Review: FrSky Taranis vs. Turnigy 9x

If you are starting in the FPV and multicopter hobby and want to choose the RC transmitter for your copter, you maybe already know about the popular FrSky Taranis transmitter. In this article I will compare it with the “old” Turnigy 9x transmitter, that I have used for almost four years.

While buying the parts for your first multicopter, you should also think about the remote control (RC) transmitter. Unlike motors, ESCs and flight controllers, it doesn’t get changed every day and should be considered as a long term “investment”.

Which transmitter should I get for my first multicopter? Should I buy an expensive one or start with something cheap, before I know if I  really like this hobby? These were the questions, that I asked myself four years ago. At that time the famous FrSky Taranis transmitter was not born yet and I needed to choose between the Turnigy 9x and Spektrum. I was at university and my budged was limited, so I got the Turnigy 9x from HobbyKing.

If your transmitter budged is not limited to 50$, let´s check whether buying the FrSky Taranis is worth.

Look and haptic

Both transmitters look similar and size is almost the same. The FrSky Taranis has a bigger backlit blue display, which will be very useful for telemetry data. You can also add a backlight on the Turnigy 9x display for about 5$. The build quality of the Taranis seems to be better than the Turnigy 9x, but I don’t feel a big difference in the overall haptic. The throttle stick on the Taranis is definitely more precise, which makes the copter control easier.

RC TransmitterIMG_0692


The Turnigy 9x has its own stock firmware, while the Taranis uses the OpenTX firmware. It is definitely the better one and it lets you configure almost everything you want. For that reason I have flashed the er9x (similar to OpenTX) firmware on my Turnigy short after I bought it. With the upgraded firmware you can store up to 16 models. Taranis can store up to 60 models and expand to more using the SD Card. Personally I was perfectly fine with the 16 models on the Turnigy, as I have only 2 stored 🙂



Both transmitters operate on 2.4Ghz, but the possible range is completely different. Depending on the environment you can reach a minimum of 1.5km with the FrSky Taranis. With the stock Turnigy 9x module 500-800m should be possible. Of course you can replace the stock module with a FrSky module and get the same range as with the Taranis. With some soldering skills you can install the FrSky DHT 8ch DIY module inside of the Turnigy, like I did. With some additional hacks you can also get the telemetry on your display. The module costs about 25$.


This is where the Taranis outperforms the Turnigy 9x at most. Here is an overview and comparison:

FrSky Taranis

Turnigy 9x

  • 16 Channels
  • 8 Channels
  • 6 x 3-position and 2 x 2-position switches
  • 6 x 2-position and 1 x 3-position switches
  • 2 x potentiometer/pot
  • 3 x potentiometer/pot
  • 2 x Slider
  • USB Port
  • SD Card slot
  • Audio Speech Output
  • Haptic Vibration Feedback Command

I haven’t needed more than 8 channels before, but it is good to have additional free channels if needed. Note that you get the 16 channels only in combination with a SBUS receiver, like the FrSky X4RSB. With a D4R-II receiver in CPPM mode both transmitters use max 8 channels. I like the fact, that the Taranis has so many 3-position switches. It is very useful for tuning the PIDs of your multicopter.

An USB-Port is a must for every device nowadays. It makes updating of the OpenTX firmware an easy process. The audio speech output is a nice feature when you fly FPV and do not see the data on your transmitter. Using additional sound files, the Taranis can even let you know the exact battery voltage.


The Turnigy 9x transmitter is the best choice if you decide not to spend a lot of money at the beginning. If you have the skills, time, will and additional 55$ (FrSky DIY module, backlight display, LiPo battery and tools), you can upgrade it to the point it is similar to the Taranis.

Without any doubt Taranis is the better transmitter. You get all the great features out of the box and don’t need to do any modifications. It is easy to setup and there is a lot of information on the web about it. Price – performance ratio is simply the best. There is a 2200mAh Ni-MH battery as well as X8R receiver in the package, so you are ready to go. If you like it, get the Taranis (Mode 2 and US charging adapter) here.

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