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| October 18, 2011
Hands-On With The iW500 Wall Climbing Car
Released last month, the iW500 is a mini RC car that feels just as at home on the walls and ceiling as it does on the floor. We were able to take this gravity-defying speedster for a test drive and would like to share how much of this car's unique capability is truly eye-popping. The company's description certainly seems simple enough to understand, but everyone has their skepticism about advertised features.
It works by using the opposite principle of the hovercraft and creates a sealed vacuum between itself and the wall or ceiling. This allows the car to do amazing stunts. Just flip the switch, place the car on a wall, and you can drive up, down, left and right without falling off. You can also drive on the underside of tables and ceilings if the surface is smooth enough.I'm happy to report the iW500 is certainly capable of driving on walls, ceilings, and many other flat surfaces. Before I continue with more in-depth reflections, here are the overall features of the iW500: • RC car with the ability to drive on walls, ceilings, table undersides, and more • Controlled from your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch using a free iOS app • Available in two colors: blue and silver or red and silver • Working tail and headlights, including appropriate operation while turning • Remote configurable with one of three different channels - This allows up to three iW500s to be used in close proximity simultaneously Designed with a unique propulsion system, the iW500 has both nifty advantages and unfortunate disadvantages. The system consists of a center mounted vacuum and two small rubber wheels tucked behind the standard wheels, which are purely cosmetic. Even though movement always requires the vacuum, the iW500 has a very reasonable top speed and maneuverability, although, its reliability is highly dependent on the surface it's driving on. The race course doesn't need to be glass, but any significant surface changes will result in unpredictable and likely undesirable behavior. We tested it just fine on flat and glossy painted walls and ceilings, cement, tile, and glass with no issues. When used on textured walls and weathered sidewalks, we did experience troubles going in some directions. In regard to other expectations, we can confirm at least an eight minute runtime and about 30 minutes to complete a full charge. Play time does depend on the operational mode. The three mode switch includes fully off, on with vacuum off, and on with vacuum on. The difference is whether or not the vacuum runs continuously, required if you drive on walls, or if the vacuum only activates when the car is in motion. Both of iHelicopters.net RC offerings are controlled by the iSpace-Weccan iOS app. For the iW500, the app provides two control options, start / stop button, and a record path functionality. Overall, the iW500 is a fun toy with a unique capability that makes it stand out from other choices in the RC car category. The $60 price tag seems a little high for something that does have a bit of a fragile feel to it and requires the user to be constrained to specific environments. However, the right conditions would make it a gadget to show off and make for a very unique racing experience. The iW500 app-controlled wall climbing car is available for $59.95, plus applicable taxes and shipping fees. The iSpace-Weccan app is designed for iPhone and iPod touch running iOS 4.0 or later, and available in the App Store as a free download.