2.4 GHz Transmitter Shootout – Cubby’s Notes
Cubby’s Transmitter Shootout Notes-
Here’s a few of the notes from my view during the shootout….
Tactic TTX-240– Amazing radio for the price. The Tactic had decent range, and during the on-track testing session, it felt very natural, and not slow at all. We did the on track testing with all the radios back-to-back-to-back as fast as we could change the gear out, this really helped us feel the differences between them, and the Tactic drove fine compared to even elite competition. The ergos were very good except for the wheel. The wheel was made out of a hard plastic, if Tactic would put a decent foam on it I’d totally dig using this radio. It is lacking features (totally expected at this price point), but has enough to get the job done on a basic set-up. Was it fair putting a sub $80 radio up against a $500 unit? No, not really, but part of this shootout was to determine just how large of a difference there actually is between the cheapest to the most elite. IMO the Tactic performed far better than I ever would have expected at it’s price point. No, it’s not a match for the Futaba 4PKS, but it’s a solid radio that held it’s own, and even outperformed much more expensive radios in some very critical areas.
Traxxas TQ 2.4– There are literally billions of these in the hands of hobbyists, and typically they feel fine, it’s only when you can go back-to-back with the competition do you notice how dated the design is. During our on track testing the radio response felt fine, but I gave up my turn early with the TQ because the ergos were sooo far off. The wheel is way too high, and the foam used on the wheel was the worst in the shootout. I have big hands, when glove shopping I buy the biggest they have in stock, and those are usually too small, yet, the trigger on the TQ was way too big, my finger was constantly sliding off when trying to hit the brakes. If Traxxas would drop the wheel a couple inches, spend a few more cents on the wheel foam, and redo the trigger, I could totally dig this radio. The TQ is light weight, has great balance, has a great price point, has great range, and has good response on track, but it’s time for Traxxas to bust out a new mold.
Spektrum DX3S– I’ve run Spektrum since it first came out, and strangely I’ve always had the worst range of anyone at the track. So when I saw the results of the range test I was not surprised. But that wasn’t the only surprise with the Spektrum, it actually drove significantly different on track. When I took my turn wheeling the DX3S our test car felt a bit softer in the powerband from zero throttle input to half throttle. At first I thought it was just me, as the differences between most of these radios was very slight, but after talking to a couple of the other testers, they confirmed that indeed the DX3S seemed to have a different throttle curve than the rest. Is it a bad thing the Spektrum felt softer on track than the others? There are tons of adjustments that can be done to make it feel the same, so perhaps not. I will just say that I ranked it lowest on the track test portion of the test. Otherwise, I liked the ergos, and I rated it’s menu tops for ease of use.
Futaba 3PL– It doesn’t have an antenna (which is a plus in my book, there is none to break off), and it doesn’t have an on/off light. The ergos were good, features were decent, range was great, and while driving it on track, it felt very natural, among the best in the shootout. Given it’s low price point, great radio.
Futaba 4PKS– You click on the BigSquidRC page and the first thing you see is a big ole’ Futaba banner. Yes, Futaba/Great Planes is a site sponsor, but we aren’t in the business of kissing ass around here, we are in the business of breaking the mold. Yes the 4PKS was the most expensive radio in the shootout, but that didn’t matter either. For instance- I hate subjective test results, that’s why whenever possible we conduct blind testing, to eliminate bias from our testers. Our “feel” category was a blind test, none of the testers could see which radio they were about to hold, they held out their left hand while someone (read- Bill) gingerly slid the transmitter in. Yes, we looked like uber dorks while doing this in the pit area of Deweys RC Raceway, but IMO it was the best way to get honest feedback. You pay hard earned cash for a transmitter, you at least want it to feel good in your hands. To digress, the 4PKS dominated the feel category. The wheel was in a great position, and not only that, but the wheel had the best feeling foam on it. The foam feels like it came off some high end touring car tire and it’s been trued down to the perfect diameter. And the trigger- the 4PKS had the only trigger in the shootout that was snug enough to properly use the brakes with. Add to that a handle with the best feeling rubber material, and it won the feel category by a landslide. Also, you know how all the radio manufactures advertise “Our radio is now one zillion times faster than anything else on the market!!!!”? Well, I won’t say the 4PKS felt a billion times faster, IMO it just felt more natural, with the least amount of lag of any transmitter in the shootout. I was not a fan of the original 4PK when it released, as it reminded me too much of a Nomadio (yipes!), but when put back-to-back with the competition, it sprinted ahead of the pack and proved that at least with this product, when you pay more, you actually do get more. Lastly, the range on this animal is insane, nearly twice as much as the Spektrum. Now, as earlier stated I use Spektrum, but after this shootout I found out that I’m honestly at a disadvantage by doing so.
There you have it folks, THE Cub Reporters thoughts/notes on our shootout. We put a LOT of time into this, hope you find the information helpful or at least informative.
YOUR Cub Reporter
Head back to the beginning shootout page.