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These were all the rage last Christmas (never had these when I was a kid!!!), and I still get great enjoyment out of it now because it is so addictive and relaxing all in one. Basically what you get is a small ultra light helicopter which has been made out of polystyrene foam. You have the main plastic rotor blade on the top and a tail rotor blade on the end of the tail. For the control, you have a black box that is about the size of small parcel that you hold with both hands. On it, you have one lever for up and down, and one lever for left and right. There is also a main on-off switch and a trim switch.
The first thing to do is to charge up the helicopter. This is done by taking the small lead from the controller and plugging it into the helicopter so that it charges from the 6 AA batteries in the controller. A short while later and you have enough charge for about 5 minutes of flying.
When you first fly this thing, it does take some getting used to. Getting it off the ground is just a case of pushing the up lever on the control, but what you find is that it goes up really quick, whereupon you ease off the lever and it drops like a stone. So it takes some skill and finesse to get the lever just in the right position to get it to hover. That's before you try and steer the thing!! Steering is fun as well because the left right lever controls the speed of the tail rotor, which in turn changes the direction of the helicopter and again is very sensitive. So when you start out, the things takes off quickly and often spins itself all over the place before you can get some sort of control.
In flight, the thing is almost indestructible, but you do get some spare tail rotor blades just in case. Learning to fly it, you are forever bouncing it off the walls and ceiling around the room.
I think it probably took me a few hours to get some form of control over it, and now I can fly it all over the office and pretty much land it with ease anywhere. With that sort of ability, it then becomes very addictive because you can quietly fly it around the office and land it carefully on someone else's desk about 10 metres away, take off again, hover over something else and return again.
I suppose it is a sort of adult toy, although my kids (aged 10 and 11) also have similar models and it taught them a lot about flight and how to operate a helicopter. It took remote control to a whole new level for them because rather than just driving a car remotely across the ground, they now had to control something in the air. Like me, they also love trying to land and take off from challenging situations. The only dangers would be the rotating blades which do turn very fast. May not damage your skin much, but would seriously damage an eye. Definitely worth the price for the additive fun that you get from it.
Persevere with it and you'll suddenly become the executive pilot of the office. Great fun!!
Despite the fact that the packagingsays "for 3+ years," I think the majority of people who buy this helicopter are adults, myself included.
I bought this for about £17 on Play.com and was lucky enough to get the somewhat rarer yellow version. The price hasn't changed since I bought it last year, on amazon it will still set you back £16.85, and you can buy a special edition pink version on Play.com for £18.99.
~What you need and what you get~
The chopper comes with 2 spare rotors, but sadly no batteries. It needs 6 AA's to get it going. It only doesn't tak ages to charge though, and on a full charge you can get a full 5 minutes flying time, and you'll know when it needs charging as it will be hovering about 1 foot from the ground.
The remote control has 2 levels, and one set of double buttons which you use to stabilise the helicopter immediately aftr takeoff. The left hand lever determines the height of the chopper (POWERR!!), and the right determines which way it rotates. It's brilliant though, as it rotates right just like a real helicopter, and you have to compensate by jabbing at the buttons so you don't immediately crash. Once you've got the gist of it though, its brilliant. I've wasted several hours of my life trying to land it on top of various objects, with varying degrees of success.
I was at first a little put off when I opened the package to discover that the helicopter is made from polystyrene, but don't despair. The light weight of the polystyrene makes it a lot more agile, although you might have to toy with adding some of the silver foil stickers provided in order to find the right weight balance. I also realised it doesn't need to be made out of sturdy platic, because there aren't exactly many hazards around, and when it does crash the polystyrene absorbs the energy much better plastic would. THe plastic spinny thing at the top also seems pretty flimsy when you first open it, but it's hit many different objects in the past year without it breaking.
Overall, this is an excellent product, as I've used it to distract my nephew while he was crying and to wile away countless hours when working from home. The boss may not like it, but it doesn't matter, they're not there to see me fly it. An awesome little device, well worth the measly £17.
After receiving one of these small helicopters for Christmas, I felt I had to write a review on one of my most entertaining gifts. When I first opened the present, I was a little sceptical as to how good these little helicopters were, as I had seen them flying in every major department store in the run up to Christmas. The model I received was the Pico Z Deluxe which is an upgraded model of the original Pico Z.
The main improvements being;
1. Plastic body (not foam)
2. Adjustable rear tail to make the helicopter hover or move forward depending on its location
3. Two buttons on the controller to make the helicopter move forward
4. Led search light on the helicopter which can be turned on/off on the remote control
The helicopter takes around 10-15 minutes to charge the onboard Li-poly battery which gives approximatley 5-6 minutes of flight time depending on usage. The helicopter itself charges from the controller which is powered by 6 AA batteries (not included) and is a well thought over design.
The helicopter flies exceptionally well and much better than I had imagined, considering its such a tiny thing however takes a while to learn to fly it properly even with the auto stability it has built in. After several trips around the office I had the hang of the helicopter and was performing take offs and landings from desks and office furniture.
The only fragile bit of the helicopter is the tail rotor, which is very vulnerable on the extremity of the tail, however Silverlit have thought of this problem and have included a spare tail rotor in the pack.
Overall this is a great present, and will provide many hours of fun for anyone.
I bought one of these for my son for Christmas, at the £10 I paid for it, I really wasn't expecting much.
So on Christmas day (batteries bought by the trolly road before hand) I put in the 6 AA batteries and plugged in the charger on the hand set and waited.
20 minutes later the light went off which the instructions told me that is was charged. So being the good dad I am I thought I better try it first to make sure it was safe, not just because I wanted play honestly :oD
Wow was I amazed when I pushed up on the level on the remote, it shot up into the ceiling then crashed onto the floor. A few minutes and I could fly it around the room, it looked and moved like a real helicopter.
With no weight to the helicopter there is very little change of it damaging anything in the home, or causing harm to the kids.
The noise is fairly acceptable and it's charge times are low (about 10 minutes after the initial charge) The batteries in the handset last a good while if you use decent ones (I would suggest rechargables).
The helicopter puts up with quite a bit of abuse with only the tail rota suffering breakage, but you do get 2 in the box.
My so (and myself) had hours of fun with this and it last 10 months before it was broken beyond repair.
Having seen these helicopters flying around my local debenhams store just before christmas i was compelled to buy them for my daughter for christmas. The version i have bought is the Picoo Z Sky Challenge. This box set comes with two helicopters in it not one and each helicopter has the added benefit of firing infrared at the other and is used in a battle mode.
The helicopters themselves are made of a durable foam body, built in Li-poly battery and weigh approximately 10 gramms or so. The battery when charged will last about six minutes but flying ability is reduced after about four minutes when control and height achieved is reduced. The Transmitter requires 6 x 1.5v AA batterys to operate and is not only used to control the helicopters but also as the method of charging the helicopters themselves.
Controlling the helicopters is not truly difficult but can take a while to master and was especially difficult for my 11 year old daughter. The main problem with the set that i bought was that one helicopter controlled really well and the other was far less responsive which made the battle mode quite difficult so we played more using them as individuals rather than in battle mode which was great fun. The best bit about the battle mode is that when you hit your challengers helicopter it will fall from the sky, but the helicopters are quite durable so can take a good drop. The main damage occurs when flying in to objects such as walls with the rotars still spinning especially the tail propellers, but the box comes with two spare tail propellers.
The infrared beam from the helicopters (used to shoot your challenger) work at a distance of 30cm to 2m and at a height distance of 2m to 3m. The Controller also comes with a built in sound effects for shooting and being hit.
overall we found this a very good toy for the first week or so after christmas but due to the short flight time and constant charging we stopped using them and have not used them since.
There's been a fair bit of hype around these so called micro-helicopters, and out of curiosity, I went and bought one not so long ago, and I must admit, they're pretty amazing things.
They only weigh some ten grams. the battery only has about six minutes flying time in it before you have to recharge, but it's intuitive, and easy to fly.
The outer body is made of polystyrene, which is both a plus and a negative. Th fact the body is made of it, means that it's lightweight, and responsive, however, the numerous crashes that are bound to happen do leave their mark, and you eventually end up with scratches and dents all over it.
The rotors are made of a type of light plastic, and although it looks flimsy, it is fairly strong, and has survived many a serious crash.
The only problem is the tail rotor, as you know if you've managed to break that due to the heli spinning uncontrollably, but luckily they thought ahead, and packaged it with a spare.
Overall, this helicopter is great if you want some cheap fun, or if you want to buzz the heads of people in the cubicle just over from you, or even as a present to someone you know, a definitive buy!
Toys have come a long way in the last decade, and this is especially apparent with the Silverlit 'PicooZ' indoor remote control helicopter, which retails at £10.99 from Amazon. A couple of Christmases ago, the helicopter sold for around £30, so this reduced price-tag represents great value for money - but is it any good?
The helicopter is made from polystyrene, which ensures it is light enough to fly around indoors, yet robust enough to withstand falls from a fair height. The rotors are made from plastic, and if something is going to break first on the machine, it will probably be these. The helicopter is available in three different colours - green, blue, and red, and is fairly tiny at under twenty centimetres from tip to tail.
What's in the Box?
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When you purchase the PicooZ, the package contains;
-1 PiccooZ Helicopter
-A Handheld transmitter
-A Spare Tail Propeller
As well as the helicopter itself, you will receive a well made and sturdy remote-control (known as the transmitter) which is powered by six (yes, six!) AA batteries which aren't included. To charge the helicopter, you must 'dock' it to the remote with a small and rather flimsy cable (supplied), which transfers power from the AA batteries into the helicopters own internal lithium-polymer rechargeable cell. The charging process usually takes around 15-25 minutes, during which time, a green LED illuminates to show that something is happening. When the light goes out, you're ready to let your new toy into the air - a freshly charged PicooZ should be able to operate for around 5-8 minutes before running out.
Controlling the helicopter is a little tricky - getting it off the ground is easy, but keeping it up there is more difficult to master! Before flying the helicopter, I would recommend closing all doors and windows, as (due to the light nature of the PicooZ) even a little draught can make things harder for the 'pilot'. The instruction manual suggests that the helicopter can be flown outdoors in extremely calm conditions, but to be honest, I think it would be nigh-on impossible to maneuver.
To begin with, you should place the PicooZ on a flat surface with plenty of space above and around it. Pushing the throttle upwards will send your machine into the air - but using too much throttle will have the helicopter bashing into the ceiling. This is most apparent when the helicopter is fully charged, when even a little throttle will thrust the helicopter straight to the top of the room. The device is easiest to fly near the end of the charge, where the controls will be less sensitive, therefore making the PicooZ more stable in flight.
When you first use the mini 'chopper', it can spin uncontrollably until you adjust the 'trim' settings via the buttons on the remote. I had never heard of 'trimming' before I owned one of these, but I now seem to be an expert in the field...! The trim buttons should be tapped in the correct direction (left or right) until the product stops spinning, and hovers evenly in the air. I found that in order to increase flight stability, you can add a small piece of bluetack to the underside of the helicopters nose - which will also give it more forward motion when flying. The 'aluminum labels' which I have listed in the box contents section are designed to serve this purpose, but blu-tack seems to me to be more effective.
Within an hour or so of owning the helicopter, I had learned to control it without flying it into walls, lampshades, or the cat - who is intent on trying to pluck it out of the air as it flies past her.
The PicooZ is a an excellent little machine, which becomes even more fun when you begin to discover the subtlties of the controls. To be honest, you have to view the PicooZ as a disposable item, as the internal battery doesn't last that long - after only 60 or so charges, the helicopters flight time will be reduced to around 1 minute or so - regardless of how new the AA batteries you use are. This is due to its internal battery, which can deteriorate fairly quickly - probably the PicooZ's only weakeness.
The helicopter is well made, and will survive knocks and falls from various heights - essential due to the nature of the device. Although the box suggests that the product is for '3 years and over', I would say that the PicooZ is for older kids only, as youngster will get frustrated at not being able to keep it in the air for long, and also, the rear propellor (which can easily come off) may represent a choking hazard. That said, as a gift for a teenager, or even for an adult as a 'big-boys toy', the PicooZ can't fail to impress - just make sure you've got fairly high ceilings and you'll have hours of fun! - highly recommended.
Technical Bits n' Pieces
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- A, B & C channel models available to allow up to three Silverlit models to be flown together
- Product weight: only 10g, including flight battery
- Helicopter length: 170 mm (6.5 inches) excluding rotors
- Box dimensions: 360 x 160 x 100mm
- Charger: integral transmitter/charger supplied with LED indicator/auto shut off
- Range: up to 10m (30 ft)
I received a PicooZ Sidewinder helicopter as a Christmas gift from my sister. When I first unwrapped it I was a bit disappointed since I thought it would be useless but once I started using it I realised how much fun these things actually are.
The PicooZ Sidewinder helicopter is a radio controlled helicopter that is made by Silverlit Toys (USA). It is a small (measuring 19cm from nose to tail) and lightweight (the body is made out of polystyrene and the tail, rotors etc are made from thin plastic) and is designed for indoor use.
The box claims that the PicooZ Sidewinder radio controlled helicopter is the "smallest and lightest with auto-stable technology", which is quite a claim but one I feel cannot be substantiated. Other features include:
i) Super wide infrared control
ii) Miniature size and lightweight
iii) Unique material withstand crashes
iv) Auto stable and precision speed
v) Tri-band technology
The box is attractive and has a 'window' clearly displaying the helicopter, which I guess makes it easier for potential customers to decide whether they want to purchase one or not.
The box claims that this is for ages 3 years and up. Flying this helicopter is difficult and takes a lot of getting used to. Personally, I think an 3 year old would struggle with this although I may be wrong.
****In the box****
In the box there is:
i) PicooZ helicopter
iii) Spare tail propeller
iv) Aluminium labels
v) Instruction manual
Transmitter batteries are not included and have to be bought separately.
****Types of PicooZ****
The box claims that there are three different types of PicooZ, however, on closer inspection it appears that it is the same product with different colour stickers on. Basically you can have a blue one, a green one or a red one.
Each different colour runs on a different frequency channel, allowing you to fly your helicopter whilst your mates are flying theirs, providing you each have a different colour that is.
Alternatively you may have two helicopters and fly them both with one transmitter, obviously not at the same time though. You could fly the blue one, on channel B, at first and once the battery needs re-charging switch the channel to C and fly the green one.
Or you could interfere with your mate's helicopter by selecting the channel his helicopter is on and sabotaging with your transmitter, which is really good fun but does, in my experience, lead to a few arguments.
The helicopter contains its own internal 'rechargeable' battery and this is supplied. The batteries for the transmitter are not supplied and you need six (!) AA batteries for this.
I am amazed at the amount of batteries this requires and would be amazed if this cannot be reduced down to a more reasonable level. I appreciate that the helicopter needs to be charged from the transmitter but the helicopter is tiny and it can't take that much energy to power it.
My sister forgot to get me the batteries so Christmas day involved a quick hunt around the house extracting the batteries out of every available remote control and battery powered item so that I could play with my new toy. The first item on my sales list is going to have to be a set of rechargeable batteries and a charger.
The helicopter battery is charged via the transmitter. There is a small length of lead with a USB style plug connected to the battery pack of the transmitter that is plugged in to a connection point on the side of the helicopter.
There is a green LED light that comes on when the charging process commences and it extinguishes once the helicopter battery has full power. The charging time takes 20 - 30 minutes and this will provide 5 - 6 minutes of flight time, which is not that much.
After flying you are advised to let the helicopter battery cool down for 10 minutes before it is charged. This is another pain since it means that you have to wait around 40 minutes before each flying session and since the flying process is so addictive the 40 minutes seems to take forever.
It is not possible to change the battery on the helicopter, thus enabling you to swap the battery as it needs charging so not to disturb flying. This is a major flaw in the design of this product.
Due to the small dimensions of this helicopter, and the lightweight materials it is made out of this helicopter is designed primarily for indoor use. The manual states that it can be used outside on a very still day, in a very sheltered place where there will be no sudden gusts of wind. I can't think of many such places so can only conclude that this is for indoor use only.
The manual recommends that the flying arena be minimum of 10ft (W) x 16.5ft (L) x 8ft (H) and that the room is free from any furniture. Unfortunately I don't have a spare and un-furnished room of this size in my house therefore it has to be flown in the lounge along with the furniture.
Dodging the furniture is part of the fun and if you knock in to anything (providing it is not a fragile object that could fall to the floor and smash) then nothing will be damaged.
****Flying the helicopter****
I thought that flying this helicopter would be easy and involve turning the helicopter and the handset on and then pushing the 'raise' lever in an upwards motion. How wrong I was.
There is a lot to it, and I only found this out after reading the instruction booklet (I know, but playing with a new toy prior to reading the instructions is a male trait and I am as guilty as the next man). There are numerous steps including
i) Trimming the helicopter
Whilst I am still unsure what this means (if any readers out there can enlighten me then please feel free to fill me in) this step appears to stop the helicopter from spinning either clockwise or anticlockwise whilst the 'raise' lever is being used.
To trim the helicopter the 'raise' lever is gently pushed up (If you are not gentle with the controls then the helicopter will do all sorts of funny manoeuvres and crash). The helicopter will start spiralling clockwise so you need to push the 'L' st. trim button repeatedly until it starts to spiral anticlockwise when you need to repeatedly press the 'R' st. trim button until the helicopter straightens up. This setting is automatically remembered and the helicopter is now trimmed.
ii) Lift off
The helicopter needs to be put on a flat surface for easier lift off. You need to gently push the 'raise' lever upwards to increase the throttle and make the helicopter rise. If you are not gentle then the helicopter will spiral out of control and crash.
Since the helicopter has been trimmed it is now possible to get the helicopter to rise and fall (in a controlled manner) without spiralling clockwise or anticlockwise.
The instruction manual recommends that the user gets confident in raising and lowering the helicopter before actually trying to fly it around the room, and I have to say that this is good advice. The trick here is to focus on the helicopter and not on the transmitter and to be really, really gentle with the controls.
iii) Flying the helicopter
Once the raising and lowering has been mastered it is now time to progress moving it around the room. The helicopter will go forwards when a gentle clockwise turn is made and it will stop when a gentle corresponding anticlockwise turn is made. The trick is to alternate these movements, but it is important to be really gentle with the controls otherwise it ends up spiralling out of control and crashing.
Mastering flying the helicopter took me a few days and I am still not quite there. It is really frustrating at first, but perseverance will pay off.
This is a toy aimed at older children, or a gadget ("big boys toy") aimed at adults rather than smaller children.
Being made out of polystyrene and really thin plastic the helicopter looks delicate and like it would easily break. However, I can confirm that it is tough and durable and can last several crashes, although I doubt it would last after being heavy handled or sat on by a human or pet so you do need to treat it with some care.
Flying the helicopter takes time and practice but it is so satisfying once you have mastered it. Be prepared to crash lots of time whilst learning, I did, so it is a good job that the helicopter is durable.
Since there are three different types of PicooZ it means your friends can get one too and you can all fly together which gets a bit competitive. Whilst the helicopters can last several crashes in to furniture and the like it does not like being crashed in to other helicopters as the blades and rotors break, and these cannot be bought separately. 'Helicopter wars' is definitely not possible.
The real draw back of this product is the flight time, which at 5 - 6 minutes per charge just isn't long enough. Just as you get in to it the battery dies and needs re-charging which is most frustrating. In addition you have to wait 10 minutes before you can start the charging process and then another 20 -30 minutes for the helicopter to charge. It is just too long.
The transmitter takes 6 AA batteries, which is a lot. I would highly recommend getting rechargeable batteries and a charger otherwise you're going to spend a lot of money on powering this gadget.
The positive points of this helicopter far out weigh the negatives and I would definitely recommend this product. It is a cheap way of getting in to the world of radio controlled helicopters.
The Picoo Z is one of the newest flying experiences from Silverlit....the experts in flying right out of the box! The Picoo Z weighs just an incredible 10 grams....which is about a packet of crisps....but don't buy the crisps, just check out the video and read about all the fun you can have with a Picco Z! At six inches long and fitting comfortably in the palm of your hand (you like it already!), the Picoo Z incorporates a stable system of flight to ensure a terrific 'straight out of the box experience'! The control system is an innovative two-channel proportional wide beam infra red which effectively works like the TV remote and means that you avoid poking out the eyes of loved ones with the more traditional telescopic aerial. Picoo Z has 2 powerful micro motors which are powered by a built in Lithium Polymer flight battery which will enable flights of 10 minutes or more. Recharge is less than half an hour with the portable charger provided. The Picoo Z also has a strobe LED (blue) for those night manoeuvers and the auto stability system makes for a speedy pilots license. Made of tough expanded Polypropylene foam, the Picoo Z can be flown indoors or outdoors (calm conditions) and is certainly a durable and robust must have!....