I was recently sent Sphero’s BB-9E droid to review and on first impressions, my initial thought was this looks cool and I know the one person who would love to run this through its paces is my 14-year-old son. When I first opened the packaging to come across a really cool looking box with the full Star Wars feel to it. I could see the level of excitement building from my young son who is a major star wars fan (Yes I have seen all the films multiple times).
Once we opened all the packaging I was impressed with the attention to detail on all the package as well as the droid compared to BB-8 which was the previous model. We found the Droid was packaged very nicely and this also comes with the charger and the droid Trainer which so am told sometimes comes separately. So I was pleased to have everything included.
The BB-9E is billed as the evil BB-8 so my son tells me and its purpose is to help the first order push to dominate the Star Wars Galaxy. The new upgrades on this model compared to the BB-8 are the sophisticated tech and sounds make you know you are in control of the evil version. The design of the BB-9E is fantastic the pattern printed on the droid really makes this a life like that you feel a part of the film is in your hand. The LED lights really do add a personality to the droid and help’s bring it to life.
The plastic on the castings are thick and not easily damaged as we found out when my son dropped it down the stairs and not a scratch. BB-9E has its head held on with a magnet so if you do crash it or it falls down the stairs the head simply pops off and realignment is very simple. Now to get control of the droid you need to download the app which takes seconds to complete and make sure your Bluetooth is on so the app and the droid can connect.
Now the instructions advise a 3-hour charge which is not too much of an issue as it gave us time to understand the app. However, would you want to do this all the time am not sure? The charger like the training dock also has a great design which all complaints the whole experience. Once we opened the app called Droid by Sphero you find out you can control not only the BB-9E but others in the range as well like R2-D2, BB-8, R2-Q5. So for a father, this is a great idea for these Christmas presents. Once you connect to the BB-9E it comes to life and you control the movement all via the app on your phone.
The control of the app is very easy simply place a finger on the Virtual d-pad and you are on your way. There is a wide range of options which if you click makes the droid do something different. It does take a bit of time to get used to the controls and you may find it ends up under the sofa a few times. Once you mastered the d-pad it never tries to zip around the room without your control which is a great feature. The Droid also comes with a trainer allowing you with the aid of your phone as well to turn the experience into a holographic simulation device. With the help of the app, you can explore the iconic ships that feature in the films. As you travel the trainer prevents the droid from going all around the house as it acts as a treadmill for the droid.
We also have a feature that will allow you to plan a route for the droid basically it’s sat-nav and its simple to do and is great fun. The feature my son and I really like is the fact if your watching one of the films such as Rouge One there is a watch with me feature which allows the droid to interact with the film at certain parts. This is a cool feature and if you have all the droids in the set they will all interact with each other when the film on.
The only downside to this product is the battery only lasts about an hour of play and has to be charged for 3 hours. So if they bring out new models in the future this would be an issue to address. Apart from that this toy provided great fun and excitement for my son who loved it! For any parent looking for a gift for a birthday or Christmas at £99,99 which you can get a currys, it’s a great buy.