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Air Hogs R/C Zero Gravity Mini Car

Smooth Sailing Across Smooth Ceilings

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

By Jacqueline James

Air Hogs R/C Zero Gravity Mini Car

Air Hogs R/C Zero Gravity Mini Car

© J. James
As a novelty item to show off in front of visiting friends and family, the Air Hogs R/C Zero Gravity Mini Car is a lot of fun. I can't see it as must-have toy but it does do what it says it will do -- drive on walls and ceilings. You just have to have the right walls and ceilings.

Pros and Cons of the R/C Zero Gravity Mini Car

Good Points:
  • It does drive on walls and ceilings.
  • Drives on the ground too.
  • Charges quickly from the controller.
  • Includes L/R trim tabs on controller.
  • Small, lightweight, and portable.
Not So Good Points:
  • Requires some smooth walls and ceilings.
  • Doesn't run on carpet (not even dense, flat carpet).
  • Noisy in wall mode.
  • Requires switching from wall to ground mode.
  • Wow! factor wears off quickly.

Yes, It Does Defy Gravity

Air Hogs R/C Zero Gravity Mini Car on wall.

Air Hogs R/C Zero Gravity Mini Car on wall (the green in the corner is the ceiling).

© J. James
Knowing that most of the walls in our house are heavily textured I was unsure about whether I could use the Zero Gravity Mini Car in many rooms but my curiosity won out. I wanted to see how it works. Fortunately, with reconstruction going on I had some large sheets of smooth wood and at least one room with a fairly smooth ceiling. To my pleasure and mild surprise, the Zero Gravity Mini Car does cling to smooth walls and ceilings quite well. Driving it on the ceiling was the most fun but when I did hit a few bumps the car would fall to the ground. It withstood several 8 foot falls but I wouldn't recommend letting it do that too many times.

The biggest problem with the Zero Gravity Mini Car is that it does require really smooth, bump free surfaces. This limits its use. Even on some of my less textured walls it would cling but not drive or not cling at all. As I stated above, it's a fun novelty toy but you need to know its limitations before you buy. <p>Here's a quick video we made showing my Zero Gravity Mini Car in action on several different surfaces.

Vacuum First, Then Play

I admit that when I first heard about a zero gravity car I envisioned it running across the floor and then somehow driving up the wall. Turns out, that's not quite how it works. When you turn on the car in "wall mode" it creates a (noisy) suction. You then place the car on the wall or on the ceiling. Suction keeps it in place. Then you use the 2-stick infrared controller in the same way you would any other RC. However, in order to maintain suction and not fall off the wall or the ceiling you can't drive over light switches or outlets and you need to avoid any rough spots that would break the suction seal.

The Zero Gravity Mini Car also requires clean surfaces. This is the first RC I've seen where it specfically states to keep away from hair. With all our cats and dogs, it required doing a little sweeping and dusting before running the car. Hair and other debris sucked into the car can cause it to stop working. Be sure to clean the wheels and the little "skirts" on the bottom of the car. Also, take care with the "skirts" -- white paper-like strips under the car that help maintain suction. Keep them clean and handle gently.

Caveats and Recommendations

Air Hogs R/C Zero Gravity Mini Car bottom.

Turn over the Air Hogs R/C Zero Gravity Mini Car and you'll see the two skirts (white strips down sides) that help create the suction to hold the car to the wall.

© J. James
The instructions are clear, easy to follow. The tiny switches on the car and the arrow on the charging plug were mildly difficult to see but not a huge problem. The headlights serve two purposes. In addition to just looking cool (especially in a darkened room) dimming headlights also alert you that the battery needs charging so you can get the car off the wall or ceiling before it falls.

Our dogs were intrigued by this little car driving on the walls. The cats feigned disinterest (but I know they were just as fascinated by this really big bug darting across the ceiling).

Adult supervision is needed when operating the Zero Gravity Mini Car mainly because children might not pay close attention to the smooth surface requirements or the blinking headlights signaling low battery. The car, although lightweight, could end up falling on them, someone else, or fall onto some breakable item on a table.

My recommendation: Only get the Air Hogs R/C Zero Gravity Mini Car if you have at least an 8x8 or larger, really smooth wall or ceiling surfaces. It runs fine on a flat door as well but that doesn't give you much driving room. Otherwise, it's just a little car with lights that runs around on the floor.

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