Home' LAPTOP Magazine : February 2012 Contents accessories
The Griffin Helo Tc is a seriously fun and durable
helicopter that you can control with your iPhone.
You’ve always wanted to fly a helicopter. And
while most of us won’t be getting behind the
controls of an Apache, you can enjoy it on a small
scale with the Griffin Helo TC. This appcessory
pairs a miniature remote-control helicopter with
an iOS app.
The Griffin Helo TC looks like a traditional
helicopter—a single rotor above the body for lift,
and a tail boom with a second, smaller rotor to
control direction. A black plastic shell and bare
metal chassis underneath give the chopper a
spartan, sleek look.
An RF transmitter attaches to your iOS device
using two plastic clips. It works best with an iPhone
or iPod touch. We downloaded the free Helo TC
app from the App Store, attached the transmitter,
and launched the app.
As with any remote control helicopter, there’s
a bit of a learning curve. We used the d-pad as a
traditional joystick. After a few minutes, the helicopter
moved where we wanted, for the most part.
A neat feature of the Griffin app is that you
can change the controls so that tilting your iOS
device will change the direction of the helicopter.
We found the motion
controls to be much
more sensitive than
the traditional joystick. However, once we got the
hang of it, we were able to move the helicopter
around very fluidly.
Regardless, we found that keeping the Helo TC
in the air required constant minute adjustments of
the throttle. We recommend using this device in a
room with a high ceiling. Unfortunately, you can’t
really use the Helo TC outdoors—even a slight
wind sent the helicopter well off course.
We wish that we could get more than 10 to 15
minutes of flight time before we had to recharge the
chopper, but that’s typical of devices this size.
The Auto Land feature worked perfectly, bringing
the helicopter to a soft landing. Usually, by the
time we needed this feature,
the helicopter had already
crashed. Fortunately, the design
is very forgiving. Griffin bundles
replacement rotor blades.
The Griffin Helo TC is one of
the most entertaining iPhone
Replacement blades included
Steep learning curve
accessories ever. At $49, it’s about the same price
as similar remote-control helicopters, making it
a killer toy for those with iOS devices and flights
— M ichael A. Prospero
Parses workout data well
Lots of accessories
Learns your favorite songs
Syncs with Motorola Android phones
Somewhat bulky on the wrist
Headphone controls a little slick
a personal trainer on your wrist, the MotoacTV tracks and
analyzes your workouts—and provides motivation, too.
There’s a lot of great free smartphone apps that
will track your run through the park, but you still
have to carry your phone. The Motorola MotoACTV
takes the best parts of those apps and packs them
into a design that’s not only less obtrusive, but
water-resistant, to boot. Better yet, this device
will analyze your workouts and help you set goals
to shed pounds.
At 1.8 x 1.8 x 0.4 inches and 1.3 ounces, the
MotoACTV looks like a thicker, heavier iPod nano.
The top is dominated by a 1.6 -inch Gorilla Glass
touch screen with a glossy black bezel. The back
has a small edge so that the device can slip into
one of the four included accessories: two belt clips,
a wristband, and an armband. We liked using the
elastic armband the best.
Also included is a set of buds with ear loops. In-line
controls let us pause and advance music, but became
difficult to use after our hands got sweaty.
The main screen on the MotoACTV prominently
shows the time. Below that, a red bar shows how
many calories you’ve burned, as well as how many
steps you’ve taken.
With a Motorola Android phone, you can connect
to the MotoACTV via Bluetooth to answer calls,
read text messages, and sync your data.
We first plugged the device into our notebook
via USB. From there we imported tracks and
playlists from iTunes, and the MotoACTV con-
nected to our wireless network. The MotoACTV
can account for your gait, as well as the type of
bicycle you ride—all the way down to tire size.
It took a few minutes to get a GPS fix, but we
regained it quickly on subsequent runs. The device
accurately tracked our route through Liberty State
Park in New Jersey.
We liked that the MotoACTV provided coaching
along the way, giving us not only time, pace, and
distance traveled, but also reminders to drink
One of our favorite features of the MotoACTV
is Fitness Music, which creates a playlist of songs
that you respond best to when exercising.
The MotoACTV offers a lot of useful features,
both for while you’re working up a sweat and
— M ichael A. Prospero
CLICK to pLay vIdeo
See for yourself.
Laptop | February 2012
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