By now, most of you have seen or at least heard of, the latest Star Wars “The Force Awakens” movie. We’re not going to go into details about the movie in case you haven’t seen it, but, we are going to talk about one of the characters in the movie. Yep, we’re talking about the funny and charismatic Star Wars BB8 Android. BB-8 is the cute, love-able and loyal Astromech Droid belonging to the Resistance pilot Poe Dameron. He’s so cute in fact that Hasbro decided to make a remote control BB-8 in anticipation of the movie coming out. Just before the holidays, these little fellas were a huge hit. In fact, people were lining up 2-3 hours in the freezing cold before stores opened, just to make sure they got one before they sold out. We managed to snag one for our son for Christmas and he’s been playing around with it for a bit now, so we thought we’d share our thoughts on it.
BB8 Android Review
First off, it’s important that you know that there are two BB-8 remote controls out there right now. The Sphero BB-8, which is a smaller version and is controlled via app on a smartphone. Very cool but we were not willing to shell out the ~150$ or so to get one. Instead we opted for the Hasbro BB-8 which is still a remote control, but uses a standard controller instead and goes for around ~80$ instead… or at least it did when we got it.
The Hasbro BB-8 comes with the shell, motor (black piece inside, with magnetic “arm”), head and controller. It has some assembly required, but for our family that is a huge bonus. We love putting things together since that’s the best way to see how things actually work. The assembly is really easy in fact (Philips screwdriver needed):
1. Split the BB-8’s shell (round body) in two by twisting counter-clockwise.
2. Add four AA batteries to the black motor piece.
3. Place the motor into of the shell halves.
4. Add two AA batteries to the controller.
5. Put the shell back together again.
5. Shake the shell a little bit and then place it on the table.
6. Wait until he settles down a bit (he needs to calibrate and orient himself a bit)
7. Slap the head on! (The head will stay on because it and the motor arm both have magnets in them.)
BB-8 will start to chirp a bit while he’s getting used to his new noggin’. He’s really easy to move around. Use the cool “head spinning” feature on the controller and spin his head into the direction you want him to go. Then, use the “forward” and “backward” buttons to move him. It’s that simple.
The details on the shell are amazing. He actually looks a bit beat up and dusty just like in the movie. He also mimics the cute sounds/expressions that you hear in the movie. Very cool. Another neat feature is that he goes to sleep after about 5 minutes of sitting still, so you shouldn’t hear him in the middle of the night if you leave it on.
As for what we didn’t like about it – there wasn’t much. One thing you’ll notice is that he’s a little bit wobbly at times. Once he bumps into something, his head will fly off… especially if you go over something bumpy. That and he’s definitely slower on carpeted areas, versus smoother areas like hardwood floors.
BB8 Android Product Demonstration
Have a look at the following YouTube video to see him in action:
Is it worth the 80$ price tag? Hard to say. My son absolutely loves it right now, but will the novelty wear off? Time will tell. Maybe if you had 2 of them and did some neater things like demolition derby style tricks or obstacle racing… how cool would that be!