Nasa / Space

Geek Gifts 2011: Disney TRON Legacy Light Cycle Sam Flynn Zero Gravity RC Vehicle

The Disney TRON Legacy Light Cycle Sam Flynn Zero Gravity RC Vehicle is one of those Christmas-morning gifts that kids remember for a long time.

Some toys have a "wow" factor that cannot be denied and the Disney TRON Legacy Light Cycle Sam Flynn Zero Gravity RC Vehicle is one of them. I can't imagine anyone being disappointed on Christmas morning to find a RC vehicle in their stocking that can climb walls and travel across ceilings.

Specifications

What I like

  • Defies gravity: The TRON Legacy Light Cycle can ride up walls and transverse ceilings - the first time you ride up a wall you can't help but think, "Wow, that's cool," to yourself.
  • TRON: Many people with geeky tendencies are fans of the TRON movie franchise and relish anything from that universe. The TRON Legacy Light Cycle emits lights that give it a distinctive TRON look.
  • Geek physics: The gravity defying movement is achieved with some clever physics. By creating a vacuum of low pressure under the cycle, the pull toward the wall or ceiling is more than the pull of gravity. Explaining that bit of physical wizardry is a great way to teach some physics and have fun at the same time.

What I don't like

  • Batteries: The controller requires six standard AA batteries, not only to control the cycle but also to charge it between runs up the wall. That's six more batteries that are likely to end up in the landfill.
  • Limits: The major limiting factor for the TRON Legacy Light Cycle is that the cycle has to run on smooth surfaces. This is especially true for the zero-gravity feature - a stucco ceiling will not create enough of a pressure difference to maintain the gravity-defying fun.
  • Durability: The TRON Legacy Light Cycle only costs $20 and it feels like it. I am not saying the cycle will fall apart after a few runs, but I don't see it lasing five years either.
  • Longevity of interest: One problem I can see is with the TRON Legacy Light Cycle's ability to keep your interest. Once you get over the "coolness" of driving it on walls and ceilings there is not much else you can do with it.

Bottom line

The Disney TRON Legacy Light Cycle Sam Flynn Zero Gravity RC Vehicle is one of those Christmas morning gifts that kids remember for a long time, but seldom play with after the initial week. It is the kind of toy your kids can use to amaze the non-geeky family members at the family party, but it will eventually lose its appeal.

However, before that happens, it makes a great stocking stuffer for under $20 and it will look cool on the family video 10-years from now. That is an excellent investment and the Disney TRON Legacy Light Cycle will certainly bring smiles to all the geeky members of the family.

Geek Gift Score (out of 5)

  • Fun factor: ***
  • Geek factor: *****
  • Value: ****
  • Overall: ****

For more reviews of tech gadgets, gizmos, games, and books, download the PDF of TechRepublic's Geek Gift Guide 2011.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

2 comments
Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

Man I would fly rescue missions for hours! Brings back memories...

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What gifts to you still remember? I remember this crazy shooting gallery game where you shot little steel balls at ducks, etc., inside a plastic case so you never lost the balls. The thing made such a racket that I think my parents lied to me about it being broken so I wouldn't play with it anymore.

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