We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Games software Reviews
15,609 Reviews

Lightspeed i-Helicopter review

£29.99

Manufacturer: Lightspeed

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

A remote control helicopter controlled via an iPhone or Android game.

When the Lightspeed i-Helicopter arrived it was probably the single greatest threat to productivity in our office in all of 2011.

Like a plague (or perhaps even a less clichéd metaphor), this smartphone-controlled helicopter progressively disrupted the office workflow. In other words, once it arrived and was fully charged, I couldn't resist staging a demonstration for every division in the company.

The 'iHelicopter Lightspeed Phone Controlled i-Helicopter' is pretty much what it sounds like: A diminutive flying vehicle that you can control with an app you install on your phone. The app is free and is available for the iPhone as well as a growing list of Android handsets. The magic is courtesy of a small IR transmitter about half the size of a Bic cigarette lighter that plugs into your phone's headphone jack.

Both the helicopter and the IR transmitter require charging, which is done using a cord that plugs into a USB port on a computer. Sadly only one cord is included, which is extremely frustrating when you've got Ride of the Valkyries cued up on YouTube. The transmitter has a quoted time of an hour to charge fully; the helicopter 40 minutes.

After charging, the fun began and we proceeded to fly our little chopper into everyone and everything. The smartphone app has a simple on-screen joystick for direction and a slider for altitude (you can also enable motion sensing and use your phone's gyroscope to control motion).

Lightspeed iHelicopter

The helicopter can be quite difficult to control at first, and I strongly recommend testing it in a room that's not full of breakable objects. But even when it's flying into cubicle walls, computers and co-workers it is insanely fun.

It is, however, a little delicate. Until you're comfortable with controlling it, avoid using it outside: It can go extremely high, as the editor of Computerworld and I discovered in a nearby park, and it doesn't take kindly to less-than-delicate landings. However, even when we'd managed to damage severely the tail rotor thanks to some over enthusiastic vertical movement, the helicopter still worked. (It's worth noting that the helicopter isn't really meant for outdoor use; we're just a bunch of geeky rebels.)

Probably the hardest thing in terms of control is achieving a nice, even flying altitude. But then a lot of the fun is having the helicopter careening about the place wildly.

Lightspeed i-Helicopter Expert Verdict »
Available for iOS devices and Android. Supported Android handsets: HTC - Desire S, HTC - Desire HD, HTC - Incredible S, HTC - Wild Fire, HTC - Wild Fire S, HTC - Hero, HTC - Sensation, Samsung - 9100, Samsung - i9000, Moto - MB525, LG - P350
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

All up this is probably one of the more fun ideas for a Christmas gift for a gadget or games lover that we've encountered this year. At only £29.99, I think it's decently priced as well. I had an absurdly fun time flying it round (I am just a big kid it turns out), and more than one co-worker was green with envy.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
  • Take On Helicopters review

    Take On Helicopters

    Arma creators Bohemia Interactive try something new - and rather odd - with this civilian helicopter sim.

  • Parrot AR.Drone review

    Parrot AR.Drone

    The Parrot AR.Drone is an exciting, fun-to-fly, four-rotor helicopter that can be piloted over Wi-Fi by an iPad, iPod touch or iPhone.

  • Flight Control for iPhone review

    Flight Control for iPhone

    Flight Control wouldn't exist without the iPhone. The unique gameplay is perfectly suited to the device, and I'm hopelessly addicted.

  • Air Control for Android review

    Air Control for Android

    Air Control is a simple game for Android, but it is also surprisingly addictive.

  • Ace Combat: Assault Horizon review

    Ace Combat: Assault Horizon

    Does a brand new look help this reboot of the classic fighter jet franchise soar, or does it crash and burn?


IDG UK Sites

45 Best Android games: top Android games for your smartphone or tablet in 2014 (24 are free!)

IDG UK Sites

How Apple, Adobe, Microsoft and others have let us down over UltraHD and hiDPI screens

IDG UK Sites

Do you have the X-Factor too? Mix Off app puts fans in the frame

IDG UK Sites

iPad Pro release date, rumours and leaked images - 12.9 screen 'coming in 2015'