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June 03, 2016

Seeking a beep bop boop Father's Day gift?

This might be the droid you're looking for...

BB-8 toy

We had the chance to test drive the Sphero BB-8 droid toy, and love it. If you've sitting on the fence about getting one, or are thinking about making it a Father's Day gift, I've got a good feeling that you or the recipient won't be disappointed.

The first thing you will notice when you get BB-8 is that the packaging is gorgeous. It's like an Apple product, with high quality printing, cardboard, and inserts. Open it up and there you will find BB, a little smaller than you may have hoped, but still adorable. BB-8 charges by sitting in a magnetic induction charger, which connects via USB to any USB port: charger or your computer, but he comes almost fully charged and ready to roll.

Set up was a breeze, just download the app to your smartphone or device. Firmware was updated as animations and sound played. The app has a fun Star Wars feel to it, and has a nice design and presentation... and best of all... it just works! Within a few seconds I was driving BB-8 around the room. It's the easiest electronic toy I've ever set up, so if you are worried you have to be a super geek to get it working, don't.

There's a couple of different modes you can use to run the droid, one in which you are in complete control, and another "Patrol" mode, were BB-8 goes off and does his entertaining thing all by himself. Be careful to block any drops or stairs before leaving him alone, as BB has no edge detection, and a severe fall might damage it. He's pretty sturdy though, no doubt his head will fall off due to a collision, but it will stick right back on, ... use the magnetic Force!

On missions, you really start to believe it is a little character, like a pet. It's just fascinating to watch, to see him get into trouble, like being trapped behind a lamp cable, and then slowly but surely find his way out.

Another really fun thing to do with BB-8 is to watch Star Wars, The Force Awakens, with him. You need to set him up and sync up the film to him, but that's all made easy by the app; it will guide you through that. He's programmed to respond to scenes in the movie. He will beep and bop, and move and shriek, it's all very cute and adds another dimension to watching the film. Perhaps one you don't want every time you watch the movie, but once is very fun. I'm hoping the app will add other movies to BB-8's memory in the months to come.

The BB-8 toy droid is about 120 bucks from Amazon I think you or the kid inside your dad will love it. Note, the BB-8 requires a smartphone or iPad to run the app, so if you are getting this for a kid or a Luddite, they will need a device to control it.

Posted by Snaggy at June 3, 2016 08:14 AM