Performing Stunts With The Helix X4 Stunt Quadcopter

RC Helicopters are cool, but I’ve always thought quad-copters are even cooler. The use of four rotors makes them fast, stable, and easier to manipulate mid-air. Still, I never got around to buying one. Then the Air Hogs Helix X4 Stunt showed up in the mail. As one of Wal-Mart’s Top 20 Chosen by Kids, I was excited to dive right in.

Air Hogs Elite Helix X4

Usability and Control

With 4 ducted fans and gyro stabilization, the Helix X4 was really easy to get (and keep) in the air, even for a first-timer like myself. I’ve had a few RC helicopters and this was a lot more fun. While a helicopter requires constant attention in the air, the X4 was a little more self-sustaining and as a result, I crashed it far fewer times. The controls are easy to use and understand though not immediately intuitive. By this, I mean that you should always read the manual first. The thing that caught me off guard was how it isn’t ready to fly until it’s really ready. The X4 indicates via its lights when it is stable for launch and then you can get to the fun. The benefit is that it will always have a clean lift-off.

Features and Stunts

Other than the launch procedure, the lights on the front of this quad-copter will also flash orange if the battery is getting low and red when it’s time to land and re-charge. This is a step up from other quad-copters that just drop out of the sky when the batteries are done. Below is a list of other features of the Helix X4:

  • 2.4GHz radio control
  • Gyro stabilization
  • 4-ducted fans
  • 4-channel control
  • Incredibly crash-resistant materials
  • Superior durability
  • Charges from remote or using USB cable (included)
  • Did I mention stunts

Durability and Design

Let’s talk about the durability for a second. I’m super extra nervous-guy careful about my electronics, especially the ones that fly. The problem is, once it’s in the air, there’s not a lot you can do when it crashes. I’ve crashed my share of flying gadgets and much of my X4 flight time was in a cramped office, so I crashed this one even more. The difference this time is that the fans are protected by ducts as an extension of the quad-copter’s body.

The design, to me, is secondary, but also wasn’t lacking. There’s really not a lot of room to make one quad-copter look substantially better than others in it’s class, but the right colors and a little aerodynamics make all the difference.

The controller had a good weight to it and felt right in my hands. It also had features I liked such as the smooth stick control and right-hand placement of the stunt button and control as well as the handle, which was a nice touch. Unfortunately, the few fake controls that are built onto the controller but don’t do anything seemed out of place and the batteries didn’t seem to stay put very securely – although neither impeded performance in any way.

Helix X4 Stunt Video

With anything as fun as this, I try to include a little video with the review, so here you go!

Conclusions

With the suggested price of $79.99, the Helix X4 Stunt is might be a little more spendy than some of the lesser quad-copters, but it has the features to back it up. If you have limited skills and want to wow friends with some stunts, wrap your hands around one of these and you’ll be set.

Swann Micro Hornet RC Helicopter Review

I’ve had a lot of fun reviewing RC toys in the past, and the Swann Micro Hornet R/C helicopter I received was no exception. From what’s in the box to price to how easy it is to fly, I’ll introduce you to one of my newest toys in this review.

Hornet RC Helicopter
(view all photos)

In The Box

When I opened up the packaging, I found the Micro Hornet, a remote control unit, a spare set of main rotor blades, and a screwdriver to open up the battery compartment on the remote control. I like when the manufacturer includes that little screwdriver. It’s just enough to get the job done and I hate getting all excited about a toy, opening it up, and then having to hunt around for tools first. The helicopter came fully assembled and just needed a quick charge (about 30 minutes) to get up in the air. These small indoor helicopters charge pretty quickly but only give you about five to eight minutes of flying time on a charge. For anything else, that might be a problem, but for a beginner toy like this, five minutes is just about enough time for a little practice session. Also in the box was a USB charging cable so you don’t have to use up the batteries in the controller between flights and, of course, the user’s manual.

How To Fly The Hornet

If you’ve never flown an R/C helicopter before, the idea of it can be a bit menacing, even for an easy one like this. Unlike R/C cars, you’re in the air, untethered. If you mess up, it could crash to the ground, smashing into bits. That’s what I thought, anyway. When I got it in the air, it wasn’t long before it came back down, a few times, but took no damage at all. This durable little helicopter took a few falls from me. It was also easier to maneuver than other R/C choppers I piloted. Like every helicopter I’ve flown, steering is the easy part and the hard part is applying just the right amount of finesse to the controls to keep from hitting the ceiling without plummeting to the ground. It only took a few practices to get that down, though. The controls on this were more complicated than other R/C helicopters, offering movement in six directions: up, down, forward, backward, left, right. The additional control took a little longer to get comfortable with, but ultimately made smooth flight easier to accomplish.

Specifications

Rotor Diameter – 4.5″ / 115mm
Dimensions – 5.5″ x 4.5″ x 2.75″ (Including rotors)
Weight – 0.53 oz / 15g (Helicoptor only)
Helicopter Battery – Built-in 3.7V 130mAh Li-poly
Remote Control – Infrared
Remote Control Batteries – 6 x AA

Conclusions

Priced around $35-$50, the Swann Micro Hornet is a great entry level R/C helicopter for anyone who has ever wanted to try flying one. It’s tiny enough to fly in a small room comfortably but offers all the controls to get smooth flying down to an art. You’ll need to pick up a 6 pack of batteries before you can have any fun, though. This helicopter is priced higher than the last one I reviewed, but seemed a bit more durable and includes more advanced controls. If you don’t mind paying a little more, you’ll get what you pay for with the Micro Hornet.

S107G Mini Gyro R/C Helicopter Review

Everyone loves toys. Better still, toys that are remote controlled. Even better still, flying R/C toys. Still just a big kid, I was excited to put the S107G Mini Gyro R/C Helicopter from XenonProject.com to the test.

S107G RC Helicopter

The S107G came in a long box which included the helicopter, remote control, USB charging cable, and a manual. The six AA batteries required for the remote control were not provided but easy enough to come up with. The helicopter came pre-charged and ready for flight. After using up the 6-7 minutes of flying time, I had to fully charge it for about an hour before getting to play again. The flying time was a little less than a helicopter I previously reviewed and the charging time was about the same. This helicopter is also much more sturdy, making it more comfortable to crash. The controller felt much lighter than expected, perhaps even a little cheap. It even has a 3-position labeled switch that only really has two positions to set it to. This, however, was of little concern to me as it worked fine and the helicopter is the piece that stands to take all the abuse, not the controller.

Learning To Fly

Even though the manual has some decent instructions on how to fly an R/C helicopter, it is definitely an acquired skill. As you may be able to tell from the video below, it can start out rough, but gets better with practice. The S107G was surprisingly easier to control and priced lower than the other R/C helicopter I own. Although the flight time is a little less, I got more out of it because less of it was crashing time.

In the video, I practiced turning and landing, even crash-landing the S107G in a 10×10 inch box. Watch the video to get a better feel for the experience.

Conclusions

$24.99 (web price) for the S107G feels like a steal for a nice starter R/C helicopter, making it a great gift for kids big and small. In fact, XenonProject has a lot of comfortably-priced R/C toys on the site. For a good helicopter at a good price this is an easy win.