After the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters, BB-8 has become the most desirable merchandise ever. The Sphero Star Wars BB-8 Droid is probably the hottest one as there were more than a million units sold last year. Why do people willingly spend $149.99 for the plastic toy? We’re going to find out in the review.
Unboxing & Testing
I found the BB-8 familiar as soon as I took it out of the box. This is because I tried the Orbotix Sphero 2.0 Remote-Controlled Ball earlier and this is the modified version with the additional domed head. Besides, the product also comes with a nice base which is also a display stand.
Although most parts of the BB-8 are made of plastic, it is very well built with beautiful and detailed finishes. I could understand why people love the mini working version of the BB-8 droid. Who doesn’t want a remote-controlled replica of the lovely droid? I saw people spend a few thousands to create a working replica of R2-D2, there is no reason they couldn’t spend just $150 for a pre-built BB-8. This is the same spherical white robot with orange and silver accents, and a black optical lens on its head like you saw in the movie.
The most extraordinary design element is, of course, the free-moving head. Sphero equips 2 tiny wheels alongside a magnet to glide the head around the body. The magnet is strong enough to make the head floating and never fall off, even when you try to roll the BB-8 at the fastest speed.
I really love showing the BB-8 on the included stand. It doesn’t only look great but also works as an induction charging base. It will take around 3 hours to charge the BB-8 to 100% and then you can play it for a couple of hours.
My only problem is that the glossy plastic on the body can collect a lot of dirt and hairs, therefore, the droid could get dirty quickly, especially when you use carpets or your house is not cleaned daily.
The BB-8 replica does not only look like a real one but it also has authentic movements. After installing the companion app, you will be able to use the BB-8 in some different modes, including Drive, Message, Patrol, and Watch With Me. In the Drive mode, you will be able to manually roll the droid around. The Message mode lets you record and view holographic videos through the display of your smartphone, the feature sounds interesting but it isn’t working smoothly, so you shouldn’t waste time with it. The Patrol mode will send the BB-8 to explore your apartment by itself, then you can watch many stats on the display. You should be very careful using this mode because the droid is not equipped with sensors, so it can fall off stairs easily. Sphero also added the new Watch With Me mode where you can watch the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens with the toy. The BB-8 will listen and detect what’s going on, then it will show unique animations and sounds. Of course, all sounds will come from your smartphone because the robot doesn’t have a built-in speaker. You can see more of its actions in the video on top.
You can also control the BB-8 with voice commands, but only the simple ones like go explore, go to sleep or wake up. I often leave the feature off because the voice recognition is not working well and it could drain battery faster.
- Beautifully made BB-8 replica
- Durable build
- Smooth movements
- Always requires a smartphone
- Some gimmicky features
The BB-8 App-Enabled Droid by Sphero is obviously the hottest Star Wars merchandise at the moment. I loved it but I spent less and less time playing with it after just a few days. Anyway, this is still a great toy to display on my desk and I still take it out occasionally. Therefore, I totally recommend it to any Star Wars fan.