Spin Master BB-8 Hero Droid.Image Credit: Michael Kaufman

REVIEW: Spin Master’s BB-8 Really IS Quite a Popular Droid

Architechnologist Reviews Robotics Toys

Star Wars fans of all ages adore BB-8, the astromech droid whose role in the resistance is featured in Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens. His dome-shaped head is balanced on top of a rolling ball that both makes up his body and provides movement; despite the simplicity of his design and only beeps and chirps for communication, BB-8 is one of the more emotive droids in the Star Wars films. The new interactive BB-8 from Spin Master is 16 inches tall (19 inches with antenna), nearly the same size as the on-screen version, which makes this particular droid perfect for both adult and younger cosplayers.

[Note: the cinematic BB-8 stands just over 26 inches according to Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, our favorite Star Wars universe reference title].

The Spin Master “Hero Droid BB-8” travels just like the on-screen droid with his head perched on top of his rolling body, leaning in the direction of movement. When he communicates, his lights flash and his head moves about–giving the feeling of a youthful participant in the dialogue.

A few very minor concerns about Spin Master’s Hero Droid BB-8:

  • The plastic body is a slick enough that control on anything other than carpet can be difficult, especially for younger users. We suspect that having him follow you down the sidewalk for trick-or-treating might cause permanent damage to his body and it would definitely put some wear on the excellent film-accurate coloring.
  • The head of BB-8 is held in place with a substantial magnet, which allows the head to be controlled independently of the body (adding to that impressive emotional interaction). Unfortunately, that means that any impact causes the head to bounce off with a series of dejected tones that would make a cloned bounty hunter weep.

There are three different modes for controlling the Hero Droid BB-8. The manual remote control features a special button that activates a preset animation. Follow-me mode is perfect for impromptu cosplay as BB-8 rolls along beside the remote. The movie magic really begins after setting BB-8 to Voice Recognition mode–it turns him into a real chatterbox, beeping and chirping and rolling about in response to a set of phrases and names from The Force Awakens. For example, he will look around if asked “Have you seen Rey?” and positively tremble if you mention Kylo Ren.

Overall, the Spin Master Hero Droid BB-8 is an awesome piece of Star Wars that can be yours. It is available now if you can find one–as of this writing, it is in very short supply and prices vary widely as collectors, fans, cosplayers, and kids (and their parents) are searching for this popular droid.

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