RC helicopter with an integrated video camera
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The Swann Sky Eye RC Helicopter uses Gyro technology to make it easier to control and has a trim control for left and right movement on the remote. The helicopter charges from an AC outlet and has 6 to 8 min of flying time per charge and is designed for indoor use. It runs off six AA batteries in the remote and sells for $99.99.
I have played with Swann RC helicopters before and had a lot of fun with the devices. The Helicopter I'm looking at today is much larger than the ones I have used previously and it is called the Swann Sky Eye RC Helicopter. The big feature of this helicopter is the integrated camera on the front that is capable of shooting 320 x 240 pixel still shots or 640 x 480 video for up to 70 minutes.
I would say this helicopter is roughly twice the size of the small copters Swann has sent me to review before. Having a larger helicopter is cool, but you need more room to safely operate the Swann Sky Eye RC Helicopter. The other downside to this helicopter is that larger size means it has more power if you get hit by the blades it hurts a lot worse than it does with smaller copters.
The helicopter has a dual speed tail rotor, and honestly I didn't see the point of that feature since I didn't notice any difference in control between one speed are the other. I mentioned a minute ago that this helicopter has a lot of power compared to the smaller units I tested before. In fact, I let the helicopter get out of control once, it crashed into the corner of my kitchen wall and knocked out a chunk of plaster covering a corner seam, and left some dents in the wall.
The video camera mounted to the front of the helicopter is easy use and to shoot video or still photos you simply press the appropriate button on the bottom right side of the controller. There's a toggle switch on the top left corner that turns the Gyro stabilizer on or off. I noticed very little difference in the controllability of the Swann Sky Eye RC Helicopter with that Gyro on or off.
There is a trim control that allows you to prevent the helicopter rotating to the left or right uncontrollably. However, there is no trim control for forward or backwards movement. In my testing, my review unit always tended to move backwards when it was hovering rather than remaining completely still as I wanted it to. That meant I ended up crashing into a lot of things as soon as I took off and it required constant control correction to maintain slow speed flight in the direction I wanted. The battery lasted about 6 minutes in my testing with little use of the video camera. You can shoot video out your computer using an included USB cable. As you might expect, the low-resolution video and still shots can get grainy depending on lighting.
The Swann Sky Eye RC Helicopter has some control challenges, at least on my test unit. You need to beware of running into walls or anything fragile, but when it works the helicopter is fun to play with.
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