Whilst not as flashy as other higher-end sticks, the Drone still serves its purpose as a great beginner stick.
+ Great Budget option
+ Eye catching design
+ Can easily be modded
- Loose joystick
- Non Sanwa parts
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The Qanba Drone has, over time, held its reputation for being a great entry-level stick for beginners and enthusiastic modders alike.
However, the Drone has been out for a while. And there are other, cheaper alternatives out there. So is the Qanba Drone still a viable choice in 2020? Find out in this review.
Unboxing and set up: what’s in the box and how to set it up
The Drone is nicely packaged to avoid any potential knocks or bangs while in shipping. In the box, you get the stick itself and an instructions manual. Pretty standard stuff.
The Drone was one of the first fightsticks from Qanba to be officially licensed by Sony. So naturally, it’s pretty easy to set up on PS3 and PS4. Just use the switch located at the top of the stick and set it to the right platform, and voila, you should be set to go.
The Qanba Drone also works on PC too. But, again, this is a lot easier than it used to be. I remember that users had difficulty trying to get the stick to work on their PC when the Drone came out. For some, it would work; for others, it wouldn’t even register the stick. I believe this was due to an issue with XINPUT, which worked for Xbox, and DINPUT, which was intended for Sony. Fortunately, Steam has added XINPUT software to its program. And it should now work as intended.
The design and feel of the fightstick
The Qanba Drone’s design is interesting. But, honestly, pictures don’t do it justice; it’s a lot better in person.
The joystick lever and eight buttons are laid out in a typical viewlix fashion. Below the buttons, there is some space to rest your wrists. It feels nice and comfortable.
However, the actual shape and size of the stick is a little bit small for my liking. I’m used to bigger fightsticks, so the Drone in my lap feels awkward to use. At least, however, it’s easy to travel with due to its compact size.
In addition, at 3 pounds, the fightstick feels a little bit light. And the outer plastic shell feels a little bit cheap. I can forgive it, though, as it is intended as a budget stick.
Eightarc (the makers of Qanba fightsticks) have gone for a glossy finish on the Drone. It feels nice but is a fingerprint magnet. Even after using it a few times, it’ll get dirty pretty quickly, so be prepared to wipe this stick down regularly.
Overall, the look and feel of the Qanba isn’t bad. If you’re a beginner, you won’t really notice. It’s actually decent for the price.
What does it feel like to play?
Eightarc uses its own joystick and buttons in the Drone. Unfortunately, they’re not Sanwa which isn’t surprising considering this is a budget stick.
The buttons and lever feel good to play with if a little bit lose at times. However, pressing the buttons feels hollow and not as light to touch as you would get with Sanwa or Seimitsu buttons. This stick will definitely need mods to compete with the higher-quality fightsticks on the market.
Overall, the performance of the fightstick isn’t too bad, though. As a beginner, you’ll definitely appreciate the response times and accuracy of the stick. Fightstick veterans, however, will feel like something is off.
You have the functional buttons (START, OPTIONS, TURBO, etc.) across the top of the stick. These work fine and as intended. A tournament mode switch also allows you to turn off the START and OPTIONS buttons.
One thing to note is how the Drone stores its cable. It doesn’t have a storage compartment or anything. Instead, inside the part where you rest your wrists, there’s a hollow tunnel-like hole. This is where the cable goes. It’s a bit unorthodox, to say the least, but it gets the job done.
Modding the Qanba Drone is fairly easy. Just unscrew the top, and you’ll have access to the inside.
The buttons can simply be popped out and replaced as standard. The joystick lever is a bit more difficult to mod, but not if you have the right part. If you want to simply replace the ball top with a bat-top, for example, then that’s pretty easy to do. There’s a small plug on the bottom of the stick where you take a flat head screwdriver to hold the lever in place. Then, it’s just as simple as unscrewing the ball-top by hand and screwing in the bat-top.
However, changing the actual lever is a little bit more tricky, but only if you don’t have a separate 5-pin adaptor. If you have this, then it should be fairly straightforward. But, again, various tutorials online can teach you how to modify this stick.
However, you can’t change the artwork unless you have some kind of plexi that goes on top of the existing artwork. I don’t mind, as I think the original artwork looks good.
- Small and compact
- Great budget option
- Buttons are responsive to the price
- Eye-catching design
- It can easily be modded with higher quality parts
- Loose joystick
- Buttons can get a bit loud and feel a bit hollow at times
- Non-Sanwa parts
While not as flashy as other higher-end sticks, the Drone still serves its purpose as a great beginner stick.
The Qanba Drone is also easily moddable, meaning, with the right parts, this can easily hang with the big boys in terms of quality and performance.