Introducing a droid that needs no introduction—R2-D2, the all new droid you already know! Now, if that was somewhat confusing, then allow me to clarify by saying that while R2-D2 may be an old Star Wars favourite, this new representation from Sphero is unlike anything you ever seen before. It’s the Sphero Star Wars R2-D2 App-Enabled Droid, and it’s here to take your enjoyment of Star Wars to a whole new level. Read on for all the fun details.
Introducing an R2-D2 for a Whole New Generation
This cool new version of the infamous astromech droid R2-D2 is chock full of amazing interactive features that only Sphero could provide. Among his key capabilities are authentic droid movements such as shifting between his classic tripod and bipod stances, bright LED lights built into his actual rotating dome, classic R2 sounds like the beeps, bleeps, and bloops that contribute to his unique personality, and the ability to roll around on treads and display other classic movements such as his cute emotive wiggles and waddles. He even has a feature whereby he shakes and falls down. This feature is taken straight from the original film that started it all, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (when the Jawas shock and capture R2). Helping all of these cool features to work properly together are an integrated speaker (housed within R2’s rotating dome) and a direct connection to your smart device via Bluetooth Smart that allows you to control your droid through the new Sphero Droids App (an app that also controls Sphero’s other new Star Wars droids, BB-8 and BB-9E). By the way, individual reviews of these other 2 bots are coming to the blog imminently.
Fun with R2
There’s no shortage of ways to have fun with R2-D2. Among the key play patterns are the Holographic Simulation (an augmented reality experience whereby you virtually tour the Millennium Falcon), the Droid to Droid Experience (where R2 can interact with your other Sphero Star Wars App-Enabled Droids), and the Watch with Me feature (where you sit back and watch one of the Star Wars films with your droid and see how he reacts to all the goings on on screen. Of course, you can also just use R2’s authentic movements and lights and sounds to enjoy driving him around wherever you want him to go using the control pad on the main app screen. In fact, this is one of my favourite ways to play with R2, because it’s fun just making him roll around and go through his very cute astromech droid actions.
One thing of note is the fact that some aspects of the Sphero Droids App do have minimum requirements (pertaining to your smart device) that go beyond what many people may currently have. For instance, I have a Samsung Galaxy S5, and both the Holographic Simulation and the Watch with Me Features did not work with my phone. Luckily, my wife has a newer model iPhone that everything worked well with, except for the fact that the Droid to Droid Experience icon is not yet showing in the app and I believe that this is a not yet released feature. As you may already know if you’re a fan of Sphero products, new features are always in development and there are frequent firmware upgrades with these robots. I suspect, then, that the Droid to Droid feature will be up and running soon enough.
Charging your R2 unit is quick and easy. This bot comes with a standard USB charging cord, and he only takes one hour to charge. This is much quicker than Sphero’s ball droids that charge via induction. I’m not sure if this is because R2 represents newer technology or if the induction process just isn’t as quick as using a charging cord. In any case, you’ll get a good amount of play time out of your R2, though much depends on how you use your droid. If you’re doing all out play with him, making him roll around and do all of his signature sounds and dome swivels, he’s sure to run down more quickly than if you just sit back and watch a movie with him.
And speaking of watching a movie with R2, this was another of my favourite features of this droid. We actually watched Episode IV: A New Hope together, and while he was calm and collected for the most part, there were times when he had a distinct reaction to the on screen action. He seemed to get especially worked up when something of considerable significance occurred in the film, and even more so if the scene involved him. He may have actually developed a slight case of PTSD considering that he was badly damaged under laser fire by Darth Vader during the climactic trench scene near the end of the film. It should be noted, by the way, that only about half of the Star Wars saga films are currently available in the Watch with Me feature, but the rest are promised by the app as “coming soon.” I’m very curious to see how R2 would react to the other films in the series now that I’ve watched one of them with him. In any case, watching with R2 was certainly a lot of fun.
Examining the Video Evidence
Please enjoy my brief video review of the amazing Sphero R2-D2. In this video you’ll see plenty of close up footage of R2 as well as some of his key play patterns demonstrated. There are even some interesting interactions between him and BB-9E (I did a simulation of what I think the Droid to Droid experience may look like). When 2 or more of Sphero’s Star Wars droids get together, it’s not something you want to miss out on:
I just can’t find a legitimate complaint about this toy. Sphero seems to have figured something out that other toy companies never have. If you want to get a miniature R2-D2 that’s nearly as accurate and authentic as the real droid on your TV screen, then this Sphero version is sure to be the one. I absolutely love this toy and would not at all hesitate to pick one up. The recommended age range for this product is ages 8 and up, but I think that almost anyone could enjoy this. He only gets better when grouped together with Sphero’s other Star Wars app-enabled droids. It’s really an excellent lineup.