Sphero R2-D2™ App-Enabled Droid™ Review

Review by Adrian Apodaca, RealRCReviews Owner

Equipment Used:

- R2-D2

- iPhone 7

Pros:

- Very realistic looking

- Realistic sounds

- Realistic movements

- Nice size

- Easier to drive than BB8

- Retracting middle leg

- Nice feature set within the app

- Nice use of lights!

- FUN FUN FUN!

- Bar none, the best R2-D2 toy ever!

Cons:

No real cons, I just hope at some point, Sphero designs a controller to use with their droids.

Introduction:

Like many of you, one of my favorite things about Episode VII, The Force Awakens, was the introduction to BB-8. It was even more impressive when I learned that many shots in the movie were done using a large radio controlled BB-8. When Sphero announced theirs, my son and I went bananas. We knew we had to have one. We were forced to make it a Christmas present, so we didn't get to open it until that Christmas, which is why I never reviewed it. By that time, there were hundreds of reviews already done. I remember thinking to myself, "Self, Sphero should really use their technical and robotic prowess to make an R2-D2!" Fastforward to 2017 and Sphero announces an app controlled R2-D2! All it took was about 15 seconds of promotional video for me to stop what I was doing and to put an order in. R2-D2 has been with me since 1977! I've had figures of him and in about 1983, I had a RC version of him. He didn't do anything special, but it was great fun until my brother drove it down a short flight of stairs. That ended his short life. :(

 

Unboxing and Setup:

R2-D2, like BB-8 come in an extremely sturdy box with even sturdier foam inside to make sure your droid doesn't get banged around. My son loves these things, so when they are not in use, he uses their original packaging as their for storing them in one of his Lego display cabinets. Aside from the great packaging, you get your droid, a charge cable, and a sorry excise for a manual. Thankfully, setting up R2-D2 is not rocket science. Once you've charged up and downloaded the app, you pretty much do what the app tells you to do. In my case, I had to enter my name, age, email address to get going. Once my iPhone linked up to R2-D2, it found that it had to do a firmware update. That took a few minutes and then it was time to play!

 

Driving and Playing:

I live in a townhouse, where most of it is carpeted, so smooth floor is only found in my kitchen and restrooms. R2 will move on carpet, but I can't imagine it is very healthy for the longevity of the droid. I am an avid fan of RC, and drive fast cars and fly fast planes, so I am pretty good at driving RC stuff, but even I was a bit surprised at how fast R2-D2 moved at full throttle. I toned it down in the settings so I could drive it around more smoothly and so my son wouldn't go full speed into the wall or the fridge lol. Interestingly enough, a few days after we got R2-D2, Sphero pushed out another firmware update that slowed down R2-D2's top speed. With the latest firmware, R2-D2 is much easier to maneuver even in small spaces like a dinner table or coffee table. Whatever you do, PLEASE do not drive off the table! I can't speak to R2-D2's durability, but that is not something you want to test.

 

The Sphero Droid app has several fun things in it for controlling R2-D2. You have a ton of iconic animations that will be familiar to fans of the franchise. My son's favorite is the Jawa shock scene, which makes R2 flip out, wobble, scream and tip himself over. It is pretty dang fun to watch. Aside from R2's animations, like BB-8, you have an option to make R2 patrol his surroundings. It's fun to watch, but I can't leave him alone and always end up taking over control. There is also another mode where you draw on the screen with your finger to give R2 a path to follow. If you try this one, try to do it in an area with a decent amount of space to get a feel for how the pattern you draw scales to the room you are in. Yet another mode, is moving through a virtual environment on your screen. With BB-9, he rolls in place with a little training pad, but R2-D2 just stays still and makes sounds when you do this mode with him. Finally, there is the watch mode, where you watch a Star Wars movie with R2-D2. He reacts to different parts of the movie. I haven't tried this out, nor do I think I ever will, especially since these droids supposedly only run for about an hour.

 

One thing I may do, is stick an FPV camera/vtx combo on his head and see what it feels like to drive around with R2-D2's view of my house. Even better, my parents huge house!

 

Conclusion:

There is not much to say here that I didn't say in my video. This Sphero R2-D2 is truly the BEST, BEST, BEST R2-D2 toy ever created. Though I thought the $179 price tag was a bit high at first, now that I have my sweet little R2-D2, I think it is a fair price for everything that has gone into making this awesome little droid. The way the different lights turn on and off depending on what R2-D2 is doing, the realistic movement of R2's head, and the third little foot that pops out and back into R2 make for an almost perfect execution of the R2 we are used to seeing in the movies. I can't think of any more ways to tell you how awesome this little droid is. Even MY dad thought it was pretty awesome. More impressive is that my wife (who is usually never impressed with my RC stuff), was pretty amazed at how well Sphero designed this R2 unit. I can't imagine them being in stock for much longer as we approach the holidays and the release of Episode VIII, so you might want to scoop one out now. Now that I have both BB-8 and R2-D2, I feel compelled to grab BB-9. If I do get him, I'll be sure to post a review of that also!

 

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