Playmobil has been taking some risks and expanding their brand over the past year or so. For years, the Playmobil aisle was home to some cool, but generic, toys and playsets. Don’t get me wrong; we love Playmobil. They’re amazingly fun, but the themes have been pretty generic: farm, city, school, and the like.
Recently, though, they landed some pretty high-profile franchises (in both Ghostbusters and How to Train Your Dragon), and now they’re breaking out of the mold even more with their RC Racers.
That’s right—legit remote-control cars are now fully compatible with all of your existing Playmobil toys and figures. Three different designs are now available: Turbo Racer, Rocket Racer, and Roadster.
- Product Numbers: 9089, 9090, 9091
- Number of Pieces: 3, 7, 4 pieces (respectively)
- Number of figures: 1 adult (male) with each car
- Batteries required: 7 AAA, not included (3 for remote control, 4 for car)
- Mobile app minimum requirements: Android 4.3 / iOS 8 (iPhone 4S, iPad 3, iPod Touch 5G)
Ease of Build:
On a scale of 1-5, the RC cars are a definite 1. There’s no assembly whatsoever. You need to install the batteries, and that’s about it. The most difficult thing you’ll have to do is download the app to your phone and get it to recognize the car.
- It’s a Playmobil RC car! What’s not cool about that??
- Both the remote control and the mobile app feature the same controls. The physical remote control doesn’t have gyro steering, but all other features are the same between the two.
- Five different speed settings let you have pretty good control over how fast the car moves.
- Headlights that turn on and off.
Tons. If you’re in the market for a remote-control car and have been put off by the price, or if you’re just looking for a basic RC car that isn’t intended for crazy tricks and top speeds, these are a great option.
The mobile app has some nice features (see video) that are also replicated in the physical remote control, which is a great touch. All too often, “connected” toys only feature a mobile app to control them (I’m looking at you Sphero BB-8 and Anki Overdrive). What about the kids who don’t have access to a smartphone? Or what happens if parents don’t really want to hand over the phones to kids can play with a toy? Playmobil made the incredibly wise decision to double up and include both an app and a remote control.
Good thing, too. We found the physical remote control to be easier to use and has much better handling than the mobile app. There was a slight delay with the app, and the Bluetooth connection is sometimes hard to establish or maintain.
These cars get a very enthusiastic endorsement around HQ. On hardwood or laminate floors, they really move. And they handle remarkably well around turns and tight corners. They’re incredibly well made, and for the price (~$40 retail), they’re tough to beat.
I have to admit that even I have a lot of fun with them. Our only real complaint (and it’s a parent complaint) is that the cars require an astonishing SEVEN batteries! Three AAA for the remote control, and four AAA for the car itself.
Other than that, though? This is a huge step in an exciting new direction for Playmobil. We can’t wait to see what’s next!
(Disclosure: This Playmobil set was provided free of charge for review purposes. All opinions remain our own.)