Product Type: Syma toys
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Come Fly With Me!
Syma S107 Helicopter
Member Name: jo1976
Syma S107 Helicopter
Date: 26/12/11, updated on 21/04/12 (44 review reads)
Advantages: Inexpensive, fun to use, very responsive, surpisingly resilient, charged via remote
Disadvantages: Charging time compared to play time, poorly written instructions and flimsy usb lead
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.
Summary: A recommended remote control helicopter