Hey folks, Valkor here. Thanks to the folks at WowWee Toys, robots have invaded the Val-Cave. Following up from CES 2008 and Digital Life press preview 2008, I’m gonna give you a dual review of WowWee products RS Tri-Bot and WowWee Alive Panda Cub. Both have been kid tested… but have they been Valkor approved? Read on.
First up is Alive Panda Cub. This cute little guy and his siblings Lion cub, White Tiger cub, and Polar Bear cub, will be favs this holiday season. The concept is quite simple; Alive Panda is a stuffed panda with moving mouth and eyes. It comes with touch sensors on its back and head, so when you pet him on either spot, it’ll respond vocally. Panda also is equipped with a tilt sensor so when you turn it on its back, it will respond accordingly. Other than looking extremely cute, that’s all there is to Alive Panda.
Now you wanna talk about features, let me introduce you to RS Tri-Bot. Now this bot is the most fun on three wheels. Tri-Bot has moving mouth, eyebrows, glowing eyes, and a flashlight that pops out the top of its head. Even his ears pop out pending his wacky mood. He talks, tells jokes, sees objects in front of it, so he won’t crash into any walls, and he comes with a couple of cool features such as a game mode where you can play in virtual mazes such as minefield. In minefield you have to repeat exactly what Tri-Bot does or he’ll hit an invisible mine and blow up. He also comes with a guard mode, where if you point him at an area, anyone who comes within that area, will cause Tri-Bot to sound an alarm. He also has a free roam mode, where he will just do his own thing, singing and talking all the way. Finally Tri-Bot comes with a remote with a tilt function, so rather than pressing buttons, you can tilt the remote and Tri-Bot will move accordingly.
I honestly had the most fun with Tri-Bot, and he not only plays great but he looks great too in the confines of the Val-Cave. Alive Panda is definitely for the younger set, but I gave each for my nieces and nephews to try out and while Panda was mixed, everyone loved Tri-Bot.
My eldest niece, who is 7, instantly fell in love with Alive Panda and would not let it go. She loved how soft he was, how the eyes and mouth moved like it was really real. She also loved how Panda responded with her touch, though she wished it had more movement. My youngest niece, who is 6, however not as responsive, but in defense of Panda, this particular niece does not like moving parts. However when it came to Tri-Bot, talk about a house favorite! My nieces and nephews would not let up with it. I literally had to beat them off with a stick so each could take a turn. My oldest nephew thought it was cool for the remote, and he really had a knack or the tilt control. My youngest nephew was the same, but he was better at the games. My nieces just thought it was fun to follow it around in free roam, but everyone agreed the way it talks and the little jokes were a hit.
First off Alive Panda’s motor is simply too loud, while aesthetically, Alive Panda gives you a nice presentation of a real Panda, the whirring sound it makes when its eyes and mouth move gets annoying real quickly. As for Tri-Bot, while my eldest and youngest nephews controlled the bot well with the tilt function, there’s a noticeable lag between movements. Also the turn button is much too sensitive; even with a tap, Tri-Bot will do a full turn, when you only want a slight twist.
While WowWee’s Alive Panda garnered mix reaction (I won’t count my youngest niece’s opinion as she doesn’t like the moving parts), it still showed to be a success in the Val-household. He’s soft and responsive to the touch, making Alive Panda a joy to be held. Now Tri-Bot was a huge hit and the most fun any kid or adult can have. Though they each have their faults, they can be overlooked due to the fact that it’s all about fun, and fun is what everyone had. I asked my eldest niece to score Alive Panda between 1 and 5 stars (1 being worst and 5 being best) she gave it a 4, and a huge hug. My nephews on the other hand gave 5 stars to Tri-Bot and I’m sticking with it. Both can be purchased at your local retail and toy stores with Alive Panda going for 59.99 and RS Tri-Bot going for 99.99. And both have been Valkor (and kid) tested, TOV Approved.