Earlier than Sphero branched out into making Star Wars toys and anthropomorphic automobiles, it was identified for its rolling robotic balls.

The corporate’s best-known product, the unique 2011 Sphero, has since gone by a bunch of permutations and updates, however its $99 price ticket at all times felt a bit too wealthy. And that is precisely why the brand new Sphero Mini appears like a winner. It’s miles smaller and half the worth: simply $50 (£50, $AU80).

Sphero Mini could be very small.

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

It is also cute.

I’ve had an opportunity to play with the Mini and a prerelease model of Sphero’s new app for iOS. The app focuses on a couple of fundamental remote-control play modes: contact, tilt, slingshot mode, and a weird face-controlled mode that requires smiles, frowns and head-tilts to maneuver. I had extra success with my smiles. I drove Sphero Mini off the desk a number of instances, and it appeared to outlive. It is not as sturdy because the bigger Sphero, but it surely ought to deal with fundamental falls from regular tabletop distances. Its shell could or could not pop off.

Sphero Mini subsequent to the bigger Sphero.

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

Sphero Mini is not waterproof just like the bigger Sphero, and does not have inductive charging. You need to pop open the plastic shell and plug the interior motor in through Micro-USB. Sphero sells additional shell designs for $12 every. Some appear like pool balls. A golf ball could be within the works.

Its accelerometer and gyro work just like the bigger Sphero, nonetheless, so it could transfer equally. I used to be additionally in a position to choose it up and use it as a movement recreation controller for a couple of enjoyable little arcade video games within the Sphero Mini app — form of like a handheld trackball.

Bowling with Sphero.

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

The Sphero Mini will work with Sphero’s EDU app for programming through an early October replace, so it may be an inexpensive strategy to discover some programming enjoyable. However Sphero wants an iOS or Android machine to regulate it, and it lasts 45 minutes to an hour on a cost. That is fairly good for one thing this small, and much better than almost each drone we have ever examined.

My children would love this. And if I had a cat, it will adore it much more.

I am attempting to drive with my face.

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

Key specs:

Appears like a possessed ping-pong ballGlowing coloured lightsWorks with Sphero EDU programming appRemote management wants iOS or Android deviceChangeable shellsComes with mini bowling pins and cones for video games and impediment coursesAvailable now for $50 (£50, $AU80)


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