Are all RC Vehicles created equal? If they both have a busy paint scheme, rubber tires and an included 2.4ghz remote, does that make them both on the same playing field? If they cost around the same amount, does that make them equal? They clearly are not. Real versus Fake RC’s – what’s the difference?
The RCNetwork typically features hobby grade products from reputable vendors. What do I mean by ‘hobby grade?” I mean an RC that has standard replaceable parts and electronics that can easily be removed and put back on or changed and upgraded. I can easily find these parts and they fit and work with my RC.
The Death Adder
In January 2016, I was approached by a company called GearBest. They offered to send me product for review and after about five to six declined offers (me declining), I accepted a product that they felt strongly about. The product looked decent, it seemed “hobby grade.” It was the SST (Saisu Tech) Racing Death Adder 1/9th scale 4wd brushless Rally Car complete with Lipo and Charger! Now, when I accepted the product for review, I noticed a price on their site (GearBest) of $249.99.
The Death Adder Doesn’t Add Up
Upon unboxing the SST Death Adder on video, I noticed things that really bothered me as a reviewer and influencer. The body was damaged upon inspection and was paper thin around the fenders. Many of the electronics were cheap looking and unbranded with no markings. The suspension was terrible. If you pushed down on the rear suspension, it stayed down…..not returning to a resting position, meaning the shocks were assembled incorrectly. Next, while pushing the Death Adder across my studio table, the drive-train stuck. It was clicking on the rear differential and with even the heaviest force, would not rotate the drive-train. I concluded the video and contacted GearBest via email with my findings. They immediately defended the product claiming I must be mistaken and wanted video proof of the issues, so I posted the video. Once they viewed the video, they wanted the video taken down…..which I did not oblige. Since January 2016, GearBest discontinued the product and is available at other discounters for $227.06.
Fast forward 12 months and I have started on the Beginner Series featuring the
Team Associated ProRally, which at the time of the unboxing January 2017 was $229.99 for the 1/10th scale 4wd Rally Car and $259.99 with a Lipo battery and balance charger. It got me thinking, are these two Rally Cars that much different?
Real vs. Fake RC’s
They both are made in China, both around the same pricing, they look similar, same size box. The biggest difference is the governing brand, Team Associated. Of course being a huge brand in the RC industry, Team Associated has the final call of what item gets their name and bottom line, their heritage attached to the box/vehicle.
The Two Rally Cars are Nothing Alike
First off, the SST Death Adder is not really a “Hobby Grade” RC. After a quick google search if parts are really available and searching “front A-Arms” on both. The SST product had one listing globally for a set of A-Arms via eBay for $27.87 USD. The ProRally had listings at all the big online RC retailers including a Amain and Tower Hobbies for $5.39.
Electronics and Drive-Train
Now for the electronics – the SST product had no markings on the motor or servo at all. The ESC did have a marking of the amperage rating but that’s it. The ProRally was badged with XP and Reedy electronics through out and badging with model numbers.
The SST product had all the above mentioned issues with the drive-train and the shocks. The ProRally has a smooth drive-train and the suspension was very plush with a bit more travel than a Rally car should have.
The Real RC
So, what do you get for maybe a few more bucks from a reputable RC vendor? You get a quality product that they stand behind and has went through a system of quality control. You get actual brand licensing like the “RockStar Energy Drink” logos on the ProRally. You get post-sale help if the product isn’t 100% as you would expect.
So, have you seen some of these companies pop up and try to filter in sub-par product to the RC community? Have you yourself been burned by a company that doesn’t stand behind their product (other than mis-use or user error….these are RC’s!)? Have you seen blatantly copied products that have been sheltered by an ocean? Have you seen licensing infringements? Comment below!