BB-8, the tiny rolling hit from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, has been used as a model for several popular remote control toys. Along with RC BB-8 droids, there are also alarm clocks and action figures modeled after the character. If shopping for an RC BB-8 droid, make sure to choose a functional model and to not get thrown-off by an action figure or clock.
Two companies are selling functional remote control BB-8 droids: Hasbro and Sphero. A third, Bladez, is selling an inflatable RC BB-8 droid. The bad news is, the Hasbro model may be especially difficult to find.
Walmart in Canada lists the Hasbro BB-8 as available for sale, but the U.S. site has no listing. Indigo.ca reports being sold out of the Hasbro BB-8, but has the Sphero BB-8 available for purchase. A limit of two per customer is being enforced with the Sphero droids at Indigo. Additionally, the Sphero BB-8 droids appear to be available directly from the manufacturer for $149.99, including free shipping in the United States.
For those having difficulty finding Hasbro BB-8 droids because they are sold out, they are available from re-sellers on eBay. One auction with a new Hasbro BB-8 droid has seven bids and four hours remaining; the price is at $81. Hasbro reports a suggested retail price of $59.99 for the toy, so it appears likely that retailers are running short and that the Hasbro BB-8 droid may become difficult to find in some areas before Christmas.
Fans will be interested to learn that BB-8 is definitely female and is a constant companion to Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, according to those who saw the premiere of the film in Hollywood on Monday, as reported by the Inquisitr.
James Burton published a video to YouTube reviewing three BB-8 droids and the inflatable. The toy designer has each available, allowing consumers to see the different models in action before making a decision.
The inflatable RC BB-8 from Bladez sells for about $60 and requires four AA batteries for the droid and a 9-volt battery for the remote control. In addition to being able to wheel around while being remotely controlled, the inflatable has optional droid sounds, which are quite charming, that can be turned on or off as desired. The inflatable BB-8 is also self-righting should it tip over.
James also reviews an exclusive BB-8 to the Disney Store, which isn’t remote controlled, but looks like a fun toy at a lower price point: about $44. The toy designer suggests that this Disney BB-8 may be a good choice for young children.
The Hasbro BB-8 RC droid that James looks at next needs four AA batteries and two AAA batteries for the remote. Unlike the Disney BB-8 and inflatable BB-8, the Hasbro version has a head that actually floats over the lower body that is held in place using magnets. James found that by shaking the droid he could cause the head to fall off, but overall, he didn’t seem to find this to be a major problem.
Last, James looked at the most expensive of the BB-8 droids he reviews, the Sphero model. The Sphero BB-8 is controlled using an app for Android and Apple devices only; it is also the smallest of the available BB-8 droids. Like the Hasbro droid, the Sphero model has a head that floats over its body, staying connected using a magnet. The smartphone app includes routines that give the BB-8 droid a seeming personality and a more advanced feel than the Hasbro version, as well as the ability to view the droid through the device’s camera, with projections from Star Wars flying around it with which it interacts, reminiscent of the board and lightsaber games played on the Millennium Falcon in A New Hope.
Reportedly, some have claimed that Sphero were responsible for creating and building the actual BB-8 droid in The Force Awakens; James says that this is not true. He speculates that Disney may have allowed people to believe this because the have a financial stake in Sphero. Whatever the case, Sphero was not involved with the creation of the BB-8 droid in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but it appears that they probably have the most sophisticated BB-8 droid on the market.
[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]