R2-D2 (/ˌɑːrtuːˈdiːtuː/), or Artoo-Detoo, is an astromech droid from a galaxy far, far away and has been brought to life in the Star Wars franchise created by George Lucas. Sphero, the designer of R2-D2 App-Enabled Droid makes it as authentic as the trusty R2-D2 and you’ll fall in love with this gadget.
The company takes the features of the predecessor Sphero BB-8 (remote control, app-based interaction and genuine movie sounds) and throws them into the shape of everyone’s favorite Star Wars droid. The final result is a toy and scale model which details are better, the animations are better, and the sounds are better. This might be the ultimate Star Wars toy bar none.
Part of the magic comes from the design. Surprisingly, all the details are superb, even right the way down to the rubber hoses on the left and right feet. If you’d bought this as a collectible model, you’d be fully satisfied. Even the lights on his chrome dome are exactly like you’d expect, underneath his single radar eye and continuing onto the back of his head. He looks like R2-D2 in the movie – nothing came so close till nowadays.
The central leg is retracted into the body when Sphero R2-D2 App-Enabled Droid is not active, and can’t be pulled down manually. The other 2 legs can’t be moved by hand, either, but the head can be swiveled. You can drive Artoo around in tripod mode, turn around, then go back onto two legs with perfect precision.
(All these sounds are from original Star Wars movies – NOT all comes with Sphero R2-D2 App-Enabled Droid!)
The best part is that you can control this iconic Star Wars astromech droid with your smart device, complete with sounds and bright LEDs, using an app. The Sphero Edu app is available for iOS and Android, and it’s the same app for all Sphero’s Star Wars droids (BB-8, BB-9E, R2-D2, and R2-Q5) – you just switch between them from within the interface. Connecting to and controlling the Sphero R2-D2 is easy – turn on the Bluetooth and location services (GPS) and that’s all.
From within the app you can remotely control Artoo’s movements, or choose from a selection of sounds and gestures that copy some of the most famous moments from the movies. Unlike the other models, Sphero R2-D2 App-Enabled Droid has his own built-in speaker, so those sounds come from the droid itself, rather than your connected mobile device. Sphero R2-D2 App-Enabled Droid can rock back and forth and even fall down. Artoo hums, whistles, and whines, and you’ll even hear strained motors as he swivels his head side-to-side. The built-in sounds and lights are fantastic – it makes the character come alive on a whole new level, especially to those watching.
Draw and Drive – that’s a mode that displays a grid in the app. Slide your finger on the driving cell or pad to create a path your astromech droid has to follow in real life. Artoo and his droid friends (if you have them all) will go wherever you point and hold. This app mode works best in areas with a lot of open space, and your droid will accurately follow the path, whether it’s a line, a circle, or a curl.
Patrol – send your droids to explore a room on their own. The autonomous function allows them to move around, get familiar with your room or other space, and investigate the surroundings. The Patrol mode is especially fun if you have multiple droids moving around, however, it is a good idea to go into the settings menu and reduce their maximum speed. Otherwise, it’s a good chance they’ll easily hit into things before their collision detection can intervene. And yes, R2-D2 and BB-9E are both able to turn around after hitting an obstacle to move on, but they’re also fairly prone to getting stuck – so you need to keep an eye on them. This mode also keeps track of acceleration and distance traveled.
Watch With Me – you can select this option while charging your droids, so you can start to watch films from the Star Wars saga, and see how all 4 interact and react along with the movies. Currently, supported movies are A New Hope, Rogue One, The Force Awakens, and The Last Jedi. The droids react to certain key moments in the film – Artoo, for instance, wobbles and beeps happily when Finn and Rey first appear in The Force Awakens.
Holographic Simulation (AR Mode) – with this “augmented (virtual) reality” mode you can explore iconic ship interiors and memorable locations from the Star Wars saga. To make it even more entertaining, each Sphero’s Star Wars droids have different holographic environments to enjoy. R2-D2 can tour the Millennium Falcon through holographic simulations, while BB-8 tours the Raddus (a Resistance Cruiser), BB-9E takes you through the Supremacy (First Order Star Destroyer), and R2-Q5 explores the Death Star II. Moving your phone or tablet/pad you can look inside the ship on the screen, using on-screen controls you can roll over special info points to read facts about the ship. When you turn your device, the Sphero R2-D2 also physically turns to match the move but doesn’t move forward or back.