good toy R/C helicopter for $50 or less?

pctwo

Senior member
Oct 12, 2003
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I want to get my brother one for Xmas to fly around the house, just for fun. He's got a 1yo baby boy who will get a kick out of it too. Can you get a decent one for ~$50 or are those things junks?

thanks.
 

hanoverphist

Diamond Member
Dec 7, 2006
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i got a cool one at frys electronics for my son last year, damn thing was fast. was a learning curve on flying it tho, but not too bad. dont get the cheap ass ones for like 20-40 bucks tho, i paid 70 for the one i got. pretty sturdy too, and a bit larger than the air hogs that snap with a light breeze

http://www.frys.com/catreq/5092

theres their whole catalog of stuff.
 

pm

Elite Member Mobile Devices
Jan 25, 2000
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First for the sub-$40 heli's make sure you get a "3-channel". The number of channels gives you the number of control you have over it - like one channel is forward and backward, another channel is throttle and rotation and the third is usually right and left. Two channel helis are more or less junk - make sure you get a 3-channel.

For these cheap two helicopters, they fly one of two ways:
1. like anti-gravity devices that the first time you try it you go "wow" and when you let go of the control it just sits there in one spot and doesn't move and when you hit left it goes left and then when you let go it just stops and sits there. This feels a bit like magic.
2. like #1, except it's finicky and drifts around a bit and you really can never take your hands completely off of the controls and when you move left it goes left but when you let go it never really stops. This makes it really hard to control - it works, but it's always a bit out of control.

To get #1, you really need to pay >$70. Good models that exhibit #1 behavior are the Eflite Blade CX2, and the ESky CoCo Lama V3 (V4 isn't as good as V3). It really doesn't make a huge difference which ~$40 model you get, they all use more or less the same components and electronics. The Walkera Dragonfly is pretty ok.

If you pay ~$40, you'll get something more like #2. It flies and it flies ok, but they are always moving and they are tricky to fly - particularly to, for example, land on top of a small box or soemthing. If you just want to get up in the air and then fly around a bit and then land, then you'll be fine with #2 once you get the hang of it (and assuming you don't break it while you get the hang of it). They are fun, they aren't complete crap - they really do fly ok - but they are not a precision device in my experience. The best manufacturer of <$40 micro helis is Syma. The Syma Mini Shark and Mosquito are pretty good.

If you want to fly around and land on things and do things that require some level of precision then get an Eflite Blade CX2 or Eflite Blade MCX or a Coco Lama V3 or V4. The Eflite's will be around $100-120. The Coco Lama's will be $65-100.

I used my Coco Lama V3 a fair bit before I wore the batteries out. My kids and I would attach notes and then fly the helicopter out of their bedroom window on the second floor, out over the yard and onto my neighbors patio table where their son swapped notes and then I'd fly it back or one of the kids would, back into the bedroom again. One time I attached a mini wireless camera and flew it around the house while my kids watched on the laptop (it worked ok, but there was interference from the motor and it was a bit heavy for the heli so I had to take all of the plastic off of the heli to get it to fly...). One time I rigged a little flash paper cannon that shot a fire ball out of the front of the front (got the mini-flash paper launcher from theatereffects.com)
 
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hanoverphist

Diamond Member
Dec 7, 2006
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what model did you get?

http://www.frys.com/product/5321548?...H:MAIN_RSLT_PG

the one i got was like this one. they dont have the exact model i have, but this is close.there was even controls to correct spin, it was pretty in-depth to set up before we could fly it. but once set up, it was easy enough for my son to build a helipad on his dresser and fly it around the house hehe. the blades to hurt if they get ya at full speed tho, will cut ya.
 

pm

Elite Member Mobile Devices
Jan 25, 2000
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That one at Fry's looks like an Esky Coco Lama - looking through the plastic screen, the main controller looks the same (kinda hard to see, but it looks similar). The weight and battery specs match the Lama... and the outer plastic shell looks the same.

$55 is a great price
 
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hanoverphist

Diamond Member
Dec 7, 2006
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the one we have uses the same battery as a couple of our airsoft rifles too. bonus! :p
 

mmntech

Lifer
Sep 20, 2007
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If you want to fly around and land on things and do things that require some level of precision then get an Eflite Blade CX2 or Eflite Blade MCX or a Coco Lama V3 or V4. The Eflite's will be around $100-120. The Coco Lama's will be $65-100

The Blade CX2 is highly recommended as is any coaxial heli. You really do get what you pay for with these.

You could also check out the Walkera Lama V4 for $100. I have the it's bigger brother the Lama 400. Flies vary well.
http://www.helipal.com/lama-v4-2-4ghz-2009-special-edition.html
 

QueBert

Lifer
Jan 6, 2002
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pm - I know I could Google this but you seem to know so much I'll ask directly. mmntech posted a link to the Lama v4, you were talking about the 3 channel being a lot better than the 2. That V4 site is saying it's a 4 channel. I'm assuming 4 > 3 > 2, but is there a big difference? 99 bucks sounds about what I'd pay for one. I want a RC Heli, but I don't want a $19 POS or something uber expensive.
 

pm

Elite Member Mobile Devices
Jan 25, 2000
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4 channel is better than 3 channel - in at least as much as it offers more control over the helicopter. It's not a method of checking quality though - just how many controls you will have.

I would guess the 4th channel would be "rudder" control (ie. spin clockwise, counter-clockwise) but I thought this could be done with throttle on coax helis so I thought you only needed three channels.

If you get an Esky Lama, you'll be pleased I think. I only have experience with the Esky Lama V3 - and I heard the V4 wasn't as good (not the one that mmntech posted, there's a different V4 that looks more like the V3 that people weren't as pleased with). The link that mmntech posted looks very nice. I'm actually considering it myself.

Esky Lama's fly well, they are fairly easy to learn, they come with everything. They are not super robust - so if you crash into a wall or something and you are more than 3 feet off of the ground, you will likely smash the landing gear. And it's not too hard to break blades when you hit something. But start slow and take your time and don't go too high until you get the hang of it. They are pretty cool - almost a bit addictive. The Elite Blade CX2 Helis are even better - and a bit more robust - but you will be over $99 if you get one.
 
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pm

Elite Member Mobile Devices
Jan 25, 2000
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I would not want to stick my finger into the spinning blades of my coax heli. I doubt it would chop my finger off... but it would probably cut to the bone.

The smaller the helicopter is, the less likely they are to cause injury to people, animals or furniture... but I wouldn't let a small child play with any of the ones that I own. They are too delicate, and too dangerous.
 
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mmntech

Lifer
Sep 20, 2007
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I would not want to stick my finger into the spinning blades of my coax heli. I doubt it would chop my finger off... but it would probably cut to the bone.

The smaller they are, the less likely they are to cause injury to people, animals or furniture... but I wouldn't let a small child play with any of the ones that I own. They are too delicate, and too dangerous.

My Blade CP put a pretty deep slice in a thick cardboard box and it only has wooden blades. Just cracked the rotors at the tip too! RC helicopters are more dangerous than other "toys" because they can easily get away from you if you're inexperienced. I would go as far to say they aren't toys at all.

Remember that a heli is inherently unstable. Flying one is a precise balancing act. Nail it down in steps. Learn ground handling and hovering first before trying to actually fly it. They don't have the self correcting qualities that a plane has. Also fly it in a large open area away from small children or any furniture. I usually fly mine outside on my driveway when it's not windy or I'm not at a proper RC flying club.