Hands On With Spin Master Air Hogs Connect Quadcopter Drone
We were lucky enough to get our hands on Spin Master Air Hogs Connect prior to it’s official launch next week, October 27, 2016. This is no ordinary drone. It combines the thrill of flying a physical drone while utilizing augmented reality (AR).
Let’s first touch upon the physical build. Most of the body frame is made of styrofoam encompassing the four propellers. At each four corner are LED light indicators. The power switch and charging port are both located on the top. The charge port uses a proprietary connector that can be powered by a USB Type A connector.
Also included in the travel case is the AR tracking mat and a quick start guide.
The Air Hogs Connect can be controlled by a smartphone or tablet with their Air Hogs Connect: Mission Drone app. The app is free for both iOS and Android. The drone communicates with the tablet through Bluetooth. There's less then a second lag but it doesn't interfer with gameplay.
Take off or land a few of a button. There are a lot of flight assistance built-in. Though it’s advertised for ages 10+, the controls are so easy that a 7 year old can operate it.
There are various game modes available in the app. Each utilizes the tablet’s back camera to help generate a world around the drone. The images are pretty detailed. To zoom in, simply move the camera closer to the mat or drone.
Air Hogs Connect’s use of augmented reality is a game changer. Other low cost drones lose their novelty after a few minutes because it gets repetitive. Air Hogs Connect: Mission Drone app adds replay value and purpose. The drone may be flying over the mat but on the tablet screen we’re directing the drone to deploy it’s grappling hook to catch the aliens, put out fires, weave around buildings, etc.
The drone has a flight time of less then 8 minutes. There wasn't an option for us to switch out the battery. Fortunately, the Air Hogs Connect: Mission Drone app is playable even while the drone was charging. Our young tester continued to polish his skills while waiting to fly again.
Air Hogs Connect has a retail price of $150. With it's creative use of drone and augmented reality, this will be one of the hottest toys this holiday season.