Star Wars: The Force Awakens took the world by storm in December and introduced us all to BB-8, the most loveable droid since R2-D2.
BB-8 was cute right up until he dropped that gas-fuelled “thumbs up” and then, globally, people were love-struck.
Thanks to Sphero, you can now own your own BB-8 droid and it is probably the coolest toy ever released.
BB-8 is an “app connected” toy – meaning that you need either an iOS or Android device to connect to, and control, BB-8.
The app itself is is simple and intuitive. It features include full motion control (either set BB-8 to explore or control his movements yourself), a range of pre-set command/responses (including some voice commands) and augmented reality based holographic messaging. (But with the ability to update his firmware, Sphero promises that more features are set to come).
While BB-8 is out and about exploring your pad, the app will show you his current speed and the path he has travelled:
While he doesn’t have onboard sensors to detect objects, once he has bashed into them he will intelligently back away and set off on a new path, avoiding the obstacle in the future. He is remarkably resilient, but a really solid stack can knock his head off requiring your intervention to get him back rolling.
There is a lot to like about Sphero’s droid and not much to dislike. While the augmented-reality holographic messaging is fun, it’s unlikely to be a feature that you use heavily in its current form. Additionally, BB-8’s magnetic head is perched on a set of wheels, reminiscent of old-school mouse technology, and this does collect dust, lint and pet hair. How often you need to give this a quick clean with your thumb will really be determined by how clean you keep your pad, so BB-8 may cause you to have a good hard look at yourself and your dirty, dirty ways.
If you (or your loved one) are a Star Wars fan, then this is THE toy to get.
It’s priced like a quality collectible because that is exactly what it is – not the cheap crap you’re used to seeing mass produced and pumped out with most movie franchises.
Despite that price point, you should be prepared to jostle to get your grubby paws on one because they are selling like hot cakes.