Review

Update: FlyNova Pro: the BEST gadget in a long time!

Our new FlyNova Pros have arrived! Because what is better than 1 FlyNova Pro? FOUR FlyNova Pros! We have cut a small highlight video for you and extended the article a bit. Thanks to the instruction manual we learned how to levitate and delivered an update concerning the processing. Have you already ordered or even received it?

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Pardon this clickbait title, but after so many smartphones, vacuum robots, 3D printers and the like, it’s a small, flying ball that excites us like nothing else lately. Don’t get us wrong, we are fully behind the various, even more expensive gadgets we regularly test here and love the technical innovation that comes from China. But when the FlyNova Pro arrived at the office, it was time to go home. Closing time in the sense of: Everybody became a play child, the open test reviews were left out and everybody just wanted to throw this ball. But is “this ball” really worth its price?

FlyNova Pro Ball Hovering Motor

What is the FlyNova Pro?

Shame on our head, but the FlyNova Pro is not completely new in this respect. Some time ago we saw the crowdfunding campaign for the FlyNova, a kind of flying fidget spinner. And even though we consider ourselves at least partly responsible for the Fidget Spinner hype a few years ago, the FlyNova didn’t really pick us up. But the FlyNova Pro is completely different. Maybe because of the ball shape, maybe because of the Pro in the last name or maybe now was the right time for it.

FlyNova Pro Toy

What for? What is the FlyNova Pro? Hard to say. The crowdfunding campaign nonchalantly describes it as “(Crazy) Boomerang spinner with endless tricks”. Yeah, that’s about right. The FlyNova Pro is a ball-shaped play device, which is driven by a motor and two propellers and thus gets lift. Encased in a round plastic net made of blue, red or purple, the flying object weighs only 26.4 g. The motor and two “propellers” lie on one axis, on the top side is the on/off button and the micro-USB input for charging. Oh yes, there was also room for an LED strip inside – of course.

FlyNova Pro Motor inside

So the FlyNova Pro is first and foremost a toy that you can play with alone, but also with two or more people. The manufacturer recommends for example the use as a boomerang, as a “magic gadget” or even as a team sport. It can also be used indoors and outdoors and there are no limits to creativity. Obstacle course, precision throws or “conjure” with the magic wand, which can also be ordered.

Packaging & Scope of delivery

Of course we have reordered several FlyNova Pro! This time we even got the right packaging, because the press tester came in a kind of shoebox. The FlyNova Pro is really very nice and safely packed. The square box is colorfully printed, attractively designed and even has a cardboard slipcase. This makes even more fun with the FlyNova Pro and could easily stand in any toy store. In the box itself you will find the flying ball, a micro-USB cable and a user manual in English.

FlyNova Pro packaging and delivery

How is the FlyNova Pro processed?

Unfortunately, the FlyNova Pro fulfills just about every cliché of an old China gadget and just feels like a $2 fairground toy. There is no other way to say this. The plastic struts are so thin that they break even with a little pressure (some are already broken), the blue paint already comes off the top and the power button is placed stupidly. Also the Micro-USB port sticks out a bit and every time you charge the FlyNova Pro, you think you will break it right away. Basically you have to treat this toy like a raw egg and especially when catching it you should not grab it too tight.

FlyNova Pro flying ball toy new

Another problem seems to be the LED Strip, which at least in our test device has been eliminated after a good week of use. With a little bit of tact and a pair of tweezers you could probably attach it or you have to do without the LEDs in the long run.

FlyNova Pro processing crossbars
The crossbars are unfortunately really very thin and break relatively fast, but that doesn’t change the flight behaviour so far.

BUT: The thing still holds. FlyNova promises that the ball is fall resistant and we can confirm this so far. When using it, it inevitably falls down a lot, flies against walls or edges and sometimes even falls to the ground from a few meters height. In our estimation, the struts that have been broken so far are more likely to be caused by grabbing the ball when catching it, because then you hear a cracking sound. Nevertheless, it would be nice if the manufacturer would use a more robust material, maybe they would reconsider this processing. The toy only feels stable on the motor axle. At least the broken struts don’t stand in the way of fun and the FlyNova Pro still flies as it should.

FlyNova Pro in hand processing

UPDATE: The thing still holds and flies like on the first day! However, it has already taken some cracks and more struts are broken in the meantime. But only one of them is really broken and we had to remove it. But this doesn’t change anything about the flying behaviour or the fun you have with it. To be fair, it was flown here for the first time by more than ten people and has therefore often flown against edges and even landed in the wet sink.

FlyNova Pro Toy Processing 2

How does it work?

Switch on, shake and let it fly. The motor starts and turns the offset rotor blades counterclockwise, creating a certain amount of lift. It is not so much power that the FlyNova Pro stands and flies completely self-sufficiently in the air, it needs a slight power boost from “throwing”. In addition, a cool LED pattern is created, because there are different colored LEDs on the mentioned LED-strip, which create a LED-ring through the rotation.

FlyNofa Pro LEDs

But it is a bit annoying to turn on the power, because the power button is located on the top and is easily covered by cross braces, so it is a bit shaky, but it works.

FlyNova Pro Power-Button

Playing with the FlyNova Pro: that’s what’s fun!

Then it is up to you what you want to do with it. Here in the office, we have mainly thrown back and forth and that alone is a lot of fun! Because here the principle applies: easy to learn, but difficult to master. After a few throws you will find out that for a simple throw you just have to hold the FlyNova Pro with the “Up” writing upwards and then tilt it slightly in the direction of the throw. Power really doesn’t count here, because otherwise you change the direction a bit too much. But after some throws you try to intend this, because even curves can be thrown with some practice. So you can use the FlyNova Pro as a Boomerang, which also requires some practice, but can be used for longer distances.

Here the principle applies: easy to learn, but difficult to master!

“Distance” is a good keyword. Even with little force you can reach a range of 10 to 15 meters relatively easily before the ball drifts away to the left or right. With a little more momentum and technique, however, there should be much more in it. But that also depends on the conditions in the room or the wind force outside. So far we haven’t really played with it outside the office, but especially in the summer in the park I imagine it to be really nice. But also inside you can have competitive fun with target throws and improve your technique.

FlyNova Pro Ball throwing

And as I mentioned at the beginning: this thing is so much fun! Because you have a learning curve right away, the ball looks cool and hovers in the air, all my childhood receptors are triggered immediately. Because of the (inherent) dynamics of the FlyNova Pro and the possible throws it reminds me a bit of a frisbee. Simply throwing it back and forth within our office from my place to Jens’ place is so much fun that we like to shorten the meal in the break to have a little more ball time. Everyone in the office was fascinated.

FlyNova Pro Throw

Trick throws

After a certain time you want to do a little “more” with the FlyNova Pro and experiment a little. Alex and I tried curve throws and threw it “blind” from the office into the YouTube studio. Throwing a curve is in principle easy, but requires some practice and feeling. You can take the “up” on the top as a reference point and aim with it. For example, if I want to throw to someone standing to the right of me, I point the “Up” in that direction. But then you have to throw in the opposite direction and tilt the ball slightly in flight direction, but only slightly.

FlyNova Pro Boomerang

The same principle applies to Boomerang casts. Here you are the target yourself, so you have to align the “up” to yourself. As you throw the ball away first, you must tilt it slightly upwards so that it gets enough lift to stay in the air for a long time. As soon as it makes the change of direction, however, it must not be tilted too much downwards, otherwise it will quickly crash. So here you have to find the right measure. I’m still working on a 360° throw behind my back, but so far I haven’t succeeded.

Levitation

Since the FlyNova Pro is also advertised as “magic”, we tried again to make the FlyNova Pro hover rather than fly. Experts speak of levitation, so Wingardium Leviosa-like. The FlyNova Pro’s manual, which was included with the FlyNova Pros, led to success. The relatively poor English explains it like this: Switch on the FlyNova Pro, shake it and then hold it straight, i.e. with “Up” upwards, in one hand and then slowly open your fingers. This works rather semi for me, because I steer the ball in one direction. I have more success if I add the second hand and then let go after opening the hand. With the inside of the hand you can then make some adjustments.

FlyNova Pro Levitation

Battery life

The battery in the FlyNova Pro offers a capacity of 180 mAh and the manufacturer states a runtime of 30 minutes. Halve that! We can not understand this specification after several days. But good 15 minutes are quite possible after half an hour of charging. I would have actually expected a worse runtime, similar to the Eachine mini drones, but I didn’t know the manufacturer’s specification before.

Unfortunately the ball doesn’t give a beep when the battery is low, but falls out of the sky in case of doubt in the middle of the throw. The LEDs still light up, but shaking them stops the motor from starting. Then you have to connect a Micro-USB cable and be patient. So you should order two or three of them directly to be able to play for about half an hour. A short request to FlyNova: the FlyNova Pro 2 may then come with USB-C 🙂

Extra accessories

You can also order the magic wand or the Magic Controller, which we also got. It needs a AAA battery, can also light up and is equipped with a magnet. The sense is not quite clear to me yet and even after several attempts I have little sense of achievement. If you position the magic wand appropriately, the magnets repel each other, so that the ball gets some buoyancy again. Of course you can also hold the FlyNova Pro by the magnet. You also have the possibility to change the LED color of the ball by clicking on the “magic button”.

FlyNova Pro Wand
The magic wand is more a fashion statement than a useful addition to the FlyNova Pro.

Conclusion: Buy FlyNova Pro?

That’s why we love China Gadgets! Expensive smartphones and the like are great, but we can test “something like that” with a clear conscience. Here we sit with an age of 23 and up and have the fun of our lives with this ball. Completely without display or app (well, LEDs are included, but that’s part of it!). I think it’s a fun gadget, especially during the wintertime and a kind of “lockdown”, because even kids can play with it without breaking anything. You might have to put away the good vase, but unlike soccer balls there is no force behind it that can do any great damage.

We have discussed internally here in the team whether the FlyNova Pro is worth its price in the Early Bird package on Indiegogo. My opinion: No and yes. Because the pure “hardware” is not worth the money in any case. Even on a fairground with a price tag of $5 you would have the feeling to spend too much here. But the fun you have with it is worth it. We have tried to communicate here and in the social media postings how much fun it is. But in the end you probably have to play with it yourself. We don’t know yet how long the thing will survive, how the battery will last and if it will still fly when all the struts are broken, but until then the price won’t hurt.

Have you already ordered?

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Thorben

My special interests are smartphones from China and I am always keen to discover new smartphone accessories like smartwatches and headphones. 

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