JJRC Q39 Highlander 1:12 RC Desert Truck Review

Preface
Official Specs
Versions
Price
Short Review
Long Review
  What's Included
  Manual and Packaging
  Build Quality and Durability
  Size
  Power
  User Interface and Operation
  Comparisons
Conclusion
  What I like
  What I don't like
Up Next
Notes

Preface

I’d been quite interested in testing an RC Car, both because it seemed new and interesting, and I just wanted to play with one.  GearBest sent me this JJRC Q39 Dune Buggy to test, and I’ve been playing with it for quite a while now.  Here’s my review!  My first RC review; I’m open to improvement suggestions!


Official Specs and Features

Versions

There’s really just one version of this RC Car, but this car exists in many formats (if I’m looking at them correctly.)

Price

Currently this car is $64.95 at GearBest.  That price fluctuates a little, but that’s fairly normal.


Short Review

I really like this little RC car.  It’s the first one I’ve had in ages, and my interest is rekindled.  However this one hasn’t worked consistently, and that’s been disappointing.  If you’re good with electronics, buy this as a project car (accepting the possibility that it could need some work.)

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Long Review

What’s Included

  • JJRC Q39 Highlander 1:12 RC Desert Truck
  • 2.4GHz Hand held controller
  • Manual
  • Tool Kit
  • Spare parts
  • 7.4V LiPo battery
  • Battery charger

Package and Manual

The light ships in a large cardboard box.  The car and parts are secured in styrofoam.

Very conveniently, JJRC has provided a pdf manual for the Q39.  Here’s a link to that.  The manual looks nice and displays a nice use of English (not Chinglish or worse), but in truth the manual is a little light on details.  If everything works properly, then the manual is fine (and not really needed).  If things go south, then a more detailed manual is almost necessary.

Build Quality and Disassembly

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An overview:

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Honestly this car is built quite well.  The tires are great, the shocks are great, … the body as a whole is just great.

There are a few problems with things like the accessory lighting, though.  The caps on these light (and the ones on the top) come off very easily.

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The car by JJRC is very nicely built, to be sure.  I did have a problem but that was with the battery.  There is still a problem I need to flesh out, but I’m sure that’s not related to build quality.  It’s possible that the problem is in the hand unit (bad transmission of signal?).  It’s also possible that the problem is in the receiver that’s in the car.  If the latter, then that’s fairly easy to change.  I did this but I never could get the part to connect to the hand unit.  So, I wasn’t able to test a fix!!

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The car is well assembled, and all the parts are good for the price range.  At $65, one already knows these aren’t top-of-the-line components.  But this car has taken some abuse during driving, and held up well.

Both the front and rear have a lot of travel in the shocks.  That’s around 2″ in the rear.

Around 1″ in the front.

The front has independent suspension.

Size

Officially 39 x 22 x 16 cm.  It’s a 1:12 size car.  1:12 is a standard size of course.  Some other common sizes are 1:10 (1:12 is smaller than 1:10) and 1:36 (1:10 is bigger than 1:36).  This is a great size remote control car for all ages.

Power

The Q39 is powered by an (included) 7.4V LiPo battery.  I can’t say this is the best quality cell: mine died after just a few uses.  I tore the pack down, and inside were two cylindrical cells, approximately 18x65mm.  Only one of the cells was dead – the other was in fine shape.  These two cells are connected in series, to obtain the 7.4V needed by the system.

The space for the battery is not battery-specific.  More than just the single type of battery that ships with the unit will fit in this compartment.  In fact GearBest sent me a replacement, which was different than the original, and it fit.  I also bought my own backups, and the were different sized, and still fit.

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The later obtained LiPo packs which are pouch cells, and not cylindrical cells.  I believe these have a better discharge rating, and are more suited to the RC life than the cylindrical cells were (no matter the chemistry).

The charger that ships with this car…. Is just a wall wart that connects to the balance plug.  I have a sneaking suspicion that’s what killed my battery, but I can’t say that for certain.  I recommend an actual hobby charger, like the Imax B6 Mini.

Traction

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These beefy tires are not air filled, but they’re thick enough to support the car.  They’re also very nubby, and provide great traction and launch speeds.

A working spare wheel is included, too.  It’s exactly like the other 4.  Tools for mounting and unmounting this wheel are included.

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User Interface and Operation

Provided with the kit is a 2.4GHz gun-style control.  It’s a right-hand specific unit, and the steering control is achieved with the wheel seen below.

A two-direction trigger allows forward and reverse control.

The switch turns the hand control on and off.  One final input is the wheel trim adjustment, which can fix misaligned wheels, so your car will keep straight when not being actively steered.

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Conclusion

What I like

  • Speed
  • Ruggedness of the body
  • Traction
  • Battery compartment is easy to access and swap batteries
  • Value for pice

What I don’t like

  • Battery died after a few uses
  • Overheats (?) easily and works intermittently
  • Tendency to roll on hard turns

Up Next

I have a few other RC cars and items for review, but it’s likely those are well down the road.  I’ll still aim for 3 flashlight reviews per week, supplies permitting, and one flashlight-related review per week too.  I hope to wrap up the Mooshimeter review soon!

Notes

  • This remote control truck was provided by GearBest for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.wordpress.com.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • Whether or not I have a coupon for this car, I do have a bunch of coupons!!  Have a look at my spreadsheet for those coupons.  Note I’ve upgraded that sheet so that now, you may subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

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