Hands-on with Sky Viper Hover Racer
In the last few years, drones have been on the uprise. Whether they are used for filmmaking or for recreational fun, there’s no denying everyone wants a drone. Recently I was asked to try out the Hover Racer from Sky Viper. Even though this drone is intended for children ages twelve and up, I was still excited to give this toy a try. (My last encounter with a drone didn’t go so well.)
When I first took the drone out of the packaging, it was easy to tell this was a toy. The entire drone was plastic and lightweight. Accompanied with the drone were four beacons, which can be used to create an obstacle course. One downfall I noticed immediately is that you will need a lot of batteries (11 AAA to be exact). The drone itself is a quadcopter. Four, three black rotors surround the drone, each with a plastic ring around the blades to provide protection from any accidental bumps. The hover racer is powered by a rechargeable lithium battery that can be recharged with a USB cable (cable included).
The hover racer requires the use of the sky viper app, which connects to the drone via Bluetooth. The app is free in the android and iTunes store. The app walks you through the setup of the drone and beacons, as well as giving you some racing options, either single or multiplayer racing.
The remote for the drone is lightweight and fits comfortably in your hands. The remote comes with plenty of buttons that help tweak the way your drone flies. It’s also equipped with a “stunt” button, which allows the flyer to perform flips and rolls with the drone.
After spending roughly ten minutes installing batteries and pairing the beacons with the app, I was ready to fly the drone. Because I’m a man with certain pride, I initially dismissed the instructions on how to fly the drone. I mean, this is a toy meant for children, how hard can it be to fly one of these things? Boy was I wrong. My first flight went horribly wrong. I didn’t know how to launch my drone, so I used the auto launch, which shot the drone up in to the air quickly due to the lightweight nature of the drone. The wind easily veered it off course, and I had no choice but to auto land the drone. Needless to say I read the instructions, and prepped the drone for a second flight.
As I was staring to get a hang of flying the drone, the battery had died. The lithium battery gave me somewhere between ten to fifteen minutes of actual flight time. Not a deal breaker, but I would like to have more time with the drone before having to recharge the battery. Before I launched for my third flight, I set up the beacons in a sporadic manner. I was very skeptical about them, thinking that there was no way the app would detect that I flew over them, and once again I was proved wrong. The second I flew over a beacon, the sky viper app showed me it was cleared.
One great feature of the hover racer was the ability to connect and race up to 4 different players. By connecting with other racers this gave pilots a range of different multiplayer options. You can connect up to 16 beacons to create the ultimate course, or you can simply do a time trial amongst other pilots. Now if a standard race didn’t suit your fancy, well Sky Viper has created five different battle modes for pilots to play. Combat, Deathmatch and Capture the flag are just a few of the battle modes you can play. When it came to the battle modes I was not able to give them a try. My novice pilot skills made it difficult to even fly the drone in a straight line. When I did try out a multiplayer race, I often ran into the problem of almost running into the other drone. I am excited to eventually give one of the numerous battle modes a try once I can advance my piloting skills.
For a price tag of less than $100, the hover racer provides a pretty simple and basic drone operation that can provide countless minutes of fun for children or even novice drone racers. This is not a drone intended for you to race professionally, but linking up several hover racers together, can create a nice sense of competition among friends
- Easy to fly
- Plastic build so you don’t need to worry about crashing
- Sky viper app
- Short battery life
- Multiple AAA batteries needed
- No camera
- No GPS.
You can purchase your own Sky Viper Hover Racer online at Amazon.com or retailers like target and Toys “R” Us.