11 January 2015

REVIEW: Flying Gadgets T40c & Revell Big One Next RC Helicopters

 Chopper wars!

Here at The Test Pit we're very used to get getting the occasional delivery of fun flying gadgets that come in all shapes and sizes. But recently we had two RC choppers plonk onto our doorstep at the same time; both of which look... well, pretty similar. And so we decided to test the helicopters, one from Flying Gadgets and one from good ol' Revell, at the same time to see how they fared. It's chopper wars! Three, two, one... activate!

One thing to point out about the T40c and the oddly named Big One Next (seriously Revell, what the eff?) is that they are not exactly the same model of RC chopper. However, both fit into a fairly new category of remote controlled helicopter which features other relatively large gyrocopters (i.e. not quadcopters) which weigh in at around £100 and can up to a metre in length. Essentially they are much larger versions of what many people might already own (such as this and this).

First up, the Flying Gadgets T40c. The slightly more expensive of the two, the T40c is also the longest and stands out as it features an onboard camera. But before you cheer and automatically got out to purchase this one, the camera in question is the exact same model as the one on the tiny Revell Argus, which is okay, but not great. Certainly you won't be winning any BAFTAs with the footage you capture, but it is still fun.

Another stand-out quality the Flying Gadget T40c helicopter has is the way it steers. The rear rotor on this chopper doesn't do anything; it merely floats around in the breeze, unconnected to any motor or electronics. Forward and backward movement, which is normally handled by an upward-facing rear rotor, is controlled by way of a servo connected to the lower pair of main rotor blades. Similar to the servos on the Spyhawk FPV RC Plane, it alters the angle of the spinning blades, creating forward or backward motion. In use it seemed to work just as well as the standard system we're used to, but it does leave the tail appearing a tad useless.

The Revel Big One Next (seriously, what does it even mean?) is the big one next to be looked at (tee hee). Appearing as a giant version of its aforementioned little cousin the Argus, the Big One Next doesn't have a camera and uses the rear rotor to create forward and backward movement. It is the slightly cheaper of the two however, and in the couple of weeks that we've had it, the price has already dropped on sites like Amazon.

One thing the Big One Next does have is lights. Whereas the T40c had just the one bright LED in the nose, the Revell chopper has the same but also a line of lights running along each side. The lights are bright enough to be seen in the day and we found that they really helped to locate the helicopter when pushing the limits of the 2.4GHz controller's 100 metre range. Apart from that, the included controller is very similar to the Flying Gadgets unit in that it is light, very plastic, and adored with stickers.

So, when flying them together, what did we think? In a straight race the Revell chopper took the prize, and in fact in most aerial acrobatics it came out the winner. It is slightly smaller and lighter however, and that reduced profile means it gets caught by the wind that little bit less. We assume the quicker responsiveness of the Big One Next is also down to that rear rotor blade, but it's hard to judge considering the differences in weight and design.

By contrast the Flying Gadgets T40c is one of the steadiest choppers we've ever flown. Hovering with it is a real treat and there is hardly any of the shake you might normally associate with RC vehicles of this type. Perhaps the weight helps with this a lot, but whatever it is that kept the T40c so steady, the footage we captured with the onboard camera certainly benefitted from it.

So which one should you buy? To be honest, it all depends on what you plan to do with it. If you're after just plain fun, terrifying your work mates as you fly an unusually large RC helicopter at their heads in the office and capturing their expressions on a little camera, go for the Flying Gadgets T40c. If you're more of a serious RC enthusiast who wants to hone and perfect your flying expertise, perhaps the Revell Big One Next is for you. Either way, both of these choppers represent a pretty good investment and we've had buckets of fun with them.

Flying Gadgets T40c - £109.00 from www.menkind.co.uk

Revell Big One Next  - around £80 from www.revell-shop.de

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