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Sphero BB-8 Droid


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Sphero BB-8 + Force Band Battleworn Special Edition Bundle


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Sphero Force Band


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Sphero BB-8 Droid with Droid Trainer


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Sphero BB-9E Droid


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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away the genius forces behind Sphero and Disney forged a wicked alliance (the good kind), to create the Sphero BB-8 – an app-enabled drone like no other.

So put down that tacky replica light saber, take a deep breath, prepare to be wonderstruck and lets take a look at the eagerly awaited Sphero / Disney Star Wars collab of the century!

 

More Yoda Than Jar Jar Binks

First thing to say is that the detail on the Sphero BB-8 is stunning. It has a proper premium feel which fits neatly into the palm of my hand. Okay fine, it’s made of plastic (therefore a little shiny) but Sphero have truly managed to capture the likeness of the original, with a sprinkling of Sphero DNA thrown in there too. And even though this BB-8 is smaller than the droid in the film (seriously, I’d definitely like to have a full sized one to play with… Ahem, I mean review, REVIEW), the tiny details are realistic enough to make playtime come to life – whatever your age.

Sphero really have done a super job at making this little droid look, feel, sound and move like the real BB-8 and that goes for the way you charge your droid too. Using an induction charging base, Sphero have rid your BB-8 of any unsightly usb ports, which could not only could ruin the look of BB-8 but the smooth movement too. All you have to do is place the BB-8 on top of the base and it will start charging – simples. A full charge last 60 minutes (approx.) and takes about 3 hours of charge time.

 

May The Force Be With You

It’s almost like Disney created this character with Sphero technology (and merchandise) in mind.

Using Gyroscopic Propulsion, BB-8’s round polycarbonate shell rolls around whilst somehow managing to keep its head in place (for the most part) thanks to magnets, wheels and of course – ‘The Force’. You’ll see what I mean when you first take BB-8 out of his box as the two parts will not be attached. Just place the Sphero (sans head) on a flat surface to let the internal gyro-system balance itself out, et voila, you’ll know where to place the head.

Being an ‘App-Enabled Droid’, Sphero BB-8’s full potential can be reached using your smartphone, together with a little Jedi magic (alright, Bluetooth). The app itself is quite large in size (140MB), so before you open the box be sure to download the app so you’re ready to roll. When the app opens, you’ll soon you feel the force awaken inside of you thanks to that Star Wars music intro.

There are three modes to choose from: Drive, Message and Patrol.

Drive Mode:

This is probably one of the most exciting mode to use, albeit less realistic than letting BB-8 roll around on his own.

Together with your Bluetooth enabled smart device and the app, you can control BB-8 using the virtual joystick. Reaching speeds of up to 4.5 mph (7ft/s), BB-8 really knows how to get from A to B – especially on hard flooring.

As soon as you get started, you can calibrate his movements by positioning the gyro sensor to let your BB-8 know which way is forwards and backwards etc. It’s a little like a baby learning to walk at first, if that baby had no legs and was app-enabled, but meh semantics shmemantics.

It definitely takes a bit of practice and can be frustrating at times (balance is key), but it’s well worth it in the end. If you do happen to hit an object or a wall, BB-8 will swiftly let you know by flashing red.

There’s also a few shortcut actions while in this mode. Choose from a yes or no nod (with “no, no, no” sound effect), some kind of er, dance (I think?) or get BB-8 to move forward. I wouldn’t recommend doing that last one on a table, as BB-8 effectively runs off and not always the direction you’d think.

Patrol Mode:

What better way to re-enact your favourite parts of the Force Awakens than letting your BB-8 roll around your home.

While in ‘Patrol Mode’ you can let this little fella get to know your home. Either let him run wild, mapping out his surroundings (and bumping into things) as he goes or, you can design your own routes, letting BB-8 to travel autonomously – hopefully avoiding any table legs along the way.

If you’re ever worried about what BB-8 is up to, just check the app for realtime information on his movements. You’ll be able to monitor BB-8’s Gyro-Balance and Gyro-Stabilisation (each bump with show up on the little icon), internal temperature, distance and his chronometer – like a mini mission report.

Your environment is definitely something to keep in mind if you decide to let you BB-8 roam free. If you have stairs for instance, it might be worth installing a ‘droid safety gate’ on your landing to avoid a tumble which could potentially damage your bot! It happens, we can’t all pilot through sensing the force alone.

Message Mode:

For fans of the original Star Wars (and the one and only – R2-D2), this is a definite winner. Although this feature isn’t quite perfect, its a lot of fun. Record your own message (or use the X Wing one already on the app) and BB-8 project it – through your phone’s screen that is.

Overall, the app is pretty easy to use and oodles of fun. It did have some compatibility issues to begin with, but these have since been rectified. You can download the app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play – sorry Microsoft. When using the app, you should also ensure you’re within the 30M range. Oh, and that your iOS or Android smart device is fully charged and compatible.

My only quibble is that sadly sound effects only happen through the app. But after a while, perhaps that’s a blessing.

 

Embrace The Light Side

With the the epic space opera that is Star Wars re-launching for a 7th film, children and adults alike will have the chance to have their very own BB-8 (the R2-D2 of today). Something fans of the past could never have dreamed of. Sphero BB-8 was heaps of fun to use, and I can see the appeal for all age groups. Packed full of personality and plenty of exciting features, this droid is more than just a toy – it’s a piece of history.

Don’t let the dark side become too powerful in your household, you could be the chosen one to bring balance to the force, and your trusted BB-8 will be with you every step of the way – May The Force Be With You!

What’s in the Box…

  • Sphero BB-8 Droid
  • Charging Cable
  • Charging Stand
  • Quick Start Guide

Sphero BB-8 Droid
Design94%
Usability73%
Features85%
Fun92%
Addictability92%
87%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (7 Votes)
31%