When you’re looking for a remote control helicopter as a gift for a friend or loved one, there’s a variety of factors you’ll want to consider. Durability, for instance, is very important for a gadget that’s most certainly going to sustain a crash or two. Ease of use is also important, as it's often difficult to tell whether your recipient is going to be a proficient quadcopter pilot right off the bat. Lastly, you should consider the extra features to see if they sweeten the deal enough to choose one particular model over another. And of course, there’s also the price to consider as an underlying factor.
What we love so much about the Syma X5C is that it's priced right for many people without sacrificing durability, ease of use or features.
As far as durability is concerned, the Syma X5C isn’t exactly a tank, but it’s built well enough. Its plastic exterior may not appear to be the most durable, but even after countless crashes, we weren’t able to crack it. The most vulnerable part of any quadcopter is probably the rotors. They’re typically made of thin, lightweight plastic, and since they’re spinning rapidly they’re much more prone to damage.
The X5C counterbalances this with four removable rotor guards that keep the blades from colliding with objects. If you do manage to damage or lose any rotors, you can simply replace it with one of the four extras that are included. This quadcopter isn’t invincible, however, so if you’re getting this gift for a child, make sure it’s used with adult supervision at least until they get the hang of it.
In most instances, this shouldn’t take too long since the X5C is relatively easy to fly. It’s medium sized, which means it’s not quite as oversensitive as the smaller models tend to be but also not quite as cumbersome as larger ones. This allows you to make quick movements without over-committing, and you can still make reasonably quick corrections when you’re headed for a wall, tree or some poor pedestrian.
To further mellow out the learning curve, the X5C has two modes – one that prioritizes stability and one that prioritizes control. When you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to keep your RC helicopter in stable mode. Once you begin to feel comfortable flying the X5C, then try out the more advanced mode. It’s faster and nimbler, but it requires more skill to keep from crashing.
As far as auxiliary features are concerned, the X5C is very well equipped. It has a built-in camera that can record video and stills, and a function button that initiates some special maneuvers to impress your friends with. Aside from being attached to a quadcopter, the camera really isn’t anything special. What is special is that a quadcopter in this price point includes a camera at all. Sure, the quality is so-so, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have fun capturing images of your surroundings from perspectives you’d never witness otherwise.
If flips and tricks are your thing, then you’ll appreciate the function button located on the left shoulder of the transmitter. In order to initiate a flip, you simply hold this button and choose the direction of your flip by using the right stick. Hold the button and move the stick to the left, you’ll do a side flip to the left; hold it back and you’ll do a backflip and so on. Although we had the most fun just flying the X5C, this is a good feature to help spice things up.
All things considered, we think the Syma X5C is the best option for most people when it comes to affordably priced remote control helicopters. Although there are many quadcopters that could outstrip it in terms of durability, performance and even features, we’re confident that, in this price range, you’d be hard pressed to do much better than the Syma X5C.