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My son had begged and pleaded for months to get a Star Wars R2-D2 Interactive Astromech Droid which responds to around 40 voice commands and plays games as well as stands about 24″ tall. He wanted the closest thing to an interactive robot that he can do more than just press buttons or control with a remote.
So for 8 weeks my son was given a reward chart where he had to earn the prize, this included making sure he got straight A’s and B’s for the entire rest of the school year and turning in all report card money and allowance until June. He had to eat his vegetables, and whatever else healthy we put in front of him, make his bed every morning and do his chores every two days with no reminders.
He worked his butt off every day with this incentive and when he had an incident of bad behavior we added an entire week to his time to earn as punishment which made it that much harder to earn for him.
At long last the Star Wars R2-D2 Interactive Astromech Droid had arrived and unfortunately the first one we bought from Amazon was a repackage of a returned one and it was defective. We knew right away because the packaging was messed up and not taped properly, there was a missing part and it wouldn’t respond to any voice commands. Amazon had no problem taking it back and sending out a replacement, but my son just about burst into flames when he realized the toy he wanted was defective and had to wait 2 more days after seeing it fail to work.
This was a life lesson that some things don’t work or arrive broken and need to be returned, so it was a good lesson to learn that mistakes happen and products aren’t perfect or even orders sometime.
Amazon however is awesome, and the next day the replacement one arrived and I could tell this was brand new by the packaging.
This little guy just looked awesome, had all the authentic R2-D2 sounds and responded well to my voice command while I did some testing before my son got home from school to make sure it worked and was setup for him when he came home.
My son immediately loved asking it questions like “Do you remember Darth Vader” and others, and R2-D2 sometimes didn’t respond to commands well when there is noise in the room like the dogs barking and other people talking, but generally it had good voice command response. One of the most fun modes my kids both liked was setting R2-D2 into Laser Tag mode, where you have to hide and R2-D2 will search the room looking for you to tag you with his laser. He has a camera eye and can listen, so as you say “come and find me” he actually turns and tries to search the room looking for you. He is really good about avoiding walls, and can adjust his course, though he has a little bit of trouble crossing between a hard floor and a carpet, he does work on carpet but not nearly as well as a nice hard floor or vinyl floor.
My son played with him many hours the first day, second day and then the batteries died. My biggest complaint about the Star Wars R2-D2 Interactive Astromech Droid is that it requires 4 D batteries and 4 Double A batteries. The thing should have come with a rechargeable battery pack, or something like those PowerWheels batteries so you can just plug R2-D2 into a wall and recharge him or recharge a battery pack. It is expensive to keep having to buy a 4 pack of D cell batteries and honestly 3 months of constant use and you would be paying for the R2-D2 price in just batteries. This toy must raise Energizer and Duracell stock prices.
After just a few days and asking my son if he still thought it was worth it, my son did share his disappointment saying “It didn’t change my life, but I like it”. He was looking for a robot that was so interactive it had artificial intelligence, he really is looking for an android that can be more than just a simple toy. Oliver is always constantly hoping the technology will exist soon or that he will grow up and create robots/androids that can be that advanced someday.
In the meantime, I think this toy is very fun and interactive for kids 7 and younger, older kids will probably bore of it fairly quickly. They like to have it, but it does drain batteries fairly quickly (don’t buy the cheap generic D and Double A batteries, they last 1/4 as long as Duracell). The interactive modes are fun, the programming movements is a little tedious but gives the kids some entry level step by step command programming via verbal commands, which is similar to verbal object oriented programming really. It reminds me of the step increments for Lego Mindstorm except just verbal queues instead of program blocks, but only for movement like forward, backward, turns…etc.
Meanwhile for the price, it was more functional than an electronic Buzz Lightyear and robot Dinosaur that were around the same price in previous years, so if you have a little one who is looking for a robot friend the Star Wars R2-D2 Interactive Astromech Droid is not a bad choice.
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