Pros: Super fun, medium difficulty to fly, great indoor toy, comes with a few spare parts.
Cons: They are fragile, need tuning, and crash and break fairly easily.
Wow. Who would have thought that this would be one of the all time best received gifts I have ever sent to my nephews.
I saw these Laser Battle Havoc Helicopters advertised on TV and of course the advertisement makes them seem great. So while out shopping for Christmas gifts for my nephews (young teenagers). I thought, this looks like fun. And the price didn't seem to outrageous either. Two helicopters, and controllers for about Eighty Dollars ($80).
Since we also have five children (3 boys and 2 girls), I figured I'd also buy a set for our oldest two kids.
Imagine my surprise when the "hit of Christmas" at both my house, and my sisters, was the Laser Battle Havoc Heli's. My kids played with them several times on Christmas day, and almost every day since then. I have heard that usage is similar with my nephews, and their "reviews" of the gifts they received place these heli's very, very high.
But now, as a parent, here is the whole truth in ownership of these little helicopters. First off, shop around. I have seen a set of these priced as high as $200. Our local "everybody shops there" store had several sets at Christmas time for only $80. Second, they are fragile. Seriously fragile. And even kids who are normally gentle with their toys are going to have a hard time not breaking them somehow. The most common thing that breaks is the tail rotor, but the main blades will break also.
Conveniently, the package comes with two spare sets of main rotors and four spare tail rotors. Unfortunately, that won't be enough to keep your kids flying for months. If you do shop around for spare parts, you will be much happier (and so will your kids). Also, the body of the heli's is made of very light styrofoam, and it is going to get dinged up, and may even crack if your kids crash the heli hard, or into each other mid flight (of course they are going to love trying anyway, but you get to fix the leftovers).
Repairing the little foam body isn't all that difficult, a dab of glue, or a little bit of tape will work, and won't really change the flight dynamics of the heli anyway. Changing the blades is relatively easy since the main blades just snap on, and the tail rotor just pulls off and then presses back onto the rotor shaft.
As for control, it takes a bit of practice, but what you see on television is entirely possible if you get your heli's properly "tuned" and have some flight experience. At first, your kids will crash them into the ceiling, then into the walls, then into anything else in the room (the Christmas tree, the dog, the younger kids, even you). But they will quickly grow tired of crashing and want to "do battle" with the laser's. And they will soon be flying circles around each other trying to position themselves for the "kill shot".
A little word about tuning is appropriate here. Read the instructions, they are important. If you tune the heli to where it is stable taking off and landing, then you will be able to maneuver it quite well. The more crashes you have, the more it will get out of tune. And the little tail rotor will take up tiny little threads from your carpet that you won't even notice until you have no control at all. Our kids have determined that not pushing the tail rotor all the way down onto the shaft helps with control, as well as putting a little bit of sewing machine oil on the main rotor shaft, and the tail rotor motor every now and then. You will notice that they heli's come with a sheet of what look like thick aluminum stickers. If placed on the nose of the heli they will weigh it down just enough to give the heli some tilt and easier forward motion and control. Our kids literally put ALL of the little stickers on the nose, and flight control is pretty easy.
For battle, on the controller there is a fire trigger, and sound effects. But you won't need sound effects to know if you have been shot, the heli will spin wildly out of control and drop from the sky. It may even crash, depending on how they handle the wild spin. As for charging and flight times, it takes about 20 to 25 minutes to charge and you get about 5-6 minutes of flight time. Ours have been recharged hundreds of times. It is important to be careful plugging in and removing the charger plug, because the light foam body will crack if you are not (here comes the glue).
Overall, this is one really fun toy. Your kids will literally wear it out, they will most likely break it sometimes, and you will most likely get in on the action. Keep spare parts around, don't forget to oil the rotor shafts, and you'll be sure to have several months of good times.