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It was last December that I took a stroll down 'internet way', self-tasked with finding a fun and innovative gadget/toy to be gifted to my 10 year old brother for Christmas. Model cars, planes, tanks, helicopters and the like were always there, playing on my mind, as potential gifts. But I didn't think I'd find anything of that sort (of any quality) within the price range I had envisaged. That was until I stumbled across a YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_IUQcmeyMU) demonstrating a small remote controlled 'micro' helicopter called the Syma S107. The video showed a rather spindly, but nevertheless intricately constructed, and accurately flown little electronic helicopter that moved forward / backward / left / right / up & down in a robotic fashion, and had mounted to the front a blue/red flashing LED light. I was impressed, and after researching the product online and deciphering its lowest end price - £19.99 (still the current price on Amazon.co.uk with FREE delivery) - I decided that this was the toy I'd be buying for my brother.
Packaging & Build Quality:
The helicopter comes in a partially transparent cardboard box, allowing you to inspect the design features and general build of the device before purchasing. All components are visible, and on first sight, the helicopter seems impressive. The metal frame at the centre is crisply cut and formed, and the motorized plastic cogs within that frame are fitted well, seamlessly coinciding with other moving parts and the coloured plastic outer-shell. You can tell they've really thought about the design; how the helicopter can be made to look sleek, stylish and (most importantly to some) realistic, whilst maintaining complete functionality - after all, this is a very functional toy that you hope will be reliable and long-lasting. The build quality of the helicopter certainly screams longevity, but the fiddly nature of its parts and their complexity places the toy in ornament territory... will the device be long-lasting if flown regularly, and crash landed just as frequently? I think the quality of materials used and their positioning certainly gives the device a good fighting chance of survival. The tail for instance, is mounted rigidly to the metal body (frame) by a central metal beam (supporting the tail blades and fin), with two supporting beams helping to disperse shock-waves to more of the structure, on impact. The helicopter is finished off with some basic logo stickers on the plastic shell, blades and tail-wing. The overall build quality is excellent, and well demonstrated by the packaging.
Design & Performance:
The controllers design is simple, but effective. Constructed of a moderate quality plastic, the controller has an on/off switch, a left lever for upward and downward motion (throttle control), a right joystick (of similar size) for swaying left/right and moving forward/back, and a mini-USB charge cable plumbed into the controllers batteries (so that the device can be charged from the controller). It runs on AA batteries.
Charging the aircraft can be done in two ways. I've already mentioned the cable connected to the controller, which is hidden from behind a trap door in the rear of the hand-held remote. This method of charge takes no longer than 1 hour, but there is also another way, a USB cable with an end for your helicopter and an end for your PC/laptop. Charging this way takes a lot less time! Once fully charged, the plane will fly for between 3 and 7 minutes, depending on the ruggedness of your flight - a steady hover could give you the full 7 minute flight time, whilst applying full throttle for the majority of the flight and/or moving from one area to another will shorten the time by a half.
The helicopter has two sets of thin plastic blade which rotate in an opposite direction from one another, maintaining aerodynamic balance. The blades are free-supporting, and are mounted on flexible joints. This acts to reduce damage taken when the inevitable crashes occur. But the stability of the craft also relies on a third element: a double-weighted rotating arm above the blades, which acts to dissipate the lateral loads presented by low winds and any turning motion. In order to make the helicopter go forward and back, a tiny (fragile) blade, vertically mounted to the tail, can be powered up or down by pushing up or down on the left control trigger of the controller.
When you finally fire up the electric motor (by thumbing a switch both on the helicopter and controller), after charging, you have to reach a certain throttle level (about 1/4 of the way up) before the helicopter generates enough lift to set off. At the point where the lift surpasses the mass the craft raises gingerly, then all additional power supplied after that (levering up further) raises the craft much more sharply. The low-weight components come into their own, allowing the helicopter to move nimbly through the air - and the same is said of turning. Moving forward and backward however, is a slower process, a more gradual increase in velocity than going up and down - especially down, of course. It's all good fun!
The Syma s107 has a 3-channel frequency, meaning up to three craft can be flown at any one time (by separate controllers). This is where the fun begins! Air to air duels, races and time-trials can ensue, adding countless hours of addictive competition.
There is an LED flashing or strobing (red/blue) light on the nose of the aircraft. This doesn't produce enough luminance to help you see where you're going in total darkness, but in semi-darkness and even daylight the light is acts as an aesthetically pleasing addition to the design. I'm not sure what percentage of battery consumption it uses, but I doubt it's much.
I have had little issue with the Syma S107 whilst using it around the house - I have yet to test it outside though, and I doubt it will be able to stand up to the challenge of varying weather conditions (even small winds will throw the craft off balance). The only major source of negativity came when the helicopter was hit (occasionally) against something hard or at high velocity - The vibrations from the crash would pulse through the chassis to the helicopters internal plastic cogs, disconnecting them from one another. Although this issue could be resolved each time in under 30 seconds (by simply reconnecting the cogs by pushing with the tip of a screw-driver), the problems continual occurrence could get very irritating.
I found the helicopter flew very well for such a small, intricate piece of kit, and the general robustness and accuracy of its parts meant landing on (and taking off from) rugged surfaces or uneven slopes was very easy. However, sometimes if the toy took off from an uneven surface it would continue on that wonky trajectory, until either my brother would panic and shut off power (causing the craft to drop as a dead weight to the ground), or the helicopter would strike something and the cogs would come loose.
It is certainly a difficult toy to get the hang of. It took me a good 3 or 4 tries before I finally came to terms with the controls and how much throttle / turn I had to apply to achieve a smooth flight. But this is all part of the fun. Once you've mastered the bird, you can start the real fun, racing with your friends, or attempting to pick up objects with the ski-shaped legs. All in all this is a thoroughly recommendable product!
RECOMMENDED: ages 8 - 50
With Christmas fast approaching I thought it was high time I reviewed some of the classic remote control toys on the market.
In this case I am reviewing the Syma S107G helicopter which will give young and old alike hours of fun.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Recently I have seen the Syma for just under £15 on good old Amazon and if you can beat this price you are doing well but you better be quick as these always sell like hot cakes before Christmas!
WHAT'S IN THE BOX?
Remote control unit
Extra tail blades
WHAT COLOUR DOES IT COME IN?
The Syma RC helicopter comes in Yellow or Red
3 Channel remote control
Advanced stability technology for easy control and manoeuvrability
LED Strobe light
Already assembled and ready to fly
Infra-red control system
Main blades: Plastic
Body: Alloy Metal
Power Source: 3.7V Li-Poly battery
Main rotor diameter (upper): 190mm
Main rotor diameter (lower): 190mm
Tail rotor diameter: 30mm
Fuselage length: 220mm
Fuselage width: 38mm
Fuselage height: 98mm
On/off switch: Yes
Charging time: 40-50 minutes
Power system: 180 motor * 2
Flight duration: 5-6 minutes
Operating temperature: 10-45 deg C
Power source: 6 * 1.5V AA Alkaline batteries (not included)
Range: Up to 10m
Flight control: Up/down, Forward/Backward, Left/Right, Trim Tab
WHAT'S IT LIKE TO FLY?
We now finally get to the question on everyone's lips, "What's it like to fly?"
Well the helicopter is meant for 10 year olds and above but it is so stable that, given a bit of practice (and space) a younger child could fly it and my 8 year old daughter managed to master it in a relatively short space of time! After it has charged up for the first time with the usb charger (approx 45mins), simply set the helicopter on the ground, switch on and making sure you have plenty of space in all directions, gradually increase the speed of the rotors with the remote control until the blades start to spin.
Within seconds the Syma will be up in the air and ready to fly. A reasonably steady hand is required at first until you gauge how to keep the copter at a steady height and once you have achieved that then use the joystick to manoeuvre it forwards, backwards, left, right, up, down.
The auto stability feature makes it a dawdle to fly and you will find yourself hovering the little Syma inches in front of people's faces, the strobe light flashing in their eyes just for fun!
Now I am sure a few of you are wandering how tough it is because inevitably you will crash it at some point! Well despite having whacked it off ceilings, lights and walls, mine is still in one piece and astonishingly survived an outing in the washing machine (please do not even think about asking me how that happened!). I simply fitted a new tail rotor (supplied) and it flew first time, amazing!
Parts are readily available online and cheaply too so if you seriously break it then chances are it can be repaired rather than replaced.
What I would maybe suggest is that you buy two of these if you are going to be doing a lot of flying as the flight time is rather short (about 5 or 6 minutes) and if you have one already charged then you will always have one ready to fly.
All in all, this is a superb remote control toy which will inevitably find itself into Dad's hands even if it was meant for his son or daughter!
It seems the longer I've been with Jen, the more her family seem to be realising that I'm quite like her dad. We both have a passion for anything remote controlled and it is perhaps no coincidence that we both received a Syma Infrared Controlled Helicopter for Christmas. In fact the only difference between the two presents were the colour. Now I'd previously considered buying myself one of these a couple of times, but just couldn't quite justify the expense, so getting one as a present was the ideal solution.
This model is one of a new generation of RC Helicopters and certainly is far better than any of the previous ones I've owned. It measures in at 22cm long by 3.8cm wide and sits approximately 9.8cm high. The actual Helicopter itself is actually quite small but with the twin rotor blades on the top it adds quite a bit of height. It is made of 90% plastic creating the outer shell of the Helicopter, with a far more durable metal framework.
Whilst it is quite small in appearance, the remote control is almost bigger than the actual Helicopter it does have a considerable amount of detail on the plastic outer shell. The best thing about this model is the fact there is no assembly required. I've found with previous RC models that have required assembly that its quite easy to not connect something properly or miss a bit and I far prefer RC models that are ready to use out of the box.
In order to start using the Helicopter it will require 6 AA batteries for the remote and you will need to charge the Helicopter. In order to charge the Helicopter there are two methods you can use. The first is to connect it to the controller using a cable stowed away in the side of the controller. This takes approx. 50 minutes per charge, but the disadvantage with this charging method is that it will drain the AA batteries in the controller.
The other option is to connect the Helicopter to your PC using the USB cable supplied. This obviously preserves the batteries in the controller, meaning if you aren't using rechargeable then they will last considerably longer. This method of charging also takes around 50 minutes. Once it's all charged up and ready to go you get about 10 minutes worth of flying time out of each charge, which is quite reasonable as this is more of an indoor gadget and so your unlikely to be flying it for too long at one time anyway.
Getting Under Way & Flying
Once you are ready to get flying there is a small switch on the back of the Helicopter, which brings it to life and ready to fly. The control is done via infrared from the controller to the Helicopter. This makes it much easier to control from the comfort of a sofa. The Helicopter will have a small flashing LED on the front, which tells you it's got a charge and is ready to fly. The controller is made up of two joysticks, one to control the height of the Helicopter and the other which allows you to go forwards, reverse or turn left and right.
It took me a few minutes during the first use to get the hang of the controls but they are relatively simple to get to grips with. Before too long though it becomes quite easy to judge the direction and height making it quite simple to get the hang of. Given the relatively short battery charge this is a good thing and means you get the optimal use out of those ten minutes. The flight is one of the smoothest I've ever had on a remote control Helicopter and this is helped by the built in gyroscope, which makes the mechanisms work a lot smoother.
Due to the manufacture of the Helicopter and the Infrared control system it is not advisable to take it outside. As a result of its size it can get caught easily in a breeze and it's almost a certainty that you will lose control of the Helicopter. This can result in the Infrared losing contact with the Helicopter and it crashing to the ground and will almost certainly damage it.
One of my main concerns with the Helicopter was the feel of the Helicopters blades. They felt a little flimsy and like they'd break quite easily, but thankfully that hasn't been the case. I've crashed the Helicopter into walls and lamps on numerous occasions since Christmas day and as yet neither the Helicopter nor its blades appear to have been damaged. I was also pleased to see on amazon that should the blades be damaged you can buy a set of replacements for £2.69.
A Decent Gadget
This is a very enjoyable gadget to waste away 10 minutes every now and again. It's a fun item to play with for a short time and certainly kept Jen's cousins two kids entertained on Boxing Day. These Helicopters retail at £22.95 on amazon and for what you get it is a reasonable price, however I'm glad I didn't actually have to buy it, because no matter how much fun it is, almost £23 for 10 minutes entertainment is a little much. The technology in them has come a long way and it makes for a very enjoyable present. I'll still continue to use the Syma but I am glad I didn't buy it myself. I can only really criticise the Syma for the length of charge it maintains, otherwise it is an excellent gadget.
It's true what they say about boys - they love their toys and this Syma Helicopter has been one of my favorites. During a rather random shopping trip in Cardiff I popped into the Modelzone model shop for some 'me time' and I discovered this fabulous looking machine. The staff members were doing their usual demonstrations of the helicopters right at the main entrance of the shop which to my surprise went totally wrong and it resulted in a lady having one of these helicopters stuck in her hair for the whole 10 minutes that I was in the store. However before this incident the helicopter had impressed me so much that I had to pick one up. The usual price was £29.99 but I had mine on a special offer and it only cost me £14.99 but the total soon went up when I was persuaded to pick up a pack of AA batteries at the checkout, toy shops like to rip customers off on these!
*** About the Syma RC helicopter ***
It's a rather sturdy looking remote control helicopter that is controlled by an infrared remote control powered by six AA batteries, the helicopter however has its own battery built in that can be recharged. The helicopter can be charged from the little wire coming from the remote control or by the USB lead that simply pops into your computer; this saves battery life of the remote control! The helicopter is designed for indoor use and is small and sturdy enough to fly in any size room without causing too much damage, it has flashing lights that look rather attractive and it apparently flies very well.... I shall find this out next!
*** Opening the box and setting up ***
In the box I found;
The remote control
Spare rear blades (in case of a collision)
A mini screwdriver
And the 'all-important' instruction manual that does not make any sense as it is written by someone who does not have the art of English writing.... Most of the helicopters controls are rather self-explanatory so I will not complain too much.
Now getting into the box was rather easy and there were no annoying straps holding the helicopter in like most toys, two twist ties later and we were ready to go. The batteries are not included as with most toys but it takes standard AA's, I personally recommend Duracell or any other high performance batteries for something like this as you certainly don't want to run out of power in the middle of a flight! There is a little screw on the back of the controller that needs to be removed to insert the batteries, to my surprise Syma had included a free mini screwdriver for this purpose that I was very impressed with, that is proper service.
Everything so far felt pretty good quality, the helicopter quality is exceptional and it has a full metal frame. The controller is light and I doubt that it would survive a drop onto a hard floor, the control levers feel weak and I actually almost snapped one getting it out of the box but I wouldn't worry too much if you're careful with things. The USB charger does feel weak and I do recommend that you try not to knock it while it's plugged in as there is a good chance that it will snap, after 4 months of use mine is starting to disintegrate but it still works!
After inserting the batteries it was time to charge the helicopter. This is done by either plugging the helicopter into the remote control or by using the USB charger that goes into the computer. In the instruction manual it says it takes roughly 40 minutes to charge which seems very long but the charge light on the USB charger went off after about half an hour from flat so not too bad really. The instructions also say that the helicopter will give about 6 to 8 minutes of flight but this obviously depends on the way the user is flying.
*** Time to fly the machine and cause some damage to property! ***
Now this is always interesting.... Have you ever flown a helicopter before Nick? Nope, let's do it! Once charged I flicked the little on switch to the on position on both the helicopter and the remote control and I set the helicopter in the centre of the room on top of a biscuit tin. I had a sudden rush of adrenalin as I pushed on the 'Up' toggle on the remote control and my little machine lifted up into the air very steadily and perfectly in control. Considering that I had never flown one of these before this time I thought I was doing a rather good job and I was thoroughly enjoying my little flight around the living room. I flew around trying out the basic controls and I soon had the hang of it and I was able to land on top of my biscuit tin with ease.
The control has six motions, up - down - left - right - forwards and backwards. These are all done from two small joysticks on the controller and they are very easy to master within a few minutes. My first impressions were very good and I found the helicopter extremely easy to turn and it was very fast both forwards and backward. It was instantly noticeable how good the control was and I did doubt that I would be able to fly the helicopter indoors but I had nothing to worry about. There is also a trim feature so if you helicopter does not fly straight you can turn the trim knob and straighten it out, this is very handy indeed.
The takeoff and landings are the hardest bit to learn with this helicopter, I was quite lucky and I had the hang of it within a few usages. It just takes determination and once you have it, you have it! It's like riding a bike really.
*** Durability ***
Now this is always a major thing to consider when purchasing a 'Toy'. Personally I would not call this a toy and I don't believe the manufacturers do either but Modelzone were definitely advertising it as one. The model is extremely well built and I have so far crashed mine so many times that I could not have possibly counted them. I have crashed it into lampshades, wooden beams, TV screens (WHOOPS!) and many other hard objects and so far (Apart from a few vibration noises) I have not had any problems with the helicopter and I have not had to replace the blades as of yet.... I have owned this for four months and I reckon that this is pretty good going!
The blades of the helicopter are made from a very flexible but obviously strong plastic; they must be strong judging some of the crashes I have had with this helicopter. The blades are rather sharp and in all honesty if you accidentally hit someone with this copter in flight then it is going to hurt, I have experienced this when I actually flew it into my head (Ouch). One of my crashes did result in the balance piece above the blades coming loose but some slight playing around in the garage I had it fixed and ready for flight once more. The motor on this helicopter sounds very smooth and I have actually oiled the gears inside using lithium grease, this has smoothed my helicopter out amazingly and it still works like new - even after four months of almost daily use.
The batteries in the helicopter hold the charge for about 7 minutes of average flying around the room, I'm a slightly reckless flyer and my helicopter is constantly climbing and descending so I should think that you could get an even better battery life out of this helicopter! The remote batteries last a very long time, I use standard Duracell's and I use it daily finding that I only need to change them once a month, if you decided to charge the helicopter using the control then this will obviously reduce the battery life but I use the USB as it is much faster and probably cheaper than buying batteries all of the time.
*** Safety ***
This is always an important factor when buying a thing like this. In my honest opinion, this remote control is only as safe as the person flying it - almost like the real thing really ;) It can hurt slightly if you fly into someone and of course you must be extremely careful around people's eyes etc. The box said it was for ages 14 and up, I think this is about right - it certainly is not a deadly machine anyway.
*** Overall opinion ***
I absolutely love this helicopter and since buying mine the whole family now has them too. This is a slight downside as there are only three channels of these helicopters available. Different channels allow more than one helicopter to fly at one time as otherwise they will interfere with each other, being six of us in the household with a helicopter each makes it impossible to fly together but usually families are not as big as ours. I find this helicopter extremely stable and easy to control and it is an actual joy to use, I do not recommend outdoor use as we tried this one day and nearly lost it due to the slightest of wind... It really is an indoor only aircraft.
I would recommend this helicopter to anyone as it is fun and very easy to fly. It is obviously very reliable as it has lasted my rather reckless flying for 4 months and I think that it is a bargain (Even if I did pay full price for it). A VERY happy Syma customer
Thanks for reading
I've wanted a remote helicopter for a while now and have always been facinated by these kinds of toys since being knee high to a grass hopper.
Back in the day, there was no chance of owning a remote control plane or helicopter, so in recent years this type of toy has been popular - both the small design like the S107 or large versions of it. The cost obviously increases the bigger the model though.
The Syma S107 is design for indoor use only. It wouldn't fly outdoors very well, not that I've tried, due to wind etc. Even opening a door or the backdraft from its own flight effect it.
Charge up time is not bad, but realistically you can only fly for around 5 minutes before you need to charge again. This is normal for this type of model no matter the make. Charging is via USB with batteries for the remote control unit.
The controls are good, and you can fine tune things so flight is steady and it goes in the direction you intend it to.
I've had great fun flying around in circles, hovering and setting myself challenges to land on the sofa arm. You really can make it do what you want, so it's very responsive once you are used to controlling it. You can control the power, the lift and the rate of movement with two joysticks on the remote control.
I crashed it several times, but it's not broken. You do have to careful however. A replacement tail rotor is included. Just try and avoid smashing into walls and losing it at higher levels (such as trying to land at the top of the stairs!). Also remember to avoid hanging lights indoors, give yourself plenty of space.
I'd recommend this for anyone who just want's a 'play thing' rather than something serious.
As a child, I rarely had access to remote controlled vehicles, as my parents knew I didn't have the fine motor control skills required to avoid smashing it up against the skirting boards of leaving long rows of dents in their furniture. As an adult, despite being impressed by technological advances which have made toys far more fun now than they were when I was younger, I've still tended to avoid them, as I still lack the necessary fine control skills - to the extent that I'm the only person I know to seriously consider putting stabilisers on a motorbike.
Fortunately, I have friends who like buying nice shiny gadgets and so I was presented with an impressive looking Syma S107 remote control helicopter for my birthday. This would mean one of two things - either hours of fun for me, or a soon to be broken window which would result in it being consigned to a dark corner of a cupboard, only to see the light of day next time I move house. Early signs were promising, as a drunken chap turned to me in the kebab shop on my way home and said "What's the range on your helicopter", which is certainly one of the strangest openings to a conversation I've ever heard.
Given the size of the box, I was slightly surprised by how compact the helicopter itself actually is. It's around 20 cm long, by 10 cm high, by roughly 4 cm wide in the body, with a rotor diameter of around 15 cm. It's a good looking machine as well, reminding me a little bit of a brightly coloured version of Airwolf with the yellow plastic body. The back end is made from metal tubing and exposed metal parts which made me think a little of an old Meccano helicopter I made when I was much younger. Unlike that helicopter, though, it feels quite sturdy and certainly looks like it would fly more readily.
My one slight concern was that, when the power is not one, the rotors hang quite loose and unsupported, as does the top gyro rotor. Considering how solid the rest of the helicopter is built, these look worrying flimsy and unsupported and there are a couple of spare rotor blades in the box, which suggests they're already prepared for breakages even before the helicopter has ever flown. Fortunately, this is exactly what they're designed to do and as I soon discovered, once they're spinning, they work wonderfully effectively and they prove to be surprisingly robust.
Sadly, as good as it looks, the helicopter, like many toys, is not ready to use out of the box. The helicopter has a built in battery which needs charging, which I found took just under an hour. The remote control unit also needs batteries installed and this takes 6 AA batteries. Annoyingly, the battery case on mine was held on with a small screw, which can be fiddly to remove. I'm fortunate enough to be a spectacle wearer, which means I have a set of miniature screwdrivers to hand, so I was able to remove this quite easily, but it may involve some hunting around for a screwdriver if you're not lucky enough to have a very small one to hand the way I do.
Once charged, the helicopter starts looking even better than it did before. As if my yellow version wasn't striking enough already, when you turn it on, lights appear all over the place. It has a couple of blue charge lights on the side, a headlight under the nose and various flashing coloured LEDs along the tail. At this point, it starts looking like the ideal Christmas present, as the tail in particular looks even more impressive than the twinkling lights on my Christmas tree.
But you don't buy a remote control helicopter to admire it on the ground and it would be useless if it didn't fly properly, regardless of how pretty the lights are. I found that it took a little getting used to, especially as someone who is as unused to remote control machinery as I am. I started a little tentatively with the speed control, which is entirely the wrong thing to do. Opening the throttle a little gives the helicopter a minimal amount of lift, enough to get some air, but not enough to keep it there, so it kept hopping around and occasionally taking a nose dive from the edge of the bed and onto the floor nose first. I was expecting something to have broken, given that it kept landing rotors first, but it remained in one piece.
The first trick you need to learn with this helicopter is to be fairly confident when opening the throttle to make sure you get a decent lift off. I was concerned that it would shoot up and bounce off the ceiling (or, more likely for me, the light!) but the lift off was gentler than I expected and means you get plenty of opportunity to control the flight before you start scraping the plaster from the ceiling. The throttle control is very responsive and whilst I've never quite managed to put it in quite the right place to allow the helicopter to hove in place, I've achieve a fairly decent levelling of the flight enough to ensure that it doesn't constantly bounce between ceiling and floor. There is a certain amount of control required on the throttle, but even for someone as ham-fisted as I am, the height control isn't the most difficult part of flying this helicopter.
The one part of the flight I had more trouble controlling was the direction. My digital dexterity isn't the best, which causes some problems, especially when it comes to the small movements which seem to be all that are required to control the helicopter. Turning isn't too much of an issue, as it spins quite happily in place and many of the turns I've tried to make with the helicopter have involved my spinning it around several times until I get the direction right. Swiftly followed by my moving the forwards and backwards lever in the wrong direction and crashing it anyway.
It is the forwards and backwards control that has given me the most trouble. For some reason, the helicopter insists on taking off slightly backwards, which has caused some interesting collisions. However, this is how I can be so sure that the rotor blades are actually surprisingly solid once they're in motion, as I've managed to crash it into my own hand and I can confirm that it really hurts! The controls are very responsive in all directions when the battery is fresh and in an effort to check whether the helicopter was actually any good or if it was my lack of control that caused the problems, I had my flatmate's 14 year old nephew around to give it a try. A few minutes later, it was happily flying around the front room and avoiding crashing in to anything. So I can confirm that the helicopter has wonderful control and can keep flying for a good few minutes at a time, as long as there is a decent pilot to hand, which I certainly am not.
My fears about how breakable it may turn out to be have been seriously put to the test and I can also confirm through lots of experience that the build quality and solidity of this helicopter is superb. Due to my lack of control, it has been bounced off the ceiling, a wardrobe, a couple of chair backs, the floor, a light, the curtains and the pilot. In all of these collisions, the helicopter has come out of it just fine and whilst on occasion it has hit the floor rather hard, not always the right way up, but upon picking it up and righting it, it flies away quite happily - or as happily as it ever could with me at the controls.
There are a couple of downsides to the helicopter. Because it is incredibly light at just over 300 grams, it's not intended for outside use. This wouldn't be too much of an issue if you have a decent sized room, but I don't have a huge amount of space to fly it in, or a huge amount of control, which possibly means I'm not getting the best from it, but I can't take it into an area where I would have more space. This is probably just as well, however, as with my lack of control I can see it fairly swiftly ending up with tangled in our rotary washing line or upside down in the neighbour's pond with the rotor blades trying to make fish fingers out of his koi carp.
The other issue is the battery life. For around 45 minutes of charging time, you only get about 8-10 minutes of flying time, which is far from ideal, especially when you're still trying to get the hang of the controls when the battery runs out and you have to wait an hour or so for your next flying lesson. Also, any toy where the battery life is lesser than the attention span it will result in isn't quite ideal. For younger children, 10 minutes may be about enough, but for the teenage flying expert I called in and for the adult ineptitude I was displaying, 10 minutes wasn't nearly enough to reach our boredom threshold.
But these minor things apart, I love this helicopter and even as someone who doesn't often play with remote controlled toys, I can see this getting plenty of use, even if it is only in 10 minute bursts. Indeed, it's already exceeded what I expected from it. When I opened the present, I thought it was a gadget that would have novelty value, but hold little long-term interest. Several months after my birthday, it's still something I enjoy and I can see this being the case for any child or adult who enjoys remote controlled toys. What makes it even better as a gift is that it's amazingly cheap for how good it is, with prices from £21.95 from Amazon or £14.50 on eBay. And if you're concerned about some ham fisted idiot breaking it, this is more difficult than it appears and spare parts are also available very cheaply. This is definitely the best remote controlled toy I can ever remember having, in terms of longevity of play and value for the enjoyment it brings.
I bought this helicopter mainly due to the fact that I've got a bit of a thing for remote control gadgets, especially flying gadgets, so when I saw this one being sold for £10.00 I jumped at the chance.
When I first started using it, getting used to the way it manoeuvred around the air, and the way it rose, dropped and even turned I was in my element.
Sadly though, after a few flights, with a few knocks, mostly gentle ones mind you, the top rotor blade holder seemed to drop out of position and on closer inspection I noticed that the tiny little plastic 'bobble' thing that holds the rotor blades in position whilst allowing them to spin freely, had both completely snapped off. This left the top blades unsupported which made them drop down onto the lower ones, making the helicopter useless.
Although when I say useless I guess that's the wrong word as I did manage to perform a little bit of fine surgery, involving a tiny cross headed screwdriver, a 2mm drill bit, two 3mm pieces of metal rod, (which I took from a the spring of a wooden clothes peg), a small pair of pliers, a steady hand and a lot of patience I managed to drill out and replace the broken parts with the metal rods, giving the blade back its flexibility and giving me more or less full control back. But I don't believe that I should have had to perform this type of operation on something that should be able to withstand a bit of impact.
Don't get me wrong, the way the helicopter flew before its little 'accident' was simply brilliant, with the gyro system managing to keep the thing in the air with total stability, even if controlling it took a little bit of getting used to, with a few wallops on the ceiling and several bounces of the floor. But I did manage to get the hang of it and was taking off and landing it with some professionalism.
* The helicopter itself...
It's not the biggest of helicopter, which is good considering that it's only really for indoor use, so the smaller the better really. The actual size of it is about 100mm high, up to the top of the rotor blade pole, by 40mm wide by 220mm long, weighing it at a feather weight 300g.
The front of the helicopter is designed to look like a real one, with a full window right at the front and side panels to bout, with the side panels on this one being a lovely red colour, although it does come in other colours, such as yellow and black.
The construction of the chopper itself is 99% very good, with the blades being made of a tough plastic, which is both lightweight and flexible, and allowing it to take a bit of a battering. In fact I was expecting these blades to be the first to break, considering that they sell spare blades for such accidents, but I was wrong on that then as these blades can take some hammering, believe me.
The body of the chopper is made of thin, yet very sturdy metal and plastic, which give it a good strength whilst remaining light enough to fly around, with the rest of the chopper being made of thick wire strips that keep it all together.
There are four blades on the chopper, two directly above the body with the other two slightly higher. Then there's the 'counter balance' directly above them, which help give the chopper a bit of stability.
Inside the chopper is the brains of the machine, the brains that manage to help fly the chopper with fine control, this is what they call the 'GyroScope', which is quite a good name for it isn't it.
When the chopper is switched on there is a tiny little blue light on the front under body which, when the power is running low, starts to blink to let you know that it needs charging. The other inclination that it need charging is that it just won't get the height it should do and keep dropping to the ground no matter how much throttle you give it.
* What about charging..?
Charging it is simple, you plug the smaller end into the body of the helicopter then you plug the USB cable end into either you home PC or the USB slot which is on the remote control itself, this is hidden behind a sliding section which is below the on/off switch. But both ways take about 40 minutes to fully charge the helicopter.
You do have to remember to switch the helicopter off whilst it is charging other wise it won't charge, you can tell if it is charging as the light on the USB end isn't lit up, but when the helicopter is charged the USB cable end lights up a lovely colour of red.
The little on/off switch on the helicopter is a bit hard to see at first as it is so small and more or less the same colour as the body of the mini beast itself, but once you know where it is you don't forget.
Firstly the controller itself does need four AA batteries to get its power, but these do seem to last for quite some time, even if you use them to charge the choppers built-in battery.
Controlling the helicopter can take a bit of getting used to, especially the lift and drop as the ceilings do tend to be a bit low when I try to take off sometimes, if you know what I mean.
The controller has two joystick controls so that it saves on any confusion, thus, less having to look at the control box, allowing you to concentrate on the flying itself. The left control pushes forwards, which give the chopper power and lift, then if you pull it backwards the power drops and so does the choppers, the art here is keeping the left control moving slightly back and forth so that the chopper stays at a nice level.
Then the right side control will turn the chopper if you push left or right, then pushing it forwards will make the chopper dip slightly at the front sending it lurching forwards. Pull the joystick back and the choppers front pulls back upwards and making it reverse, in a way.
* My Opinion...
As I said I love remote control devices, especially helicopters as I find them more fun when I'm chasing my dog around the house with them, (gives him some exercise without going out in the rain), and this little beauty was no exception, especially with it's in house miniature size.
Once I'd got the hang of the controls I was away, well, that was until the top blade sections two little plastic bits broke and made the helicopter spin around like a paper hat in a wind tunnel.
That was annoying and as I could see what the problem was I was determined to fix it, but as I said a problem like this should not happen as the makers of such devices should think about where the likely impact would be. In this case the top rotor blades and the bottom landing tracks, so why put a crappy bit of a plastic 'bobble' on a section that would be taking most of the impact as it flew around and bumped into things. I mean, even now, with lots of practice and near perfect flying, I'm still bouncing it off walls, ceiling and the dogs backside, (kidding) so the top blades are having to take a bit of a battering.
The rest of the chopper is still as solid as ever, continuing to keep it's original shape, even though it has had many collisions.
The other downside to this helicopter, which really does let it down almost as much as the shoddy plastic breakable bits, is the rather disappointing flying time you get with a full charge. Around 8 minutes at the most, and that's if you're only flying up and down, but if you start to fly around then the flying time really drops to around five minutes.
So you're talking 5 to 8 minutes of flying time after waiting around forty minutes to get a full charge is pretty weak, especially with technology these days. I'm sure there could be a way of getting a battery inside the helicopter that could hold a charge for more than twenty minutes, or even a way of swapping a battery so that when the internal battery runs down you could put in a freshly charged one and carry on flying.
But no, all you get is 8 minutes of fun after 40 minutes of waiting.
These days I still fly this little chopper around, usually when my youngest want to have a go of it as she seems to have inherited my fascination for remote control vehicles, but after the initial fun I find that now I just can not be bothered waiting for it to charge up just for a few minutes of test flying.
Anyway, as for the price. Well what would you expect to pay for an elegant piece of flight engineering, especially if you didn't know about the slight design flaws?
£50..? £60..? Maybe more?
No, you're way to high. You can actually get this helicopter for around the £20.00 region, which would be a cracking bargain indeed, if you don't mind spending £20 on something that spends most of its time charging up, and that's if the top rotor blade manages to stay in position in the first place.
Would I buy this again... absolutely not, due to the fact that I'm guessing that they are all made the same and will therefore all stop flying at the end of the day, which defeats the purpose of a remote control flying helicopter
As for the two stars I have given it, well, I ummed and arred between one and two stars but decided on two due to the fact that when it does fly it is fun to use.
My oldest son was desperate for a remote controlled helicopter for his ninth birthday, after spotting one in action at a gadget shop. I studied reviews online and this model, the Syma S107, was the one which consistently had the highest ratings and seemed to be the best of its kind.
I was pleasantly surprised by the relatively low price tag for such a popular toy. I paid just under £20 from Amazon back in September but the price fluctuates regularly and I have since spotted this for less than £15. At anywhere near the £20 mark, this is well worth the money. In fact, I have since ordered another one for a Christmas present for another young family member and quite happily paid £25 for it, as I know just how well this will be received.
I had never seen this RC helicopter in the flesh before ordering online and when it arrived through the post I was a little worried that I'd chosen the wrong kind. It is a pretty tiny model helicopter and my first impressions were that it was pretty flimsy and wouldn't last five minutes with my heavy-handed kids. Once I'd removed it from its packaging, I was even more worried as it looked as though the helicopter was damaged as the propellors were dangling about limply as though they had been crushed in transit! The exterior looks like a strange assortment of plastic and meccano and it didn't look like it would make it into the air.
My husband reassured me that this was all part of the design. The propellors are designed to hang loose until the helicopter is airborne and the whole thing is actually far more robust and resilient than its fragile appearance would suggest. In flight, this looks pretty impressive and is a lot of fun to watch - especially with the flashing light on the front of the helicopter which makes this look like a much more expensive toy than it actually is.
If giving this as a gift, it is important to have it ready charged as this takes at least 40 minutes to charge prior to each use. I actually find it to take closer to a full hour although I also find that the usage time is also slightly longer than the advertised six-eight minutes of actual playing time. Our experience has been that this charges in around 50-55 minutes and offers around ten minutes of flying time per charge.
One of the clever features of this toy helicopter is that it comes complete with a USB charging lead, meaning that it can be charged via a PC or laptop. Alternatively, the helicopter can be charged up using the actual controller that comes with it, although that method does mean that it will eat into the six AA batteries it uses (which aren't supplied.)
The charging lead supplied does appear a little flimsy and the tiny little USB attachment doesn't always seem securely attached to my laptop, in all honesty. It can also be difficult to tell from the light whether this is actually in the process of charging properly or whether it has charged completely. This is one of the areas where the build quality seems a little poor. Fortunately, this is not reflected in the quality and performance of the toy itself.
The other initial disappointment is the quality of the instructions included. They are littered with basic spelling mistakes and grammatical errors and have clearly been written by somebody for whom English is not their first language. They certainly haven't even been proof-read by anybody who can speak fluent English either, with the result being a Pigeon-English version which didn't instill me with confidence about the quality of the toy. Fortunately, we were able to decipher the instructions and get the gist of what we needed to do but they certainly do give a poor impression.
Ease of Use
Whilst the helicopter is incredibly responsive and the remote control is pretty simple, it does take a few attempts to get to grips with the amount of pressure needed to operate the levers, particularly as the instructions are so badly written. There are two main levers; one controls the height and the other controls the direction. There is also a small dial which may need to be adjusted occasionally to ensure that the helicopter responds appropriately.
The helicopter can be directed easily (once you've mastered the controls) and can be moved not only left and right but also up and down, forwards and reverse and in a circular motion. It can even be made to hover at a certain height and then change direction when the player chooses which is quite fun to watch and master.
The hardest things to master initially are the take off and landing. The take off needs to be done quite confidently by pressing firmly on the upwards lever, otherwise the helicopter will just 'bunny hop' across the floor! I find that new players tend to panic a little once the helicopter is in the air and instinctively release the forwards lever. This leads to a rather unexpected and jerky landing! You do need to remember to release the levers slowly and steadily to have a smooth flight and safe landing.
Despite its fragile appearance and the shoddy instruction leaflet, the helicopter itself is surprisingly robust and resilient - although it would be easy to break through over-confidence or foolhardy moves! (My other half tends to be particularly reckless when he is in control and has even managed to get this caught up in my long hair!!)
Our helicopter has survived a fair few crashes with various things including the sofa, light shades, walls and doors. We always have a few anxious seconds but, as yet, have not damaged the propellors or any other part of this mini helicopter. For the price paid, I think this is pretty good going as this has been played with on a regular basis since September.
This is a toy designed solely for indoor use, as the infra-red control will only accurately perform indoors. I would be reluctant to test this outdoors anyway, as it could easily be carried far away by eager controllers or simply by the force of a strong wind!
There are mixed messages about the age suitability of this toy, certainly on different Amazon listings where this is described as being suitable for ages eight plus, which is why I believed it to be a suitable gift for a ninth birthday. The packaging, however, described this as being recommended for ages fourteen and over which is a little confusing for purchasers.
Based on our experience, I would say this is best suited for children over ten years old, but with considerable adut assistance, certainly before and during the first use. This isn't a toy that an eight year old would be able to control immediately without any guidance and could easily be broken if mishandled, so adult help is a must. Even then, the adult themselves needs to be pretty even handed. After the initial instruction, my nine year old has mastered this very well and is able to control it with surprising precision and accuracy. I certainly wouldn't let my four year old have a go, however!
At the upper end of the scale, this really is a toy that would appeal to 'big boys'! My husband's suggestion that we buy another one as a spare 'just in case', was a thinly disguided request for his own toy. In fact, he probably plays with this more now than my son actually does, particularly now that the initial novelty has worn off, having owned this for a few months now.
This is a fun and well made toy helicopter. The charge time per use is quite high, certainly in comparison to the amount of play per charge but that helps to maintain its appeal as the player rarely gets bored of this before the charge runs out - even a nine year old with a limited attention span.
This is a toy that spans the generations too and is something that older children can play along with their parents. I'm also pleased by the helicopter's proven durability. Having now purchased two of these little helicopters, I'm more than happy to recommend these as gifts for young and old alike.