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Say hello to this holiday’s hottest toy, Sphero’s Star Wars BB-8 Droid

Sphero has always created interesting remote control toys, whether it’s the original remote control ball, the Sphero, the faster and improved Sphero 2, or even the more recently release trick-focused Ollie. But the manufacturer’s quirky devices likely haven’t reached the level of popularity the company likely hoped they would.

But that’s all changed with the Star Wars-licensed BB-8, a remote control toy that mimics the appearance and performance (for the most part) of its larger, on-screen counterpart.

Sphero’s BB-8 is a tiny replica of the soon to be monumentally popular BB-8 droid featured in upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens film. The remote control ball has the ability to balance itself and can be navigated directly from a user’s Android or iOS device. Controlling the BB-8 is very similar to the Sphero, which means moving a circular blue indicator light towards the direction you’re facing to ensure BB-8 correctly follows your commands (otherwise the toy’s controls end up becoming confusing and downright frustrating).

BB-8 also has the ability to autonomously explore your home, terrorizing your pet and table/chair legs in the process. Just be aware that the toy droid gets stuck on almost every object imaginable, so you’ll need a large open space if you set BB-8 to “patrol” mode. While watching your BB-8 go off on a lone, aimless mission is undeniably entertaining, more often than not the toy loses its way and gets stuck on a wall.

Despite these issues, BB-8’s overall design is generally impressive, especially when it comes to its magnet tiny floating head that almost always (unless you smash the droid into a wall) remains on the top of the toy’s body. However, don’t expect the device’s top half to stay continuously level like its larger brother featured in recent Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailers. BB-8’s upper half frequently sways and tilts all over the place, especially when navigating the toy at high speeds. Still, it’s impressive Sphero was able to build a simple, relatively straightforward solution in order to get the pint-sized toy’s visual trickery to function properly in the first place.

Those who are familiar with Sphero will feel right at home with BB-8, but in that same vein, they’ll also likely become bored more quickly with the toy when compared to newcomers. Many of Sphero’s more appealing features, such as third-party apps and a simple educational programmable language, are absent on the BB-8. Sphero’s latest toy is essentially a Star Wars-skinned Sphero with a magnetic head, and the ability to autonomously patrol open areas of your home, a well as send amusing augmented reality messages to friends, just like R2D2 in 1977’s Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope.

BB-8 gif

Still, if you’re a Star Wars fan, BB-8’s coolness factor is nearly impossible to ignore. In fact, it’s likely the most impressive and best Star Wars licensed toy of all time – BB-8 is monumentally cooler than a glowing Lightsaber.

It looks like with BB-8, Sphero finally has the much-needed hit on its hands it’s been seeking. However, it’s important to point out that getting your hands on Sphero’s $189.99 CAD BB-8 in Canada is likely difficult right now as the toy is sold out at most retailers.

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