Sphero BB-8 App-Enabled Droid Review

Sphero BB-8 App-Enabled Droid features:

  • Tiny replica of Star Wars: The Force Awaken’s BB-8 droid
  • Moves and responds to obstacles with life-like motions and sound effects
  • Responds to voice commands
  • Easy-to-use mobile app paired with the Star Wars sound effects, graphics and animations to control the bot
  • Choice of three different modes of play: patrol- watch the Droid explore autonomously, drive- make up your own adventure and guide BB-8 , or message- create and view holographic recordings.
  • Adaptive personality with unique attitude and actions evolve as you interact.
  • Recommended age: 8+.

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Sphero BB-8 App-Enabled Droid is a tiny replica of Star Wars: The Force Awaken’s BB-8 droid that can roll and balance. When paired with an app running on your smartphone or tablet, BB-8 can autonomously explore your home or wherever you want, perform a series of pre-programmed movements, and even respond to voice commands. It moves and responds to obstacles with incredibly life-like reactions, motions, and sound effects.

A lot of care and attention to detail has gone into its design, its manufacturing, and especially the app. As Sphero, the maker of BB-8, was a part of Disney’s accelerator program and was paired with Disney CEO Bob Iger as its mentor, the company was instrumental in the development of the real BB-8 droid used in the actual movie. Animated Star Wars storyboards are turned into physical behavior of the BB-8 App-enabled droid. The result, especially paired with the Star Wars sound effects, graphics and animations in the mobile app that controls the BB-8 toy, is adorable and surprisingly impressive. The app is also incredibly well laid out, responsive, and surprisingly easy-to-use without having to sit through a long tutorial. When BB-8 is fully charged, all you have to do is to make sure Bluetooth is activated on your mobile device, launch the app, and the connection between BB-8 and your mobile device happens automatically after just a few seconds. Then, you have your choice of three different modes of play: patrol- watch your Droid explore autonomously, drive- make up your own adventure and guide BB-8 yourself, or message- create and view holographic recordings.

For BB-8, internal self-righting mechanism has been upgraded with a vertical support to holds its head in place using a strong magnet. It’s incredibly easy to re-attach it to his spherical body in the rare occasion of pop-off. Besides that, BB-8 uses much of the same technology as Sphero’s existing robotic ball, but with upgrades like a new inductive charging system. (In other words, you don’t have to plug in the BB-8 to charge it. You just place it on its stand.)

Although it’s about as kid-friendly as a $150 toy can be, the lack of sensors anywhere on the toy also means you’ll have to be really careful where you choose to play with BB-8, even when you’re at the controls.

Sphero BB-8 App-Enabled Droid may be a little expensive for a toy, but it has something unlike other robot – an “adaptive personality”. His “attitude” and actions will evolve the more a user interacts with him. Based on your interactions, BB-8 will show a range of expressions and even perk up when you give voice commands. Over time, Sphero predicted that users will be able to program their own custom BB-8 actions (though not necessarily with official support from Disney or Sphero). And since the app that can be updated down the line, the experience of using, playing, and living with this little robot isn’t a finite window. It’ll provide more holographic messages and content as The Force Awakens‘ December release date approaches.

What’s in the Box?
BB-8 App-Enabled Droid
• Induction Charging Base
• Micro USB Cable
• Quick Start Guide
• Legal Guide

BB-8™ Tech Specs
• iOS & Android compatible
• Top speed of 4.5 mph (7ft/s)
• Durable polycarbonate shell
• Bluetooth Smart BLE connection (100 foot range)
• Inductive charging (over 1 hour of play on a full charge)
• Free App: BB-8 App-Enabled Droid powered by Sphero available through iTunes or Google Play
• Internal guidance system includes a gyroscope and accelerometer.

Check the price and customer reviews

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