Disclosure. This post is a review of a product I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.
The boys have really enjoyed playing with childrens’ basic remote control car toys in the past, but now that they are older, these only get played with very occasionally, mostly sitting neglected on the shelf, whilst video games now dominate. So when Carrie from Syma Toys approached me to ask if I would be interested in reviewing one of their more sophisticated remote control vehicles which are aimed at all ages, also advising me that Syma products are designed to be as eco friendly as possible and are constructed to minimize material waste and ensure high quality, I immediately said yes. An ideal chance to get the boys outside and interested in something non-screen based.
I showed my younger son the pictures of the three choices on offer and he selected the remote control helicopter drone, which was sent via Amazon. Dispatch was very prompt and it was a good job that Syma had packaged the product well, as at some point during delivery, a hole had been torn through the Amazon box, which went right through the Syma cardboard too. I have no idea how that happened, but actions in the supply chain like that can be so frustrating for both the customer and the vendor, particularly small businesses like Syma.
Moving onto the product itself, the package contains the RC helicopter itself, the RC transmitter, along with a spare rechargeable battery for the helicopter, a USB charging cable, a spare tail blade, screwdriver and instruction manual. I’m unsure why a spare tail blade is included as standard, but other spare parts can be purchased via the Syma website. And if you prefer visual instructions, videos are available to view. I knew in advance that I would need to provide batteries for the remote control transmitter, so I purchased those at the same time. Amazon indicates that you need 6 AA batteries, but actually it is only 4. However I’m pretty sure most customers would prefer for the batteries to be included too. Maybe something Syma could consider in the future.
The instructions indicated a 150 minute duration for a full battery charge, which should give about 7 minutes flight time, so I set to with that as the first activity, getting both batteries charged up. It is easy to know when they are ready as the charger changes from red to blue light. Always best to stop charging at that point, as over-charging would degrade the life of a battery.
We don’t have space inside our home for flying it, so we had to wait for a wind-free day to fly outside. The instructions advise wind conditions of Force 1 or less. Finally we were good to go. My younger son and I had both read the instructions and watched the videos to make sure we knew what we needed to do. It all sounded reasonably straight-forward but this was where things started to go awry. We couldn’t seem to get the helicopter and transmitter to pair together, even though we following the correct logic sequence of plugging the power lead from the battery into the helicopter, swtiching on so the helicopter light started flashing. Then switching on the transmitter, so it started flashing too, pushing the left joystick up, then pressing back down. At this point both devices should have a constant light, but we were only achieving that on the transmitter, whilst the helicopter light was continuing to flash.
But Syma customer service to the rescue. We sent them a video showing how we couldn’t seem to pair the helicopter and transmitter and they sent us another. So 5 stars for helpful support. This time we were in business. A piece of cake to easily pair the two this time. And even more of a bonus, it arrived on a beautifully sunny calm day. Ideal flying conditions.
Our first flights were in the garden, but with an inexperienced pilot at the controls, we soon realised the lack of space, between walls, fences and other obstacles, with a few minor crashes. So we decided to drive to somewhere with a big open space. We opted for a large meadow, but another difficulty became apparent. It is not so easy to take off in long grass. And an even more challenging problem, was locating it when it landed at a distance away. Also we were slightly worried that it was going to fly off on its own, as my son said it wasn’t always responding to his joystick directions. The instructions do indicate that the operating range is 30m.
So in hindsight, when learning to fly, it would probably be best to start in a large indoor area, if you have access to somewhere like a church hall or scout hut. And failing that, a large open outdoor space with easier terrain like tarmac or paved. However, all told my son had a bundle of fun and will certainly be practising his flying technique. Otherwise we may be checking out their spare parts store sooner than anticipated.
This helicopter is the deluxe top of the range S37 raptor model which currently retails on Amazon for just under £120, so excellent as a gift or special treat to yourself. Syma also sell much cheaper budget aircraft. This toy appeals to children and adults alike, although children aged under 8 will require adult supervision. Plenty of fun to play with.
And I have an offer to pass on to my readers – 5% off at Amazon with discount code: NZOJLDUU.
Do take a look at the Syma store. If you prefer you may purchase directly from them rather than via Amazon. They also sell some great looking camera drones, boats and tanks.
Regular followers of my blog will know that I always check out the sustainability angle of products, so this is what I found out on their website. The majority of their product lines are ethically made in China. Symatoys products are designed to be as eco friendly as possible and are constructed to minimize material waste and ensure high quality – exactly what Carrie told me.
And from the circular economy viewpoint I discovered they have a Reuse Program where they will send you free RC products which they cannot sell due to open packaging, to avoid plastic pollution of the warehouse wastefully disposing of them. An excellent idea in my opinion.
I also read that you may apply for an extra free battery to enjoy a longer flight time. A very kind offer. Plus once you register the product for 2 year warranty, most spare parts will be free of charge.
So to summarise, a great fun product and excellent customer service.
I’d love to hear about your favourite remote control toy.