When Steve assigned me the Griffin MOTO TC Monster truck (US$49.99) to review, I basically assumed this was going to be the best review assignment ever. Sadly, it was not. This Bluetooth-managed truck offers solid hardware features, but its software is just not up to the task.
The hardware consists of a standard RC truck that's well-built as these things go -- we buy a lot of RC trucks and helicopters in our household. The MOTO TC Monster truck was reasonably put together and stood up to use by excitable boys both indoors and out, with the most fun occurring when running it across roads, driveways and sidewalks.
It pulls power off of a rechargeable battery that's quite easy to install and remove, although you do need a Phillips screwdriver. It takes about an hour to pull in enough charge for a good session of driving.
Where the product really broke down was on the iOS side of things. Although easy to pair with Bluetooth (you do need a long flat probe to get to the pairing button), the software itself was poorly implemented. It felt like a total afterthought.
The MOTO TC Monster truck offers several driving modes:
- A nearly impossible-to-use two-handed wheel-and-shifter shown at the top of this post (imagine if you will, trying to hold your phone, watch the car, and use both hands to steer).
- A tilt-to-drive mode that kept flipping during use because the dev forgot to disable autorotation.
- A drag-to-move mode that was merely meh (and that had the same flipping-screen issues).
- A pre-programmed figure-8 and serpentine mode that actually was the most successful of the four.
The built-in help screens were particularly frustrating because they looked exactly like the screens they were intended to explain (albeit slightly darker), but blocked all user touches until dismissed.
In the end, this unit received a big old score of "meh" from both myself and my junior testing squad. We wanted it to be a lot of fun and it really wasn't. That being said, we have a "virgin" Griffin MOTO TC Monster truck that hasn't experienced the rigors of testing available for one fun-loving TUAW reader to win. Here are the rules for the giveaway:
- Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
- To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
- The entry must be made before January 6, 2013 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time.
- You may enter only once.
- One winner will be selected and will receive a Griffin MOTO TC Monster truck valued at $49.99.
- Click Here for complete Official Rules.