It seems there’s no shortage of unique and interesting accessories for iOS devices. The makers of the iHelicopter (which I reviewed back in September) have now unveiled an all-new creation – the IW500 iPhone-controlled wall-climbing car. We take it for a test drive to see how it holds up.
The IW500, also known as the “iSpace,” is a unique RC car that uses a system of fans to create a vacuum between itself and a smooth surface. This allows it to drive on walls or ceilings, taking the RC experience to a whole new level.
In addition to the cool factor of being able to drive this car up and down your walls, the use of suction also allows the vehicle to perform neat stunts, such as 360-degree spins, with ease, as the car isn’t held down by its own weight like a typical RC car. The vacuum can also be switched off, allowing the device to operate like a regular RC car.
Using a similar combination of an app and a dongle as employed by the iHelicopter, the IW500 can be controlled in one of two ways – either by using the app’s controls to steer, or by taking advantage of the iPhone’s gyroscope (which I personally find to be a lot more fun).
Despite the fact that the IW500 is constantly sucking itself against your wall or ceiling, it is nevertheless able to travel at fairly decent speeds, and because the iW500 is so light on its feet, it’s also easier to maneuver than ground-based RC cars.
Instead of requiring batteries, the IW500 uses a small internal power cell, which can be recharged via USB. While it’s nice that this eliminates the need for batteries, it also significantly limits how long the car can be used for. The IW500 lasts just 8 minutes on a charge, requiring 30 minutes to recharge. This essentially makes the IW500 useful only as a short diversion – perhaps as a way to break up a long work day.
Aside from the unique advantages of the unit’s suction system, there’s also one main disadvantage: the car requires an extremely smooth surface in order to work well, and any significant changes in the surface, like a bump, can easily cause the car to lose its bearing and plummet to the ground.
Fortunately, the car is light enough and is built well enough that even if it falls from the ceiling, it’s unlikely to be significantly damaged.
All in all, the iW500 is a fun and unique device that can provide a great deal of entertainment, and allows you to use your iPhone in an interesting new way. While the device’s $60 price tag does seem a bit steep considering the IW500’s light and relatively simple construction, it’s still fairly affordable, and is considerably less expensive than many other remote-controlled toys.
Rating & Information
Considering its relatively low price, the uniqueness of the idea, and the fact that the IW500 is both entertaining and just plan cool, I award the IW500 a 4 out of 5, knocking a point due to its rather short battery life.
The IW500 is available now in your choice of blue or red trim, and can be purchased directly through iHelicopters for just $60, which includes free shipping to anywhere in the world.
Check out the short demo clip below to get a better idea of how the IW500 works (and to see it in action).
- Fun & unique way to make use of your iPhone
- Relatively inexpensive
- Can perform cool stunts
- No batteries required
- Requires a very smooth surface, and can easily be thrown off the wall or ceiling by small bumps
- Short battery life