by Tommy Ly
April 24, 2012
At this year's CES, Griffin Technology stepped up and announced the Helo TC Assault, a remote controlled helicopter that could be powered by both iOS and Android. If your office shenanigans weren't enough, you can use the Helo TC Assault to take your cubicle warfare to a whole new level. The Helo TC Assault features two main rotors, as well as a single tail rotor to get it off the ground. Unlike it's little brother, the Helo TC, the Helo TC Assault is capable of firing two missiles at anything that stands in its path. However, before you can do that, there are a few pre-flight preparations you must take care of. First, you must download the free Helo TC app, which has the controls for your helicopter. Then attach Griffin's Flight Deck (infrared transmitter) to your iDevice and you're good to go! Let's see what this baby can do.
The GoodThe Helo TC app is incredibly easy to use. Admittedly, I was terrible with the helicopter for the first few flights: crashing into walls, spinning out of control, etc. To help ease you into flying, the Helo TC app initially limits the throttle on the plane, but also features an Expert mode to give you full control. After you get a feel for the throttle, the fun really begins. The Helo TC Assault can throttle up, take off, and go within just a few seconds. If you happen to have any mishaps that cause the plane to rotate on its own, the on-screen Trim controls can be used to stabilize the plane. The Helo TC Assault is fun for everybody and with its simple controls, anyone will be able to pick it up and play.
The BadUsing the Helo TC app, you can fly your helicopter using touch or tilt controls. The tilt controls seemed like a good idea, but they just failed to work for me. Even with the touch controls, there was a slight lag to everything. I'd throttle down and it wouldn't take effect for one to two seconds, or I would try to steer the helicopter away from hitting a wall, only to have it turn too late. That lag paired with the sensitive tilt controls make that control scheme fairly useless. Another issue I had, although a completely personal one, is that the novelty of it all faded quickly. The fun of controlling a helicopter with my phone quickly became a bore, especially with the plane's short battery life (about 10-12 minutes of flight per 35 minute charge). As Robert Frost's poem states: "Nothing gold can stay."
The VerdictGriffin Technology's Helo TC Assault is a fun toy. There's no doubt about that. However, its short battery life and laggy response may be a problem for some. Despite its shortcomings, the Helo TC Assault is still easy to use with its dead simple touch controls. You can get yourself a Helo TC Assault for $59.99 (direct from Griffin Technology), or if you don't need the firepower, the original Helo TC is just $49.99. What other iOS-controlled toys would you like us to check out? And what are some of your favorites?