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Attack of the toy robots

This holiday season, there’s a robot revolution … a host of high tech, interactive robot toys have come on the market. Your child might really want one – but which to pick? And do they make good toys? Consumer Reports expert testers checked them out, with a little help from some little helpers.

The Spin Master Zoomer Chimp is a personality-filled robot who responds to voice commands in English or French. Unlike many robots he doesn’t need a mobile device to work. But after about 20 minutes of play, the chimp needs an hour of re-charging.

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The WowWee ChiP was popular but took some time to get the hang of. He responds to verbal commands, head taps, and signals from a wristband. ChiP is supposed to fetch a smart ball but one of the Consumer Reports models never mastered it even using the lengthy instructions that don’t come in the box.

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Sphero BB-8 was a favorite – a roly poly Star Wars bot, he's controlled by a mobile app that lets you steer him around obstacles, chirping and tweeting all the while.

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The Anki Cozmo robot charmed kids with fun games like Quick Tap and Keepaway, using little “power cubes.” It’s packed with technology, like facial recognition and a software-development kit so tech-minded kids can program him.

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And if you’re looking for a robot toy that grows with your child, check out Wonder Workshop’s Dash. It has five age-appropriate apps – from simple movement and sound commands to showing tweens the fundamentals of coding.

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Something to consider – Most of these robots are controlled by apps downloaded on your smartphone or a tablet. In other words your toys will become their toys. So plan accordingly.

Consumer Reports

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.

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