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Sphero Mini 

Having looked in the past at a couple of other offerings from Sphero I was keen to add this smallest offering from Sphero to the list. It is a small round object that is controlled by an App that you can even learn to code to make it go through routines.

sphero mini

The Sphero Mini is a 4cm ball that has no connections at all it is simply a round ball. It is weighted on the inside and without power if it is moved around it will always roll to that one spot.

There are three simple instructions on the inside cover of its small box. The two parts of the ball twist apart to enable you to charge it and that process will let you link it to a mobile App and then it is no longer simply a round ball.

Once the App is downloaded you need to link your Sphero Mini to the App which is quick to do. You then find where ‘the sweet spot’ is and after that you can control it as it moves around the table or floor.

Technically you have a 10 metre range but few of us will have that area available indoors.

The App has links to a couple of YouTube videos that will show you the range of things your Sphero can do straight from the box.

Designed for most children, if the time arises when the SmartPhone or Tablet with the App are not available there is even a game that can be played without any other control. Once the Sphero Mini is awake it will try to get away from you so use your hands or feet to fence it in, not difficult with a slow speed setting but this can be a real test of dexterity, if you can keep it from getting one metre away for a minute the Sphero will turn green and you win, if not it turns red and you lose.

However there are lots of games within the mobile world that even – for an expert – allow you to control your Sphero Mini with your facial expressions.

There are five basic methods of controlling Sphero Mini ‘Screen Drive’, ‘Face Drive’, ‘Tilt’, ‘Slingshot’ and ‘Joystick’. There are three full games already installed in the App, Round Trip, Exile II and Lightspeed Drifter. So far I have told you about the options from the bottom left and right of your main screen, top right allows adjustments like the colour of your Sphero Mini, the Robots speed, Music Volume and the ability or not for it to be shaken to wake for use when the SmartPhone is not available. Finally top left allows you to connect to a different Sphero device.

Controlling any device in a limited space is not easy – at my advanced age – but for a child probably easier, once the control is there then the box also contains small ‘ten pins’ that can be setup and used to pass through a small gap or knock down, once beyond this stage you can code using JavaScript to use your Sphero Mini to travel a course pre-planned in code.

The last link is to the YouTube setup guide that also outlines what Sphero Mini can do.

This is a great toy and like anything that keeps a child attention a great learning tool.

The Sphero Mini is available from Amazon for £49.99 including free delivery.

More details can be found on the Sphero web site or there's a YouTube video.

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OverallSphero Mini rated 80 out of 100

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