Force Friday has officially come and gone. Besides Black Friday, rarely do I feel the force so strong with a retail event. I myself was skeptical, “Oh, some Star Wars collectible toys? What a money grab. “ Then, I saw it. I locked in on its adorable little droid eyes and antennas: remote control BB-8, that little ball droid from The Force Awakens trailer. I had to have it.
To cover the basics, there are two BB-8s on the market. The first is a Target retail-exclusive made by Hasbro. It has its own remote control and runs for $79.99. The other is made by Sphero, is sold at other retailers, and costs $150. This BB-8 is controlled by an app on your smart devices. Evidently, many consumers thought they were getting the same product at Target and were disappointed when they couldn’t control the Target BB-8 using their smart phones. This is not the droid you are looking for.
Well… maybe it is. In fact, these toys are hot. I got to my local Target yesterday at 1:30 pm. There were only two BB-8s left! But I had my eye on the Sphero BB-8. I went to Bed Bath and Beyond at 11:00am and there, right in front of me, was one single BB-8 with a sticky note reading: “LAST ONE!”. “Haha- my kids will love this!” I exclaimed to the cashier. I got into the car and ripped off the plastic cover with my teeth. Oh, and did I mention I don’t have kids? Just cats. More to come on that.
I charged my BB-8 on the docking station and even the charging of BB-8 is adorable. He moves his head around inquisitively and lights up as he’s being charged. After he charged, I let him loose in the kitchen. He has three settings: drive, message and patrol. Drive allows you to control his movements via the app. The message function records a video of you that BB-8 can transmit (well, sort of. Think of the transmission segment of Star Tours). And the third function is patrol. This turns your BB-8 into a Roomba essentially. Only it doesn’t get rid of cat hair with a vacuum, in fact, BB-8 finds all the cat hair.
I put BB-8 on the ground and used the app to control him. BB-8 himself doesn’t actually make noises, but your phone does. BB-8 is just cute. His movements are very intuitive and they did a great job of making him feel like he has heart. When he bumps into things, his head looks around as if he’s surveying the area. I feel like this toy is what other robot toys hope to be.
I wasn’t as big of a fan of the message function. The message plays back on your device screen. I’m not sure what capabilities I thought this toy would have, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they upgrade BB-8 to a premium version complete with projection screen (and an increased price) released just in time for Christmas.
My cats, on the other hand, do not like BB-8. They are completely scared of this talkative, softball-shaped robot rolling around the floor. Here’s a video of my cats, Archie and Matilda, running away from BB-8.
When we left the house last night, my husband suggested we put BB-8 back into his box, because “he’s Archie’s known enemy now”.
All in all, BB-8 is just stinkin’ cute, and fun to play with. I should also say that I’m going to be 30 in a month. I’m not a collectibles type of person and I’m also practical in every way- I am not the one to buy and play with toys. Should you shell out the $150 on this toy? I would say yes. BB-8’s movements are so lifelike it felt like we had another pet in our house. And the one thing it really drove me to do? Clean my kitchen floor.