Revell X-Spy review

Revell X-Spy review

Quadcopters are a new line for Revell, which is best known for its plastic model kits. The X-Spy, however, requires no assembly whatsoever, unless you count installing four AA batteries in the remote and installing the Revell Control app on your iPhone or Android phone. See also: Lishitoys L6039 review

The drone is tiny, measuring just 148x148x45mm, and has its camera mounted underneath. In the box is a spare set of rotors, and you'll probably need these fairly quickly: the propeller guards are flimsy and don't offer much protection when the quadcopter hits solid objects.

We tried the Android app on a Moto G: the clamp on the remote wasn't big enough to accommodate an iPhone 6 Plus in Apple's leather case. The app lets you see live video from the drone once you connect to the X-Spy's Wi-Fi network.

The order in which you power everything on determines how you control the copter. The craft itself must always be powered on first. If you then turn on the controller, you can use the physical sticks. However, if you leave it turned off and connect the app to the X-Spy's Wi-Fi, you can then control it using on-screen joysticks - or by tilting the smartphone.

Revell X-Spy review

Ultimately, we preferred the physical controls, using the smartphone purely for video. The app also lets you begin and end video recording, as well as take photos. Video is recorded directly to the smartphone: there's no microSD slot on the quadcopter, nor on the remote.

Somewhat disappointingly, given the "HD" claims, video resolution is a paltry 320x280 so you're not going to proudly post stunning aerial vistas on YouTube. Instead, the X-Spy is intended as an inexpensive introduction to FPV flying - and a bit of fun.

If this is your first quadcopter, it will take a fair while to master the controls. Like its rivals, you have to adjust the sticks constantly to hover, and even then it's practically impossible. We found much more input was needed to make corrections than with the Hubsan H107D. Both drones are capable of loops, though, and there's a choice of high or low speed which you can toggle using a button on the remote.

If you do want to perform flips, Revell advises removing the camera, although the manual doesn't explain how. To take the camera off, hold the X Spy so that the camera is pointed away from you and then carefully pushing the camera body from the back, allowing it to slide off the mounting rails. You then need to carefully disconnect the camera’s plug from the X-Spy’s input port.

Revell X-Spy review

Once you've mastered hovering and the basic flight controls, you should be able to fly the X-Spy indoors without too many incidents. Outdoors, you'll need windless conditions to have any kind of control!

Flight time is another niggle: it's the shortest of its peers at just five minutes. And, because the X-Spy is brand new, spare batteries aren't easy to come by and it's a 100 minute wait for a recharge. You can order spares from all good toy and model shops. Here are the part numbers and prices you can expect to pay:

  • Rotor blades: 43789 – £3.50
  • Motor protection: 43790 – £2.50
  • Set of four motors: 43791 – £20.00
  • Battery pack: 43792 – £13.00
  • Cover: 43793 – £1.50
  • Smartphone fixture: 43794 – £2.50

Overall, if you have a  compatible smartphone, the X-Spy is a good-value live-video quadcopter.

Revell X-Spy: Specs

  • Flight time 5 mins Charging time 100 mins Spare battery cost Not yet available Claimed range 50m Camera resolution 320x240 SD card included None (records direct to smartphone)
  • Flight time 5 mins Charging time 100 mins Spare battery cost Not yet available Claimed range 50m Camera resolution 320x240 SD card included None (records direct to smartphone)

OUR VERDICT

As long as you have an Android phone or an iPhone, the X-Spy is a good-value drone with FPV. However, if you can live without live video (or without a camera at all) there are cheaper options.