Nothing says impressive like a $500 price tag on a toy car – that is when it’s the Ultimate Lightning McQueen from Sphero. This is not your average movie merchandise. This is not your average toy.
Sphero are the kings of robotics, their basic Sphero rolling boll toy was a hit from its first appearance. Taking that concept into the Disney owned Star Wars franchise proved a ridiculous hit with the BB-8 toy, and Disney are certainly keen to keep capitalising with this new Ultimate Lightning McQueen.
Yes, it’s expensive. But at twice the price of a BB-8, I’d argue it does ten times more, so there’s value there somewhere – if you look for it.
With the price out of the way, let me tell you this thing is like no other remote control car I’ve owned, driven or seen.
Normally a remote control car has a forward and back function controlled by the rear wheels, and a left and right function controlled by the front wheels. Lightning is similar, except every movement has other associated moves and twists. “Under the hood” are 6 motors, controlling the emotive suspension, tyres and steering, and one of them moves the mouth
Yep, emotive suspension. This little guy twists, almost kneels, can raise up and almost express emotion – it’s a sight to behold, and matches almost perfectly what the cartoon does in the movies.
Then there’s the mouth – all manner of words are pre-programmed and can be accessed in a tap from the companion app, and even lined up like a script.
The app controls it all, just like all Sphero products – and frankly, my only real gripe is with the car control. It’s using that directional facing style left right controls that a Sphero ball uses, I’d prefer to see a simple accelerate, brake and left right set of controls because it’s damn hard to drive – in a short space of time my kids have improved, but not enough to really drive him around a course.
Good news, easy to drift with a simple button.
There’s a speaker on-board so all the sounds come from the car, while the companion app also entertains you, plus the headlights and rear lights come on to give it life.
The real emotion and life though comes from the windscreen – a custom trapezoidal screen which shows McQueen’s eyes and really adds some amazing reality to this little guy.
You’ll get 40 minutes of play time from a charge, and of course the charging is done under the fuel cap:)
Ultimate Lightning McQueen will retail in EB Games, Zing and Apple Stores, pre orders start today at EB Games & Zing and will ship on June 19 the same date stock arrives for purchase.
You know you want one:)
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.