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Hands-on review: Sphero BB9E Droid

Mon, 16th Oct 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

I've had oodles of fun, and have particularly enjoyed stalking my non-Star Wars fan- darling wife. Pardon me you must if into Yoda-speak I digress. Star Wars tends to bring this out in me.

It wasn't so much the actions of this little droid. Silent this droid is not! You use your mobile device to interact, and incredibly easy to use it is. Once calibrated, you can set your droid free to roam, courtesy of the Bluetooth connection.

While it manages better on a smooth surface, carpet was not too much of a problem. One thing I did learn though was to be quick. Trying BB-9E on my desk, it's speed took me by surprise. On more than one occasion I pulled off some diving catches that a young Chris Harris would have been proud of.

The BB 9E droid is a droid of the First Order, so it doesn't hold much truck with Rebel Scum. Don't expect a cute R2D2 or you will be disappointed.

Much is made on the website of the features of this droid. Impressed was I with the authentic movement of this droid. To engage the holographic simulation, you need to rest the droid within its trainer. The holographic display played out on my iPhone, but I may have found it more worthwhile on a larger screen. More training with this I require.

I would have liked to see how the Droid-to-Droid Experience plays out, but sadly, only one droid was I given.  I did ask the editor (Jabba's cousin by the way) but his reply didn't make much sense to me. He mumbled something about “Jedi mind-trick” before ejecting me from the office.   Sadly, I didn't get to try the Watch With Me feature either, as my darling wife monopolised our only television with a Netflix binge session.

The Tech Specs states that the droids are iOS and Android compatible, but if unsure you are, the website has a link where you can check the compatibility of your device.

Much impressed was I with the performance of this droid. From the Dark Side, it may be, but it required only a light touch to control. The only advice I can add when learning to operate is to “Do or do not. There is no try.

The NZ prices for these droids start at over NZ$200. I'd hazard that having them interacting would take your fun to a new level, but you'd best start saving a good percentage of your pocket-money. They would make a fantastic stocking stuffer.

I'll be writing Santa for one, that's a certainty. The droid comes in an attractive box, with a charging stand, USB cable, instructions and the Droid trainer.

The Sphero website categorically states, “This is NOT the droid you're looking for… it's the droid that's looking for you.

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