Last month we were given the opportunity to check out a new range of drones from Propel, an innovations company for the consumer electronic market.
Propel flew into the market (pun intended) with RC helicopters back when drones were only being used by the military. After a time spent with Brookstone they decided to branch off and form their own company, changing the material the helicopters where made from and then patenting the dual rotor design we see on all RC helicopters today. Propel then ventured into the drone market and more importantly, teamed up with Disney and Lucasfilm.
Propel, Disney and Lucasfilm have teamed up to bring you your favourite Star Wars spaceships, in drone form. This is a re-release of their drones, which they previously released late 2016 and was a little premature. Propel are back, with an improved Star Wars experience that is ready for the masses and we were lucky enough to fly them before anyone else! This first wave of drones include the T-65 X Wing, 74-Z Speeder Bike and the Tie Advanced X1, three of the most iconic ships from the Star Wars galaxy. They fit in the palm of your hand, they can reach speeds of up to 30mph and they look so so good! Propel have included a number of exciting updates with this release.
New users can learn how to fly more easily in training mode at a reduced speed, with additional stability provide by air pressure sensors. T-mode creates an invisible boundary for practice flights, preventing pilots from flying off or crashing. Imagine your drone is in a force field cube, if you hit any of the sides, the controls automatically stop, to avoid you causing any damage. Perfect for learning how to fly.
Available for iOS and Android, this free app allows you to connect your drone controller to your device, so you can practice and learn how to fly with your virtual drone. Within the app, you will find tutorials and a number of missions, all of which you can achieve up to three stars, to become the best pilot.
Intelligent Awareness Technology or IAT:
“Propels groundbreaking IAT technology bridges the gap between virtual gaming and the real world. It unlocks a brand new era for the gaming industry. Intelligent awareness technology utilise four latency free wireless communication systems, to create an exciting and incredibily compelling real time gaming experience.” In essence, you can battle your drones with your friends, using on-board sensors or real class 1 laser attachments (optional extra), knock them out of the sky with your missiles and create custom games.
LiFi or Light Fidelity:
LiFi is used for transmitting data but up to 100 times faster than the speed of WiFi. LiFi uses a light transmitter, for example an LED and a light receiver to transfer data between two points. The transmitting light source is fitted with a driver, which modulates the output of that source at an extremely high frequency. In the case of these drones, the light signal is read by the processor on the drones. The data transmitted between drones includes each ships specific identification code, as identified by the sequence in which each user binds their drones within the event space. This code is tied to the user’s gamer tag at the moment they sign into a battle lobby, within the battle app. This is how we know who has hit who and is key to the IAT.
- Price: £179.99 – £199.99 (limited edition). Available from John Lewis – release date tbc, assume in time for christmas!
- 100,000 units to be manufactured
- 3 options – T-65 X Wing | 74-Z Speeder Bike | Tie Advanced X1
- 2 Batteries included in the box, plus a number of spares, including several spare propeller blades.
- 1 year FULL warranty, even if YOU crash the drone and break it, replacement parts will be shipped, free of charge for the first year.
- Achieves speed of upto 30mph / 50kph
- Multiplayer battle game with other Propel Star Wars battling drones.
- 3 speed settings, plus training mode & of course, you can do aerial flips.
- Highly detailed, hand painted and numbered
- 2.4 GHZ controller included
- Special edition collectors box which is just amazing!
- Average run time 6-8 minutes | 30-40minute charge time.
- New app has training mode for augmented flight training via iOS & Android devices.
- Immersive controller with official sound effects via the controller speaker or headphones.
- Class 1 laser attachment (safe to used) that can be seen in darker/smokey areas, at an additional cost.
Propel put on an amazing event, packed full of fun and informative experiences, which we did actually vlog for you and can be found on our YouTube channel. The event impressed but did the drones? Yes and No. The drones are incredibly detailed and resemble the ships in every way, the flying of the drones is very responsive and the sound effects and packaging are the cherry on top but, how much fun can be had? We cannot fault the product, it’s superb but what about its longevity? If it’s just you playing on your own, how many times will you want to fly it? If you are lucky enough that your friends own one too, then I’m sure you will have a lot of fun shooting each other out the sky but can everyone afford the £180 price tag for a toy drone?
As of the release of this article, we have yet to be able to try out the app, which apparently is still to be signed off or something. We hope the app adds that extra level of interactivity and increases the user experience. It’s also unclear what the difference, if any, to the initial release drones but we highly recommend you get the newer version.
SPOILER ALERT, Millennium Falcon is coming!!