I bought this RC Excavator for my 3-year old son for his birthday. Yes, he is a little young to operate this machine and make it "function" or dig properly. However, that has not stopped him from having a ball with it. Furthermore, it's a fun toy for his Dad, me, to play with as well.
In my opinion this RC Excavator operates nearly identical to a real excavator. Yes, you can dig loose sand, loose dirt, and pickup other objects that aren't too heavy; as long as they will fit in the bucket. The entire toy is not that heavy, but it does have the ability to lift itself up partially off the ground, like a real excavator, if you push it's arm/bucket into the ground. If you have watched those videos on YouTube of mock job sites with numerous pieces of RC construction equipment digging everywhere, from a functional standpoint this excavator operates just like the the ones in the video. However, like so many things in life, having a realistic expectation will dictate how much you enjoy this toy. Don't expect this RC toy, that's under $100, to have the power and capability of a serious RC hobbyist's excavator when they've sunk thousands into their toy. If you have realistic expectations prior to buying this plastic toy that's relatively inexpensive, you should be thrilled with your purchase.
I would highly recommend this RC Excavator for any child that is into RC toys or construction equipment. I would also recommend it for any adults that are still a kid at heart and enjoy playing with their kids, or their kids toys from time-to-time!