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To find a drone that is both incredibly versatile in flying ability and provides great learning and coding help to young ones can be difficult since most drones are manufactured with the intent of providing simple entertainment.
But that’s what Makeblock’s Airblock educational drone promises to offer.
You might be wondering, what is the Makeblock Airblock drone and how good is it? Well, that’s exactly what I’m here to tell you.
The Makeblock Airblock is an educational drone device that offers multiple magnetically connectable blocks to form different flying configurations and offers a Makeblock software tool that helps children learn about aerodynamics as well as block-based programming.
But that’s not it. There’s a lot more that you’re going to need to know before you make up a buying decision about the Makeblock Airblock educational drone actually.
In this article, I’m going to talk about the Makeblock Airblock, how it works, features and specs, pros and cons, and everything in between. So, make sure you read this article till the very end before you make a final buying decision.
What is Makeblock?
Makeblock is a private Chinese technology company in the field of educational robotics that is designed to provide learning experiences to children and adults with their machines.
The company was founded by Jasen Wang in 2012 thanks to a Kickstarter project.
Makeblock is heavily focused on developing Arduino-based tech that comes with Scratch-software which makes it fully programmable.
This programmability increases the capabilities of their robotics hardware and brings a sense of freedom and creativity in their products that the users can utilize according to their minds.
Makeblock was basically focused on building educational machines that children used to grow their sense of aerodynamics, robotics, and programming. Over 140 countries are buying Makeblock’s amazing machinery.
Around the world, there are more than 10 million students that have access to Makeblock hardware in more tha 20,000 schools. The biggest market of Makeblock products is in United States.
The company is continually creating innovative ideas and products that encourage education through practical learning.
This makes Makeblock one of the pioneers in the industry of educational drones and other robotics technologies.
The Makeblock Airblock Drone:
Makeblock Airblock is a one-of-a-kind aerial machine that comes with a single master module and 6 power modules magnetically connectable to the drone to form aircrafts, hovercrafts, drones, and other DIY configurations.
This drone is a kind of drone that can be converted into many types of aerial vehicles depending upon the user’s programming and the block-building techniques.
The Makeblock Airblock Drone comes for a very competitive price and offers amazing learnability to children and even drone flying adults to experiment with their creative visual design and programming ideas.
This drone is one of the most popular in the drone flying community due to its versatility and that’s why it is definitely one of the drones that I needed to test out.
What’s in the box?
Because of all the amazing hype, I naturally had to get the Makeblock Airblock for myself as well. And that’s what I did. I ordered this drone for myself and received it in a few days of time.
The box design of the Makeblock Airblock is very visually appealing. There’s a lot of color and elegance to it. Upon opening the box, I found quite a decent layer of protective material.
Here’s what I was able to find in the box of the Makeblock Airblock:
- 1 LED Master Module
- 6 Power Modules
- 1 Hovercraft Structure
- Instructional Manuals
- Extra Propellers
- Fan guards
- Aesthetic Stickers
- USB Charging Cable and Adapter
Overall, there’s a lot to offer when it comes to the Makeblock Airblock and I have to say I’m quite satisfied with the ingredients within the box. Let’s see what else it has in store for us.
Features and Specs of the Airblock:
Now that we know what we have in the box of the Makeblock Airblock, the next thing we need to know is what we can do with it.
Let’s take a look at the fun and educational features and specs the drone craft comes with.
The Makeblock Airblock is controlled with the help of the Makeblock Coding App over a Bluetooth connection.
The flight range of this particular isn’t very much because it is meant for entertainment purposes.
At most, Makeblock Airblock drone can travel a distance of 10 meters before disconnecting from the Bluetooth device. Make sure you fly it under that distance and keep it near you when you do.
There are two basic configurations that the Makeblock Airblock comes with. It can be a drone and a hovercraft. However, using your imagination you can make many functional structures with it.
According to their website, the speed of the Airblock in drone form is actually 1.5 meters per second, but in hovercraft form, the Airblock can travel with a speed of even 2.5 meters per second which is pretty great.
In comparison to its decent pricing, the battery timing of the Makeblock Airblock is pretty awesome as well. Many frontline drones aren’t able to fly for more than 5 minutes.
However, in drone form, Airblock can fly for 6-8 minutes while in hovercraft form, the Makeblock Airblock is capable of amphibious travel for over 20 minutes and that’s amazing.
The Makeblock is powered by a Lithium-Ion battery which is quite small in size but very durable and requires only a simple clip in to function. The power supply is just enough to power the drone.
It is a 950mAh supply brick that powers that comes with 7.4V and can be charged using the adapter and the USB cable that comes packed into the Airblock package box.
RGB LED Lighting:
We know that there are in total 7 modular blocks in the Makeblock Airblock drone. One of the blocks is the main block also known as the Master module of the Airblock.
This module has a slight clear design pattern on top which is filled with RGB LED lighting. When you turn the drone on, you’re going to see the lights flicker on top of this module.
Makeblock Bluetooth Controller:
With the help of the proprietary application Makeblock has for the Airblock, you can control it without a problem. But there’s a much better way to do it – the Makeblock Bluetooth Controller.
The Makeblock Bluetooth Controller is a very ergonomic, high-quality controller device that features more than 15 buttons and offers improved dexterity and reaction times for children.
A lot of times, stability can be quite an issue for many drones. That is not at all the case with the Makeblock Airblock educational drone. It offers a lot of stability in itself.
There is a 6-axis gyroscope in the build of the drone that allows you to control it in a very stable form without ever experiencing any sort of problem or difficulty while flying or sailing.
Ultrasonic and Barometer Sensors:
The Makeblock Airblock is also known to include various sensors including ultrasonic sensor and barometer sensor. Both these sensors can come in very handy on the drone.
The ultrasonic sensor lets the user know about any close ranged obstacle while the barometer showcases weather casting so that the drone isn’t flown in a bad weather where it might get damaged.
How to Use the Makeblock Airblock?
Well, if you’ve got yourself a Makeblock Airblock, you must be eager to use it by now. For that, you’re going to need to know a bunch of things about it. First and foremost, the multiple configuration controls.
There are three pre-programmed configurations and you can add more to make your experience more fun and exciting. You’re going to use the Makeblock Software application to control this drone.
Flying as a Drone:
To make sure you fly it as a drone, you’re going to first want to use the magnetic clips of the master module to connect all the power modules so the drone can be flown.
Now, you’re going to open the software and click on Play. Here, you’re going to choose the Drone mode and then follow these steps to make sure you effectively fly the drone:
- The left stick on the app is used for taking off and landing the drone by moving up and down on the screen.
- The right stick will be used to move the drone around. It can go forward, backwards, left, and right as well.
- In the middle, we have three different stunts that you can perform including pitch, roll, and complete 360 motion, and that’s all you need to know to fly the drone.
Driving as a Car:
If you want to use the Airblock as a car, you’re going to want to follow the instructions for this configuration, as given in the instructional manuals.
Now that you’ve attached the modules according to the right shape, you’re going to want to click on the Land Mode option in the application. Here’s how you can control the Airblock as a land car:
- On the left stick, you have the ability to change the direction of the car and where it faces.
- The right stick allows you to move forward and also spin the car.
- You can perform multiple stunts with the help of these controls and special buttons in the middle of the screen. That’s all you need to know about the car control.
Sailing as a Hovercraft:
The hovercraft is one of the best DIY configurations of the Makeblock Airblock drone. Use the instructional guides to make sure the Airblock takes the right shape.
Now you’re going to choose the Water mode, and use the same controls as the land mode car option provides you, but this time you’ll be able to move the Airblock on water, which is pretty amazing.
Controlling the RGB:
Finally, the last option in the Makeblock Application’s Play menu is the Color Gyro. You can change the way the RGB LED lighting on top of the master module appears and behaves.
You have a whole bar of the Red, Green, and Blue colors and you can customize the color of the lighting by changing the RGB values of the light. There’s also another great thing about this option.
You can change the pattern of the RGB LED lighting. If you want, there are some pre-programmed patterns that you can use in the Color Gyro mode, to make sure that everything is working just the way you like it aesthetically.
Pros of the Makeblock Airblock:
So, you’re thinking of buying the Makeblock Airblock for yourself? Let’s make sure you know all the benefits and pros that come with it. Here’s what is good about the Airblock:
Drones are usually under-whelming in terms of overall performance when they come at such a low price point.
But when it comes to the Airblock, the overall performance, battery-timing, and structure is actually pretty great and can definitely give the top dogs of the drone industry a run for their money.
If we compare other entertainment drones to the Makeblock Airblock, the price is difference is simply ridiculous.
There is so much fun and educational excitement that comes with the Airblock that it is very pleasing to see that it is actually very affordable and budget-friendly.
Drones normally have a huge span with un-retractable arms and just not very straight-forward and easy to work with designs.
But if we talk about the Makeblock Airblock, the drone comes with a modular design that can be fit according to requirement and can even be adorned with stickers and decals.
Lightweight and Small in size:
It can be quite a pain to control and move around drones that are heavy and trust me, I’ve worked with a lot of heavy and huge drones.
But the Airblock is actually very lightweight both in drone and hovercraft form and small in size as well so you can easily control it without a care in the world.
A big question that I’m often asked is, is the drone Beginner-friendly and easy to use?
Well, in case of the Airblock, yes, it is very easy to use. The options are clear, there are actual tutorials, and even the coding is learning friendly and encourages children to use their intuition to create new ideas.
Portable and Easy to Store:
Portability means that a drone can be easily moved from one place to another without any worry, which isn’t a case with most drones unless you purchase a huge bag for them.
But the Airblock can be deconstructed into smaller blocks which can be packed in anything very easily. So, definitely they’re super-portable and very easy to store as well.
Cons of the Makeblock Airblock:
Definitely, the Makeblock Airblock comes with a ton of features and benefits, but what about the cons and problems you might face with the Airblock? Let’s take a look.
If we’re talking about overall structural integrity, the material of the Airblock isn’t very durable.
The Airblock seems to be constructed with the modular blocks made of Styrofoam and plastic material. There isn’t a lot robustness and the drone can get hurt if crashed badly.
Upgrades are a very important part of a drone. But unfortunately, there aren’t any cool upgrades available in the Airblock.
You can get the Makeblock Drone Controller but that’s about it and there are no add-ons that you can get or things you can buy to upsize your Makeblock Airblock purchase.
A drone should have a decent amount of range because it is meant to be flown in the sky. But the Airblock comes with only 10 meters of range.
This is understandable when we look at it from a versatile machine standpoint but if we think of it as a drone, the flight distance in my opinion, just doesn’t cut it at all.
Is it worth the price?
So, the final question of the review is, is the Makeblock Airblock worth the price; Yes, it most certainly is. And there’s no second thoughts when I say this because this drone is a proper experience.
Not only is it just a fun and recreational drone but it is a test of your creativity and a learning experience. It offers to you much more than any other drone would, that too, at quite an optimal price point.
The Makeblock Airblock is one of the most revolutionary educational and recreational drones I’ve seen in the market till now and it’s going to remain that way for a long time to come.
Make sure you get one for yourself if you have the budget for it. I hope you learned a lot from this review and that you’re going to have amazing fun with your very own Makeblock Airblock drone.
Have a great experience with it and try to fly as safely as possible!
Any queries regarding Makeblock Airblock feel free to comment below.