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4.1 out of 5 stars
SmartLab Toys ReCon 6.0 Programmable Rover
Format: ToyChange
Price:$56.78 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon December 2, 2012
Format: ToyVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When I was a kid I had a phase where I absolutely convinced that I needed a robot. I wasn't sure how a robot was going to help me, but I just KNEW that having a robot would make my life better. I thought a robot would be a nice alternative to a dog... with less mess.

The Smart Lab Recon 6.0 Programmable Rover is a pretty slick robot - it takes a bit of time but it can be programmed to do a variety of tasks. It is not a perfect robot - it is a bit slow and cumbersome to program, but for any science savvy kid will have a field day!

Notes-

- Programming - The Recon 6.0 must be programmed directly from a touch pad. Programming requires you to scroll through a series menus and saving settings... in some ways it is kind of like programming an old VCR. A remote control would make the process much simpler - or possibly an ipod/iphone/ipad interface.... but we are left the touchpad... it seems circa 1999.

- Batteries - Requires 3 C batteries. I say this because C batteries seem to be going extinct - and I didn't have three C batteries in my entire house (this is surprising because we use lots of batteries).

- Speed - The Recon 6.0 is not exactly fast - you can see it in the video

- Driving ability - the plus is that it works well on carpet, rugs, and all surfaces - the negative is that doesn't seem to always track correctly. You can see it in the video that the Recon 6.0 isn't always precise in its turns.

- Educational Value - The educational value is pretty high.... in many ways... it will help kids lean to map out routes based in inches, feet, and turning angles. It also helps children learn the iterative process required for programming. One step leads to the next... and so on. The programming can be a bit of a challenge but if the child has a little persistence they should be able to master it.

- Other features - the Recon 6.0 can be programmed to turn on its lights, speak voice commands, and even deliver soda cans!

Final Verdict - At this price point I do expect a few more features, and I wish it was better calibrated for turning (right out of the box), but any technology savvy child will really enjoy the Recon 6.0 by Smart Lab

3 1/2 Stars
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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2012
Format: ToyVerified Purchase
Great product! 12 yr twins each have one and they love it. Very educational and fun. We received one that the voice/speaker didn't not work very well on. Notified SmartLab and they responded quickly to let us know that item was on backorder, but as soon as they received one, they would send it out and include prepaid postage for us. We received a call - earlier than expected letting us know they would be sending a replacement out. We received the replacement w/n a week. The replacement had been tested to assure it was working properly. They also told us to keep the old one. Great company to work with - SmartLabs - will definitely be ordering from them again. The great customer service they provided is hard to find these days. Was very impressed with the company.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2011
Verified Purchase
The only complaints I have about this robot is that in the hands of a child it could be broken fairly easily. It's speaker and microphone sit atop a spindly plastic neck, that the manual warns against using as a handle. I took two stars off for this deficiency; they should have made it from more durable materials. The toy does have a convenient metal handle to carry it with. Other than that, here's what I find good about it. The robot is simple to use and program. As one plays with the robot, their understanding of programming, arithmetic, even geometry as recon missions are planned for the robot. You are able to pre-record a series of five second sound bytes which the robot can be programmed to play at certain points along the programmed path it follows. You can also tell it to go to a particular place, play a sound --a question for instance, and then go into record mode to get the answer. It is saved as a sound which can be played on return of the robot.

The batteries, it takes C cells, seem to be holding up great considering the hours spent running the robot around the house. It's cleat tracks give it excellent mobility even over difficult to navigate carpet and I have operated it on the front lawn quite successfully. The robot has a small carry spot, a sort of open 'car trunk' in which one can place something as heavy as a can of pop and deliver it to a destination programmed.

Programming requires no programming experience! The robot is controlled by its own positional awareness which it accomplishes by counting how many times its treads rotate, and how man degrees it should turn. So to program the robot to go on a mission, you would press the buttons on its front control panel to indicate forward drive, how many inches or feet to travel, then programming its next move, you might press the turn button, and then select an angle of either 45 or 90 degrees. Then you would press the buttons to travel its next straight course, and for what distance. On it goes that way. If you wish to use the sound player or recorder, you can click on a speaker and then select the sound number to play at any point in the path. The same is true for recording, but you select the microphone icon.

I hope they build a slightly fancier version at some point that includes telepresence and return-to-start automatically. But for the price and for the capability, this is a wonderful learning toy that educates by fun induced stealth as it is used. While adults get a big kick out of the Recon robot, it is aimed at kids six years and up. But it makes a great office or home toy with almost endless opportunities for amusement.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Format: ToyVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The promoters of this product have really hyped it up, so first I want to say what it can and can't do.

It can:
*Record sounds and play back sounds
*Turn its lights on and off
*Turn around in increments of 45 degrees and 90 degrees
*Drive forward and backward
*Loop a series of instructions
*Record 9 different programs with up to 50 steps

It can't:
*Turn in increments different than 45 degrees or 90 degrees
*Ever get calibrated perfectly, especially if you drive it over multiple surfaces like both carpet and wood floors
*Go very fast
*Execute subroutines
*Perform different programming based on conditions
*Move its head, or perform any movement at all besides the tracks on the bottom

The interface is a little confusing, and it's really easy to make errors that ruin your program. Everything is entered through the 3-line LED screen on the front of the robot. But, the learning curve of the programming adds to the charm of this, as eventually you'll learn the interface and become a programming whiz.

The programming is pretty simple. You'll basically be just programming the robot to move around, flash its lights, and play and record sounds. You can't have it move anything besides its whole body, and you can't do any kind of conditions, like back up if it runs into a wall.

The manual is pretty awesome, as it takes those few basic instructions, and gives you a bunch of different missions to program. It tries to teach you good programming practice, by having you write out all of your instructions before you program them in. I mostly ignored that, and did most of my programming by trial and error, but it's cool they're trying to encourage good programming habits.

If you know a kid who would love to program a robot, this is an awesome starter robot.

Pros:
+It works!
+You can program 9 distinct programs of up to 50 steps each
+You can record and play back 4 different sounds (5 seconds each)
+Encourages good programming practices

Cons:
-Over hyped. For example, it can't turn its head, like it kind of looks like from the advertising.
-Doesn't go very fast, especially on carpet
-Has a bit of a learning curve, because of the simple interface
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47 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2011
Format: Toy
My children were excited to try out the ReCon Rover. We have found no flaws with it. It works as advertised. My sons only complaint is that it is slow. The kids enjoy taking turns programming it to move around the house. My son is 14 and was able to work the ReCon Rover on his own. My only issues it that the neatest has worn off and I have not seen my children use the toy again.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 23, 2012
Format: ToyVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
We were extremely excited about our SmartLab ReCon robot. When I took it out of the box, my first thoughts were, he is pretty cool! But after trying three times to program him to do a simple task, I put it aside thinking it would be easier for my husband to figure out. I am simply to stupid to figure this out. Well, he was able to program it easy enough but he is a genius. The programming he explains is actually simple enough. There are steps were you can program him to do what you need him to do. Step 1, Step 2, and so on. Just put in what you want him to do.

SmartLab ReCon 6.0 Programmable Rover includes the

1 Programmable rover
1 48 page full-color book
1 Tape measure
1 Owner's manual
Requires 3 C batteries not included

Pluses:
No computer is necessary
Kids can learn how to do simple programming using math they are learning in school. Simple measurements can get him from point A to point B
He has headlights so you can see him coming at night.
You can record sounds into him along with his pre-programmed sounds.
There is a little space in the back for you to send a treat to someone on one of his programmed missions.

Minuses:
He is limited.
Slow, sometimes it takes so long for him to get from point A to point B you stop waiting for him
Everything has to be methodically mapped out that kids may lose interest in the long term.

For $60.00 he is a good learning tool but not for the long haul.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2014
Format: Toy
The Recon 6.0 has many features and functions that will delight all kids interested in programming. I was able to program it to deliver sodas to my friends at my birthday party, greet my dad at the door, and run an obstacle course. This toy is very delicate. It requires 3 “C” batteries. I don’t recommend it for kids under 10 due to the measuring skills needed.
-Henry

(This review is by my 11 year old son-M.Madden)
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2011
Format: ToyVerified Purchase
This toy has captured my 7-yr-old son's imagination. It beat out an iPod, hexbugs, and zoobs (all great toys too). It's not totally intuitive, so be prepared to spend some time teaching kids how to use it. But after a half hour of working together, he's sending it around the house telling everyone merry Christmas. I was skeptical, based on the price, worried that it might be flimsy. The keypad is a bit tough to use (sometimes over sensitive sometimes under sensitive). But for $60, that's not unreasonable. It works exactly as advertised and he LOVES it. If you have a kid who idolizes Grant Imahara, this toy is a must!!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 30, 2012
Format: ToyVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
From the moment my oldest son (9) saw this in the box, I was surprised at the wide-eyed joy he took in every facet of it's operation.

By the time I had gotten the dishes done and made lunches for the next day, he had it out of the box and was already programming it.

Programing is a bit tedious, especially at first. But besides giving a few programming tips, and few hints on creating chart of standard distances in the house to avoid needed to constantly remeasure, he has done it entirely on his own.

My youngest son (5) loves to help, mostly this involves helping measure the distances , and clapping with glee when the robot does what it is supposed to.

The robot is quite slow, but hopefully that helps it conserve batteries.

Given my oldest's interest in robotics and my desire to see him learn programming as he grows up, this is probably the best toy I could have gotten him at the moment. It is teaching him to think logically, look at tasks as segments, and to plan ahead, all very good skills.

With school out for the past couple of days they have had a good chance to use it over the past week and so far it has been their favorite thing to do, even over playing the Wii.

I have a few challenges I plan to give him in the future to keep his interest in this toy, but for now , I haven't needed to do anything at all.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2013
Format: ToyVerified Purchase
One wheel turns faster than the other so the rover never goes straight. I expect a $70 toy to come in good working order and not need to be sent back. Huge disappointment for my daughter!
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