A while back we’ve reviewed a small rolling ball named Sphero, made by Orbotix. This product was one of those fun and unusual ways to use your iOS device, and it actually created quite a hype at CES in 2011 when it first shown to the public. After it reached its official introduction to the market, we had a chance to review it and gave it rating of 5 out of 5. As it turns out, many iOS users decided to take it for a test and buy it, but it never achieved any major success. It was one of those first tries to create a device which will produce that “wow factor”, but which made some questionable compromises.
Today we are going to take a look at Sphero 2.0, which is a brand new generation of this unique toy and which took one year to arrive. It offers some very welcomed features and performance upgrades, but managed to stay at the same price of its predecessor which is $130. I understand that there’s some advanced technology inside this device and that it took very long time to be created, but I also know that $130 is simply too much for most people to spend on a (high-tech) toy. Hopefully, these changes will make Sphero 2.0 more appealing to potential customers.
Once you take a look at its box, you’ll immediately see that the new generation received some upgrade in terms of its packaging. Sphero now comes in a hard box which takes some of those well-known Apple principles. Inside you’ll find more pieces than with the previous generation of Sphero. You’ll receive two green plastic ramps, and a plastic tray which holds the ball. There’s also inductive charging tray which comes with its own wall adapter. It’s also important to say there are two versions of Sphero 2.0 packaging, so if you look around you can find a bonus pack which holds a small pouch and a silicone rubber sleeve which gives additional traction and allows Sphero to be used outdoors. This pack is also priced at $130, and you’ll receive some additional parts so it’s a good idea to search for that one.
When it comes to performance, there are some important upgrades. First of all, the speed of Sphero was greatly improved, along with its responsiveness. Maximum speed is now 7 feet per second, in comparison to 3 feet per second with Sphero 1.0. Another upgrade are color-shifting LEDs inside the Sphero which are now much brighter than before, and you can unlock several colors and different levels of brightness.
As you probably know from the previous review, Sphero is being controlled by iOS apps, so you’ll get to play a bunch of different games. Those free games that you receive with Sphero are greatly improved, and they are really fun to poke around. New graphics and new modes of play make this product much more appealing than before, and there are also 20 new third party apps which are made to work with Sphero 2.0.
The new generation of Sphero brings some noticeable upgrades and resolves some initial issues. I still believe its high priced, but with this generation you’ll certainly get more for the same price as before.