• BB-8
  • BB-8
  • BB-8
TECHWALLA
VERDICT
Not recommended. This product is super problematic.
68%
TECHWALLA SCORE
based on the following sites

PROS

  • It's absolutely adorable. Really, just look at it.
  • The hidden magnets that hold the head to the body are a marvel of modern engineering and give the BB-8 an authentic sci-fi look.
  • A variety of play modes, including voice control and holographic messages, give you a surprisingly large number of things to do.

CONS

  • It's pretty expensive.
  • It gets dirty quickly and doesn't fare well on rugged, natural, outdoor surfaces.
  • Despite the variety of activities and play modes, it might not have long-term appeal.
In the world of movie tie-in toys, the BB-8 might be among the most remarkable. Even before "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" came out, there was such a popular reaction to the adorable BB-8 droid in the trailers that the robot appeared seemingly everywhere online. Sphero's version of the BB-8 is a smartphone-controlled rolling toy that uses hidden magnets to look and behave just like the one in the film. It comes with a small charging pedestal that gives it a one-hour runtime. Using the app, you can command the BB-8 to patrol, which is does autonomously, or you can drive it manually with controls on the phone. The droid responds to voice commands and can deliver "holographic" messages via an augmented reality feature in the app.
80%

Unlike the Sphero 2.0, which had rugged cases you could buy for it, you can't really take the BB-8 and its plastic shell outdoors. Otherwise…

Unlike the Sphero 2.0, which had rugged cases you could buy for it, you can't really take the BB-8 and its plastic shell outdoors. Otherwise, you'll find its Star Wars-themed paint job gets scuffed up faster than you can say, 'C-3PO'.

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80%

Patrol Mode offers plenty of fun, sending BB-8 to roam around on his own. During this patrol session BB-8 gathers information for you. Key b…

Patrol Mode offers plenty of fun, sending BB-8 to roam around on his own. During this patrol session BB-8 gathers information for you. Key bits of data include his acceleration, the temperature of his surroundings, proximity warnings and collision alerts.

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60%

If you're avid Stars Wars fan with deep pockets, no doubt you'll love the BB-8. We just don't feel the force is strong enough to justify the…

If you're avid Stars Wars fan with deep pockets, no doubt you'll love the BB-8. We just don't feel the force is strong enough to justify the high cost.

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60%

It also gets pretty dirty. The head uses two tiny wheels in tandem with a magnet to glide around the spheroid body, and the wheels get packe…

It also gets pretty dirty. The head uses two tiny wheels in tandem with a magnet to glide around the spheroid body, and the wheels get packed with dirt. There's no real way to clean them, other than jamming your fingernails in there to loosen it up.

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60%

And you’ll do quite a bit of bumping into things. Despite having used previous Spheros it’s still rather confusing about just which way the …

And you’ll do quite a bit of bumping into things. Despite having used previous Spheros it’s still rather confusing about just which way the droid is about to head off, as it has no obvious front. You'll be driving it around fine but then it'll go past you, or you'll follow it around a corner and suddenly everything is off by 90 or 180 degrees.

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Each of these actions is accompanied by some audio, much in the same way you'd hear R2-D2 chirp as it moved. These sounds all come from your…

Each of these actions is accompanied by some audio, much in the same way you'd hear R2-D2 chirp as it moved. These sounds all come from your phone, which is cool when you're in a small room where everyone can hear BB-8 but somewhat less exciting when outdoors.

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Another caution about patrol mode is making sure you don’t lose your BB-8 for good. It’s pretty durable when it comes to smacking into walls…

Another caution about patrol mode is making sure you don’t lose your BB-8 for good. It’s pretty durable when it comes to smacking into walls, etc, but I’m not sure it could survive a trip down the stairs or falling off a table. It doesn’t have any sensors to warn it about edges so you’ll want to wall those off if you want BB-8 patrolling your living room.

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Three hours of charging will give you a full hour of play-time, but even in the cradle BB-8 will be beeping, squeaking and bopping it's head…

Three hours of charging will give you a full hour of play-time, but even in the cradle BB-8 will be beeping, squeaking and bopping it's head around as though it's eager to get out and roll around.

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That said, I do wish it looked more worn, straight out of the box, similar to the bigger BB-8 from the Star Wars Celebration convention.

That said, I do wish it looked more worn, straight out of the box, similar to the bigger BB-8 from the Star Wars Celebration convention.

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Once calibrated - a near minute-long process that precedes each use - the droid can be sent scuttling off at a surprisingly rapid speed, con…

Once calibrated - a near minute-long process that precedes each use - the droid can be sent scuttling off at a surprisingly rapid speed, controlled via a digital joystick. At times there can be a bit of lag between your thumb's movements and the droid's responses, but unless you're betting your podracer on a big-stakes droid race, this is nothing to worry about.

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The only bit about this toy we're concerned with is his antenna. They're tiny - super, teeny tiny - and therefor prone to bending. If you've…

The only bit about this toy we're concerned with is his antenna. They're tiny - super, teeny tiny - and therefor prone to bending. If you've got a 4-year-old in your home, expect these antenna to be busted directly off within a week. If you're OK with that, no worries!

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Assembly — if you can call it that –- involved putting the smaller head on the body. You know you’ve got the right spot when the hidden inte…

Assembly — if you can call it that –- involved putting the smaller head on the body. You know you’ve got the right spot when the hidden internal magnets in the head and body find each other. The head never actually attaches to the body because it has to roll around freely.

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The $150 Sphero BB-8 pairs with a smartphone app that lets you guide it, talk to it, and even use it to record holographic projection videos…

The $150 Sphero BB-8 pairs with a smartphone app that lets you guide it, talk to it, and even use it to record holographic projection videos (thanks, augmented reality!).

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50% Said they'd buy it again. Would You?
CHOOSEA SIDE
Negative Reviews
1
Too pricy
One of my friends has it and I think the toy is adorable. And definitely good for display for star wars fans. However, I do not think it justifies the price.

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