Month: February 2020

TBS Tango 2 Review

There has been nothing but speculations circling around, since the first mention of Tango 2 during one of the TBS live streams. Well, it’s here finally and I had a chance to get one early before the actual release to write this review.

Without a further ado let’s take a look at Tango 2.

Small disclaimer: I have never used first TBS Tango remote, so in this post I won’t be comparing Tango 2 to its predecessor – TBS Tango.

I will be reviewing a pre-release version, so final box content for instance might be different from what I’ve had.

Tango 2 comes in two versions – Tango 2 (150$) and Tango 2 Pro (200$). Pro version includes foldable sticks and that’s the only difference. I’ll be reviewing Tango 2 Pro.

Link to the TBS website: www.team-blacksheep.com/tango2

Tango 2 can be purchased from HobbyRC in UK: https://www.hobbyrc.co.uk/tbs-tango-2-pro-transmitter

Specification:

Built in Crossfire link with 10mW, 25mW and 250mW available power settings
Weight: 345g
Size: 17 x 14 x 6 cm
Battery: 1S 5000mAh
Charging: 5V @ 2A, USB Type-C (Runtime approx. 8hrs)
Display: 129×96 pixels OLED panel
Audio: 3.5mm headphone jack
Antenna: Standard full-size TX antenna with switchable vertical or horizontal polarisation
Gimbals: Hall with adjustable spring tension and vertical range. M3 thread. Foldable sticks in Tango 2 Pro version
Switches: 2 x 2 position, 2 x 3 position and 2 x momentary

In the box

  Tango 2 box is very tiny compared to typical full size transmitters. 

Inside the box I received was:

  • Tango 2
  • Gimbal Springs Set
  • U.fl to SMA Adapter with 3D printed bracket
  • Neck strap 

Physical appearance

Tango 2 is a gamepad style controller, very compact and light. It has a rubber grips at the back which can be removed to access screws underneath for opening the shell. 

The shape of transmitter is comfortable and ergonomics are good. I am a hybrid-pincher and had no issues when using it that way. It fits pinchers and thumbers too.

There is no physical trim buttons but it is done after double clicking the scroll wheel and selecting each trim by another double click. Straight forward.

Charging is done via USB-C.

Foldable sticks

Tango 2 has folding sticks for ease of transportation. You need to pull the stick off the gimbal and then it folds towards the centre. I haven’t seen this feature on any RC remote yet. That’s pretty cool stuff.

Foldable antenna

 Antenna on Tango 2 is fixed, there is no SMA connection (unless you put one one that can be purchased separately). It can be folded close to shell but when its set vertically it can act as radio stand. Neat feature 

Switches (or shall I say buttons)

Unlike most conventional radios on the market, Tango 2 has buttons acting as switches.  No more broken switches I guess (happened to me many times before !) 

Number of switches should be enough for most pilots

User interface and screen

TBS managed to squeeze very tiny screen letting you to configure OpenTX, set the models, channels, crossfire options and so on. It’s monochrome – little bit like the screen found on Crossfire TX „big” module but slightly larger.

Unfortunately I have noticed that some OpenTX messages didn’t fit on the screen and partially were not displayed.

Below the screen there is super bright status LED. There is no way to adjust the brightness (unless its changed in the future firmware update), so reading the screen in dark conditions is a bit of a struggle.

There are 3 buttons and one scroll wheel used to navigation through radio menus. It doesn’t take long to get used to the layout.

Build in crossfire

Tango 2 has built-in Crossfire Micro TX and there is no bay at the back to fit external receivers. Crossfire only. This means simplified communication via LUA script and no more „mods” to get the full speed baud rate when using LUA scripts and telemetry.
To access the Crossfire menu you need to press MENU button once and it’s on the first page.

Freedom TX

Tango 2 comes flashed with FreedomTX which is OpenTX fork customised by TBS and is OpenSource. Interface and settings are accessible via screen. It’s pretty much the same OpenTX most of FPV pilots is already familiar with. 

User serviceable 

It takes 6 screws to open back plate and to access Tango 2 internals. Battery, gimbals are user serviceable so they can be removed if required. 

Battery is completely removable. It’s held in place by strong velcro patch

MicroSD card is not accessible without radio disassembly.

Compared to other transmitters and PS3 gamepad (Photos only)

Using Tango 2 – my impressions

I will make positive points first:

1./ Build quality is excellent. Tango 2 is manufactured in China but nothing squeaks or cracks and transmitter feels very solid.

2./ Smaller form factor is the most noticeable and at least in my case it changed how I pack and travel with FPV gear. It’s so light that it’s easy to forget that you carry a radio transmitter on your neck during flight session : )

3./ Now I will make an important statement: Tango 2 is hands down the best transmitter when it comes to handling in my opinion. I am by no means a TBS fanboy but I take full responsibility for above statement : ) It feels amazing in hands. I am a hybrid pincher and had no issues when using it that way. It fits pinchers and thumbers too. Worth mentioning is that Tango 2 is perfectly balanced when handing on the lanyard. No additional tweaks are needed.

4./ Gimbals feel solid. I didn’t even have to adjust the stick height, it was good out of the box. Worth mentioned – those are full size hall effect gimbals for better precision. They are spaced little bit closed than other transmitters due to the smaller form factor but they still feel very nice.

5./ Folding antenna –  moving it in horizontal or vertical position works without a problem. Using it as a radio stand – brilliant idea.

6./ Switches –  this is my favourite part because they work really well! On the other hand It’s also a little bit of learning curve because, so far using toggle switches is like a muscle memory. 

I only fly FPV wings and my assignment (as an example) is:

  • A button for Arming 
  • D button for RTH
  • B switch for various things like autolaunch for instance
  • C switch for flight modes
  • F switch for buzzer

7./ Tango 2 can be charged by USB-C port – pretty easy to charge from laptop in the field for instance. Very convenient

It’s not all unicorns and flowers, there is a list of things I didn’t like about Tango 2:

1./  OpenTX general issues. After testing I noticed some OpenTX messages were not completely displayed on the screen because of its size. Im sure this can be fixed by OpenTX team but at the time being it looks like glitch.
Also I was unable to set the date in the system for instance and setting was erased after reboot

2./ Standard versus Pro. Foldable stick are a great addition – stop making the Standard version!  🙂 Also I’d expect at least a carrying case as an extra with Pro version. One of those cases would make a better justification for spending more on Pro too.

3./ 250mW maximum output power for crossfire. 250mW power is plenty for most plots but long range pilots would welcome having option for little bit more. I don’t know if its ia hardware limitation or it is possible to get more power but having more is always better right ? 🙂

4./ Supplied lanyard is simply too short. I had to use longer replacement because there was no way to move Tango 2 lower with the neck strap from the box.

5./ One thing I noticed with the A and D large buttons is that when they are pressed the edge around it on the shell is pretty sharp and you can feel it by your finger. Would have been nice if there was a little more fillet etc. on that part of shell.

6./ Super bright LED. It’s difficult to read the screen with the LED on. Trappy already mentioned that this will get adjusted in the future software release though so hopefully it won be an issue soon.

7./ Rubber grip at the back is nice but it’s rather flushed with the surface of the transmitter. It would have been nice if it was slightly more substantial for even nicer feeling.

8./ The antenna mount is a bit plasticky and it seems like it wont take much to crack the plastic / break it. Some reinforced material would be nice in that specific location to make sure it doesn’t break easy.

Final word, yay or nay?

Tango 2 is a definitely yay from me. It’s smaller, feels good in hands, easier to carry, has crossfire built in, OpenTX, and foldable sticks – good features making flying FPV little bit more pleasurable experience : )

If you’re not an extreme long range pilot requiring 2 Watts of power for your radio Tango 2 should be good enough for most flying scenarios.