Remote-controlled toys come in every imaginable shape and price range. The offer ranges from cheap RC toys to professional video drones. Long-term motivation is often lacking, especially with remote-controlled gadgets. Without a fixed race track, the aimless drive within your own four walls quickly becomes boring. Remote-controlled cars, drones or robots with an integrated battle function promise a remedy. The small vehicles and planes fire at each other via infrared or with small bullets.
This guide is part of our RC toys theme world. Here we have dealt with drones, RC boats and airplanes in the past.
Cars and tracked vehicles
The battle function is most common in remote-controlled vehicles with wheel or chain drive. However, not all models are suitable for actually dueling. There is a whole range of vehicles that shoot small gel balls. The model for this is the technically sophisticated, but expensive Robomaster from DJI (test report). The shooting with the balls is funny to look at, but the soft balls leave a huge mess on the ground and are also not harmless for humans and pets. In addition, hits on vehicles are barely recognizable or not at all.
An IR shot function is much safer and more sensible. In this case, no real projectiles fly through the apartment, but the hits of the light beams are reliably detected by the vehicles and evaluated in some way.
For the guide, we took a closer look at a battle set from the manufacturer Syrcar. The bundle for 60 euros consists of two futuristic vehicles, remote controls, USB chargers and a total of four batteries. The four AA batteries required for the hand-held transmitters are not included in the scope of delivery. Since both the battery compartment of the transmitter and the compartment for the battery are screwed, a small screwdriver is also included.
After charging and inserting the rechargeable batteries and transmitter batteries, we start the first practical test. As soon as the transmitter and the four-wheeled tanks are switched on, an engine noise can be heard from the vehicles. In addition, the four LEDs on the roofs begin to light up. Since our model has special roller drives, it does not control itself like a classic RC car, but rather like a tracked vehicle. This is still irritating for the first few minutes, but we quickly got used to it.
When you press the button in the middle of the transmitter, you hear a firing noise and the RC tank jerks backwards – which is supposed to simulate the recoil. If the second vehicle is within range and in the firing range, the hit is recognized and acknowledged with a noise and a brief twitch of the vehicle. In addition, one of the LEDs mounted on the roof goes out. After four hits, the battle tank simply stops and the round is over. To start over and reset the hits, the vehicles must be switched off and on again.
The duel with the futuristic vehicles is fun. Both the driving behavior and the battery life of over a quarter of an hour per battery leave a positive impression. Nevertheless, there are two small points of criticism: On the one hand, too few sensors are integrated for fair competitions. The two tanks each have only one hit sensor on the back. The vehicle does not recognize hits on the front or side. On the other hand, it would be desirable if the vehicles were operational again at the push of a button after the fourth hit.
Still, we think the battle tanks are cool. Even without the launch function, we find the futuristic companion recommendable. The possibility of being able to shoot each other during a race increases the attraction even more. The long-term motivation is definitely higher than with simple RC toys. Only the sound effects that cannot be switched off could create potential for conflict in the family in the medium term.
Besides the said Set for just under 60 euros Such battle vehicles are also available in a similar form from other manufacturers. Here are some examples:
The mutual shooting by infrared does not only work with ground vehicles, of course, but also with remote-controlled drones. In order to be able to try out aerial combat in the living room, the Amazon retailer Tomzon has given us two of his Mini battle drones made available. At around 35 euros, these are just as expensive as other toy drones. The design does not differ from classic RC drones either.
The two palm-sized quadrocopters come to customers individually and not as a set. The scope of delivery includes a drone, a mini hand-held transmitter, USB charger, two flight batteries, a spare propeller and a screwdriver. The two AA batteries for the remote control are not included.
The drones with a take-off weight of 25 grams are simple, but neatly made. The manufacturer thought about the design: The four propellers are protected by small cages. In this way, there is no danger from them and they survive falls and collisions.
After charging the batteries and the first flight attempts, we are pleasantly surprised. Despite the small size, the aircraft with the designation A21 fly quite well. The control with the controller, which is a bit small for adult hands, is sufficiently precise and reliable. It’s good that the manufacturer relies on radio signal transmission and not via WLAN – delayed control commands or spongy flight behavior are not a problem with this copter. In addition to the possibility of calibrating the control, a simplified control mode (headless mode) and a total of three different sensitivities are available. Depending on the mode, the control reacts very cautiously and sedately or sportily and precisely.
The shot function of the battle drone is initially less spectacular than that of the RC tanks. Pressing the fire button is not acknowledged by a noise, flashing or even a recoil. You can only check with the second drone that the function is still working properly. If it is in the trajectory of the imaginary laser beam, it suddenly begins to spin and lose height. The hit is also indicated by a beep from the sender of the person hit. The effect only lasts one to two seconds, but it is clearly noticeable for the pilot. After a total of five hits, the hit drone goes completely to the ground. The motors switch off and the quadrocopter crashes. Thanks to the protective cage and low weight, the copter survives the kills undamaged.
Our conclusion: This is how flying is fun, even with a cheap drone! Since the IR receiver is attached to the underside, the drone detects hits from all sides. The precise control for toy drones and the good flight characteristics complete the very positive overall impression. And even if you don’t want to shoot each other, you can grab it without hesitation – even flying solo with the A21 quadrocopter is a pleasure.
The tested Model A21 is also available individually for 35 euros at Amazon at short notice. A similar variant with additional live image transmission to the smartphone is available from the manufacturer Potensic for 70 euros per drone. Even with the very high quality Star Wars drones from Propel an IR shot function is integrated. Since we unfortunately only had one copy of the T-65 X-Wing (test report) from the manufacturer to test, we could never try this out.
In addition to the mentioned RC models, there are other RC vehicles for multiplayer rounds in the living room. There are those Bump’n Eject Bumper Cars für 32 Euro in a double pack. The two remote-controlled cars in hovercraft design are each equipped with a small driver figure. The aim is to collide with the opposing hovercraft pilot to lift him out of his seat and knock him off the vehicle. The same game principle is also used in the Eaxus Super-Bumper-Car. That Bundle with two vehicles are available for 35 euros.
Or how about robots punching and boxing? The Silverlit Kombat Robo is designed for just that. The pilot has to lead the little robot into battle by remote control. The aim is to throw the opponent off balance. Of the Kombat Robo Viking costs 42 euros in a set of 2. The one traveling upright on two rollers is single Robots from 25 euros available.
The version Balloon-Puncher from the manufacturer Silverlit works almost identically. However, these robots use a balloon as a head, which you have to burst as an opponent. The balloon puncher in a double pack is available from Amazon for 42 euros.
If you find classic RC toys too boring, you should definitely take a look at the models with a multiplayer battle function. The possibility to duel and fight each other offers, from our point of view, real added value that has a positive effect on long-term motivation.
Since the tested RC tanks and drones are not more expensive than comparable toys without a battle function, you can strike without hesitation. Even without fighting each other, the A21 drone and the battle tank convinced in the practical test with a good price-performance ratio.