Radio-controlled robotics take center-stage with this unique, versatile machine.
I have had my hands on a number of new R/C models from New Bright this year, with each one including its own set of surprises. These have been some of the first “toy grade” vehicles that I have driven in quite some time. While my kids have their own fleet of toy store radio-controlled machines, I’ve focused my attention on the hobby-grade end of the R/C world.
Every now and then, however, it’s nice to take a look at what options are available for getting the “next generation” interested introduced to the hobby. So far, the vehicles that I have been sent from New Bright have been “traditional” radio-controlled vehicles. That changed with this latest review machine.
The New Bright iRobot 710 Kobra
When I think about R/C vehicles, my first thoughts gravitate towards cars, trucks, and quadcopters. That said, there’s an array of vehicle types to pick from, one being robots. While these robots aren’t the “Danger, Will Robinson” type, they do offer numerous features and built-in functionality.
New Bright has a robot of their own, the iRobot 710 Kobra. This radio-controlled robot is a track-driven unit with a single, jointed arm, claw, and FPV camera. It looks like a tank with an arm, but it’s much more complex than that.
This robot reminds me of a Revell Vexplorer that I had owned a few years ago. I (and my kids) enjoyed using that machine from time to time, but the overall thrill never stuck around. With this model from New Bright, there has been a greater amount of interest from my “test drivers”, perhaps more interest for this model than any other R/C machine that we’ve looked at.
Unboxing the 710 Kobra
- 1 New Bright iRobot 710 Kobra
- 1 New Bright iRobot 710 Kobra Controller
- 1 Instruction manual
First Impressions of the New Bright iRobot 710 Kobra
When you take this R/C robot out of the box, it has a decent amount of heft to it, accompanied by a solid, well-built feel. The body and most of the exterior and mechanical components are made of plastic, however, they don’t feel flimsy or frail. While it’s in “storage mode” the 710 Kobra is able to hunker down to a relatively compact size. At ⅓ scale, it’s a large-enough machine, but won’t require a storage shed to house it in.
Once it’s been powered on, the first instinct is to start moving the many controller sticks around to figure out what controller action controls what aspect of the 710 Kobra. An easier route may be to read through the manual (which I did do…eventually), but let’s face it; it’s more fun to dive right into an R/C machine and explore.
As mentioned earlier, this model reminds me of the Revell Vexplorer, a customizable “Erector Set-style” radio-controlled machine. The overall mobility of that specific model was impressive, though there were some limitations in what could be done and how far you could maneuver certain appendages.
Adding to the fun and functionality of this robot is an app-enabled FPV camera. When paired with an Apple iPhone or Android smartphone (via Wi-Fi), you’re not only able to drive the 710 Kobra though first-person view, but you can also send audio messages through a speaker in the camera.
The Tracks, Arm and Claw
The iRobot 710 Kobra has a total arm length of 39” when fully extended. That’s impressive. Very impressive. Another, equally-impressive mobility feature comes in the form of the quad-track setup this robot uses.
While in the out-of-the-box “storage mode”, the four tracks all line up, however, they outer tracks can easily be extended to the rear or front of the 710 Kobra, allowing the length of the robot to double. Not only does the length double, but the overall base and ground support doubles, allowing that 39” arm to not tip this machine over when fully extended (outwards).
The arm movements include up/down and 360-degrees around. The arm itself is jointed, giving greater movement and usage possibilities. While the overall build of the machine is robust, fully-extending the arm with the tracks in “compact” mode, will easily cause this machine to tip over. Hopefully you’re not holding a glass of milk in the robot’s claw at the time.
Ah yes, the claw. This small, yet robust piece of the puzzle can allow the 710 Kobra do amazing things. Since it is mounted onto another rotating mount and doesn’t sit fixed to the arm, you have greater mobility and movement. The claw surface is covered with a suction cup-style texture, giving the robot (and you) greater assurance that whatever you attempt to pick up, will remain picked up.
There’s no denying the current popularity of FPV in the radio-control hobby. While you’ll find heavy implementation and use of it in quadcopter/multirotor drone racing and freestyle flying, it is gaining popularity with surface (on-road and off-road) vehicle hobbyists as well.
The WiFi-connected, app-enabled camera features of the New Bright iRobot 710 Kobra are rather robust and have been enjoyable to discover and use. After a somewhat lengthy pairing process, you’re able to do some fun and creative things with the robot, by way of the camera and audio speaker.
The app acts as your FPV monitor and can be set inside of a bracket at the top of the 710 Kobra controller An available HD/SD switch on the main screen of the app allows you to toggle between visual quality for the camera. This is mainly for low or slow connection situations and to reduce visual “jitter” while driving.
As you encounter low-light or no-light situations, the camera will switch to “night mode”, giving you the opportunity to continue your robotics adventure without skipping a beat. My middle son served as our initial test pilot and found this feature to be a fun and useful feature to use.
Another “favorite” app/robot feature that he discovered was audio messaging. After pressing a button on the app, the robot pilot can send an audio message through the speaker on the 710 Kobra. Again, my middle son found this both fun, and useful, when he sent our robot into his older brother’s room during a recon mission.
I make an effort to not allow my R/C controller snobbery carry over to toy-grade machines that are typically found in superstores. Realizing that I (and other adults) aren’t the intended users of these radio-controlled devices and controllers remains top of mind when I am reviewing one of these vehicles.
Having said that, the New Bright iRobot 710 Kobra controller is one of the best that I’ve seen and used (when it comes to non-hobby grade accessories). Not only does it feature an array of easy-to-reach controls and buttons, but the overall comfort is amazing. The middle-of-the-road sizing isn’t too small for me to use and isn’t too large for a child either.
Pricing and Availability
The 710 Kobra is currently a Toys R Us exclusive and is priced at $199.99. You can, however, find this model on eBay as well as other online retailers. Please note, however, prices may vary from shop-to-shop.
Where You Can Buy the New Bright iRobot 710 Kobra R/C Robot
Looking Forward to More Exploration
While I am looking forward to further-exploring this R/C robot, I believe my kids finally have me beat when it comes to enthusiasm and excitement for a radio-controlled machine (though not by much). Since it arrived on our doorstep, this is one vehicle that they have been asking to drive more than any other in our fleet. Whether it’s the FPV setup or the general mobility of the robot itself, one thing is certain; it’s fun to use and play around with, no matter what your age.