Bladerunner Black Ghost RC HelicopterManufacturer:
UK Price (as reviewed): £24.99 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $39.99 (ex. Tax)
This turned up in our soon-to-be-vacant offices completely unannounced and to much bewilderment, courtesy of AMD.
Why? We have no idea. In fact, we weren’t entirely sure it was sent by AMD until we glanced at the attached note from Byte PR, who handle AMD’s public relations in the UK. It looks like they had some extra budget to spend somehow and thought it would be best targeted at sending us some small remote-controlled helicopters. We won’t complain.
Now, while the Black Ghost indoor helicopter might look pretty pimped out with a stealthy black and silver paint-job, which can be modified at will thanks to the collection of included stickers, the actual craft itself isn’t really all that tough.
In fact, the actual helicopter itself is made of remarkably fragile foam, to help keep the weight down lower than a supermodel's corpse. The twin rotors which sit atop the polystyrene body are flimsier and more limp than a snake with no skeleton and a serious bout of lethargy.
That’s alright though, since the fairly disappointing construction is for a purpose; to keep the helicopter lightweight enough to sail the air-conditioned breezes.
‘Sailing the breezes’ is perhaps a rather grandiose term for what the Black Ghost can do though. It’s not exactly flying, but neither is it falling with style – it’s more a kind of ungraceful mid-air semi-stumble. It isn’t helped by the slightly awkward controls either, which use a dial in the centre of the controller for turning the ‘copter and a lever for tilt. Even the most air-qualified hand at bit-tech
could only manage a steadily lumbering through the air.
To be honest though, that’s all to be expected – this is more of a toy than a serious attempt at creating a helicopter for indoor use. This is a toy you’ll enjoy hovering around your desk for five or six minutes, not something that you’ll be able to use to airlift sugar lumps into your tea with. That would be cool though.
Unfortunately though, the one issue that the Black Ghost can’t overcome is that hovering it over your desk for five or six minutes is literally all that you’ll be able to do – the battery empties itself faster than a sieve. After two minutes or so of hovering the Black Ghost around the room and bouncing it off of more walls than a moshpit during an earthquake, the performance tails off rapidly. Soon you’re lucky if you can get the Black Ghost more than a foot off the ground.
Thankfully though the Black Ghost can be recharged both quickly and easily through the chunky controller, which demands six AA batteries. A small cable pops out the side of the remote and plugs into the tail of the ‘copter.
While it may not be as capable and fun as you might expect though, we think that’s really more a case of faulty expectations than it is a poor product. Say ‘RC indoor helicopter’ to someone and their dreams start leaping away from reality immediately, while the Black Ghost
remains a fun toy for a few hours – even if it is a bit pricey and likely to break.
A high price tag and low battery life are the main downers here, but the ability to crash-land a helicopter on your gaffa's head is still great fun.