Top Robot Toys for Christmas 2017 & Birthdays

Kids love robots, adults love robots, and as long as they aren't sentient machines seeking to rule over mankind, everyone just loves robots. So if you are planning to grab a special gift for Christmas or an upcoming birthday, why not a robot toy? They are fun, collectible, and most of the time, incredibly interactive. Gender is not an issue –even girls think that robots are cool, and if you give them robots, it tells them that you think that they are cool too. The best part is that robot toys comes in all shapes and sizes, and finding one that makes for a perfect gift is easy is you know what to look for.

None of the toys we selected below can be said to be the number one toy to buy, there are so many great robotic toys that any of them will make a fun and memorable present for your kids.

Meccano Meccanoid G15 Toy & Meccano Meccanoid G15 Ks Toy

Meccano Meccanoid G15 Toy & Meccano Meccanoid G15 Ks Toy

One of the most lovable things about the Meccano Meccanoid is the fact that it has a lot of presence –and by that we mean the thing stands about 24 inches tall (that's around two feet, which is like a small toddler). Add in the toy's ability to recognize different voices, understand around 1000 words and phrases, and the cute way it tries to communicate and it really feels as if you have your very own robot friend. The whole kit has to be assembled so you can turn it into a family activity (we do suggest setting aside an entire weekend for it, the Meccanoid has a lot of parts). Also, we recommend getting high capacity batteries as well (or a few rechargeable ones) as this robot has a lot of motors so it naturally requires a fair bit of power to run –it even does a bit of martial arts, so we can forgive the battery use. Our favorite bit is that the robot itself tries to help in the assembly process once you've got the core connected to the batteries. Also, you are not restricted to the humanoid bipedal form –you can turn it into a dinosaur if you want!

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Star Wars Sphero BB 8 Droid

Star Wars Sphero BB 8 Droid

For anyone who already has a Sphero toy from way before, this is actually the same exact thing. Except that it is so much cooler thanks to the BB-8 paint job, head part, and of course, authentic droid sounds. Sphero's BB-8 links up to an app on you r mobile phone for control and interactivity; you can give it direct commands via the touch screen in order to calibrate its directional alignment, make it move, and even have it perform specific maneuvers (like doing a figure 8). Our favorite is the voice activated functionalities, which allows you to set BB-8 into an auto-exploring mode.

Since the toy is not equipped with spatial recognition, it can end up in obscure corners of the room (it goes without saying that letting it free roam on top of a table is a no-no). But since it is so fun watching BB-8 running around, it is worth the time to keep an eye on it. The magnet-mounted head gives this Sphero the most realistic motion of all the BB-8 automated droid toys out there, though it is also the smallest. So if the Sphero does end up knocking the head off, be sure to keep track of it since it is a small part that can be easily lost.

For those of you wondering, the Sphero is a closed system, and this means that you can dump the whole thing into the water and it will work just fine. You can get the Sphero water movement accessory too, though the head will not fit in it. While you won't be able to attach the head this way, the plus side is that you can turn BB-8 into a completely functional bathtub toy (waterproofing your mobile phone, on the other hand, is a different concern that you should address if you decide to do this).

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Ollie by Sphero App Controlled Robot

Ollie by Sphero App Controlled Robot

When we first saw the designs for Sphero's Ollie, it reminded us of Sony's old Rolly music robot since it also had a similar looking cylindrical shape and rollers on both ends. But that is where all the similarities end. While the Rolly was a delicate dancing piece of tech, the Ollie is a high-speed, rough and tumble, racing robot. And by rough and tumble, we mean you can take this robot with you to the skate park and not worry about damaging it.

Sphero has designed Ollie to be tough where it counts –the wheels are both high-traction and shock resistant, allowing it to roll on both smooth and flat surfaces. Once you get it rolling at a good momentum, this little robot can climb inclines that would make other robots fall over. The device's basic top speed is at 14 mph, and it can take on corners like a pro. It can drift, powerslide, and perform a crazy number of driving feats despite the fact that it has only two wheels (you can even spin it on its edge).

The mobile app that it syncs to serves as Ollie's manual control input. Plus, it also has settings for how you want to drive –drift or tight, quick acceleration or slow, and more. There are also LED lights on the center of the robot that you can play around with to achieve thousands of possible effects.

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WowWee MiPosaur and Track Ball

WowWee MiPosaur and Track Ball

MiPosaur is a robot dinosaur pet. That sentence alone should be enough to tell you how fun this toy is. But sure, let's go into details. MiPosaur is part of the WowWee series of robot toys. If several kids have different models, each on will be able interact and play with one another. Though without a doubt, the kid with the MiPosaur gets to be the one with the coolest toy. The whole toy is shaped like a robotic T-Rex with black mech-esque plating and a pair of wheels for legs. It is surprisingly sturdy and well balanced, and when it is running at top speed, it manages to move pretty fast.

But what makes this toy so engaging and fun to play with is the Track Ball that the user has. The MiPosaur will chase after the track ball on its default setting, and the ball can be used to control several toys at once. But users can also have the MiPosaur follow hand gestures and claps in order to perform certain tricks. Lastly, you can sync the toy to a mobile app and you can have a direct remote control input –perfect for having your toy navigate around difficult obstacles.

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Tobot Y Quadrant 4 Cars in One Black Limited Edition Combiner Transformer Action Figure

Tobot Y Quadrant 4 Cars in One Black Limited Edition Combiner Transformer Action Figure

This special limited edition release of Tobot's Quatran features an all new glossy black finish with gold embellishments. Features and parts-wise, this is the same exact thing as the regular Quatran: it is a larger robot created when the user combines the C, D, W, and R vehicles. R is a rescue truck that forms the legs and lower torso. W is a box-type family car that forms the upper torso and the head (it connects directly on top of the transformed R). Connecting to the sides of W are C and D. C is a sleek police cruiser that forms the left arm while D is a mini that forms the right arm.

All the vehicles are KIA branded so it is likely that each one corresponds to a specific model released by the Korean car manufacturer. Tobot is a successfully CG animated series in Korea that features vehicles that transform into robots. Each Tobot is controlled by a human character (as opposed to The Transformers where each robot has its own sentience). Currently, the show is a big hit in Korea and there have been attempts to localize the show for English speaking audiences. While a localization of the show itself musiay still be in the works, it is nice that the toy lines that it has inspired is now available outside of Korea.

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Star Wars BB 8 Interactive Talking Droid Figure

Star Wars BB 8 Interactive Talking Droid Figure

Straight from Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the charming, spherical droid, BB-8. This little orange ball moves around on its own, reacts to audio signals, and best of all, stands a nice 12 inches tall. This is probably one of the largest automated BB-8 toys you will ever find out there. BB works in two basic modes, the first is a simple self-moving that makes it seem like BB-8 is exploring the current location all on its own. It will try to avoid obstacles, though expect it to bump around a lot. The second mode is more fun as it actually starts reacting to audio stimuli –especially the sound of human voice. You can talk to it and it will whistle back at you with its own brand of astromech-droid speak that R2-D2 is known for. The movement for this robot is accomplished with a simple wheel system on the very bottom of the sphere. Due to this, it has a bit of a wobble when running on very smooth surfaces, though on a soft carpet, BB's motions seem closer to that in the film. It has to be noted that BB-8's head is permanently affixed to the body, so the rolling motion does not happen when the body moves.

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Wonder Workshop Educational Robot Dash

Wonder Workshop Educational Robot Dash

Dash is a programmable little robot that performs a wide variety of tasks that will help a child learn more about the world. And the best part of it is his robot company provides plenty of fun and enjoyment. Toddlers would be able to benefit from the different learning activities that Dash is pre-programmed for. Older children will enjoy being able to use the different apps for even more games with Dash. Despite being relatively small (around 6 inches tall), this little robot is hard to miss when it is zipping around the floor thanks to it bright and lively colors. It has a very expressive range of motion and movement, and this encourages a sense of empathy from those around him. With a full charge, Dash can stay active from 4 to 5 hours (depending on the activity).

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WowWee MiP Balancing RC Robot Toy

WowWee MiP Balancing RC Robot Toy

MiP is a cute little robot whose balancing act probably seems like it was developed for DARPA. It stands pretty tall at 10 inches and considering that the whole thing is balancing on a couple of wheels, it is amazing that there is no wobble at all. This is emphasized even more when you connect the tray attachment to him. But there is so much more to MiP than an automated drink holder (though we highly discourage making him balance fragile objects, liquids, or any combinations thereof). As a robot, MiP has a variety of facial expressions thanks to the LED array in the eyes. It will also react to audio stimuli and can dance to music. There's a sensor in front of MiP that allows it to detect obstacles, pathways, walls, and other things (though it can have problems identifying small objects like other toys). Hand gestures are detectable, allowing users to directly interact with the robot. MiP also has several pre-recorded audio clips that it plays back as reactions to different things.

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Makeblock Educational Starter Robot Build

Makeblock Educational Starter Robot Build

The Starter Robot set from Makeblock is the perfect entry-level toy for children who have an interest in robots. The clincher here is the fact that assembly is so easy that a child can do it without needing adult for the more 'complex' sequences (supervision, however, is still as must as there are plenty of very small parts). So yes, regardless if you plan to make this robot look like a tank or look like a three wheel car, you can expect relative ease in terms of difficulty. But while assembling is easy, it is definitely not fast. There are a lot of parts and plenty of instructions to follow, so be sure to set aside a good amount of free time before building this kit.

Once you have it up and ready to run you can connect it to a mobile app or an IR controller –this is determined by which version of the robot you choose to get. Obviously, it is far more advisable to get the one that has Bluetooth for mobile functionality. Programming the robot is a simple matter of using the mBlock system, though children may also be encouraged to try out Arduino in its more raw, coded form.

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Makeblock mBot Programmable Arduino STEM Robot Kit for Kids

Makeblock mBot Programmable Arduino STEM Robot Kit for Kids

The Arduino STEM Robot kit is without a doubt, a robot toy designed for children with an inherent interest in programming (or to develop and encourage the interest to those who are curious). Thanks to the logic puzzles that the robot provides with its own assembly instructions and built-in games, users will find it easy to open up the mBlock Scratch software and try out their own custom behavior adjustments to the robot.

At first glance this whole kit resembles a complex LEGO Technic set, but a closer look reveals that putting it all together takes a bit of complex handiwork –especially for the wires. But the effort and time it takes to buid the STEM has a pretty good payoff actually. Kits are simplistic with only 45 pieces in all, but each one is precision made in order to provide an amazing and educational play experience.

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Build Your Own Robot Arm Toy

Build Your Own Robot Arm Toy

Robot arms are usually seen in factories performing specialized work, but now kids can actually get to try building one and trying to control it on their own. The Build Your Own Robot Arm Toy comes with several motors that allows for multiple points of articulation, a claw (and actuators) that allow up too 100g of carrying strength, and of course, a handy remote for controlling the arm. Assembly is definitely one of the more complex parts of enjoying the toy, but it is certainly a fun experience.

Children get to see how joints work up close, and understanding the value of each motor that is used in the arm. Like a human arm, there are joints at the shoulder (base), elbow, and wrist. These all provide horizontal movement (while the base also allows for lateral movement with a second motor). The claw has its own motor for gripping objects and manipulating them. Building this kit and getting the basics of controlling the arm is a great learning experience. But once the arm is up and running, actually playing with it to perform complex maneuvers with various lightweight objects makes for a very fulfilling play experience.

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Tobot Y Quadrant 4 Cars in One Combiner Transformer Action Figure

Tobot Y Quadrant 4 Cars in One Combiner Transformer Action Figure

Released in western markets as the "Quadrant", this Tobot's original name is the Quatran. The whole line of Tobots are actually transforming KIA branded vehicles made famous by a series of animated CG episodes that feature them (the quick gist of it is that the Tobots are remote controlled, full sized, transforming robots that are used by the protagonists and antagonists of the show). As for the toys themselves, they are reminiscent of the early era Transformers toys from Takara (though with a little less detail but slightly better transformation proportions).

This particular set features four vehicles that combine into a single car. D looks like a typical mini by KIA. C is a little more traditional sedan type and is also a police car. The W is a box type family car with an orange roof. Lastly, R is a big, red, fire-truck looking, rescue vehicle. The seam lines for transformation are quite visible, allowing kids to easily find where the parts fold and bend. The joints have pretty nice hinges and they all click into place like Revoltech joints so the whole thing feels very sturdy and tough (unlike older toys that can get loose joints after a long time). Also, when the four pieces are made to connect, there are switches and levers for locking the whole robot together as a whole –these same switches can be used to easily dismantle the robot back into the different cars. When fully assembled, the robot has articulation for the shoulders, elbows (bending in), knees, and hips. While the motions and poses it can perform are extremely limited, we have to admit that Tobot's producers (a humble Korean company named Young Toys) can teach Hasbro a thing or two about building strong joints.

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Transformers Optimus Prime 20th Anniversary DVD Edition

Transformers Optimus Prime 20th Anniversary DVD Edition

This articulated figure of the legendary Autobot leader, Optimus Prime, is based on his classic Generation 1 appearance (without a doubt, the best version of Optimus there ever was). Specifically, this set is based on the original 1980's animated movie. This means that you not only get Prime, but also have access to his original weapons as they appear on film: the Energon Axe (which briefly appeared in the early episodes of the first season of the cartoons), the Iron Blaster (his trademark gun), and straight from the movie: The Autobot Matrix of Leadership (which comes from his chest). Optimus is fully transformable, has lights and some choice dialogue from the movie that features the voice of Peter Cullen. Classic TF fans will also love the fact that this set comes with its own stand for display purposes and as an added treat, Megatron in his physics-defying pistol form. Did we mention that this toy is totally die-cast? Because it is, and it is awesome.

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Star Wars Remote Control RC BB 8 Droid

Star Wars Remote Control RC BB 8 Droid

Hasbro's release of the BB-8 Droid toy is more of an RC type than an automated robot. Though as an RC, BB-8 is a fine piece to work with. It can go pretty fast on flat surfaces but the toy does not like going up ramps nor does it do well with small drops -even a minor 5 inch drop is enough to dislodge the two man halves of the body together. But despite being easily disassembled, this BB-8 is actually one tough cookie. The main body itself is just hard plastic so that allows it to roll over dust, dirt, and even puddles without harming the electrical parts inside. Just remember to not let it take a dip in the water, the system runs with an IR controller so there are very small holes all over the body to allow for wireless control. Lastly, the head may fall off if BB-8 ends up ramming straight into wall, but that is an issue that is easily fixed as it can easily be secured back into the magnets.

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Star Wars Inflatable Remote Control R2-D2

Star Wars Inflatable Remote Control R2-D2

It is not easy to appreciate an inflatable toy, at least, not when you get the unfortunate responsibility of being the one to blow it up. But putting aside a minor inconvenience easily solved by a bike air pump, the Star Wars Inflatable Remote Control version of this famous astromech droid is a joy to have. First off, this toy is tall –at 65cm, it is very noticeable and has a strong presence even in a crowded playroom. The lightweight and soft design means that no matter where it goes and what it does, the damage it can do to your house and appliances is minimal (but it does have a bit of pushing power, so anything that can be knocked over should still be secured). And lastly, the bright colors makes it very catching to the eyes.

The remote control is pretty easy to use, just a couple of minutes on it and you will be zipping this air-filled variant of R2D2 across the room like a pro. It even handles a fair bit of punishment too (just try to avoid super sharp stuff of course), and this is important since children can be really rough with toys. Knowing that this will not suddenly pop when in play is something that parents can feel safe about (just normal play of course, anything involving sharp pointy stuff, like toy swords, should be supervised). Do note that it requires good deal of batteries, so have plenty on hand if you expect long playtimes ahead.

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RoboActor (RoboSapien)

RoboActor (RoboSapien)

The RoboActor may look a lot like WowWee's Robosapien, but it is an entirely different robot. Where the Sapien is all about pre-programmed accuracy, the RoboActor is a wild, unshackled robot that does its own thing. There's a good deal of articulation and movement here, with both arms and legs displaying a very wide range of motion that allows the RoboActor to provide users with a good range of expressions through body language. It can move about nimbly across different surfaces as well. The arms are where all the tech is at, it is able to do a variety of lifting exercises and is able to grip heavy objects with substantial force.

But where the Sapien would often coast by smoothly, RoboActor tends to be rough around the edges. Even with direct remote control input, a simplified system (no PC programming on this one), and a good amount of power consumption control (it can go up to 5 or 6 hours with brand new batteries), there are moments when the RoboActor seems to refuse to do anything other than what it wants. Thankfully, the toy does not seem to have any world-conquering features built into it and it is build for the sole purpose of being entertaining and fun to play with.

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Bop It R2 D2 Game

Bop It R2 D2 Game

Hasbro's Bop It series of toys is one of our favorite memorization exercises. It has you listening to a rhythm and then following instructions. Each time you successfully follow an instruction more are given at increasingly faster rates. It is a great way to combine reflex and memorization into a single activity that is both fun and entertaining.

The R2D2 variant of Bop It is fairly simple as it only has 3 basic commands that it issues. "Bop it" will require players to bop the head of the little astromech droid. "Pull it" refers to R2's left leg which can be pulled on. "Twist it" means twisting R2's head a little counter-clockwise. There is also a forth command, "pass it", which basically means that another player gets a turn at it. We love the game's audio sample as it features not only R2's traditional beeps and whistles, but also small voice clips from C3P0 which provide the game's instructions (since most kids cannot understand astromech speak).

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WowWee 0802 Coji Smart Robot Toy

WowWee 0802 Coji Smart Robot Toy

Coji is shortcut for "Coding with Emoji" which is WowWee's new attempt at introducing programming codes at an even earlier level. Originally demonstrated at the 2017 Toy Fair in New York City, Coji has been able to display a wide range of digital and physical responses to users. Coji and the users communicate using an app for a mobile or tablet device.

At its most basic, there is the free-play mode that looks like a basic message exchange between the user and Coji. Here, different kinds of emoji are sent –and each one will make the robot react in a specific way. Chain together various emoji and the robot will do them all in succession. There are arrow emoji to tell the robot where to go, rotating arrow icons for turning, icons for music, icons for hearts, and so much more –getting Coji to do a specific thing is simply a matter of knowing which emoji combinations will do the trick. With this, coding with letters and numbers are completely replaced by visual icons.

It may seem like a simple idea, but the execution of Coji is quite promising and exciting as it makes the concept of programming accessible even to children who have yet to fully master reading and writing. Coji is not strictly for younger children however, it also has advanced functions that simulate programming functions such as macros, if-then-else statements, and more. This means that even older children can appreciate it.

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