Picco-Z remote control helicoper review with videos

The Picco-Z micro remote control helicopter
This fun little helicopter is small enough to fly around your house!

Please note: the photos will pop-up within your current view when clicked, with pretty large images that appear to be a new page on small browser windows. Just click them again to close them. Hitting “back” will not do what you’re expecting 😉

I received a Picco-Z (some call it Picoo-Z) remote control helicopter recently and thought I’d do a review. For those who are impatient, it’s a fun toy which is suprisingly capable and amazingly beginner friendly. That’s why it’s sold-out of most toy stores and gizmo shops. However, Hobbytron still has the Picco-Z in stock.

Now, on with the review!

I received my Picco-Z from Hobbytron and it was very well packed. It included the helicopter itself, the documentation, and even 6 AA batteries for the transmitter/charger.

Picco-Z shipped from Hobbytron Picco-Z shipped from Hobbytron

The helicopter is presented in an attractive, very sturdy retail package. The packaging is so robust that I actually had to take several minutes to figure-out how to removed the Picco-Z from it’s restraints withoug damaging it.

The Picco-Z packaging The Picco-Z packaging The Picco-Z packaging Unpacking the Picco-Z helicopter from the box Unpacking the Picco-Z helicopter from the box Unpacking the Picco-Z helicopter from the box

The included transmitter uses infrared technology, not radio waves, to control the helicopter. The transmitter also acts as the charger for the copter, meaning that there are no extra AC adapters or other accessories to lose.

The included Picco-Z transmitter/controller The included Picco-Z transmitter/controller The included Picco-Z transmitter/controller

Once everything is unpacked, you’ll see that the Picco-Z is indeed very small. Here is the transmitter and helicopter next to a ruler and can of Coke for a size comparison.

Size comparison of the Picco-Z

The retail package comes with complete instructions which are fairly well written and illustrated. I would highly recommend that everyone who buys a Picco-Z reference the Hobbytron tweaking instructions for additional tips as well.

The instruction sheet included with the Picco-Z remote control helicopter The instruction sheet included with the Picco-Z remote control helicopter

The package includes a spare tail-rotor propellor and 3 pieces of adhesive-backed aluminum for adjusting the balance of the helicopter to enhance its flight characteristics.

The spare rotor propellor and the aluminum weights

The Picco-Z, like many of these “quick charge” toys, is charged via the batteries in the transmitter. You plug the helicopter into the transmitter for approximately 30 minutes to recharge the on-board battery, which gives you about 10 minutes of useful flight time. Here, you can see the battery setup for the transmitter and the charging port and power switch on the helicopter.

The battery compartment on the transmitter The battery compartment on the transmitter The unopened transmitter Exposing the charging lead The charging lead ready to be used The charging port on the helicopter The Picco-Z charging from the transmitter

The Picco-Z is made from what appears to be EPP foam and lightweight plastic. The EPP foam is extremely strong and resistant to damage, which is important for a toy like this! All of the plastic pieces are very lightweight yet are stiff and not flimsy. As you’ll see in the videos below, I thunked the Picco-Z on the floor a couple times (and several more which aren’t shown in the videos) and thus far, it has sustained absolutely no damage. I have yet to send it propeller-first into anything, but even “crashing” by cutting the power from 6 feet in the air didn’t cause any problems.

Showing the Picco-Z's construction Showing the Picco-Z's construction Showing the Picco-Z's construction Showing the Picco-Z's constructionShowing the Picco-Z's construction Showing the Picco-Z's construction

At this point, I figured I would take my very first remote-controlled helicopter flight and see just how beginner-friendly this Picco-Z is! For some background, I’m familiar with flying radio control aircraft (primarily an EasyStar and a Unicorn flying wing) so I am comfortable with the dual-stick transmitter. However, I’ve never flown a helicopter before.

I took the copter off and it spun wildly until I got it trimmed, however it was not really out of control and flying all over – it just hovered cleanly and spun which allowed me to adjust the trim as needed. After that, it took me a little bit to get used to the sensitivity of the throttle. I’d be heading for the ceiling and then cut the power too much, which sent the copter for the floor rather quickly. However, it only took a minute before I was getting the hang of this well-behaved microscopic helicopter.

NOTE: See the first video below – the youtube players interfere with viewing the photos.

Now, I must admit that I did NOT read the Hobbytron tweaking guide before trying the Picco-Z (come-on, I was excited to try it out!) and while it did hover and rotate fine, I could not get it to move forward with any reliability. After talking to a friend, I realized why the adhesive aluminum weights were included! I promptly stuck a couple of them onto the front underside of the copter which did help give the movement more purpose. I also found that sticking a T-pin in the nose, worked even better due to the greater leverage of the weight.

The Picco-Z about to get some additional weight to improve the flight The tiny aluminum adhesive weights The Picco-Z with some additional weight to improve the flight The Picco-Z with some additional weight to improve the flight

I’m sure that there is more tweaking to be done, but even as I have it now, the Picco-Z is a fun little toy. It’s small enough and well behaved enought to fly indoors, even in a relatively small space. I started in a large empty spot in my basement but by the third flight, was able to move into my gameroom which is more crowded and challenging.

NOTE: See the second and third videos below – the youtube players interfere with viewing the photos.

The helicopter takes about 20-30 minutes to recharge from the transmitter. Once charged, I have been getting about 10 minutes of useful flight per charge. When I say “useful” I mean that the battery is still juicy enough to raise the copter. Non “useful” is so low that the helicopter will not rise and instead either flies only level or loses altitude.

I was concerned with the fact that the Picco-Z uses infrared signals to control the copter. I have 4 very bright compact fluorescent lights in my basement, along with a TV and I was worried that the flicker from any or all of them would be a problem. However, as you can see in the videos, I suffered no loss of control due to interference. I have not tried the Picco-Z outdoors yet, as it’s quite cold here in Colorado right now and when it is nice, it’s rarely calm enough to fly something this small and light.

Overall, I have found the Picco-Z to be very enjoyable. It’s clearly not a substitute for a real radio control aircraft as its controls are very limited (much like those RC toy cars from the 80’s that went straight or turned in reverse) yet it’s a fun diversion for when you’re hanging around the house looking for a bit of a real life video game. The run times are good and thus far, the durability and construction quality have been exceptional. Just read the tweak sheet first for the most enjoyment.

The Picco-Z is sold-out in nearly every outlet, but Hobbytron has them in-stock for only $39.99. These would make a great gift for the rising-star pilot in your family.

Scroll down for videos – I had to add empty space so that the photos don’t overlap the videos. If anyone knows how to make Lightbox work with youtube videos, please let me know.

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Video 1:

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Comments

  1. These micro helis are surprisingly fun to fly and can stand crashes after crashes because of the way they are built.

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