Align M480L

Align M480L Review

The Taiwanese based company Align have long been producing multicopters and are famous for their unique design and the art of engineering. You can rarely catch the company’s name out there in the market, but this is not because they have flaw in their products or bad reputation, indeed they offer high quality aerial equipment, maybe the intense price competition is one reason that they have not become as popular as DJI.

Speaking of quality, the multirotor M480L is one great example that I’m going to review here and it’s only fair if you compare this drone with Inspire 1. When you have your M480L box ready to open for the first time, you’ll find yourself with a well-designed and a sturdy drone that is definitely worth the price. The M480L is a perfect choice for professional photographers and powerful enough for payloads. The aircraft is as wide as 800mm, and for sure, this drone is not a toy. If you are a beginner looking for an affordable ready-to-fly drone, you don’t need to read any further, the M480L is considered a high-tech drone and is not your best option to begin your first flight with.

M480L Specs and Features

Height: 430mm
Airframe diameter: 800mm
Flying weight:2.7kg
Flight time: 20 minutes
MAX altitude: 700m(2297ft)
BL4213 (370KV) brushless motors
40A Electronic Speed Controller (ESC)
Retractable landing skids

A unique design of the M480L lets you have a quadcopter, a hexacopter or even an octacopter with the same platform, all you need to do is to add more legs and upgrade the battery if you need it for lifting heavy weights. Speaking of the battery, Although the company suggested a 20-minutes flight time on empty M480 using a single 6S 22.2V 5200mAh battery and 9 minutes with G3 gimbal + Panasonic GH4, a few buyers believe there is a bit of exaggeration in it. However, there is enough space allocated on the platform to upgrade using either two 6000mAh batteries or a single 6S 12000mAh battery, which give you a longer flight time. The M480L supports G3-GH and G3-5D gimbals, plus, you can use DJI Z15 gimbal which is perfect for GoPro.

Align M480L review

The controller gives you the choice of different flight modes including attitude, GPS speed, GPS angular, intelligent, and manual. In addition, the APS-M Control Unit features OSD(On Screen Display) signal output for live feed, gimbal control and fix-point survey functions. The fix-point survey feature works in a way that you set points on a map and your drone only flies over the predefined path to reach these points and to take aerial images. This is all done with the help of GPS, you don’t really need to control the drone as it flies automatically. I’ve recently found out there are a few companies making radio guns for governments to freeze the drone with by jamming the signals, just for your info,when you use fix-point function there is no gun to stop your drone as it won’t bother flying with jammed signals. This feature can be found in some other drones as well, but with different names e.g. DJI Waypoints. Needless to say, for the safety of flight the M480L includes Return Home option along with failsafe auto return home and low voltage failsafe features which bring the drone back to where it started.

The M480L Price

The price of this unit has dropped to half, nowadays you can buy M480L for 826.97USD, this is what you pay only for the kit, but there is more. You need to buy a radio system, the battery and the charger separately before you can get it up in the air. Of course, the drone is not satisfying if we could not use the camera and FPV. For that, you can either buy a G3 gimbal for 1,126.36USD or G3-5D gimbal for 1,190.28USD. For FPV system including the transmitter and the receiver, the Walkera Devo F12E could be your best option which has a 5 inch LCD and costs you around 300USD.

The Verdict

The M480L  is a perfect drone but here is the problem. As i mentioned earlier the drone industry is very competitive along with each drone there are a couple of other drones with the same price range to compare with. Let say I want a drone and I don’t have any camera, choosing the M480L I need to buy the kit, the gimbal, the camera and the FPV system, all that will cost me over 2500USD, the price is close to inspire 1 which already has all I need in one package. everyone has different preferences, but in my case, to be honest, If I had an easier drone as my second option with somehow the same capability I’d definitely choose that one.

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