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Attack of the toy robots

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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