This past weekend I got the chance to do a quick test and brief review of the new DJI RoboMaster S1—a fun, ground-based, battling robot with STEM implications. This bot, from the realm of Drones (even though it doesn’t actually fly), has a ton of features that are both fun and educational (in engineering, physics, math, coding, and other areas), and it’s certainly one of the most advanced products of its kind to ever hit the market. What follows below are the results of my brief round of testing and my first-impressions of this incredible new robot.

Note: The RoboMaster sample I’m testing came already fully assembled and with no packaging or instructions when I received it, so I can’t really comment on the assembly process other than to tell you what I read, which is that these bots come in 23 separate pieces and with over 100 screws and a screwdriver with which to assemble them.

What Can the DJI RoboMaster S1 Do?

The turret section of the RoboMaster S1 houses both a cannon and a first-person POV camera that streams to your phone

The DJI RoboMaster S1 is a complex battling robot that you build yourself and control with your smartphone and a special app to play games, drive around, and even shoot small water-based pellets at targets or other RoboMasters being controlled by your friends.

This tank-like robot can move in pretty much any direction (either through coding or via the controller) and even has obstacle avoidance. A blue roll of tape is also included in the kit (though not with my sample) that you can tape to the ground for your RoboMaster to follow—and it will!

The RoboMaster comes with a bottle of extremely tiny pellets that you soak in water for 4 hours to make them swell up into useable ammo

If you don’t want to shoot live ammo at your opponents, the RoboMaster S1 also has an option that is much like laser tag where you shoot invisible beams at each other’s bot. With each hit, your bot loses some of its “life force” until only one winner remains. There are solo games, multi-player games, and a variety of fun ways to make use of your RoboMaster bot. Even just driving it around like a radio-controlled vehicle is heaps of fun—particularly since it can do all kinds of crazy maneuvers, such as going completely sideways.

Other cool features of the RoboMaster S1 include its ability to track you via its built-in wide-angle camera, to record what it sees, block-based coding to help kids learn the basics of programming, and so much more!

Initial Thoughts and Impressions

The RoboMaster’s tires are unlike any I have ever seen before, and they provide the bot with excellent maneuverability

When I first saw the RoboMaster S1, I was instantly impressed. This hefty drone (which weighs over 7 pounds and feels as sturdy as a tank) is unlike anything I had ever seen previously. In fact, it kind of looks like a tank, and its turret can move up, down, and 360 degrees around—so pretty much any direction.

Although my testing time with this bot has been brief, I have been extremely impressed with it thus far. It’s a bit tough to precisely control at first, but I suspect that with a little bit more practice, I’ll be able to make it do pretty much whatever I want. It is also super fast and incredibly agile—certainly more-so than any of the myriad RC vehicles I have tested in the past. And there’s really nothing quite like firing its blaster!

Shown is the RoboMaster’s battery connected to the charger while charging up

Charging the RoboMaster is easy. It comes with a charging adapter that plugs into a standard wall outlet, and on a full battery charge (about 90 minutes charging time) you’ll enjoy up to 35 minutes of cruising and shooting with your bot.

Although I have only had this thing for a couple of days, I really like what I’m seeing so far. There’s a lot more for me yet to learn, but even without much knowledge, one can really have a good time with the DJI RoboMaster.

Examining the Video Evidence

Please take a few minutes to check out my brief video overview of the DJI RoboMaster S1. In it I show the bot up close, show it in action, and run through a few of its key features:

Final Thoughts

This is the RoboMaster’s point of view as shown on my smartphone screen

I don’t know nearly enough about this yet to make a full and comprehensive judgement, but what I’ve seen so far has been amazing! I think that this new drone from DJI is not only groundbreaking in many ways, but it also has the potential to be one of the very best robots we have ever seen. With great educational value, fun and exciting features, and the latest in DJI technology, this educational robot is sure to be a winner. Check out the DJI RoboMaster S1 at Best Buy.

 

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