The Radiomaster Zorro takes two 18350 Li-ion batteries, the ones that are sold by Radiomaster are rated for 900mAh. The internal batteries can be re-charged via the USB-C connector.

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter 18350 Li Ion Battery Bay

I would love to see they use 18650 Li-ion batteries instead, because they have a lot more capacity (2 to 3 times more mAh than the 18350). But I guess they want to make the radio as small as possible, but that just means you have to charge the radio more often.

Run time of the 4in1 version is about 5 to 6 hours on a full charge, while the ELRS version (on 250mW) is only about 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours. So yea, there’s a big chance you will be charging your radio in the field. But Radiomaster has taken that into consideration and offers a solution, keep reading…

Ports and Connectors

On the bottom of the radio, there is the USB-C connector for charging the internal battery.

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Bottom Usb C Charging 2s Balance Port

There is also a 3-pin connector (a 2S balance port) for plugging in a 2S LiPo battery. As mentioned, the run time is under two hours (ELRS version), so if your battery is low and you want to keep flying, you can power the Zorro with an external 2S battery. There are buckles under the bottom of the radio, for strapping the battery there (straps are provided).

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter 2s Battery Input StrapIf the battery is too big to strap under the radio, you can also buy a special cable from Radiomaster, it has the XT30 on the other end, and you can keep the battery in your pocket.

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter 2s Battery Input Xt30 Cable

On the top, under the rubber cover, you have the SD card slot, another USB-C connector for FPV simulators (as well as OpenTX companion and accessing the SD card), Trainer port, and headphone jack. My radio is shipped with an SD card.

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Top Ports Connectors Usb C

Folding Antenna

The antenna is for the internal RF module on the Zorro, and it’s extremely compact. It barely takes up any space when folded, and it’s flexible as it can go from 0 to 180 degrees. Play around with the angle to find out what works best for your model.

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Folded Antenna

However, the antenna seems to be one of those generic monopole antennas that doesn’t really have the best performance. With a proper antenna it will definitely give you better range. With that said, if you got the ELRS version, it will still give you kilometres of range, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much really.

First Flight Setup

I have a whole tutorial on how to setup the Zorro. The following is to show you how to bind the radio to a drone for the first time.

I will be using the 4in1 version Zorro and bind it to the TinyHawk 3 – my favourite beginner drone currently.

First thign to do is to set failsafe – If you don’t, you will get a warning every time you power on the radio. Go to Model Settings by pressing the MDL button, and PAGE> button. Scroll down to Internal RF, and find Failsafe, set it to No pulse.

Here’s how to bind the Zorro to the TinyHawk 3.

  • In Model Setup, scroll down to External RF, make sure it’s switched off.
  • In Internal RF, select “Multi” for Mode, and “Frsky D” for Type, “D8” for subtype.
  • Then you can click the “Bind” option to begin binding to the drone. (you also need to put the drone in bind mode, simply go to Betaflight, enter “Bind_RX” in CLI).

That’s it! Now go to the Receiver tab in Betaflight, and check if the channels are responding correctly to your sticks. You might need to change Channel Map to AETR if the channel order is wrong.

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Mixes Display Screen Close UpOut of the box, they already assigned switches to channel 5 – 12, these are the switches we can use to arm the drone, and for different functions and flight modes. To do that, you can follow my tutorial.

For example, they assigned the SE switch to CH5, which is AUX1 in Betaflight. Go to the Modes tab in Betaflight Configurator, and assign AUX1 to Arm, and you will be able to arm the quad with the SE switch on the radio.

Summary: Radiomaster Zorro vs. Jumper T-Pro

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Side By Side Jumper T Pro Antenna

  • Just comparing the 4in1 versions, the Zorro is $20 cheaper, but the T-Pro comes with a really nice carry case
  • T-Pro ELRS version has design flaw, failed flash could brick the module (see my T-Pro review for detail)
  • Zorro has EdgeTX flashed, comes with SD card and is fully functional out of the box
  • Zorro has way more switches
  • Zorro has a much larger and brighter screen which is much easier to read
  • Personally I find the Zorro has better ergonomics, switches are easier to access and the gimbal sticks on the T-Pro are just a bit too long
  • Run time / battery life of the Zorro is a little disappointing compared to the T-Lite, but Radiomaster thought about it and offers a work-around which is not a deal breaker, just slightly annoying

Manuals

For the radio:

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Manual Instructions

For the ELRS receivers:

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Transmitter Elrs Receiver Manual

How to Adjust Gimbal Stick Spring Tension?

It’s not the easiest job to take apart the Zorro, but it’s doable with a little patience. Here I will walk you through the process.

First of all, take the screws out on the back of the radio. There are 8 screws as circled in the following picture.

Radiomaster Zorro Tear Down Take Part Back Housing Screw

Gently remove the back housing, beware the two ribbon cables connected to the PCB, you need to unplug them first.

Radiomaster Zorro Tear Down Take Part Battery Compartment Ribbon CablesAfter taking the back housing off, take some pictures of how the cables are connected to the PCB, because you will have to unplug all of them.

Radiomaster Zorro Tear Down Take Part Pcb Ribbon Cables

One trick I used was to mark all of them with words like “Top Left”, “Bottom Right” etc according to which connector they were connected to.

Radiomaster Zorro Tear Down Take Part Cable Markers

Then unplug all the ribbon cables, there are 14 of them. And you also need to remove the four screws on the PCB before you can pull the PCB away from the radio. There’s an extra ribbon cable on the back of the PCB that needs unplugging as you lift it up.

Here you have access to the gimbals.

Radiomaster Zorro Tear Down Take Part Gimbals Tension Adjustment

Carry Case

The carry case is sold separately which is fantastic for keeping your radio safe while travelling. I wish this case was provided with the radio when you buy it, but the case alone is $20 so I doubt they will include it in order to keep the radio affordable. It’s a very spacious case, with extra space for the 18350.

Buy it here: https://oscarliang.com/product-3o72

Radiomaster Zorro Radio Carry Case

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21 comments

PAT 12th May 2022 - 8:24 am

Thanks for your review! Just starting in model aircraft, but also fly little helis and (hopefully) drones and on that basis I bought a 4-in-1 equipped unit to be my “do everything” main controller. Quality of unit looks good esp. for the price and controls fall nicely to hand.

A word or warning about protected 18350 batteries though: Protected 18350 cells may not fit and the ones I tested didn’t (Master Instruments 1200mAh TB-18350IC12-BP1 with a listed cell length (height) of 38.8 mm). So check your cell length before purchase- probably 1 mm shorter and they would have been fine.

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Oscar 12th May 2022 - 4:25 pm

Thank you :) One thing about the FPV hobby, never buy protected Li-ion cells… almost all equipment in FPV are designed for unprotected cells :)

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Ceez 3rd May 2022 - 10:06 pm

Thank you for the review, I have bought the Jumper and the zorro. The jumper t pro I returned immediately, the quality on the zorro is so much better from the gimbals to the plastic casing.

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Sarah 1st May 2022 - 5:22 am

This is super helpful – thank you! My Zorro just arrived and the left gimbal (mode 2) has tension left and right but no altitude tension at all. Is this a defect?

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Oscar 1st May 2022 - 8:17 am

it’s normal, throttle (up down) has no tension. It’s different from gaming controllers.

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Sarah 2nd May 2022 - 4:15 am

Thank you!

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rcflyer 9th April 2022 - 6:36 am

Are the gimbals much smaller than the TX16s?

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Ali 29th March 2022 - 5:38 am

If i want to looking for suitable receiver for my radiomaster cc2500, what kind rx should i bought?

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Oscar 30th March 2022 - 3:03 pm

R-XSR is a popular option, but you might need to flash it with the older ACCST V1 firmware if you have trouble binding. Some of the new R-XSR comes with ACCST V2 firmware which isn’t supported by the CC2500 Zorro.

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mike 24th February 2022 - 12:22 pm

Because of the dazzling reviews, i pre-ordered the T-Pro… still waiting on it and regretting the purchase !!!!!!

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Ian 9th February 2022 - 5:33 pm

Hello. Thank you for all of the helpful info for our hobby. I just received a Zorro with ELRS and I need to bind with whoops like the NBD Hummingbird F4 Pro in D8 made so I got an XJT Lite module, but the module does not seem to work at all. It briefly flashes the red light when you first plug it in, but never turns the light on again after that. There is an XJT option in external module options in the radio, but no XJT Lite option like in some other radios. Could that be the problem? Could the module come with ACCST 2.0 and would that possibly cause the problem? Are you able to test this? Thanks.

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Oscar 9th February 2022 - 9:09 pm

If the XJT module is new, then it’s possible that it has the new ACCST 2.0 firmware. I don’t know if Frsky still provides the older firmware (ACCST 1.0) for users to download, but try google it see if you can find it.

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Ian 10th February 2022 - 5:11 am

Any idea why the module does not seem to be communicating with the transmitter and why I cannot get it to bind?

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Oscar 10th February 2022 - 12:05 pm

like i said, it could have the mismatched firmware version on the Tx module.
You will have to try to flash it with the older firmware (ACCST 1.0) and see if that fixes it.

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Tom 10th February 2022 - 2:55 pm

Not sure about firmware problems in this case. When module only flashes LED and nothing else, more likely can be problem in low power voltage, or defect in module.
Can this module work in another transmitter?

This radio really doesnt support Frsky ACCST 2.0?

Colin 13th February 2022 - 2:54 pm

Try flipping a switch before turning the tx on, so you get a switch warning on startup. Wait until after the warning, then flip the switch off.

I need to do this to get my ELRS module to power up on my X-Lite Pro.

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Long 7th February 2022 - 4:30 pm

How does the Zorro ELRS version compared to the Tango 2? I like the larger screen on the Zorro cause I’m old. How does the gimble compare to the Tango 2?

Thanks!

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AngryPepper 14th February 2022 - 12:22 am

I’d like to know the same thing, I’m 58 and my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be.

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AngryPepper 9th April 2022 - 2:35 am

I’m answering my own questions now I guess, I have the Tango2 and just received the Zorro 4-1, and I am a pincher, my new go to will be the Zorro, I really like the larger easy to read screen and I personally feel as though the Zorros gimbals feel just fine when pinching, but I can see why a thumber would love the Zorro, another plus was as Oscar wrote, the positioning of the switches on the Zorro are placed in a great position to get your fingers in there as to not interfere with each other. No, imo, Radio Master hit a home run with the Zorro.

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Oscar 14th February 2022 - 7:02 pm

I only tried the tango 2 for a couple of flights (from my friend), they feel better for pinching, but when you are a thumber they are not too different.

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Jase 25th February 2022 - 4:49 pm

The Tango 2 is significantly better for pinchers. The shape of the Tango2 allows a pincher to ge a better hold of the radio and the middle fingers to rest perfectly on top of the radio and operate the switches if needed. I really wanted the Zorro to be ok for pinchers but the combination of the shape and the smaller more sensitive gimbals just didn’t sit right with me. The screen is small yes , but you use it once or twice and then never look at it again really.

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