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Monday, 27 November 2017

Air Hogs FPV DR1 Racer Drone Review


The Air Hogs FPV DR1 Racer Drone is a new drone for tweens and teens (age 10+) which offers a first person camera view via a headset that is used with a compatible phone.

Disclosure: We were sent an Air Hogs FPV DR1 Racer Drone for the purposes of this review. As always, our opinions are our own.


Unboxing

The documentation isn't at all appealing to the target age group of 10+ (or anyone else!)

The drone and headset are nicely packaged in a big box that can be used to store the kit.

You get some spare propellors in case you need to replace them. They seem fairly sturdy but may have to withstand non-expert piloting so replacements are important.



Charging

If you're giving the Air Hogs FPV Racer Drone as a gift then it's worth taking it out of the box and charging it up so it will have a full charge when it's first used. 

There's a USB charging cable. Switch the drone to off/charging mode to charge. The charge time is 40 minutes. The light on the charger turns off when the drone is fully charged.

Unlike more expensive drones, the battery isn't swappable so you do have to wait for the drone to recharge before using it again. 

Getting Started - Phone Camera FPV

FPV means First Person View - getting a drone's eye view. This feature is what makes this drone different from other inexpensive kids and beginner drones. 

This might seem like an odd suggestion, but we found that the best thing to try first is connecting the phone to the drone and using FPV while someone else just moves the drone around the room manually. 

This is actually a pretty neat thing to be able to do and I can image there are uses for the drone in this mode for remote viewing.

Android phone compatibility can be an issue with gadgets like this but the app worked well on my son's old HTC One M7 phone. We also tried the app with a Sony Xperia phone which also worked.



Getting Started - Remote Control

At some point you need to learn to fly the drone using the remote control. For those at the younger end of the age range it might make sense for a parent to try and master the controls first (while the child wears the headset) and then transfer knowledge to the child.

The first thing to try is just flying the drone with the included remote control. You don't need the headset or a phone for this.

This video explains how to get started in this mode:



FPV Mode

Once you've mastered the controls it's time to try out the first person view using the headset. This is a very cool experience but it's not easy. 

The experience is really dependent on how good at controlling the drone the pilot is. 

For less accomplished pilots it's worth getting an adult to fly the drone using the handset while the child wears the headset and experienced the first person view. 

Once they've got some practice with the controls and can control the drone then they can try out the full experience.



You can also record video from the drone to view later which is pretty neat. 

Tweens and teens will be able to come up with lots of creative ways to use this feature. 

Headset

The headset for the drone is enormous, it sticks out a long way from the head. It's not particularly comfortable either. Since the charge on the drone only lasts for a few minutes per session this isn't too much of an issue.



Verdict

Air Hogs FPV Racer Drone is a neat bit of technology and great value for money. 

It functions well as a beginner drone with the remote control. You can buy a cheaper DR1 Micro version that doesn't have the FPV feature and headset. 

The FPV feature works pretty well as a beginner experience. It's pretty impressive for the price. 

Like most drones, it's not easy to fly. Some kids will take to it easily while others will need more practice. The drone is small enough to fly indoors so it's possible to get some practice before heading outside. The beginner mode means that kids shouldn't lose the drone as it flies out of control the first time they take it outside. The drone is quite lightweight so you'll need a wind free day to use it effectively.

Charge it up in advance and the Air Hogs FPV Racer Drone will be a big hit on Christmas day or as a birthday gift.





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