For under 60 dollars, the Qanba Drone is solid budget Playstation fightsticks that delivers good performance for less than 1/3 of the price of its higher end sticks. Of the three sub 100 dollar fightsticks that Qanba offers, the other two being the Q1 and Carbon, the Drone is the most popular.
Aesthetics and Design
The Drone has an all-black plastic body with a honeycomb pattern on the faceplate. You can’t do much to change the artwork on the stick, so you will have to bear with the honeycomb pattern even if you don’t like it unless you want to put a big sticker over it.
The stick measures 14″ x 6″ x 9.5″ inches and weighs in around three pounds, which is smaller than all the higher end fightsticks but still larger than many other budget fightsticks.
Qanba has done cable stowage in an interesting way for the Drone. Instead of creating a specialized storage compartment the cable is suppose to rest in, there is an open area under the handrest where you can store the cable.
In terms of physical buttons and switches, the Drone comes with the standard PS3/PS4 switches, lock switch, Turbo button, L3 button, R3 button, mode button, and options button. There is no touchpad, but that is not a surprise for a stick this cheap.
There are rubber anti-slip pads underneath the stick, but they aren’t very big and the stick is not very heavy so don’t expect the Drone to anchor onto the surface like the big high end sticks do.
Modding the fightstick is fairly easy, especially if you are just replacing the buttons. Just use a screwdriver and take off the back panel. Replacing the lever is not as simple, and you might need extra parts and some technical knowledge. You can’t just slap in an Sanwa JFL and expect it to work.
However, you probably wouldn’t want to mod a stick this cheap. If you’re going to mod, we highly recommend getting a proper high-end fightstick like the Qanba Obsidian or Razer Panthera. No matter how good the buttons and lever are if you mod the stick, you won’t be able to mod away the budget crappy body the stick has unless you stick lead weights inside it. Small budget sticks just don’t have the same feel.
However, if you really want to get the best performance at the lowest price, getting a Drone and putting in Sanwa parts and weights into it is going to still cost you much less than a Razer Panthera of Qanba Obsidian.
The Drone is mainly a PS3/PS4 stick, but it is compatible with PC if you do a lot of needed calibration.
Performance for the Drone is about what you would expect for a budget stick that does it’s job. Despite being currently priced under 60 dollars, the Qanba Drone does not feel like a toy and is actually a pretty decent fighstick. The 30mm buttons and levers are Qanba’s proprietary parts, and they aren’t terrible at all. The buttons are perfectly adequate for the role this fightstick players, but the joystick feels a little janky and cheap.
Compared to Sanwa parts, you will definitely feel a downgrade when playing with a stock Drone.
When the Qanba Drone was released a few years ago, it was sold at $89.99. Back then, the Drone was well worth the price. Today, the Drone usually goes for under $60 – a massive price drop. For a budget starter stick, it is definitely worth it.
Overall Score: 80/100