SPHERO BB- 8 You’ll have a ball
Blurring the line between toy and functioning droid, this is the Star Wars accessory every kid will want this Christmas – whether they’re four or 40. Ridiculously fun, endearingly cute and intriguing of physics, Sphero’s remote- controlled rolling replica pretty much secures BB- 8’ s early status as the breakout star of The Force Awakens.
Once you’ve downloaded the app that turns your smartphone into a Bluetooth controller, BB- 8’ s interface is easy to use, whether you’re sending the droid around the room or making it nod.
Look beyond your inevitable sense of wonder, however, and BB- 8 isn’t perfect. While easy to control on carpet, it’s rather unpredictable on a wooden floor. The voice recognition is unreliable; it’s no friend of your iPhone’s battery life; and while the augmented reality “Message” function that recreates “Help me, Obi- Wan Kenobi”- style projections is a fun idea, it’s doesn’t seem likely you’d want to use it more than a few times.
Still, it is a truly innovative piece of kit, and because BB- 8’ s software will be updated, the toy can only get better. This is ( just about) the droid you’re looking for. Richard Edwards