Top positive review
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*EDIT - READ VALUE FOR MONEY SECTION* Robust, fun and child proof - tricky to master but worth the effor
on 1 December 2014
I bought for my son for his 6th birthday because I was fed up with the cheaper remote control cars he has had in the past being plagued with the problems of rubbish turning circles, poor battery life, flimsy construction leading to bits dropping off and poor range etc...
I decided to find something that was actually designed for kids to drop down steps, bash into skirting boards etc... so after quite a lot of research I adopted for this and overall we are very pleased with it. There's a longer, more in-depth review below but quick summary is; very robust, battery lasts for ages, fast and nimble but a bit tricky to get used to, overall great value for money.
This was the bit I was most concerned about, I knew before I bought it that the car doesn't have `normal' steering, i.e. the front axle is fixed and the wheels don't turn. Steering is accomplished by the car having two motors, one for each side, and directing power to one side or the other or both. The controller still has two control sticks but they both only go forward or backwards. Push them both forwards and the car goes forward, push them back and the car goes backwards. To go left you have to push the right stick more than the left stick and vice versa. This is basically how a tank works and does allow you to do some pretty cool manoeuvres such as on the post `donuts' which the kids seem to love but scares the dog for some reason. It also means the car had a brilliant turning circle and can navigate the most demanding of dining table and chair legs obstacle courses.
This manoeuvrability comes with a compromise though which is intuitive controls. Every other remote control car we have had has a standard controller layout, left stick makes you go forwards and backwards, right stick controls direction. Being six it took my son quite a while to get used to the controls, particularly the push left to go right mind trick you have to get through but he's made great progress with it and as long as you persevere the benefits of being quick steering and nimble far outweigh the learning curve.
Inside the car is fine, the big tyres get over pretty much everything. It's powered over rug ridges, ramps, down stairs (oops), over shoes and even the dog at one point. It does wheel spin a fair bit on wooden floors which is die to having powerful motors and `off road' style tyres rather than slicks like a lot of cars come with but this also allows you to pull great skids around the kitchen island. Outside in the garden it's handled out not too smooth lawn and various leaves, branches, gravel etc... with ease but we haven't tried it in water yet because he haven't had the opportunity, plus my son's a bit worried about losing his favourite toy in a pond! Apparently it can do snow as well but not had chance to test that. If we get a few inches this year I will pop back and update this review.
Overall very good indeed. The outer shell is very tough plastic and the body of the car itself seems like it's built like a tank. The car has already taken more than a fair share of drops, knocks and crashes and other than a couple of scratches it's absolutely fine. The battery is a bit fiddly to get in and out but that's partly due to the need to have a tight rubber seal so it is waterproof. The only issue we've had with the car itself is the antenna is simply a thin wire which is held in a rigid plastic sheath which keeps it held up. Because you have to thread this through the case when you change the battery the sheath has quickly become damaged and split meaning it just flops about if you yet it. I've remedied this with some insulation tape to hold the wire down on the shell and it's fine. At the opposite and of the antenna robustness spectrum is one on the controller which is brilliant, think, flexible and rubber - almost impossible to snap off unlike the flimsy telescopic kind that usually lasts all of five minutes.
My son usually plays with it for about 20-25 minutes and it shows no sign of slowing etc... he usually manages two or three goes before I have to put the battery back on charge. Quite impressive really. Batteries of course degrade over time and I expect the longevity will suffer eventually but I believe you can get spare batteries for this which is something I might consider so he can have one on charge which the other is in use.
Value for money
**EDIT** I BOUGHT THIS AT THE BEGINNING OF NOVEMBER 2014 WHEN THE PRICE WAS AROUND £35, THE REVIEW IS BASED ON THAT PRICE. I'VE JUST CHECKED BACK A FEW TIMES IN DECEMBER AND FOUND THE PRICE HAS BEEN CHANGED SEVERAL TIMES UP TO ALMOST £70 AT ONE POINT WHICH IS PRACTICALLY DOUBLE AND FRANKLY ETHICALLY QUESTIONABLE. THIS IS NOT A £70 TOY, £40 to £45 AT MOST, IF IT'S ADVERTISED FOR ANY MORE THAN THIS I SUGGEST YOU SHOP AROUND AND FIND IT SOMEWHERE ELSE AS IT IS AVAILABLE FROM SEVERAL OTHER ONLINE RETAILERS.
I honestly don't think you can fault this. It's not the cheapest available but it's my no means the most expensive by a long shot, and it just works. For general fun, robust and child proof car this is excellent.