Today I take to the skies with a review of Air Hogs Sharp Shooter, a remote controlled helicopter, that comes loaded with missiles for mid air dog fights. It's been a fair few years since I've used a remote controlled helicopter and I'm pleased to say that things have come a long way. For starters the helicopter has multiple blades,which allow it to take off at a really quick speed. For a newbie like myself this resulted in a few ceiling crashes, followed by crash landings on the first attempts.....
Thankfully the helicopter is amazingly versatile, no matter how many times we crashed it, the blades stayed in place and there was barely a scratch on it. Our dog even had a few attempts at eating it - mistaking it for a fallen bird. It survived all these pitfalls and still managed to perform perfectly fine with no need to readjust the blades.
About five minutes later we'd got to grips with the controls and learnt that by applying just a little bit of upward thrust you can have a very smooth take off, and with a little more practice, can hover the helicopter in place. This is a sight to behold, especially once you master hovering and can move up down, left and right without losing any power. My wife watching me use the Air Hogs remarked on several occasions that I had a huge smile on my face, and much of this was driven by my satisfaction at getting perfect control over it.
Part of my joy was also linked in to the controller itself, which feels exactly like an Xbox 360 controller in terms of the way it sits in your hand. There's two sticks, just where your Xbox sticks would be, and they give you total control. It's a little like playing a video game, except with the added bonus that the device you are controlling is moving around in real life, not just in the screen.
Oh and like every good video game you also get to shoot stuff. You can load two missiles in to the Sharp Shooter model, and the box comes with targets that can be placed around the room for a bit of target practice. This is trickier, and seems impossible at first, but is helped by two things. First the missile trigger is located at the top of the device, so you don't need to lose any control to press it with your finger. Secondly, the missiles are surprisingly good, firing in a straight line with a lot of force and carrying themselves across any space well.
Once you have confidence with the helicopter it is a joy to play with. It may be small, but there's a lot of power behind it. 6 AA batteries of power, in fact, for the main charger unit - which is a small price to pay for a very quick charge time.
There's a lot of fun to be had with the Air Hogs Sharp Shooter, and it really does take just a few minutes to feel like you have total control over this war machine. The missiles are a nice touch, which add to the feeling of power, and if you're looking for a new remote control helicopter this is an ideal place to start.