Hot Wheels Dune Devil Pro by Tyco / Mattel
Street Price: $49.99 US
Mfgr's recommended min. age: 8
Our recommended age range: 8+
Primary use: Indoor or outdoors
Top speed: Approx. 11mph w/ AA's, 15mph on 9.6V
Radio: 49mhz (green) or 27mhz (white)
- Assembled truck
- Instruction manual
- 2 AA batteries for the transmitter
- Six AA batteries for the truck OR one 9.6V standard flat battery pack and charger
- Small phillips-head screwdriver for battery doors
First of all, when we first got this truck, it was already familiar to us in many ways. A year ago we tested the Fury FTX, the predecessor to the Dune Devil which used many of the same parts. With as badly as the Fury drove, we all hoped that Tyco would realize their mistakes and eventually fixed them.
Here we are now, looking at the fixed version of the truck. This one has much larger wheels and tires, rear springs that seem softer, and a new body. I really like this body (also available in white with yellow/orange/red highlights). It looks more real and the details are better. The bigger wheels also make it look more serious and also capable of handling dirt. We'll see if there's any difference in actual performance, though.
Preparing to Drive
Once again, setup was a breeze. I just had to put the antenna tube on and insert batteries into the car and transmitter, and I was immediately ready to go.
Ok, this is it! Pass or fail, what's it gonna be? I started out with AA batteries in the truck on pavement, and as soon as I hit the gas, I see the improvement. Speed was much higher than with the FTX, and it didn't bounce around at all. I actually had trouble making it spin out, it had so much traction from the big, soft rubber tires! Not only that, but there's something really great about the radio controller -- there are 4 forward speeds! The more you squeeze the trigger, the faster you go. It's not quite as smooth as full "digital proportional" control, but it made it so that I could slow down for turns or finer maneuvering, then go full throttle for speed runs. Next I took out the AA's and their mounting insert and put in a 9.6V rechargable pack. Faster still! Wow, really fast for such a small RC, especially an off-road truck and not even a sleek racing car. Very impressive.
Okay, driving in a paved parking lot is one thing, but this truck is designed for dirt. I went back to the exact same place where I tested the Fury FTX, so I could get a truly fair comparison. Switching back to AA batteries, I found the speed to still be good even on dirt, and with the big tires, it could go over rocks and small jumps and ruts like they weren't even there! Awesome! I literally had trouble getting the truck stuck in the testing grounds, and it didn't feel slow at all. Once the AA's ran out, I put my rechargable pack back in to see if this truck suffered the same problem of spinning out all the time like its predecessor did. Nope! With the extra power and speed of the 9.6V battery, it was just a little harder to control, but here the multiple forward speeds allowed me to "roll on" the power gradually to maintain traction. Speed was awesome and again it handled the terrain just great.
In the Professor's Lab
One thing you missed, one thing that makes all the difference! On the terrible Fury FTX, the rear suspension could only do one of two things -- compress to the left, or compress to the right. When one rear wheel went up, the other went down. Simple! Because of this, when just one wheel hit a bump, it was okay because that wheel could absorb some of the shock because of the spring on that side. But!! When the truck hit a bump with both rear tires, or one that was large enough to fully compress the spring on one side, there was nothing left to do but for the whole truck to bounce up in the back. This is what made it perform badly on the street. This is what made it bounce around constantly on the dirt (when it wasn't stuck, hee hee).
The Dune Devil Pro fixes this fundamental flaw! On its suspension, Tyco has added an extra hinge. Now, you can still make one wheel go up and the other go down, but also, if both wheels hit a bump, both can move up together as well! It's a much more flexible setup, and it works! Plus, the bigger wheels and tires give the truck more ground clearance (space between the bottom of the truck and the ground below), so it can go over much larger rocks! PLUS! The larger tires give it more grip for more traction! Oooh, look at the video! You will see!!
(Click a video a second time to view it larger in a new window.)
The folks at Tyco have redeemed themselves. As a "toy-class" RC, the Dune Devil Pro is a high-end, high-performance machine that gives you what you pay for. If you get one, I would recommend that you also get a rechargable 9.6V battery or two, and a charger. There's so much racing fun to be had with the Dune Devil that time will pass quickly and you will use up a lot of AA batteries wanting to just keep driving!
I'm really happy with this truck, so happy that I think I'm just going to keep it!