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Geeks will go crazy over anything that can be remotely controlled. So I am fairly certain that this is up a geek’s alley. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the Egofly Hawkspy radio-controlled helicopter (LT-712) from Xenon Project which retails for $69.99. They also carry an entire line of remote control helicopters which is worth a look. What sets the Hawkspy apart from other RC helicopters is the addition of an onboard camera that can be triggered from the transmitter.

I have to be honest here, I haven’t reviewed many RC helicopters — none, in fact. But if you’ll bear with me, I’ll try my best to go over the Hawkspy. We’ll also be giving this review unit away to a MakeUseOf reader so be sure to join the giveaway and be in the running to win it.

hawkspy review

For $70, you’ll get the Hawkspy, its remote control (transmitter), a 1GB MicroSD card, a (very bright orange) MicroSD card reader, a spare tail blade, 4 landing skid rubbers, a wall charger and the user manual. The first I did was throw away the user manual — it was most probably written and printed in China and therefore extremely confusing. I learnt more about flying an RC helicopter by browsing on YouTube for instructional videos. There was however, one important fact about the Hawkspy that did come through the user manual — it shouldn’t be charged any longer than an hour to 75 minutes. That was about it.

The helicopter unit is smaller than I had anticipated; measuring at 12.5 inches, which is roughly the distance from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger on an average human. It’s also extremely light, being made out of mostly plastic trim and an aluminium frame.

The main attraction of the Hawkspy is most definitely its onboard “spy” camera which is mounted at the bottom of the unit. The fixed forward-facing camera is activated by a button on the transmitter and once enabled, it records video only at a resolution of 720×480 in MJPEG format directly into the MicroSD card.

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egofly hawkspy review

Where the MicroSD card slots into the camera unit is pictured below. There’s also an LED light to indicate when recording is in progress. Although the camera isn’t capable of recording in high definition, I found the quality of the video to be acceptable even in low light conditions. There are quite a lot of videos recorded by the Hawkspy on YouTube so I won’t bore you with any of my test footages. The only thing that’s missing from the entire setup is a way to remotely view the captured video without actually having to remove the MicroSD card and inserting it into the reader. It would have been nice to actually see what’s being recorded in real-time. But then again, for a $70 toy, that is probably asking too much.

egofly hawkspy review

Now, operation. The mode-2-ish transmitter requires a whopping 6 AA batteries to operate. The retractable antenna is able to control the helicopter up to 90 meters away. On the left, you’ll find the throttle control (makes the helicopter fly higher or lower). The rudder and the forward/backwards flying directions are controlled on the right. The power slider is smack right in the middle, which an LED indicator right above it. RC helicopter hobbyists will probably point out that the cyclic controls are sort of inadequate — the right/left cyclic controls are missing so the helicopter isn’t able to pitch to the left or right.

There is also an additional slider below each control toggle. The one of the right is the ST trim slider, which needs to be adjusted if the helicopter spins to the right or left on its own while in the air. Unfortunately, the slider on the left is a dud and the transmitter is missing throttle and pitch trims.

The two additional buttons on the left and right of the power slider controls the landing and rudder LED lights on the helicopter and the 2-speed mode (which didn’t make any difference during testing) respectively.

hawkspy review

On a full charge, the Egofly Hawkspy provides you with 10-15 minutes of flying fun. The included 1GB MicroSD card is more than sufficient to record your entire flight session.

Conclusion

The Hawkspy is a novelty toy with the added capability of recording video. It’s certainly a fun toy to have around. It’s small, light and pretty durable. If the flight time could be improved, I’d easily recommend it.

We’re giving one away this week! Join the giveaway below to be in the running to win a free Egofly Hawkspy.

How do I win it?

It’s simple, just follow the instructions.

Step 1: Fill in the giveaway form

Please fill in the form with your real name and email address so that we can get in touch if you are chosen as a winner. Click here if you can’t view the form.

The giveaway code required to activate the form is available from our Facebook page, our Twitter stream and Google+ page.

The giveaway is over. Congratulations, Dave Lunley! We’ve sent you an email, please reply it before May 18. Enquires beyond this date will not be entertained, and a new winner will be selected.

Step 2: Share!

You’re almost done. Now, all that’s left to do is to share the post!

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This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, May 11th. The winner will be selected at random and informed via email.

Spread the word to your friends and have fun!

Interested in sponsoring a giveaway? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us via the form at the bottom of this page.

  1. Phillip H. Blanton
    October 18, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    I have this helicopter. I paid about $85 for mine online. There is a little mall booth at my local shopping mall that sells RC helicopters and for this one, they wanted $199. I liked it, and watched the booth operator fly it all around the three story hub of the mall, but I told my wife, "I'll bet it is much cheaper online" and boy was I right.

    This being my first RC helicopter, I crashed it a lot. At first I only flew it in my large, sparsely furnished living room, but eventually the time came to try it outside. The only large open space outside is in the street in front of my house. One day, the weather was nice, so I took it out to give it a try. Within five minutes, I had crashed it hard enough to break a rotor blade.

    I went online and found a company that sells replacement rotor blades and bought ten. I waited...

    When the rotor blades came in, I replaced the broken one and went outside again. Within 5 minutes, I had crashed hard enough to break a rotor blade bracket. I found a place that sells replacement rotor blade brackets online and ordered four sets. Then I waited...

    The new brackets just came in and the helicopter is whole again. I am waiting for it to charge before giving it another try.

    My advice to anyone who thinks this would be a good starter RC helicopter is to think again. It is big enough to break badly when crashed and it doesn't come with any replacement parts, except for the tail-rotor which isn't an actual tail rotor. My original tail rotor is still pristine.

    If you buy this helicopter, you need to have extra rotor blades, and the little parts that connect them to the main drive shaft.

    • Max
      May 5, 2015 at 9:02 am

      Do you know where can i het a battery for it

  2. Jose Lozano
    October 16, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    This Helicopter with spy camera is amazing, even when I've seen the quality of the videos is not as good as I'd like, its a great toy, it still is an RC Helicopter, a little small for my taste because I like larger RC Helicopters, like a 3.5 Channel Gyro Helicopter, which in fact is the one I have, since it is a robust helicopter I can mount a Go Pro camera to it and I have better images; of course that is not as cheap as 70 USD but hey, if I want to have something good I have to pay the price for it, Golden Rule!

    Thanks for Sharing, I'd have liked to participate in the Give away, too late I guess.
    Great Post Jackson!

    Jose Lozano

  3. RICH
    August 14, 2012 at 2:47 am

    YEAH I HAVE THIS ONE.... AND IT SEEMS TO HAVE AN ISSUE ON TURNING R OR L .. IT ALSO DOES NOT FLY FORWARD VERY WELL ....THE CAMERA WORKS AWESOME...BUT THE OTHER ISSUES SEEM TO PUT IT ON THE SHELF ....ANY IDEAS ON WHAT IS UP WITH IT WOULD BE REALLY APPRECIATED ?????

  4. Rob Long
    July 30, 2012 at 6:00 am

    Be fun to play with.

  5. Tom Sobieski
    July 28, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    "it was most probably written and printed in China and therefore extremely confusing"
    Oh, Jackson.
    ??????????? !

  6. Kaycee Byron
    July 27, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    I have been looking at one of these, thanks for the review.

  7. JayBeeDee
    May 21, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    The heli design is really elaborate, a shame that it got a transmitter of poor quality. Once I got a working transmitter on eBay, the sudden drops stopped and this buddy flies like a dream.
    Video quality is great!
    Another important point in the manual sez: After flying, let the LiPo battery cool down first, before recharging.

    Caveats:
    - Don't you ever forget to turn off the video camera by remote control BEFORE turning of the helicopter power switch. If you forget to do so, the video you just grabbed will be empty (you get a file with zero KB in length) and that last kamikaze mission (where you spectacularly wrecked the heli) is lost.
    - Vulnerable parts:
    -- Landing gear: When doing a violent landing, this likes to break off close to the helicopter base. Stick on those skid rubbers!
    -- Plastic head of the inner rotor shaft - don't crash into a ceiling, rather let the heli drop down! If you do break it, look for two little metal pins that held the rotor support in place - they are not included with the shaft replacement, and you would have to file some steel nails to size…
    -- Rotor blades (who would have guessed…) Rather make a bail out drop than hitting something with these. I actually managed to buy replacement rotor blades for a completely different heli model and "dremel out" the differences.
    - You can get replacement parts nearly only on eBay.
    Have fun!

    • ruslan
      July 31, 2012 at 11:30 am

      the helli is only able to fly indores, so forget about spying as wind is taking it away and it's too week to resist. it's problem for all coaxial hellies, they nicely hover but can't fly fast to resist wind. My question: what is the voltage for the built in camera. I removed the camera to use separatelly as helli is useless outdores and indores normally with bad illumination video is trash

      • Phillip H. Blanton
        October 18, 2012 at 6:25 pm

        yeah, I agree... this is probably a helicopter for indoors use or only on really calm days. But it is cheap and a good learner model.

    • Phillip H. Blanton
      October 18, 2012 at 6:23 pm

      I found a place in australia that sells all of the replacement parts for this helicopter. Unfortunately if you live in the US, then your shipping will be higher than the total cost of parts. These parts are actually pretty cheap.

      So, if you need a lot of parts (I'd suggest making a list of parts that you expect to need in the future) then place an order with http://www.totallycontrolled.com.au/ and pay the confiscatory shipping fees.

  8. Awais Karni
    May 10, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Nice.. giveaway

  9. Nelson Lee
    May 10, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Wow!!! My son sure like it

  10. Nelson Lee
    May 10, 2012 at 8:10 am

    wow.....my son sure like it!!

  11. siddharth singh
    May 10, 2012 at 6:27 am

    a very nice review again!!! ... an amazing toy for any age

  12. siddharth singh
    May 10, 2012 at 6:26 am

    wow this is a great toy for any age ... waant it bad !!! :O btw .. a very good review again

  13. Benny Teo
    May 10, 2012 at 6:21 am

    Nice resolution on the camera for something so small.

  14. Fly My Way
    May 9, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    It would be so cool to win this. I am a 63 year old kid. I have always enjoyed different things and new toys, but never had one of these. I outgrew my rc car. Hope to have a new toy to play with. Keep it going makeuseof.

  15. Taufiq Alabi
    May 8, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    seems amazing

  16. Omstavan Samant
    May 8, 2012 at 3:24 am

    hope i win it... thanks for so many awesome giveaways MakeUseOf!

  17. 9d99020067b23013c2d904eb108bfae6
    May 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    looks great, must have toy for every one

  18. Dani
    May 6, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Wow such a great toy! I've just joined the contest. I'd love to win it - I'll celebrate my birthday soon and the Hawkspy would be the perfect gift :) Anyways, good luck everyone! ;)

  19. Shaney Valentino
    May 6, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Nice

  20. Bob
    May 6, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Very cool give away. I am hoping to win as I can visualize incorporation of the photos from this machine into my real estate exterior photography business. It would add a new dimension to my work (and be fun too).

  21. Bob
    May 6, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Wow what a cool give away. I immediately thought how I would like to incorporate its photography use in the real estate photography I currently am doing. It would be such an added plus (and fun too!)

  22. Shane Dickson (Oregon Slacker)
    May 5, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    I would have so much fun with this I might have to quit my day job!

  23. Mary L
    May 5, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Great giveaway, thanks

  24. hardy_betty
    May 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    wow !! wat a gadjet !!! :O

  25. Naser @ Tech Blog
    May 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I am in. Followed all the instructions. Thanks for the giveaway. Please let me know if there are problems in my entries...

  26. Alex
    May 5, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Great product and great giveaway! thank you for this nice contest and chance! Regards.
    http://www.facebook.com/alex.badn/posts/331447253594727
    https://twitter.com/#!/Alex77toy/status/198696245777285120

  27. Leo Bien Durana
    May 5, 2012 at 4:26 am

    I just entered! Thanks a lot guys!

  28. Gerwell Taroma
    May 4, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    really nice toy..huh..

  29. Nagendra kumar Gummapu
    May 4, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    MakeUseOf u ppl r awesome....:D

  30. Kyem Ghosh
    May 4, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Since the last one and half year, I have been working out to build up a remote control helicopter at my home in my free times and I have got ready with the helicopter model and I have left with the inside parts. I always had a dream to have a remote control helicopter but its just much expensive in the market to have a toy for Rs 4000 (75$) and so I didn't have it yet. I have always been dreaming of a model as shown in the Bollywood movie '3-idiots'.... And I surely will make it in near future.... If I win it here, I won't stop working on it for sure!!!!

  31. RP
    May 4, 2012 at 9:40 am

    very very exciting giveaway

  32. Gino Paolo Cruz
    May 4, 2012 at 4:54 am

    Daddy like 2...

  33. Achraf52
    May 4, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Cool device for recording far .

  34. dandy
    May 3, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    nice giveaway...perfect for my niece a birthday gift.thaks.

  35. Jeff
    May 3, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    I'm in !!
    Good luck to all!

  36. Glynn Sole
    May 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Am I right to assume you will contact me by email to get my address so you can deliver the Hawk to me.
    P.S. It's the UK so I don't think you'll be able to fly it here.

  37. Muhammad Ahmad
    May 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Retweeted!
    That is my favorite favourite. Please count me in. I am really excited.

  38. Tyson Senway
    May 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Too cool!

  39. Rushinth John
    May 3, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Wow this is just too coool. Man what am I looking at. And MakeUseOf your getting to awesome with these Givea-ways. This is a ver good selection.

  40. Mohammad Wasiullah
    May 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm
  41. Pratik Bhandari
    May 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Awesome!!!!

  42. Goose
    May 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Daddy likey!

  43. Abdul Rafay
    May 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Wow! cool giveaway i always wanted one.But This one rocks because it has camera! and a memory card for recording in the air.GREAT

  44. Pedro Oliva
    May 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    wow... interesting... i wanna :)

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