Smart devices have made the lives of adults easier across the globe. It is allowing us to shut off things we have left on, and turn on things we are too lazy to get up and do. The majority of these items are made for adult audiences, understandably so. But what about the kids? Over the past two weeks, my kids have been enjoying one of the most versatile smart robots on the market, the Miko 3. With tons of great activities and built-in assistants, they too have their own smart device to use. Let’s see if this child friendly robot is worth it!
Unboxing the Miko 3 AI robot
Without knowing the sticker price of the Miko 3, you know you are getting a premium device when you begin taking it out of the box. Everything is wonderfully packed away in tight compartments. Each piece is wrapped neatly and just waiting to be opened up. Inside your Miko 3 box you’ll find a charge cable, instruction booklet, and lots of information printed directly on the packaging. This information ranges from key features of the device to associated partners like Disney and Paramount.
Nestled below everything in a nice cradle is the Miko 3. The positioning of the robot means that once you’ve uncovered all the things on top, you are greeted with the sleek design and faceless screen of your brand new robot.
Miko 3 is easy to set up
Like any electronic device, the setup for the Miko 3 is very easy and straightforward. The device walks you through the various steps, holding your hand along the way. You will connect to your local Wi-Fi network, add users, and more. It will even prompt parents to download the free Miko 3 mobile app from the iOS App Store or the Google Play Store.
When you first get your Miko 3 out of the box, it’s worth noting there are a plethora of updates that will need to be installed. On a standard Wi-Fi connection—40 megabytes download—it still took about 15 – 20 minutes to download and update the robot. All of this had to be done before my kids could use it.
I did appreciate the simplicity of it all, and the way the Miko 3 talks to you throughout the process. This continues once you hand the device over to your kids for their use. Miko will begin walking them through all the various things the robot can do. Let’s examine a few of these now.
What can the Miko 3 robot companion do?
Miko does seem to function like a standard smart assistant, although one that can move around. Once Miko ran through all the various things it could do—including waking up users by saying, “Hello Miko”—my kids had a blast choosing various activities. It should be noted that the range of activities is greatly enhanced should you decide to sign up for a Miko Max subscription. This will give you access to tons of licensed products from Disney, Paramount, and more.
During our time with the device, we found it easiest to categorize Miko’s abilities in 4 buckets: games, physical activity, educational content, and emotional support.
Miko comes with a number of great games for kids to play. The games are relatively simplistic, but for kids 10 and under they are still engaging. My kids played tic-tac-toe daily with Miko, attempting to defeat an AI opponent who often seemed destined to never lose. We found the games were nothing you couldn’t find on a standard tablet using the Apple iOS Store or Google Play on Android. That being said, they were more fun for my kids because they were playing with Miko.
Our interactions with Miko’s physical activities were a bit mixed. Having a dance party with Miko, and playing a dance and freeze game worked really well. Miko was able to detect when my kids were dancing and when they were standing still. The more still they were when Miko said freeze, the more points they earned. This worked well. The hide and seek mode with Miko was less impressive than ads made it seem. Miko simply moved around our open concept upstairs, often mistaking chairs or items on the floor as my kids. When loading up this activity, it does suggest 2 meters of open space all around Miko, which seems unreasonable in most homes. My house, at least, does not have 4 meters square of empty space.
While not the most exciting aspect of Miko, my kids still enjoyed the educational content. This is where I found Miko the most impressive. Whether reading them books or providing them stats or quizzes, Miko impressed. While my kids can use our smart devices around the house to ask assistants questions and get answers, we found that Miko would have conversations with our kids on a variety of topics.
In one exchange, Miko talked with my kids through the various interesting facts and stats about chameleons. While it was obvious to me that these interactions were scripted—based on the choices my kids made—they felt Miko was interacting directly with them. This perceived interaction by my 4 and 8 year olds leads us to one of the more intriguing features of Miko, its emotional support capabilities.
The company behind Miko does advertise Miko as a robot who learns from their users. It promises emotional support to kids. For example, Miko promises to know when to tell them a joke if they are feeling down. While I do believe that Miko could learn some things about my kids over time, it was not apparent in the few weeks we used the device. As I noted above, my kids always felt connected to Miko, and did feel it was a good AI friend. If you asked my kids, they would say Miko was their friend, and was getting to know them through questions and activities.
From an adult perspective, however, I know it’s software working in the background. I’d be interested to see how that support for kids would grow over time, but I did not feel it was as much of a selling feature after a few weeks as was advertised.
Miko has an interactive, friendly face
The interactive touch screen plays a key role in how much use you can get out of Miko. While not overly large, Miko’s screen face isn’t small either, and is the perfect size for small hands and fingers. The touch screen was very responsive, and a good variety of touch and talk features will keep users busy for hours.
The screen also displays Miko’s face, complete with expressions and emotions. It also shows book pages as they are read, and shows you what the device’s camera sees in real time. As we discussed previously, this is specifically handy when playing a game of freeze-dance with Miko. I felt the camera, despite only being 2 mega pixels, did a great job accurately scoring my kids during that activity.
Everything about the Miko 3 has been wonderful. The robot has been incredibly responsive, with few delays and limited waiting when asking questions or playing games. While not as snappy as other smart devices I have used, it is still pretty quick. Miko 3 is doing a lot more than other devices too. Hosting dance parties was a favourite of my kids, something our stationary devices cannot do!
What parents are going to need to decide is whether this unique, interactive toy is going to be beneficial for their children. From my standpoint, the Miko 3 AI robot could have a permanent spot in my house despite underwhelming in the emotional support space. Both my 4 year old and 8 year old loved this device. It has been on daily for the past two weeks, requiring me to charge it each night. If your kids enjoy learning and having fun, there are few smart products on the market geared towards kids and the the Miko 3 is top among them.
Shop more robots and robotic toys for your kids at Best Buy today.
You would think for the price a charger would come with it.
I AGREE ONE HUNDRED PERCENT! except i can’t even get passed the initial update because it keeps saying my wifi disconnects when i have tried three different wi-fi’s and you can not tell me they all do not work!!
It’s basically siri but with worse functionality. 5 second delay on responses/if there is a response. Also there are no returns if your kiddo doesn’t like it. The robot body is limited to a few spastic moves which doesn’t not add up to a joyful kid experience. Advanced functionality requires you to download other apps and pay subscriptions. Don’t waste your time.