BB-8 App-Enabled Droid by Sphero - Review: This is the Star Wars toy you're looking for

BB-8 App-Enabled Droid by Sphero - Review: This is the Star Wars toy you're looking for
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When the first Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser was released, fans were instantly charmed by the film's adorable droid, BB-8. Its unique spherical design and floating head that maically never falls off captivated us. For 38 years, there hasn't been a droid more loved by fans than R2-D2, and since BB-8's debut, fans have expressed their desire to own one. While there are various affordable toys that depict BB-8, Sphero's tiny version of the droid is surely the one you're looking for. 

Sphero, a company that'd been making remote control robotic balls for years, created this miniature version of BB-8, and when I finally got a hold of one, the Force of my inner 8-year-old was awakened. Let's take a look at the packaging:

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The box is as sturdy as it looks. It was shrink-wrapped when I got it, and tearing it up feels like tearing up a cocoon to release a butterfly (not that I've ever done that cruel act). I couldn't wait to unbox what I knew was going to be special. Here goes...

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As you can see, it's much smaller than the BB-8 in the movie. Its shell looks well-protected so you can be rest-assured that it's in perfect condition even if the package was carelessly tossed around by reckless shippers.   

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When I opened it, I searched for a user manual, but this is actually it. That's how simple it is to get your BB-8 started. No assembly required. There's a "legal guide" bu who reads that? And of course, the power cable (shown below). 

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It comes with three other pieces: 

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The head part is magnetically attached to its body, and I had no trouble putting it together. More photos here: 

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As you can see, the droid glows when charging on the pod, which is connected via cable to my Macbook. As the instructions clearly show, you have to download the app to enable the droid, and you can get the app for free at starwars.sphero.com or through Google Play. After downloading the app, you'll see a user-friendly control panel for the droid: 

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The app features a tutorial to teach how to control the droid. Swiping your finger across the spherical area will allow you to rotate the droid on the right direction. One side of the droid glows blue to help indicate where it's facing, and you can easily rotate it to the direction you want it to go. The menu's 2nd page (shown below) shows a variety of commands that animate the droid just like in The Force Awakens

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You can make BB-8 go in cricles, rumble, sprint, and express a variety of emotions that would amuse kids (or the inner-kids of adults). Moving the droid itself takes a bit of practice to get used to, just like any other remote-controlled device, but once you get the hang of it, you can be creative with its moves and even race. 

You can also enable voice commands which can be found by going to the Settings section and tapping on the bubble icon next to Voice Commands. Voice Commands include: 

> Key Phrase: “Ok, BB-8”, “Come In, BB-8”
> “Look Around.”
> “Go Explore.”
> “Go to Sleep.”
> “Wake Up.”
> “Watch Out!”
> “It’s a Trap!”
> “Run Away!”
> “What Do You Think?”
> “How Do You Feel?”

You can see the droid in action in this official video by Sphero: 

 

Its $150 price tag may be higher than your average Star Wars toy, but if you're a big fan of the droid or just Star Wars in general, this is definitely the coolest BB-8 you can purchase. It's most fun when you race the droid with friends. 

You can buy one at Sphero's website or other major electronics stores like Amazon. 

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