Dromida Monster Truck With FPV Review
This just might be the most important review we’ve ever written. You see, FPV is the future, that is a fact. The thing is, 99% of hobbyists have never driven a car via FPV, therefore it is our job to try and relate how that works/feels to you.
FPV, first person view, has absolutely blown up in the air community. However, the same has not been true in the surface world. So far, there have been very few cars released in the hobby grade market that come fully FPV, the Dromida FPV Monster Truck is one of the first. That’s right folks, the crew at Dromida are at the front of the pack here, so the Dromida FPV Monster Truck review is VERY important, even though the truck isn’t some high-end race machine.
Is it more fun to drive FPV than “normal” style from the side? How good is the video feed on the Dromida? How hard is to drive FPV? And most importantly, is the Dromida worth your hard earned cash? Read on to find out those answers and more, much more!
Review By: Cubby
Pictures By: Tim Mohr
RTR or Kit: RTR
2wd or 4wd: 4wd
Shaft or Belt: Shaft
Electric or Gas: Electric
Motor: Brushed, torque 370
Speed Controller: RE18 V2, receiver/ESC combo
Radio: Dromida D100, 2.4GHz
Differential: Front and rear, gear type
Slipper Clutch: No
Driveshafts: Plastic bones
Shocks: Plastic, oil filled, big bore
Servo Saver: On servo output
Screws: Mostly Phillips
Tires: Dromida chevron
Battery: 1300mAh, 6 cell NiMH with charger
Part Number: #DIDC0080
Warranty: 90 days limited from the date of purchase
Front wheel travel: 1.2″
Rear wheel travel: 1.25″
Wheelie on demand: No
Backflip off ramps: No
Stability Control: No
Sound Module: No
FPV: Yes, YES, YESSSS!
Top Speed (measured by BSRC on stock battery): 19 mph
Runtime (measured by BSRC on stock battery): 14 minutes
Street Price: $229
Primary Competition: The Dromida has ZERO competition, it is the first of its kind, at least sorta. Yes, there are other FPV cars put on the market, but not many from “hobby grade” names. In the hobby grade world, Kyosho has several iReadysets, but that is about it.
What’s Needed To Complete: Absolutely nothing, rejoice!
Build Quality: Out of the box, our whack crew of test guys could find no faults with the assembly of the Dromida. The gear mesh was good, so were the shocks, as was the FPV gear.
Test Drivers: Hawaiian Christopher, Andrew “FPV” Schaefer, Iron Mike, T-$$$, and ME.
Test Venues: We used three different testing venues for the Dromida. First off was the 1/8th scale off-road track at St. Louis Dirtburners. We also drove at two different city parks in Fenton, Missouri.
Set-up Notes: Stock baby, all stock! We used the stock battery pack and the stock charger for the monitor. We didn’t use the included NiMH wall charger, instead we opted for a Duratrax Onyx 225.
Turning: Like many 18th scalers, the FPV Monster Truck has a lot of steering. However, it isn’t noticed as much as a normal truck because average speeds are much slower. While driving FPV, EVERYTHING is much different, including how you corner. We found the steering to be just about right for this application, with no complaints on the stock servo either.
Jumping: Oh yes, jumping while driving via FPV is a REAL head trip. It was also quite interesting to watch the guy behind the goggles hopping around as the truck went over jumps and larger bumps. LOL. Yes indeed, jumping via FPV is one of the best things EVER. With that said, how did the truck handle jumps? Very well, none of our test drivers had any complaints with how the Dromida took off, handled in the air, or landed.
Bumps/Whoops: Hey, the Dromida did a fine job of soaking up bumps and ruts. But once again, this is an FPV review, which does make things different. In the case of the Dromida, we noticed that the internal camera bounced around a bit more than we liked. It was not terribly bad, but the slight shake from the camera mount did make the video feed a bit more jittery than it could have been.
On-Road: Let’er eat! Driving pavement via FPV is substantially easier than driving on park trails, that we can say with 100% accuracy. LOL. Actually, because driving by FPV “feels” so much different, even a boring stretch of driveway instantly becomes interesting! In fact, we can say that a 19 mph top speed has NEVER felt so fast!
Grass: Yup, the Dromida does just fine in “normal” height grass (a “couple” inches tall). In fact, grassy areas, just like pavement, all of a sudden become really awesome places to bash when you are driving FPV. If you have taller grass in your yard, you’ll want to go to a larger scaled 4wd (think ARRMA Kraton), otherwise, the Dromida Monster Truck worked fine on shorter grass.
Tires: What can we say about good old chevron monster truck tires that has not already been said? We found they worked extremely well for forward bite on loose surfaces. While they did not produce much in the way of sidebite, for this application they were a great pick, from cosmetics to performance.
Power: OK, so driving a car the “normal” way makes it easy to talk about power. However, when you start driving FPV, that is a lot harder to do. You see, when you are barely putting along at 5 mph, it feels like you are doing 20. When you actually hit 20 (or 19 in the case of the Dromida), it feels like 50. Yes, putting around at 10 mph with the Dromida is a serious rush, simply because you are so much more immersed in the driving experience.
With that said, we can say that we rarely lacked for power with the Dromida. There were times when we ventured into taller grass that we could have used a few more watts of crank, otherwise we felt like the Dromida had more than enough power on tap, even for our more experienced FPV drivers.
Radio: Inside the box was a standard D100 2.4GHz radio. None of our test drivers had a major issue with its ergonomics or performance. The radio that came with our test truck had loads of range and we never experienced a glitch with it.
Broken Parts: Ya know, when you start driving FPV you drive a LOT slower. And not only that, but it is also blatantly obvious when you are about to hit something. Those two factors figured in massively when it came to breaking parts on the Dromida. Nope, we didn’t break a part, not a single one. Sure, the truck can be broken if that is exactly what you are attempting to do, we chose to see if we could break it while driving FPV and we could not. By the way, it is a lot harder to slam a wall WFO when you feel like you are going to personally die from the hit. LOL. So yes, we did hit some stuff on purpose to attempt to break the truck, but no, it did not.
You don’t have to drive the Dromida via FPV. The Dromida comes as a “normal” truck, but also includes an on-board camera, FPV goggles, and a monitor for the goggles. If you prefer, you can simply not put on the goggles, then you can drive normal style.
Lets talk a minute about the FPV gear supplied on the Monster Truck. The last time we reviewed an FPV vehicle (that was a few years ago), its video feed had a delay so long that it made driving the car difficult. That was not the case on the Dromida. While its video feed does have a slight delay, it wasn’t so bad that we could not drive.
How hard is it to drove the Dromida via FPV? Our more experienced FPV drivers had no problems at all, the important people were a number of a first timers that we handed over the truck to. Our first time noobies also didn’t have a problem driving the truck. Whether experienced or noobie, all drivers went quite slow mph wise, but had complete control over the truck. We would say it isn’t “hard” to drive FPV, but it takes some getting used to, much like the first time you drove an rc car normal style.
Also, we would have liked to have had more range with the video feed. The Dromida does not require the use of a HAM radio license, it uses a lower power video transmitter, and this affects the length of its range. There are plenty of more powerful video systems on the market should you really get into FPV driving and want to upgrade.
As far as the quality of the video feed, it ranged from solid to grainy, depending on distance and interference. When the goggles (monitor/video receiver) was close to the truck, the video feed was solid. However if you got, lets say, 50 feet away, the feed on our test truck would start to diminish. No, it isn’t an optimal video feed, but for the price point, we thought it was quite usable, especially for first time FPV drivers.
The monitor that fits inside the goggles also comes with a charger as it is battery powered. The monitor itself isn’t super high resolution, but more than good enough for the price point in our opinion.
How is the FPV version of the Dromida different from “normal”? Oh wow, where do we start? Getting driving isn’t much different. For the Dromida you put four AAs into the transmitter, install a fully charged 6 cell NiMH pack to power the truck (and also the on-board camera and video transmitter), then you turn on the monitor and put it inside the goggles. Once you have done that, it is time to drive. OK, so while getting ready to drive isn’t so different, actual driving is a total head trip.
Inside the Tactic FPV goggles you get a nice view directly out the front of the truck. The camera is angled about right and does a solid job. However, here is the single most important point to be made in this review- driving FPV is totally awesome! Yes, it feels like you are going MUCH faster than you actually are, and yes, it totally pulls you into the driving experience. No longer are you driving around a toy car, the Dromida FPV system allows you to feel like you are driving inside a REAL car. The difference is huge, and to be absolutely blunt, vastly superior to driving in a traditional manner, at least as far as realism goes.
So, what are the downsides to FPV? Well, there is extra equipment involved. That equipment may need replaced at some point, plus it is more to carry along with you to the local bash spot. There is also more charging involved (for the goggle monitor, charger is supplied with the Dromida), but in the grand scheme of things, we don’t feel like the drawbacks are remotely close to the increase in driving realism.
One of the questions that we tossed around a lot during testing was, “Is the Dromida FPV the BEST driving car in the entire industry?”. No, it doesn’t have high-end shocks, or a full racing geometry, so in that sense, it isn’t close to being the best. However, in the broader scope of things, it is, by far, the most immersive truck on the hobby grade market to drive, hands down. Big words, enormous words in fact, but in our opinion, 100% true. We’ve never driven another truck that gave us such an incredible driving experience. We were jumping out of our chair over jumps, leaning side to side in the corners, and jumping backwards when we were about to hit something. And compared to every other truck we’ve reviewed, there has not been another vehicle that has given us that kind of driving experience. None.
Yes, yes, let the haters start hating, this entire review has pretty much been a love fest, that much is absolutely true. In our defense, we feel that it is huge news that Dromida has made it so incredibly easy to get into FPV driving. The scale is right, the price is spot on, and the FPV equipment, while not high end, is perfect for giving people a true taste of the FPV driving experience. Yes, we can see people taking the FPV system off the Dromida and putting it on other cars. We can also see people upgrading the FPV equipment for longer range and cleaner video as they get more experienced. What we see in the Dromida FPV Monster Truck is the future, plain and simple, and we are stoked that the folks at Dromida did a solid job all the way around on it.
So ya, with BigSquidRC calling the Dromida the best thing ever, that means surface FPV is gonna blow up any day now right? Well, we don’t think so. The Dromida is a spot on truck, but we know how slow people in rc are to change. Remember how long it took some people to switch from brushed to brushless motors, even though today we can clearly see they are a zillion percent better in every aspect? Ya, it might just go down like that for FPV too.
Best Mod: Without a doubt, our first mod would be to cut some room in the body for the video receiver antenna to stick up vertically. This will instant help with the range and clarity of the video feed, all at a cost of zero dollars.
A = Outstanding/Best in Class, B = Above Average, C = Average, D = Below Average, F = Horrific
Time To Bash: B Set-up time on the Dromida was pretty much the same as other RTR trucks.
Workability: B While most of the hardware is Phillips, it does offer a nice open layout in which to work.
Car Show Rating: B A big camera sticking out the front isn’t exactly scale authentic, but we were big overall fans of how the truck looked. The wheel/tire combo was spot-on and we liked the looks of its bumpers and body.
Bash-A-Bility: A Nope, we ended up not breaking any parts on the Dromida. A combination of toughness, low top speed, and FPV helped keep the truck from breaking.
Fun Factor: A+ Is driving the Dromida Monster Truck via FPV the most fun we’ve ever had? YES.
Handling: A It is hard to rate handling on an FPV vehicle. However, we do know that from all our time driving the Dromida FPV, that we didn’t really have any complaints. It had about the right amount of power for first time FPV drivers, and its chassis/suspension soaked up everything just fine. Talking among our test crew, based on our FPV driving, what would change about its handling? The answer was a unanimous “nothing”, except for perhaps changing the tires to something with more sidebite.
Value: A A full FPV vehicle with goggles/monitor that is completely RTR and needs nothing out of the box, for just $229? The Dromida is a fantastic value in our eyes.
Parts Availability: B The Dromida MT has been out for a while now, we didn’t have any problems tracking down common parts on-line. Also, for local hobby shops, two out of three had a least one part in for the truck, which is more than most trucks on the market.
BigSquid Rating: A At the end of the day, we didn’t really even care what the “final rating” was, the Dromida FPV Monster Truck is a complete game changer. Its first person view driving makes it one of the most fun trucks that we’ve ever tested here at BigSquid. With an affordable price point and coming in full RTR dress, we can’t think of a better entry level FPV vehicle. No, the Dromida isn’t a race machine, nor does it have a high-end camera set-up, but for what it’s intended for, it is absolutely perfect- a starter vehicle to turn the masses to FPV.