Sphero started off with little balls that rolled around on the ground. It was neat and especially fun in many schools as a technological learning tool. Then, Star Wars started to reach a new audience and BB-8 captured the hearts of the universe. Sphero, being the intelligent business people they are, found a way to add a little head to their balls and created BB-8. A somewhat genius evolution and the starting brick that built the Sphero kingdom. Since the release of BB-8, there have been a wide variety of other figures to purchase, such as Lightning McQueen, BB-9, R2-D2, and Spiderman. But it all started, in my opinion, with BB-8.
BB-8 hasn’t been matched in pure enjoyment either. It may be that we are getting used to what Sphero is able to pull off, but something about opening up BB-8 for the first time, before experiencing the other Sphero products, made it an incredible adventure into the future. While small in scale, the personality of BB-8 was as big as it is in the films. Watching this ball roll around the house, with a head that stayed in place, was nothing short of mind-blowing. And, now that you can purchase him for under $100 US, he is worth every penny.
There isn’t a whole lot to review here. The app is simple, but like mos Sphero toys, the integration of watching their film with you is enjoyable, if a bit gimmicky. The biggest gripe with BB-8 is all the sound is produced through the device you use the app with. So if you don’t have solid speakers, BB-8 sounds drunk. Sill, as a little droid that rolls around your house, the controls are tight, and the fun comes from watching your kids and pets try to keep up with him.
There is also a band that can be purchased separately, or included if you are lucky enough to find a deal, that lets you control him without your phone. I haven’t had a chance to try out the band, but I imagine it just adds to the fun. If I do pick it up, I’ll add the review in here.
The build quality is also stellar. I’m not sure how many things BB-8 has tried to act as a battering ram on in my house, but he hasn’t been scratched yet. It is true, about a week after we purchased him, that he sits on a shelf as a showpiece more than a toy that comes out much, but he still gets to come out and play from time to time.
Ultimately, if you are interested in what Sphero is pulling off, BB-8 is a great place to start as he is often a cheap point of entry and includes enough features to impress. Overall, this is a great toy that doesn’t break the bank. If only the sound came from BB-8 instead of your phone or tablet.