You can use your phone for ever such a lot of things, but we bet you’ll not find anything which is as much fun as flying your very own remote controlled helicopter. Well, actually when we say fly, what we really mean is lurch around trying desperately not to hit pieces of furniture or crash through nearby windows.
The Lightspeed i-Helicopter is a brilliant little boy’s toy which we predict will be top of this year’s stocking filler list. It’s cheap, cheerful and more fun than a bucket full of fried chicken with smoky barbecue sauce on top. The little chopper comes ready assembled, and all you need to do is charge up the small infrared transmitter (which plugs into the headphone jack of your phone) and then charge the helicopter itself. Each takes around 30 minutes.
You’ll then need to pop along to your phone’s app store to download the Copter Controller app (Apple or Android) and you’re ready to go.
Plug the transmitter into the phone, start up the app and switch on the chopper. Wait a few seconds for the thing to sync up and then slide the power slider up slowly and….crash! Yep, these things take a good bit of practice to master, so don’t expect to get it out the box and do stunts in a couple of hours. You’ll spend a good few days bumping and smashing your way round a room before you get the hang of the controls and sensitivity, but like everything once you’re there you’ll be chuffed as punch.
The big surprise is how resilient the little beggars are. They’ll take a massive amount of mistreatment without a murmur, although be careful to power the motor down immediately each time you crash to prevent burn out. Apart from that, once you’ve mastered the basics it’s time for more advanced tricks, and if you set the controls to phone tilt, you’ll be able to steer by tilting your phone up and down, crazy.
Each charge of the battery lasts around 7 or 8 minutes, and you soon get used to the waiting time in between while charging. It would be nicer to have a larger battery and more run time, but then again this is a really low priced toy, so it’s to be expected. This sort of thing was double the price at least just a year ago.