Purely used as a racetrack without the App interface this would be a serious waste of money. If you are going to use it to its full potential then the value is really going to be based on your love of hotwheels and how much money you tend to throw at stuff. We really did have fun with this at a level we’ve not really been able to reach with standard hotwheel tracks. So, if racing is your jam, you may think the $180 is fine. Personally, I think they priced this a bit high and under the $100 mark would have been more realistic. My guess is it will come down a bit before Christmas, but who knows.
Ok, for the actual review (aka things that stood out that weren’t obvious from the description):
1. Do not bother with this track if you are not going to download the app onto a beefy tablet or iPad. I say beefy because the app is between 500-900Mb depending on platform. So you are going to gobble up over half a gig for one app. It also requires updated OS’s and there are some device limitations so make sure you look up the app requirements before purchasing. I’d not recommend this on a phone, the bigger screen is necessary in my opinion.
2. Use the app as a tutorial if you find yourself or kiddos getting frustrated with the cars flying off the track. It really does a great job of walking them through how to properly rev and build. This is not a standard just go ham on your build and see what happens kind of toy. It’s best to work through the challenges, and learn the in’s and out’s of speed vs control. Sounds boring but it actually was pretty fun, and he enjoyed seeing his progress as he made his way through the challenges.
3. The track pieces connect like regular pieces, but they are more delicate. Do not jam, force, or rough these up. The electrical contacts need to be treated with consideration. I think this is part of the reason for the 8+ age. Even then maybe some supervision until you are sure they aren’t going to just mash it together.
4. It comes with two cars, until you buy more of the special ID cars (they have a chip on the bottom) they are the only two cars that the track will register and the app will interact with. Currently additional cars are about $7 each. I’d recommend buying a couple extra, we managed to lose one in the first hour and that meant there was no ability to race each other. We found it way far back under the entertainment center, apparently things on wheels can really move, eeek.
5. The App may require some restarting if your cars aren’t registering. Just stick with it. The user interface (UI) isn’t the most intuitive but once you get the hang of it, smooth sailing.
6. Packaging was top notch. I know that’s not a huge deal but it was all secured and organized in a manner that was enough for me to notice and take pics of.
So far he’s really enjoyed the track. If you look past the price and the learning curve (it was a rough first 20min of figuring out the App and not launching cars off the track) it really is a cool toy. I am going to base my 5 stars off its potential for fun if you are willing to make full use of the app and put the time in to learn the ins and outs. If you want a quick from the get-go kinda toy, then you will want to pass on this. If you want more of a skill based toy with some nifty tech, then go for it.
For reference kiddo is 7 and his dad helped him build the track and figure out the app, but now he can do it all solo. The trick with the track is to keep the light in the blue and not over rev or it turns red and your car flies off the track. It's pretty fun.
Hope that helps, and if we see anything major as far as durability in the next few months I will update this review accordingly. Happy racing!