12 July 2015

REVIEW: Revell Control X-Spy WiFi Quadcopter

The spy who filmed me.

Back once more with another fun radio-controlled helicopter from our German chums at Revell, this one also features a camera - but with a twist. Instead of perpetually bothering the neighbours with crashes and near misses on their poor dog, we set out into the wilderness to test the Revell Control X-Spy WiFi Quadcopter.

Here we have a micro-copter measuring around 10-12cm across, just like our previously reviewed effort from Revell, the Spot. Also like the Spot, the X-Spy features a camera and can give you around six or seven minutes of flight before giving up the ghost. But, unlike the Spot, if you look very closely you'll notice that the X-Spy does not include an SD card slot for that camera, because this baby can live-stream via WiFi.

By simply downloading the X-Spy app onto your Android or Apple phone, you can live-view whatever that tiny camera on the chopper can see, and then record it directly onto the device. This means you can see a first-person-view while flying around, and also don't have to worry about losing your footage on the card should you lose the quad. Sounds good.

This is the first FPV vehicle we've tested since the Hubsan Spyhawk RC Plane last year, but here your phone is used as the viewer, not an expensive controller with built-in screen. You attach your phone to the cradle on the X-Spy's remote (and it's just a phone here, as tablets are way too big to fit in there - we just managed to squeeze in a Galaxy Note 3) so as you fly, you can see where you are. Here's an example of the footage:

Sure, not massively impressive, is it? Then again, it isn't bad, and this was a recording of a live stream via WiFi, and as the name suggests the X-Spy isn't built to film, rather 'spy'. Watching the stream on your phone while flying makes more sense than recording it, as it makes it possible to go places you might not normally want to with a quadcopter of this size and ability. Flying around trees, over hills and buildings is all possible with this - as long as you don't fly too far away.

Handling the X-Spy was a dream, and we think this is by far the best handling chopper we've yet seen from Revell. Straight out of the box it flew very well, but should you need it, there are the standard trim adjustment buttons on the controller, as well as three sensitivity settings. And yes, the highest setting allows you to perform a flip - which is what we did in the last part of the above video... and then crashed. Woohoo!

So although it might not be your first choice for aerial photography, the Revell X-Spy is actually a very good chopper for practicing FPV. We found it took a few flights to get used to being able to look away from the helicopter itself and concentrate on the live feed. Once we did we discovered it was much easier to fly more precisely and confidently, knowing we weren't about to hit anything. Like most Revell choppers, the X-Spy is a lot of fun, not intended to be taken too seriously, and a great way to practice flying the bigger choppers.


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