I have two dogs at home, and I can say with conviction that there are a lot of reasons why someone might not be able to have one. Don’t get me wrong, I love my dogs, but out of all the animals that live here, the dogs require the most care. Robot dogs however, like Chip the robot dog that i was sent to review, do not and may be just what you are looking for.
Any dog owner can relate to what it takes to care for a dog, and that might be why some people don’t bring one home. There are also allergies to consider, and that can make it impossible to live with a furry best friend.
But I’m also someone who thinks that if you don’t have a dog in your life, you’re really missing out on a lot of fun. Thankfully tech has filled the gap for people who can’t or don’t have time for a traditional dog. With a robot dog, you can bring have a doggie companion that’s fun to play with.
That’s where WowWee CHiP Robotic Dog comes in. My real dogs aren’t fans of our new addition, but that little mechanical wonder has stolen our hearts.
Appearance and features of WowWee CHiP
CHiP is blue and white robot dog made from plastic, but his joints are all flexible. His ears and his nose are vinyl, and on his feet are special mecanum wheels. They are omni-directional, so he can move all over the floor in different directions. Keep in mind that he moves fast too. He’s a 0-60 kind of dog, but for us that made him even more real because we’re used to that from our own dogs.
WowWee CHiP’s features include:
- Put on the included smartband and your CHiP will follow you wherever you go
- Includes a smartbed CHiP uses as a recharge station, and just like a real dog, he’ll automatically go to his bed when he needs to recharge
- CHiP has location awareness and infrared vision so he always know where you are, where his toy is, and where his smartbed is
- CHiP shows you affection, can feel touch, and can do numerous tricks
- Includes a smartball that lets you play fetch with CHiP
- Voice recognition software lets you command your robot dog using voice commands
Playing with CHiP
Playing with cool toys like CHiP is something my kids live for, so I had their help when we were seeing what he could do. Because he’s such a smart dog, there were a lot of different options we could try.
CHiP works four ways: using voice commands, using the WowWee CHiP app, using the included smartband, and playing with CHiPs smartball.
Just a note: CHiP is an indoor only robot dog. He’s not meant to be used outside and is not weatherproof, but when I was testing him out it was a sunny, warm day, so I brought him outside for a bit.
Using WowWee CHiP’s smartband
When we started playing with CHiP we used the smartband, which looks like a watch and fits comfortably on a child’s wrist. It’s a rechargeable band that works via Bluetooth to control your robot dog. When you press the CHiP button he’ll look at you or stop mid-walk. You can make him dance or hit like to give him a virtual high five for being a good dog.
When you wear the band CHiP will follow you around. He’s pretty speedy when he does this, so if you stop abruptly he’s going to smash right into your ankles. I found the more we let him follow us, the better he was at anticipating where we were going and what we were doing.
Using the WowWee app
You can download the free WowWee CHiP app for iOS and Android and play with him using your smartphone or tablet. My kids liked this option best and thought it was the most responsive when getting CHiP to play.
There are so many options to play with CHiP within the app. You can tap to get him to do different tricks, use touch to pet CHiP, or send him back to his bed.
Speaking of touch, CHiP has sensors in different areas that let him react when you touch him. We patted his head and touched his nose and he’d respond with a bark or an action.
Using Voice Commands
CHiP has voice recognition built in, and that means you can talk to him and he’ll listen to you. You can’t just say anything to him and have him respond, but he does have a small amount of phrases he’ll react to.
Say “Hey CHiP” and his eyes will light up and he’ll bark. Tell him to “Sit Down” and he’ll do just that. My kids loved to ask him to dance, and he’ll even do yoga if you tell him to “Do Yoga.”
We found voice recognition worked well as long as the room was completely quiet. If the TV was on, it took a lot to get CHiP to respond because he can’t filter out background noise.
Playing with CHiP’s smartball
Fetch is a game we always play with our dogs, so we enjoyed playing it with CHiP too. The smartball takes 4 AAA batteries and once installed, it lights up green. CHiP will also light up when his ball is around, and when you throw it at him he’ll race towards it and bonk it with his nose or push it around. You can play soccer with CHiP too.
Like any dog who has played all day, CHiP knows when he needs a break. Once his battery is low his eyes will turn red and he’ll automatically stop what he’s doing and start heading back to his smartbed. He always knows where you’ve put it, and he positions himself perfectly to back up and sit down.
Once he’s recharged he’ll stand up and bark, ready to play again. We found he will play for about an hour, sometimes more depending on what we were doing, before he’d go back for a quick sit.
Smart and a ton of fun
CHiP might not be a real dog, but don’t tell him that. He’s probably one of the most fun toys my kids have tried out, and despite having a real dog near by, CHiP was the star of the show for the time we had him.
He’s very responsive to commands and the way he follows you around and heads to his bed reminds me of a real dog. I think the only downside is that he’s not cuddly. My 7 year old wanted to sleep with him but it’s hard to sleep with plastic. If they ever make CHiP a faux fur coat, I can’t imagine my kids would ever let him go.
I have a few friends who have kids with severe pet allergies. They’ve always had to be the bad mom who says no to having a dog, so I’m going to recommend CHiP to them. He’s not 100% puppy flesh and bones, but he’s a close second and a lot of fun.