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Unbelievable RC

XMODS Micro RC

January 2010

Street Price: $19.99 US (less when on sale)
Manufacturer: Ignition, for Radio Shack
Mfgr's recommended min. age: 8
Our recommended age range: 6+
Primary use: Indoor
Top speed:
~2mph
Radio: 49mhz
Includes:

  • Assembled vehicle
  • Controller/charger
  • Instruction sheet
  • Quick Start guide
  • Collectible vehicle fact card
Requires:
  • 4x AAA batteries for the controller

Initial Impressions

Years ago, ultra-micro scale RCs were all the rage and Radio Shack in the US introduced its own line of vehicles & accessories under the brand name "ZipZaps." As interest in these vehicles faded, ZipZaps were discontinued and disappeared from store shelves. Well, they came back at the end of 2009! Now called XMODS Micro RC, these are less than 3 inches long and feature good-looking officially-licensed bodies that are replicas of famous sporty cars. These new models use a more compact chassis than the originals which allows for better-proportioned bodies that are more realistic.

Preparing to Drive

The car itself has a rechargable battery built in, and it charges from a port on the top of the controller. You just attach the car to the port, turn the controller on, wait one minute, and an LED light turns green to let you know that you're ready to go. It can't get much simpler than that.

Testing

The XMODS Micro RC car drives at just about a perfect speed for its size. It's fast enough to be a challenge to try to get around a small mock race course, but slow enough to be controllable and possible to actually drive around on a small kitchen floor, not just straight from one end quickly to the other. The steering is pretty responsive and the tires, though they're narrow, have a soft rubber compound that gives them very good traction. I was also very pleasantly surprised to see the working headlights, which are a bright bluish-white and really look awesome.

Naturally, for a vehicle this small, you're limited in where you can drive. XMODS Micro RCs want a fairly smooth, clean surface to run on, like hardwood, linoleum, a large table, or smooth concrete.

Video

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

Conclusion

The new XMODS Micro RC cars have returned to the basics of RC. While the ZipZaps series were highly customizable, with motor, wheel, tire, body, and suspension sets that could get expensive quickly, the XMODS Micros are very basic in construction, very cheap (I got this one on sale at Radio Shack for just $10), great to look at, and fun and easy to drive right out of the box. If it wasn't for the long antenna sticking out the roof, it would be easy to mistake one of these cars for a diecast model. I think this is a great value in ultra-micro RC cars and can provide any kid hours of fun on just a couple sets of inexpensive AAA batteries.

A

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