R2-D2 App-Enabled Droid
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- Authentic Movement - Drive R2-D2 with your device, go from bipod to tripod stances, or trigger emotive waddles
- Integrated Speaker & LEDs - Sounds come right from R2-D2, and front and rear lights are fully functional.
- Code R2-D2 - Download the Sphero Edu app and use character-specific commands to program R2-D2 and complete STEM activities.
- Watch With Me - View films from the Star Wars saga with R2-D2 reacting by your side.
- Holographic Simulation - Explore the Star Wars™ galaxy, roam iconic ship interiors, and more.
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From the manufacturer
R2-D2 App-Enabled Droid
This is the Droid you're looking for.
A droid unlike any other
R2-D2 is an Astromech Droid from a galaxy far, far away and has been brought to life like never before. The specialized tech in this Sphero App-Enabled Droid makes it as authentic as the trusty R2-D2 you’ve come to know and love.
Control this iconic Droid with your smart device, complete with sounds and bright LEDs, and see R2-D2’s front leg retract to go from driving to waddling – just like on screen. Explore holographic environments like the Millennium Falcon and Obi-Wan’s House, and immerse yourself in the Star Wars galaxy.
- iOS & Android compatible
- LED Lights
- Bluetooth connection (100 foot range)
- USB charging (over 1 hour of play on a full charge)
- Integrated Speaker
- 3D Accelerometer
- Free App: Star Wars Droids App by Sphero through iTunes or Google Play
- Height: 17 cm / Width: 10.8 cm / Weight ~370 g
A Loyal Astromech Ally
Drive & Patrol
Control your Droid with your smart device or Force Band or let it patrol on its own.
Use the Sphero Edu App to learn to program 3 different ways with R2-D2 and complete STEM activities.
Watch with Me
R2-D2 will react to movies from the Star Wars saga as you watch.
Animations in the app show off R2-D2's personality.
R2-D2 App-Enabled Droid
R2-D2 App-Enabled Droid is a skilled starship mechanic and fighter pilot's assistant with many features to interact with and explore.
R2-D2 App-Enabled Droid
BB-9E App-Enabled Droid
BB-8 with Droid Trainer
R2-D2 is an astromech droid from a galaxy far, far away.... Control your droid with your smart device or keep R2-D2 in top shape with augmented reality training. R2-D2’s signature front and rear LED lights are fully functional, and an integrated speaker means the beeps and boops come right from R2-D2 itself. Watch R2-D2 interact with other Star Wars App-enabled Droids by Sphero, and view films from the Star Wars saga with R2-D2 reacting by your side. This iconic droid has been brought to life like never before.
Top customer reviews
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-The controls work very well, for the most part. Sometimes there's a little delay that seems related to bluetooth, and I wish there was a dedicated controller for greater precision. But learning to operate R2 is a gentle curve. Having independent control over rotating the top dome is a nice touch.
-The built-in sounds and lights are fantastic. It makes the character come alive on a whole new level, especially to those watching. My wife loved this part.
-I enjoy the pre-set commands. R2 will do all kinds of chirping, wiggling his legs, spinning, and will even fall over (as if shocked). It seems quite durable.
-Carpet is a struggle. We have hardwood floors, but R2 cannot drive up onto even a small lip of a floor rug. If placed on the floor rug he can drive around it, but not nearly as smoothly as on hardwood. I also have concerns about debris getting stuck in the treads over time, as they don't look easily removable if something gross got rolled up in there.
-The third front leg has no wheel or tread, it's just a smooth piece of plastic. It has already scuffed considerably.
-There's something about the sheen of the white plastic that seems a bit "cheap," for whatever reason. It's an aesthetic thing, but it doesn't have the look of plastic I would expect in this price range.
-"Patrol Mode" seems to be a complete miss. Within 10 seconds R2 drives into a wall/obstacle and gets stuck there. He doesn't back up or turn himself around, even after a couple of minutes. There are clearly no proximity sensors built in.
-I don't have the Sphero BB-8, but from the videos I've watched it appears R2 is significantly slower. There is a turbo button that you can hold down to increase top speed, but it's still not fast. This limits some of the fun.
-Matching the charge cable to the copper-painted cables on R2's feet is a very nice touch.
-My dog goes absolutely nuts when R2 drives around. He's not the type of dog to rip something apart, but if you do own that type of dog this may not be the toy for you.
Finally, my initial verdict: There's a good chance it's going back. It does pretty much everything it sets out to do, and the personality is spot-on. But, having played around for about 30 minutes, I'm already thinking two things: 1) Does it do anything else?, and 2) HOW much did I pay for this?!
If I take away the fact that this is R2-D2 and objectively look at the features, the experience is basically the same as driving a slow remote-controlled car with clunky cell phone controls, but also with lots of lights and sounds. I played with R/C vehicles for several years, so this feels like a step backward.
Despite that, this IS R2-D2, and it's the best controllable version to date. If the character is an important part of your fandom and you can swallow the price you will most likely be satisfied. If the price is already bothering you, bringing R2 home at full retail may not change your mind. For up to $100 it would be an easy keeper, but for $180 I'm having trouble justifying the high cost relative to how often I would use this.
(Edit: Video added. Trying to drive on my phone while filming with the iPad. The loud howl is my dog wanting to attack R2)
Now to the disappointments:
(Note: Latest firmware and app version installed at time of posting. Some of these cons are related to the app, which was apparently rushed).
Patrol Mode is a complete trainwreck:
Watch my posted video if you’ve always wanted to see R2 bash his head against a wall repeatedly for 4 minutes. I could have filmed it for an hour, but you get the idea. R2 runs into the first wall he come across, and that’s it. He cannot figure his way out of such a perplexing conundrum. Just keeps spinning those treads. Occasionally he will turn around to face the other direction and you think “Success!” but - psych! - he’s just trolling you. He’ll turn back again and continue trying to punch his way through the wall. His decisions are also incredibly slow. You’d think when a toy like this hits a wall it would react quickly and just choose another direction, but I think this little fella gets concussion each time because it takes him a while to shake it off and try something else (which turns out to be the same thing that failed the last time).
The app has to be open at all times, even when R2 is in passive mode:
One of the features I like is that R2 will happily sit there on your desk, beeping and stomping away occasionally. It’ll do this while charging too, which is nice. Unfortunately, if you’re hoping that this can happen in the background while you’re using other apps (or the phone!) or you just don’t like the idea of leaving an app open all day, you’re out of luck. If I decide to keep the toy I’m going to try to dig into the SDK to see if I can keep it active with my computer’s Bluetooth. I’ve heard you can set up the SDK to get R2 to announce when you have mail etc., which would be cool.
Controls locked out while it’s on the charger:
This is just nuts. You can’t show off it’s cute little pre-programmed routines unless you unplug it first. This doesn’t sound like much, but in the absence of a conductive charging station like the BB-8, plugging/un-plugging mini-USB repeatedly becomes a drag after a while. Worse still, the new app now also locks out BB-8 controls while that droid is charging - a big downgrade from the dedicated BB-8 app.
Simple solution: lock out driving controls if you must, but allow stationary controls.
“Watch With Me” just doesn’t work:
I’m happy to be corrected, but I’ve tested this with both R2 and BB-8 on iPad and iPhone. It just stays there on the instruction screen when you start the movie, the droids staying silent and inert. For comparison I tested the BB-8 with it’s original app under exactly the same conditions and it worked fine (and is pretty cool!). Side-note to developers: BB should become excited as soon as it “hears“ the booming theme music at the start of the movie. It’s an appropriate response :) but more importantly it would let us know immediately if the feature is working or not, rather than waiting until minutes into the movie.
Interaction between droids:
This was promised but is MIA as far as I can tell. Of course, neither droid (BB-8 or R2) has a microphone or any way to tell where the other droid is so I guess this was always going to be a case of over-promise and under-deliver. Given current hardware, the only way these droids could possibly “interact” is while stationary and next to the phone (and again, I’ve yet to make this happen). How cool if you could set them patrolling and when they come near each other they stop to have a chat. Not going to happen.
The lack of the features below have not influenced my rating because they were never promised (unless you find the video of R2 stopping at the edge of a table misleading) but I feel they represent huge missed opportunities. On the other hand, inclusion of these features would probably have let me overlook some of the cons above).
- I have an Iron Giant figure from 15 years ago that has a tiny motion sensor in front to detect when you walk past it, triggering a response. How nice if R2 could do that.
- Proximity detection. With the BB-8 I understood that it’s form factor made things like built-in cameras unfeasible (but that didn’t stop me wishing for it) so I gave it a pass. R2-D2 has no such excuses. He has a faux camera/eye right there, front and centre, just begging for a real camera. It would allow Roomba-style collision avoidance. Add a little pinhole camera underneath for table edge detection. Allow us to watch the video feed of R2 while he’s on Patrol. Better yet, let us pilot R2 through the feed when he’s out of sight! Please don’t tell me it was to keep the price down. This thing is $299 in Australia and every cheap flying drone out there these days has this sort of tech built in.
Another quick suggestion for the devs: The “Draw & Drive” mode is cool, but how about making it so that if the user chooses to close the path (joining the end of the line to the beginning) it automatically repeats the circuit until stopped? I think that would encourage users to program all sorts of complicated paths around the room. I’d love to be able to sit there on the couch watching TV while R2 protects my perimeter!
In this scenario you should let users save (and name?) their favourite paths too. Again it would encourage more time and effort being put into their creation.
It also could REALLY use a "forward" indicator to tell you where you should start drawing so that the droid doesn't immediately change direction.
I guess that’s it. I’ve had it for a day and was thinking of returning it, but the front-leg scuff plate is already, well, scuffed. No big deal, but I might have to sell it on ebay instead. I’ll keep it for a while to see if any app/firmware updates improve things, and see if I can get anything interesting out of the SDK.