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Welcome to the second installment in my series of reviews of the very best toys of 2015! Today I examine the Air Hogs Star Wars RC X-Wing Starfighter, which I suspect just happens to be the very same starfighter that Luke Skywalker used to destroy the original Death Star… And how do I know this? Why, of course, it’s because none other than R2-D2 himself is riding along to assist Luke in his historic mission (see the first embedded image below). Keep on reading for more fun details on this awesome new Star Wars themed flier. 

Initial Impressions

R2.jpgOne of the first things I noticed about the Air Hogs X-Wing Starfighter is that it is very thin in some places (such as the wings and the back end engine extensions). This is definitely a worrisome thing for me as i can easily see these breaking in a bad enough crash. At least the engine extensions (as well as the entire nosecone of the fighter) have what appears to be a strong layer of clear tape or plastic wrap covering a significant portion of them. Do not remove this plastic! It is meant to add some extra protection to the parts it covers. Unfortunately, the wings have no such protection…probably due to weight concerns. It should also be noted that the 4 laser cannons that come with the X-Wing are meant for display purposes only and should always be removed for flying.

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Another thing I immediately noticed about the X-Wing was its lack of a USB charging cord. This is a very disappointing omission, as a USB cable would neither be expensive nor difficult to include, and it would save users considerable expense in AA battery replacements over time. This is because the X-Wing itself (just like the Air Hogs Millennium Falcon) takes its charge from the controller via a short cord that draws power from the controller’s 6 AA batteries. Therefore, whenever you charge your X-Wing up, you’ll be draining the very same batteries that power your transmitter. If you happen to purchase both the X-Wing Starfighter and the Millennium Falcon, you can always use the Falcon’s (included) USB cord. Otherwise, I’d probably just pick one up elsewhere as it is clearly worth having. On a separate note, the X-Wing features a high level of moulded in detail and excellent paint applications!

Charting the Key Considerations 

  How much set up time is required? The only setup for the X-Wing is a bit of battery charging time (less than an hour in total) that will get you roughly 6-8 minutes of all-out flying time or 12-15 minutes with lots of stopping and starting.
  What type & quantity of batteries does the X-Wing use? This ship requires 6 AA batteries (to be inserted into the controller) that are not included and has 1 built-in rechargeable Li-Po battery that charges from the same 6 AAs via a short cord from the transmitter.
  What are the mobility (& range) characteristics of the X-Wing Starfighter? The X-Wing functions as a typical jet plane rather than a VTOL flier. This means that you’ll need a bit more space to fly it in. Its advertised range is 250+ feet, though I probably flew it no more than 150 feet away as I have somewhat limited space.
  Does the X-Wing feature any special lights & sounds? Interestingly, NO! The X-Wing does not feature any lights or sounds whatsoever. This is really quite perplexing what with the wide variety of electronics included in the Millennium Falcon. Of course, when you consider the X-Wing’s lack of a USB charging cord, maybe it’s not such a surprise after all…
  What is the suggested age range of the X-Wing? This toy is meant for those aged 10 and up (manufacturer recommended age), and I personally agree that this is an appropriate age range for the toy. And, as with the Falcon, there’s truly no upper age limit here!!
  How much of a WOW factor (on a 0-5 scale) does the X-Wing have?

On the WOW scale, the Air Hogs X-Wing Starfighter gets a solid 4.0 from me, meaning that it’s definitely a pretty cool toy, though not as awesome as the Air Hogs Millennium Falcon in my opinion. Ironically, however, I do find it more fun to fly than the Falcon.

 

Testing & Play

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The first thing I have to confess is that this is the first time I have ever had the opportunity of flying an airplane drone. I’ve tested plenty of helicopters in the past, but never an airplane. With that said, I actually did quite a bit better than I usually do with helicopters!

To test the X-Wing I headed out to the local school playground at just about dusk (to ensure a practically empty space to fly in). Thankfully, it was empty, and I was able to fly for approximately 15 minutes on a single battery charge (though this was with much stopping and starting). Although I did suffer through a few unfortunate crashes, I actually managed to keep the X-Wing flying nicely around in (approximately 100 to 150 foot in diameter) circles for 3 or 4 complete circuits on at least 2 separate occasions. This was really good for me as I am typically the king of crash… And, I really have to say, this was probably the most fun I have ever had flying a drone! It was actually even more fun than flying the Millennium Falcon.

Controller.jpgThe X-Wing flies very smoothly for the most part, and while typically my crashes were the direct result of my unskilled attempts to steer the plane, it actually performed best when I just let it do its own thing. For takeoff I simply tossed the X-Wing like a paper airplane and engaged the throttle as I let go. This worked great. Taking off from the ground, alternatively, simply did not work. Maybe with a smoother surface it might have, but the local playground is full of tiny rocks & pebbles, and the rotors just seemed to want to pull them in. As for the controller, it is very similar to the Falcon’s transmitter, though completely different! It looks much the same at first glance, but it lacks the sound effects toggle switch, the embedded speaker, and the 2 top buttons for engaging the sound effects and hyperspace modes. Thus, the X-Wing has no such mode. In any case, the left joystick is your main throttle lever and the right side stick is for steering left & right. There’s also a small “Anti-Spin Adjuster” dial to the right of the Star Wars labeling that I never quite seemed to be able to adjust properly. Not that it really mattered all that much. All in all I never got a scratch on my X-Wing throughout all of my testing, even though I do think that the X-Wing seems a rather flimsy aircraft alongside its Millennium Falcon counterpart.

For & Against

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To me, the biggest reason to buy the Air Hogs X-Wing Starfighter, aside from the major coolness factor that comes of its being a Star Wars themed drone, is the simple fact that it is a plane rather than a helicopter. This may not appeal to you as much as it does to me, but I’ve tested many helicopters in the past, and this is my first time testing a plane. There’s just something different and unique about it. The inability to take off and land vertically poses more of a challenge to users, and while the need for more flying space may be something of a drawback for those with tiny yards, if you actually have the space to fly it in, it’s really heaps of fun!

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Likely the biggest drawback to this fine looking piece of Styrofoam machinery is my sneaking suspicion that it’s thinner sections are just begging to break at the first sign of a bad crash. Of course, I could be wrong about this, and my own testing certainly seems to suggest a supernatural toughness to this thing. Also, there’s always the possibility of gluing any torn bits & pieces back together, which I’ve read works really well. Even so, it just feels a bit too delicate in places to really take it outside and go all out with. If you take it somewhat easy and don’t fly too aggressively, the X-Wing Starfighter will probably withstand a good number of crashes without damage. I just wouldn’t push it too hard (as in, don’t get into a nosedive crash from a significant height or something). It just doesn’t seem quite as sturdy as the Millennium Falcon, which is more of a single solid piece (i.e., There are no thin wings or other flimsy bits hanging off of the Falcon).

Examining the Video Evidence

Please check out my short introductory video of the Air Hogs RC X-Wing Starfighter…

Final Thoughts

So, what is the final verdict? Well, I did give the X-Wing a 4 out of 5 on the WOW scale, and that is pretty much indicative of what I think of this toy. I definitely recommend this product if you’re either a Star Wars fan or a drone enthusiast, but especially if you’re a Star Wars fan. For the full-on drone crowd there are always bigger, badder, faster, & better fliers out there than the X-Wing Starfighter. However, given its size & price point, I do believe that the X-Wing is an above average drone. And, whether you’re interest in it originates with Star Wars or comes more from a background in drones, I would have to say that the X-Wing is definitely worth a purchase either way!

Remember to take a look at the Star Wars Hub right here on the Plug-In blog for all the latest news and info on Best Buy’s complete selection of awesome new Star Wars toys and products! And, if you havent seen my Air Hogs Star Wars RC Ultimate Millennium Falcon Review, give that a look as well! See you next time!

Mini Gallery of Additional Photos

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