Orbotix Sphero review
The Orbotix Sphero is a colourful Bluetooth-controlled spherical robot that rolls around surfaces, but you can also use it as a trackball to control games and apps. It’s designed to be used with smartphones and tablets, and works with both Android and iOS devices.
Its most basic mode of operation involves you steering the Sphero around the floor with an app. This is fun, but fortunately there’s a lot more to Sphero than that. You can download other apps and games from the Apple App Store and Google Play. There are augmented reality apps that, for example, turn your Sphero into a cartoon character when viewed through your tablet’s camera. Other apps range from regular shoot-em-ups and platformers to apps that let you play tag with multiple Spheros. You can also get apps that let you mix music like a DJ or make music. Many apps are free, but those you must pay for rarely cost more than £1.50.
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One of Sphero’s best features is the ability to program it. There's a keen development community and an open API with which you can craft your own apps. If you're new to programming, you can use the MacroLab programming interface. This lets you construct little macro-based routines that tell your Sphero to move, change colour and carry out other tasks. It's a fun introduction to very simple programming logic.
This is the interface on the Android app
We're actually most excited by using Sphero as a game controller to control tablet-based apps. It's great for playing arcade blasters and really frees tablet games from the limitation of touchscreen controls. As for battery life, Sphero rolls around for about three hours between charges.
We really like Sphero. It’s a versatile gadget that lets you have lots of fun, whether you’re playing games or programming one of your own. If you want something to keep the family and your pets amused, check out the Sphero.