Review: iSuper Battle Tank
We really didn't expect iSuper's Battle Tank ($79) to be this good. The latest iOS-controlled vehicle to arrive at our offices hails from a company we've never heard from before, and a perusal of its website didn't wow us. Yet the Bluetooth controlled tank surpassed expectations in looks, build, and handling. Among the model vehicles we've covered recently, it's one of the coolest. There are a few details, however, that did leave questions as to the overall quality.
The roughly 8” long, 5” wide plastic tank is impressively detailed, though very clearly made from plastic as opposed to metal. From the treads to the turret to the camouflage paint job, we really liked how it looked. Battle Tank feels like it can take a bit of beating without slowing down, and there are even flashing lights on top. One downside is the battery, accessible through a cover on the underside. The 400mAh cell is rechargeable via an included wall adapter, but rather than a USB based system, this one relies on an older style of connector, and the battery looks cheap. Most users won’t have a problem with this, but it is a detail that could stand to be refined.
Like similar Bluetooth wireless-based remote-controlled toys we’ve tested, Battle Tank is controlled via a free app; this one is iPhone-only and isn’t beautiful, but it gets the job done. It took us a few minutes to realize that once that you’ve connected to the tank over Bluetooth, you must hit the lightbulb button in the app to power it on. After doing so, the tank immediately springs to life. The app has has dual thumbsticks to control the treads individually, although it can also be set to use gyroscope-based tilt controls. Additionally, the turret can be moved left and right using a second set of buttons, and can fire light bursts for a supposed attack mode against other Battle Tanks. The app also includes the ability to record and replay paths, built-in music controls, and inexplicably an NES-quality game. Despite some of the weirdness, the tank is very responsive to the controls. We found it easy to steer, and got a kick out of the fact that the tank recoils when it fires.
Out of all the iOS-vehicles we’ve tested recently, the closest comparison is Silverlit’s Porsche 911 Carrera which rings in a the same price. While that one uses a fancier and more involved app, the size and quality of the vehicles are pretty comparable, and the car requires four AA batteries to power it—Battle Tank’s rechargeable battery is an asset. It’s fun to play with on its own, and seems like it’d be especially fun paired with others. Taken as a whole, Battle Tank is a neat toy, and earns our strong general recommendation.