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Botzees Robotics Kit Review: A Great Coding Tool For Young Kids


Rating:
7/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute hot garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Designs
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably imperfect
  • 6. Good enough to buy on sale
  • 7 – Not the Best in Class, but Great
  • 8 – Amazing, With Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up and Take My Money
  • Absolute Design Nirvana 10

Price: $100

Sarah Chaney / Review Geek

Make your child smile and be happy with only $100. Botzees Robotics Kit Let your child build robots and create unique programming commands for the robot to respond. Isn’t that cool?

Botzees Robotics Kit includes 130 pieces of building material, two motors, and one sensor. Yes, the kit is expensive, but you’re essentially paying for the robotic pieces and a learning experience for your kid, as long as they’re at least four years old. The kit is also available for purchase. LEGO set with 1500 pieces for the same price and for ages four and up, but these building blocks aren’t capable of producing robots that can move, make noise, and respond to their external environment. LEGO has its own robotics program. robotics kits—they’re pretty pricey though.)

Botzees Robotics Kit (STEM or Coding Toy) is brain-enriching and simple fun for children. To them, it’s just another toy, but they’re actually learning how to Think critically, use logic and logic to solve problems. Even though I’m older now, I still had fun playing with this robotics kit—and I definitely would have loved it as a kid.

The Things We Don’t Want

  • Some work could be done to the companion apps
  • Botzee, the robot that has been fully fleshed out is our only option
  • To use your smartphone, or tablet for work you will need to purchase one.

Review Geek’s experts review each product before they are published. Every piece of hardware is subject to hours of real-world testing and benchmarks in our laboratory. We never accept payment to endorse or review a product and never aggregate other people’s reviews. Read more >>

Size & Durability of the Pieces

Botzees robotics kit building pieces sitting in open box
Sarah Chaney / Review Geek

From the beginning, I was struck by how big the pieces were. This is because the larger pieces are easier to pull apart with smaller hands. If you’ve ever taken apart traditional LEGO bricks with your hands, you know how difficult it is to separate them sometimes (unless you’ve got the handy dandy piece separator). Your kid definitely won’t have that issue with these blocks.

These blocks feel extremely sturdy and are easier to use. Because they’re larger, the plastic is able to be a bit thicker and hopefully less prone to breaking or cracking over time. Many pieces are unique and can be used to make custom-built builds. There are eight options for build.

Since all the pieces are plastic—besides the robotic parts—it’s easy to keep germs at bay when needed by sanitizing them. It probably doesn’t need to be said, but just in case, you should definitely not submerge the robotic motors or sensor in any liquid and take extreme caution if you choose to sanitize these pieces.

I’ll go into more detail about the robotic pieces later, but here’s a brief overview of what’s included in this kit. There are three robotic pieces: a Light ‘n Motion Sensor, a Spin ‘n Move Motor, and a Smart Hub. Smart Hub powers everything and is charged via an included micro USB to USB-A cable.

The Light ‘n Motion Sensor has lights inside and is able to detect motion from a range you can set within the mobile app. Then, the Spin ‘n Move Motor is responsible for your robot build spinning its head or receiving commands to move around the room on its wheels.

There are many options

Didi the crocodile build of Botzees robotics kit
Sarah Chaney / Review Geek

There are eight possible robots that you can create with the kit. All of them use the smart Hub. You can also buy add-on sets with more unique builds—like the Dinosaur Kit or the Unicorn Kit—but these are the eight possible builds with the main Botzees Kit:

  • Botzee: This is the robot that your kid most likely will play with. Botzee uses all three robotic components together, which means there’s a lot he can do. He can roll forwards and backward on the floor, and with the motor component, he can turn left and right while he’s moving or standing still. Botzee was able to perform a 3-point turn. Botzee can make sounds and lights up. He also has the ability to trigger external motion or sound via sensors.
  • Didi: Didi is an alligator robot that uses the motor for opening and closing her jaws. Next, Didi uses her motion sensor to interact with you. One of these games involves your trying to get away from her before she closes its mouth. The motion sensor looks a bit awkward in this build because it’s not incorporated well; it just sits next to her mouth.
  • Tyton: With this owl build, there’s not a whole lot you can do. He doesn’t have wheels, so he can’t move around, and he doesn’t have the motion sensor or motor attached. Tyton can only move his body and head around in order to dance. He was a little bit fumbling at times, which I believed he would do.
  • Rex: Rex can also be built in a rolling fashion. You can either use all three of the robotic parts or leave out light and motion sensors. The sensor looks almost like Botzee walking Rex. Rex has the ability to not only roll but also to wiggle his hind end, just like a true dog.
  • Selix: Simply because he’s so cute, this might be my favourite build. Selix resembles a seal, and he moves around just as you’d expect. There are these yellow “flipper” pieces attached where the wheels would usually go, and he uses those to move forward or in a circle. Like Botzee, Selix’s build also uses all three robotic components.
  • Turbo: A classic work truck driven by Botzee, Turbo primarily uses the smart hub and wheels for its power, but the light and motion sensor with “eyes” sits on top to make it look like Botzee is driving the truck. Turbo uses two sets of tires, which makes it easy to make turns. This build was great fun.
  • Ryngo: This build was something I really wanted to love. Ryngo looks great as a drummer monkey. His use of all three components is impressive. However, when he was drumming his ears and arms kept falling off. Sometimes his arms would swing back too much and get caught behind his ears. The pieces would then come loose when his arm moved forward to strike the drum.
  • Audia: Another stationary build like Didi and Tyton. However, it uses all three of the robotic parts. Audia resembles a radio, with two purple circular discs on top that can spin and what I imagine to be two yellow “knobs” that move up and down to mimic a radio’s controls.
Build selection in Botzees robotics kit app
Sarah Chaney / Review Geek

Building Process

If you’ve ever put together a LEGO set or even just a regular old puzzle, the building process for Botzee and all the other robots is just as simple. You will need to install BotzeesEDU to view all the building instructions.Android/iOS) or Botzees AR (Android/iOS). I’ll dive into the differences between the two apps later, but for now, just know that you can complete builds with either app.

Botzee coding robot sitting up on table
Sarah Chaney / Review Geek

If you want to experiment with all eight robot builds, I’d recommend starting with the Botzees EDU app. You can view each character’s page, which includes their information and directions. There are also a few puzzles that you can complete. When you’re ready to build one of the robots, you can see an overview of all the pieces you’ll need and then animated steps that show you how to Finish the building. These 3D animations make the building process easier to follow, letting you turn and move around the build to see what’s happening if you get confused.

With the Botzees AR app, you can only view six available builds (Tyton’s and Audia’s builds are missing). In the AR app, you can’t see a list of the pieces you’ll need for the build. The AR app only shows the steps, so you will have to go a little closer to locate the right piece.

Selix was my only issue during the construction process. To make the smart hub work, you must turn it on. Selix had his power button hidden under his tail joint so I had the task of removing a part to get it to work. It’d be nice if there was a way to remotely turn it on via the app.

Automating robotic functions

Botzees robotics kit open box
Sarah Chaney / Review Geek

Each build is a screen in the Botzees Education app with a range of levels. These levels certainly don’t outline everything you can do with the build, but they are a great introduction to how the programming process works. After you complete the levels on a character’s page, you’re able to create your own custom code.

Most levels require you to tell your robot how to make certain sounds, move forwards or backwards as well as create looping patterns, detect external noises, make a particular sound and make a specific noise. However, a complete beginner may struggle to understand the vast coding commands library within Botzees EDU. You can tap on any button to drag it into the coding field. However, I think that it could be confusing to a 4-year-old due to how many commands you have and how customizable each one is.

Botzees robotics kit electronics parts
Sarah Chaney / Review Geek

The Botzees AR app seems to be better for someone who’s just starting out with a STEM toy. Like the EDU app’s AR app, each level will teach you basic coding concepts and build on them with the next.

App Experience

When you first open the Botzees box, there’s an instructional card that tells you about the two available apps you can download. I was initially confused by the two available apps.

Botzees is Botzees’ main app. Botzees AR will be a bonus AR application for iOS AR Kit and Google AR Core users. They are so small that it is possible to merge them and create an AR bonus app instead of having an entire separate app. It was probably easier to create the apps individually than to combine them.

Although the Botzees EDU app has instructions for all eight builds, it’s a subpar app compared to the Botzees AR. Each character is given its own screen and has unique coding levels. On this screen, the character is showcased on a platform, and it’s clear that there’s some sort of graphical glitch that makes the character look like it’s missing pieces.

Each character has a catchphrase that’s repeated every single time you go to a character’s screen, whether that’s when you first open it or when you return to the screen after completing a level or exiting the build screen. For example, Selix says, “Hi, I’m a walrus named Selix. Let’s dance a waltz.” All of these catchphrases sound like they were recorded with a poor-quality microphone.

The app’s parts have been voiced in part by the above person, but other parts were narrated by an AI who sounds sharp. There’s a huge noticeable variation in the audio quality because of this. What makes this worse is that you can’t turn the volume down or off, for the music or any sounds within the app.

I’m not a parent, but I can imagine how annoying this would get if your kid kept replaying a level over and over again, constantly hearing a character’s catchphrase repeated. I even had my husband take a look at the app just to make sure I wasn’t missing something, and he couldn’t find any way to turn down the app’s volume. Of course, you can turn your device’s volume down; this just means you can’t listen to any music in the background or that you have to turn it down when using the Botzees EDU app and then up again when you need it for another app.

It’s a shame that there isn’t more attention being given to the Botzees EDU app because 1) it could really use it, and 2) it has the potential to be fantastic. Botzees AR was released more than a year prior to the Botzees Ed app and offers a better user experience.

Most modern smartphones and tablets are capable of AR technology. If you want your child to play with the Botzees AR app, I’d recommend using a tablet over a smartphone, if possible. I used my smartphone, and while the experience was still better than with the Botzees EDU app, the AR experience would’ve been better on a tablet because they have larger screens.

In the Botzees AR app, there’s a more developed story to follow. Botzee must find the parts of his ship in order to repair it. You do this by solving levels that allow you to create code and maneuver Botzee through virtual space. With this app, there’s more motivation to keep playing with Botzee—and, therefore, keep learning. You can turn off music and sounds in the AR app. Although both apps are official, they were developed by different developers.

Verdict: The Apps Aren’t the Best, But Botzee Is Pretty Cool

The purchase of this toy is great for children. Even if they don’t go on to become programmers or anything related to that, toys like these teach kids critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, and the rewards—and often necessity—of the trial and error process.

Though I enjoyed some of the other builds, Botzee is truly the only build that’s worth playing with long-term. Botzee is so much more enjoyable than the other builds. The apps are more tailored to his needs. His name is on the box! With so many options and pieces to build, this toy can be a fun toy that young children will enjoy using their creativity and logic.

Here’s What We Like

  • A great introduction to code for kids
  • Pieces that last
  • Numerous builds and programming possibilities

The Things We Don’t Want

  • Some work could be done to the companion apps
  • Botzee is one of the few robot builds that have been fleshed.
  • To use your smartphone, or tablet for work you will need to purchase one.

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