I was asked to put a banner ad on my site (which I wouldn’t do for something unrelated to the subject matter of this blog) or review a remote control toy sold by xenonproject.com. I don’t normally respond when someone asks for posting content of something that’s off topic from this blog. But I’ve been wanting to try a remote control helicopter for a few years now. I chose to review the S107G Mini Gyro 3 Channel Helicopter by Syma, which they sent to me free of charge for this review. I hope this one time you’ll allow me to take a rare departure from the main objective of this blog, Christianity, and have some fun in a different way. If you are coming here from a Google search and want to see what Christianity is about, please see Christianity Explored and feel free to explore this site.
This helicopter is the smallest in their line and is made for indoor use only. Even being too close to a slight breeze from a fan or a furnace register can throw it off. The cost is $25 plus shipping, which is inexpensive, but as you’ll see, it’s not cheap. It’s 5 inches long, 2 inches wide and three inches high but seems much bigger, probably because of the blades.
The flying time is about 6 minutes which could be seen as a plus or minus. The rechargeable battery (included within the helicopter but is replaceable) needs to be small because of how small the helicopter is, which also keeps it affordable. This makes it good for taking breaks when working in your home office, having fun with the kids or just learning how to fly yourself. Time isn’t wasted playing video games for hours on end. The helicopter is recharged via USB on your computer and takes a maximum of 30 minutes. There is a red light in the USB connector that turns on when the recharging is complete.
There are only two negatives I can find with this product. The remote control uses six AA batteries, which is an awkward number for those of us who use rechargeable batteries, in addition to being of a lot of batteries, especially since they’re not included.
The other is aesthetics. The plastic gears and metal sides of the helicopter are visible. It would be nice to have a panel covering them, but again this would add weight, reduce flying time and increase cost, so I’m certainly willing to live with that. You will see this in the photographs I shot below.
On to the good stuff. Flying this is great. Once I learned that the up lever on the remote needs to be turned up harder than I would have thought to get it up and flying, it’s fairly easy to get it going. That doesn’t mean you will be able to do figure eights in a day but you’ll be taking off and landing, hopefully without crashing much or at all. Start out slow.
This is a 3 channel helicopter which includes left/right, up/down, hovering and landing movements. It can spin around while hovering and move up or down while turning at the same time, with smooth, stepless controls on the remote–up/down only with the left lever and 360 degrees motion with varying speeds (distance from center to outer edge) with the right lever. There is also a button to turn if the helicopter wants to turn either to the right or to the left (after crashing?) so it’s possible to have it fly in place without moving at all, which enabled me to take those pictures while it’s flying–one hand holding the remote and the other hand holding the camera using autofocus and flash bounced off the ceiling.
Flying is something that takes a lot of practice, which is part of what makes it fun. I try to improve one notch each time I fly it. As a person who struggles with chronic depression, one of the rules learned right away is to do something fun every day. This can be one of those things. The improvement in learning how to fly it better each day makes it something to look forward to. The video shown below is something I aspire to and will take quite a bit of practice to be able to master. The most difficult part is when the helicopter is facing you–the remote control stick needs to be moved to the right to move the helicopter to your left (its right).
Regarding crashing–I don’t want to overstate this, but I’ve had some bad crashes and it has come out just fine. The reason I’m hesitant to overemphasize this is because an important part could very well break at any time, for all I know. I just want to be careful in what I say. Fortunately they have 18 replacement parts for virtually the whole thing. But its durability is very impressive, probably due to the metal body, quality construction and light weight. Edit: From what I’ve read, the rear rotor might be the most fragile. You can find it for about $5 including shipping.
Here are some pictures taken while flying it in our living room. There is a light on the under side of the front of the helicopter that flashes between red and blue when it’s turned on. You can see this best in the video they provide at their site at the bottom of this page.
The little square you see in the metal just below the yellow part on the side of the helicopter is the proprietary USB outlet. You can see the light in the front is blue here. In the second picture you can see a very small ON/OFF switch in the same spot on the other side and the light in the front is red. Click on a picture to see a larger one.
I had the opportunity to email customer support and they were very friendly and helpful.
I would highly recommend this helicopter. I would like to look in on some of the enthusiasts out there and see what types of maneuvers I can work on. I’ll try not to look at the higher end helicopters which can have cameras mounted on them. Maybe someday.
If this is too small or the wrong color or the wrong vehicle for your tastes, there are a slew of other options at their site.
Note: I suggest buying these from a reputable dealer like xenonproject.com because there are fakes out there including some sold through Amazon who is selling fakes sold by Planet Stuff. Be sure you know you’re buying the genuine Syma because from what I’ve read, it makes a big difference.