Just in time for the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Blu-Ray on April 5, the beloved droid from the film, BB-8, has just arrived on Newegg. And yes, this is the BB-8 made by Sphero, which was one of the hottest selling items this past holiday season.
BB-8 by Sphero is an app enabled droid that, like the Sphero 2.0, you can control with your smart phone or tablet. The tech used in the droid is very similar to what they used in the movie, and the toy can feel alive and authentic just like that character did.
We had a bit of fun with BB-8 around the office, having it follow and beep at our fellow coworkers. But we had to be careful because the droid is a lot smaller than we expected. While in the film, BB-8 stands about thigh high, the BB-8 by Sphero is just over four inches tall, so we had to be sure our BB-8 was making plenty of noise so it wouldn’t get stepped on.
Controlling a droid
BB-8’s Drive Mode lets you “drive” to a distance of about 100 feet from your device, which isn’t too shabby, and also includes different motions, emotes, blips and bloops that give your BB-8 the character and cuteness you loved from the film. And if you feel like taking a walk with BB-8, it can move at a steady 4.5 miles per hour, so it can definitely keep pace.
In addition to the Drive Mode, there’s also a Patrol Mode that allows your BB-8 to roam freely and investigate and explore whatever area you’re in. In this mode, BB-8 really felt like a pet hamster who you let out of the cage and decided to start exploring your bedroom. BB-8 also recognizes and acknowledges your voice, so try calling him over and see what happens. Does he come over or just look at you?
Finally there’s Message Mode, which allows you to view and record holographic messages, similar to when Obi-Wan Kenobi was receiving Princess Leia’s request for help through R2-D2 in Star Wars. But to see the messages, you need to view it through your smartphone or tablet, giving the whole experience a sort of alt-reality feel.
BB-8 comes with a charging base that plugs into any USB port, and one full charge lasts about an hour.
During the months leading up to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and especially after the movie came out, the BB-8 by Sphero was hard to find as almost every retail outlet was sold out. Now that the storm has calmed down a bit, BB-8 is back and now available at Newegg.com for $149.99.