(Click any picture to enlarge it)
The radio in all its glory.
A better view of the LCD screen (backlight is off).
A better view of the "front" of the radio. Note the digital (incremental) trim controls above the wheel.
Airtronics/Sanwa M8 Limited Edition
(reviewed by futureal)
When I got my first competition-class nitro R/C truck back in 1995, I took the plunge and bought the hottest radio on the market at the time, the Airtronics 3PS. I still remember getting that thing and thinking to myself, "this radio has more features than anybody will ever need." Well, surprise of surprises, no less than 3 years later, Airtronics one-upped themselves with the M8. With its 10-model memory, ergonomic design, oversized LCD screen and a plethora of other features, the M8 quickly became the transmitter of choice for tons of people.
Now, in 2001, Airtronics has released an updated version of the M8, with some new features that are unique to this "Limited Edition" radio.
In addition to the features of the Standard M8 (which can be found here on the Airtronics website) the Limited Edition M8 boasts:
It should also be noted that the M8 LE is only available for sale as a radio and module combination, with no extras. If you need servos and a receiver with your radio, you may want to go for the standard M8 (which is available in a variety of packages).
There isn't much to be said about the M8 that hasn't already been said many times over in the past. It has a solid feel, an easy-to-read display and a very smooth steering response. I could immediately notice a difference in going from my 3PS to the M8 LE. Some have complained that the radio is a little top-heavy, but I didn't have a problem with it at all, and after just a few heats I felt like I had been using it for years.
Making quick adjustments is very easy with the display facing upwards, and the backlight definitely becomes useful in lower-light (indoor) racing situations. I have not had a chance to use it outdoors, but I imagine that in evening parking lot races, the backlight could be a great upgrade. Another feature I really like is the ability to adjust the tension of the wheel, using a small set screw on the underside of the radio. If you're feeling a little twitchy, this setting might be just for you.
All of those lights require extra power, and you might be surprised at how fast your rechargable batteries wear out in a radio like this. Many racers have modified the M8's battery tray to accommodate a ninth cell to get as much voltage as possible. I took a different route though, and invested in some Energizer 1600mAH NiMH cells that I found at my local Target. After charging them, I was able to use the radio for more than 10 full race days without needing to re-charge. Well worth the investment.
It has already been proven time and again that the Airtronics M8 can hold its own against any other high-end radio on the market. The Limited Edition version is no different, and to any fan of the "old" M8 this new version looks, feels and performs identically.
So if you already have an M8, chances are you don't really need to "upgrade" unless you are either a BIG fan of funky lights or extraordinarily wealthy. But, if you don't have a high-end radio and are looking to get the best, look no further than this radio. It is the best version of the most popular radio in America, and it's hard to go wrong there.