What is it?
According to Sphero, the Mini is “the world’s smallest robotic ball”, which seems about right. It’s like a ping pong ball-sized version of the tech company’s hit Star Wars toy BB-8. It has less features but it’s also more responsive, more versatile, faster, and a little more adaptive.
What’s in the box? The ball, a coloured case, a charger, and a handful of accessories, including road cones and ten pin bowling pins. You’ll also need to download an app to use it, while full-charge takes an hour, and lasts 45 minutes.
What does it do? Using the app, the Mini speeds around your lounge within a 10-metre range at one metre-per-second. It’s lightning quick and, once you get to grips with it, a hell of a lot of fun. You can program it to wander through mazes and around obstacles, use it to play games via the app, and colour co-ordinate it.
What’s the best feature? How responsive it is. We had great fun using the Mini as a cat toy, slowly rolling up to her then speeding off, making her chase it around the room. That’s gotta be some good exercise – although she really tried to get her claws into it when she finally caught it.
And the worst?
Face Drive is a mode that lets you can use different facial expressions to make the Mini move, but we didn’t have too much luck doing that.
So how much does it cost? The Sphero Mini retails for $89. It comes in a range of colours, so if your cat does any damage, you can replace them for $24.95.