Star Wars Drones Review: Propel’s Battle Drones
Star Wars fans! You are all in for the treat of your lives. We have a drone for you all! Propel have come up with their new series of Star Wars battle drones that are actually 4-ounce devices that can be controlled with the help of a dedicated controller. But there is plenty of more to these devices than this basic stuff. They phenomenal, hand-painted and highly priced devices are a great present for Star Wars enthusiasts. They are also great collector items that can be bought for just $199.
There are three different designs available, the 74-Z Speeder Bike, the T-65 Wing-X Starfighter and the Tie Advanced X1.
It was great fun to unbox the original packaging as I had purchased the Tie Advanced X1. The device came in a box sealed with wax. I was quite surprised that when the drone was opened, Star Wars music started playing and lights were illuminated. The drone is erected on a stand and placed inside a transparent plastic case. This is certainly intended to help you display the item in your showcase rather than putting them down in your cupboard to be remain hidden for ever.
Aesthetics wise, there drones are simply fabulous. The hand-painted drones are assigned special numbers, certified and packed in a specially designed display for the collectors. The devices have been engineered with unparalleled intricacy. Subtle shading in the painting makes the drone appear as if it has gone through many a flight adventures traversing through the galaxy. Blue and white LEDs further add to the beauty and charisma of these amazing devices.
Since the drones weigh only about 4 ounces so you will not have to get them registered with the FAA.
To make things more interesting and intriguing, the propellers are located underneath the drone which I surmise were placed to add beauty to the device. This also limits your launching surface to a hard one since you won’t be able to take off from a grassy ground. The drones are also shipped with propeller guards that help you out in flying your drone indoors since it will prevent you from damaging your walls and even your precious drones.
As far as the operation is concerned, the drone works similar to any low cost toy drone that can be found in the market.
For beginner drone pilots, the drones come integrated with auto takeoff and land buttons in addition to some exciting flight modes.
To make things more realistic, the manufacturers have added authentic Star Wars music and sounds to the radio controller by incorporating a speaker in it. A retractable arm to hold out the user’s smartphone is also a part of each controller. A smartphone app is also in the process of being released soon that will let you keep track of your battle scores against your opponents.
Considering the high price, the drone does not include an integrated camera which is a bit of a disappointment. You can check out that includes a 2MP camera and is available on the market for just $70.
Battle abilities are where the real strength of this drone lie in. It incorporates lasers that are safe for the eyes and can be used to target other Star Wars drones. Once a drone gets shot at, it kind of wobbles. With three shots, the drone is forced to land as if it were crashing. This is an exciting feature that is not included in most of the toy drones out there and is something that really was able to gain traction with me.
Having said that, here’s the catch: you need to own multiple drones to enjoy the battle functionality. This means that instead of spending $200, you will have to spend around $400 or even $600 or $800 to ensure that you have enough drones to try out the battle function.
During a press event, I happened to enjoy the battle function. But with my lonely Tie Fighter device, I was only able to have fun while flying it and could not enjoy fighting against my friends.
I am in love with the radio controller since it plays fabulous Star Wars music and sounds which can obviously be turned off if and when required.
Each controller is tailored in line with the drone it has been designed for. For instance, the controller for my Tie-Fighter unit is colored black with red highlights. The other controllers are painted in accordance with their drones which tends to be a lot of help in battles as the pilots can easily distinguish their drone from the other.
I had an issue with the controller though. Since the screws were not of high quality, so when I accidentally dropped down my controller, I ended up stripping down one due to which I had to force the battery cover rather than slowly removing it. I was a bit broken-hearted after damaging my expensive drone and I wish that Propel had utilized better quality screws to avoid such an accident.
These Star Wars drones offer a flight duration of about 8 minutes and require about half an hour to get recharged completely via the wall outlet. What’s good is that you will get a couple of batteries so you should get more flight duration easily.
You would remember that I happened to damage my controller owing to my complacency. I also got one of the batteries damaged. While removing it from the device for the 30th time literally, since I used it a lot, the thumb clip used to remove the battery easily from its container broke off. Now, it is quite difficult for me to remove the batteries because of the absence of the thumb clip. This was rather frustrating since the quality of the drone itself seemed to be of the highest calibre but unfortunately, and to much of my annoyance, the plastic broke off very easily.
For the lovers of the Star Wars franchise and enthusiasts of collectibles, then these drones are a treasure trove for you. The pricing and the design of these machines is simply exquisite. I have placed it in my showcase next to my very valuable trophies and decoration pieces and looks as if it were made for this niche.
Having said that, if you are someone who is interested in buying a toy drone just to pass some good leisure time, then this device is too expensive to be honest. I hope you are able to convince your friends to buy other models of this Star Wars series so that you can enjoy the battle functionality together. But if you fail in doing so, you should go for the that can be had for no more than $50. It has flight characteristics pretty much similar to its expensive counterparts and in fact it boasts an integrated camera which lets you capture aerial images and videos and glance at your backyard from a totally different perspective. Actually, you are paying $150 premium to Propel just to get your hands on the Star Wars branding while purchasing the battle drones. You are in a better position to decide whether you are willing to pay this $150 premium just to attain the branding or you are satisfied with the $50 drone.
Finally, if you are some sort of a Star Wars geek, then the subtle intricacies, finesse, music, sounds and the hand-painted design transforms this drone into a scintillating marvel of modern technology.
In the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Your eyes can deceive you so do not trust them”. Have a great time flying your Star Wars battle drones.