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Unbelievable RC

Syma S107-G

September 2010
syma s107-g

Street Price: $20-30 US
Manufacturer: Syma
Mfgr's recommended min. age: 8
Our recommended age range: 8-adult
Primary use: Indoor
Top speed: n/a
Radio: n/a, infrared, 3 channels available
Includes:

  • Assembled aircraft
  • Controller
  • USB cable
  • Instructions
  • Spare tail prop
Requires:
  • 6x AA batteries

Initial Impressions

It's been three years since I last reviewed a Syma product. Nowadays the low-cost RC helicopter market is saturated with similar-looking products sold under countless lesser-known brand names, and most of them don't appeal to my senses enough to try them out. With the Syma S107-G, though, I had an opportunity to take a free test flight when I wasn't even thinking about buying it, and literally from the moment it got in the air, I was completely and utterly sold. More on flying it later, though.

Outwardly, the S107-G has the styling of a higher-end, pro-grade sport heli with a sleek forward fuselage and exposed main chassis. The chassis (frame & guts) is actually made of metal, as is the tail boom, which is a very classy upgrade that allows everything to be assembled more consistently than flexible plastic, and moving parts can be held more securely for less vibration. The main rotors are made of a very rigid, fiber-reinforced plastic, and they're freely hinged in the middle to allow them to safely give way a bit in the event of a crash.

Like with most low-cost, micro-sized aircraft, the Syma S107-G can be charged directly from the controller via a plug that stores away in an unobtrusive compartment. The only thing that's in any way less than ideal about this arrangement is that charging the heli drains the controller's batteries quickly. The S107-G has a solution for this. It includes a USB adapter with a battery cut-off circuit built in, letting you charge the helicopter from any computer or powered USB hub at any time. This lets those 6 AA batteries in the controller last many times as long as normal, reducing operating costs and increasing convenience. Brilliant.

Testing

Alright, now back to flying this thing. I'm going to sound like I'm either a Syma employee, or a retailer with an overstock of these helis, but neither could be farther from the truth. My expectations were pretty low the first time I picked up an S107-G controller, but it blew me away. Even before it gets off the ground, the precision of the metal chassis and rigid blades shines through as the rotors spin in perfectly flat circles and the fuselage stays steady with no visible vibration. Once in the air, it's the same thing. With the direction trim on the controller set correctly, the heli hovers steadily, wandering only in response to air moving around it from turbulence in the room. The turning control is proportional, and you can turn very, very slowly, up to a medium speed, but not too fast. When you let off the stick, though, it stops turning instantly, as if the heli had been suddenly locked in place. This is the built-in gyroscope (the "G" in S107-G) at work.

The action of the tail rotor is proportional as well, allowing you to pitch the heli forward or back every so slightly for very, very slow flight. At full speed, though, it's quite exciting for its size, and you can do some impressive-looking moves with it as your confidence increases. When the battery gets low, landing is a panic-free affair. Most low-end micro helis have some trouble landing on uneven or soft surfaces, and will often either fall over or lean far enough that if you try to take off, it will immediately move very fast and uncontrollably in whatever direction it's leaning until everything balances out. The S107-G was stable and confident both coming down and going back up.

Video

(Click a video a second time to view it larger in a new window.)

Conclusion

The Syma S107-G is the most stable, smooth-flying helicopter I've ever had my hands on, regardless of price. With a street price of $30 US or less, it is unquestionably the best value in RC helicopters today. It's the perfect second helicopter for a kid or first, second, third, or nth heli for an adult.

A++

Where to Buy

I don't usually promote direct links to purchasing the items I test, but I am so happy with this heli and have received so many requests about it, here you go:

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