The Sphero BB-8 Is Not the Star Wars Toy You're Looking for This Christmas
Yes, we all want to own droids. But this isn't that.
When you log into Sphero’s BB-8 app, the initial prompt goes like this: “Please enter your age to continue.” When I saw that, I knew I was in hot water. I entered “32,” which is officially 20 more than is acceptable, and continued. What was I doing? What had I done? Does anybody want to buy this thing from me for $150? $100? Interesting lightsaber trades considered.
As the clock struck midnight on Force Friday, I downed a scotch and logged onto Sphero’s site to order the BB-8. The droid had been much-hyped leading up to its sale date and I was eating it up. It was kind of a crazy thing to do — my girlfriend and everyone on the face of the planet — assured me, but I was relishing in my attention-grabbing purchase. When the toy finally arrived weeks later, some of the excitement had waned. Still, I tore it out of the box Nintendo 64ooooooooor style. It was super cool — for about five minutes.
Now, the BB-8 is definitely a technological marvel. It’s also the most advanced toy I’ve ever owned, not counting a computer or N64. But, the thing is: I’m a grown man. I have no business owning this glowing, beeping orb. I’m a huge Star Wars fan, I guess, but I probably should stick to the original game plan of watching the movies stoned. It’s worked out great so far.
The issue with the BB-8 is that once you’ve exhausted its features — which doesn’t take very long — it’s no longer entertaining. It has the shock ‘n’ awe for a minute, followed up shortly by a real what-have-you-done-for-me-lately case of the blahs. Here’s my BB-8 out for patrol, getting lost behind the refrigerator like a drunken uncle at Thanksgiving:
Cool story, BB-8. By the way, can you get more dirt caught under your helmet? I haven’t cleaned it out in about 45 seconds. Oh, also, sweet “hologram” feature. C’mon.
How about revving that bad boy up for a speed test, you say? Well, because his head always pops off:
Does that floor look familiar? That’s because the Beeb really only works in one room: the kitchen. The sucker can only move on surfaces that are smoother than Sade, and don’t even think about taking it outside. Here, the little guy tries to move on some carpeting:
I hate ragging on it: Sphero is a far out company and the toy has a definite cachet. Maybe it’s just not for me, and would better-suited for the kind of person who buys an Apple Watch or rides one of those Hov-Boards through malls. I’d also imagine the BB-8 would be fun to have around a dog or child. So, I guess, I’ll buy a dog or make a child soon, because there’s no way I’m gonna be able to get much for this thing on eBay.