A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to try out a Turnigy Evolution RC Transmitter and compare it to my current Taranis 9XD Plus. I loved it, but could see that it certainly had its strengths and weaknesses depending on what you want from your rc transmitter. This is why I have put together an in depth Turnigy Evolution Review. If you are currently undecided, read on to find out if it’s a good option for you and have a detailed look at the features. As I currently use a Taranis, there is quite a lot of comparison between the two below. While I didn’t set out to do a “Turnigy Evolution vs Taranis 9XD Plus” comparison piece, if you’re looking for a hands on comparison, you’re probably in the right place!
Turnigy Evolution – Overview & Key Features
This new Turnigy transmitter is a compact and more basic alternative to the bulky, feature-rich Taranis that I am used to, but I can see the appeal almost immediately.
- Available in both mode 1 and 2, with white and black options of each
- 8 channel 2.4 GHz RF transmitter with telemetry
- Comes with SBus TGY-iA6C receiver included and compatible with a range of Turnigy receivers
- Dual ball bearing, illuminated (colour changing, customisable) gimbals
- Backlit touch screen
- Soft rubber grips
- USB charging (can charge from a USB power bank) and port for Flight Simulators
- Built-in 18650 cells for power
- Cover to protect screen and gimbals protected when packed in a bag
- Twin high-gain antennas built into the outer case
Turnigy Evolution – First Impressions
The Turnigy Evolution is an incredibly low cost option, but the build quality feels solid. Looking more like a console controller than an rc transmitter, I expected the Evolution to be a lot lighter and have a “cheap” feel, but this was not the case. The transmitter is comfortable to hold, fitting nicely into my hands with soft rubber grips. The sticks are a lot closer together than I am used to on the Taranis and the range of movement is smaller. This is ideal for FPV drone racing as it means full stick movement in any direction is a lot easier than with the Taranis, which can require a bit of a stretch. This may sound like a reduction in stick resolution, but in practice I still had fine control over the drone, so am not too worried about this.
Comparing the Turnigy Evolution to the FrSky Taranis X9D is like comparing a tablet to a desktop PC. If the tablet does everything you need, then the desktop is overpriced and overkill. The same is the case here and is what makes the Evolution great. While the Taranis has a long list of features and customisation options, it also comes at a much higher cost. I personally don’t make use of all the features, but I can appreciate how useful they are in the right conditions. For me, a simple timer and voltage telemetry is enough and ensures I don’t trash LiPos when flying. A great example of where the Taranis can do so much more than is needed, is in updating your PID settings. It’s really convenient, but overkill for most.
The Evolution has the basics covered and the only real areas of extravagance are the illuminated gimbals and the touch screen. Although you won’t see the gimbals when you are flying, you can set them to a customisable solid colour, making your transmitter easily identifiable. The touch screen is a very nice touch and makes menu navigation so much easier than the clumsy complicated system on the Taranis.
Turnigy Evolution – Cons
By now you will have identified the pros that make the biggest difference for you, but there are a couple of cons you should be aware of. These aren’t deal breakers for me, but then everyone has their preferences.
- The overall compactness and proximity of the screen to the gimbals can make pinching more difficult than using thumbs
- 5 model limit
- Limited customisation
- Limited features and probably unsuitable if flying something other than a mini quad
- No lanyard hook, but these can be 3D printed
- Can’t use external modules, so you will have to swap receivers over to Turnigy
Turnigy Evolution – Verdict, could it be for you?
For the majority of FPV drone racing pilots, I suggest that all you really need from your rc transmitter is:
- Arm switch
- Flight mode switch
- Beeper switch
The Turnigy Evolution has all of this as well as voltage telemetry in a very compact and cheap package. Add to this that the receivers are roughly half the cost of an FrSky X4R-SB! The Turnigy Evolution becomes a no brainer for any mini quad pilot, new or old. I also wouldn’t be surprised if some Taranis users selling up to swap!
Buying tip: The Turnigy Evolution is very popular at the moment and largely sold out. Can’t find the colour and mode combination you want? You can very easily swap the sticks and set the mode from the menu.
Looking for something cheap, but with more features? Have a look at my FrSky Taranis Q X7 Review as an alternative.
Note: Amazon and HobbyKing seem to be struggling to keep up with demand, but you may be in luck here!
Our friends over at FPV Workshop have made a video review, check it out below!