The fun thing about smartphones is that people of all ages can find some form of gaming enjoyment and entertainment in them. Whether we’re playing puzzle games, action games or mind melding games there’s just about something for everyone. But, generally, we play these games holding the smartphone in our hands. Romo is a different kind of game…a whole new experience.
Romo the Robot is not exactly what you would think of when you hear he’s a robot. The first thing you think of is a figure with arms, legs, head, etc. But Romo is comprised of two parts, a bottom portion with rolling track (a la WALL-E or Johnny 5) and your iPhone 5 or 5s. There is a secure holder for your iPhone with Apple approved lightning connector, and your iPhone becomes Romo’s central brain. Just download the Romo app from the App Store, plug your iphone into Romo’s tracks, and you’re ready to go.
So, my kids and I did just that. Plugged in, and ready to go, Romo came to life. There are a series of steps to go through to calibrate Romo. Instructions are given on the iPhone screen, which also displays Romo’s cute and playful blue face. As you continue to use Romo he learns who you are and about his surroundings. He has a series of challenging games for you to go through, and you unlock new features as you progress. It’s important to note that I think Romo is better suited to children six and older. While my five-year-old and three-year-old had fun with him, some of the games are a little challenging for that age bracket.
Romo also serves as a sort of Facetime companion. You can control Romo from another iDevice (or any computer) and move about the house with him. Other iDevices (or computers) can also connect with Romo to chat with your kids, like Grandma and Grandpa. We didn’t have a chance to test this feature, which really would have been fun. Check out the video after the break for a little demo of Romo in action.
As you can see by the video, Romo does a ton of fun things, and it’s best feature is connecting your loved ones with your kids. My kids certainly had fun with Romo and they were sad when Romo had to go back to his owner. But who knows, maybe Santa will drop by with a Romo of their own. Romo can be purchased at Brookstone for $149.99, a price that some may take issue with. While the price is on the heavier side, weighing in the hours of learning, fun and connection might make it worthwhile for some families.
Romo the robot is easily one of the best and most fun smartphone peripherals I have ever used. The software and UI easily grabbed my kids attention and kept it. That’s not always easy to do when it comes to kids. The hardware is solidly built and looks like it can certainly take a kid’s beating and abuse. The only thing you might have to worry about is your iPhone. The games and challenges are a blast to play and programming Romo to move about the house was one of their favorite things to do. But the one feature that easily makes this a must buy is the ability to connect with loved ones in a fun and unique way. Connecting with grandparents that live afar or a mommy or daddy on a business trip using Romo is a great experience. Sure you can pick up the phone or Skype/Facetime them on your phone, but why not make it just a little more fun for the kids who already miss the ones they love the most. With all the good, the only real bad I see here, for some buyers, is the price.
As I just stated, the price is the only thing that I could see would be an issue with some. But I will say this, it is my opinion that Romo is well worth his $149.99 price tag. Now not everyone will agree but there will be some who do. I rate Romo five stars out of five and would recommend picking him up if you’re comfortable with the price. It’s hours of fun for the kids and it’s a great way to keep them connected to the ones they care for. Hit the links below to grab your Romo and for more about Romo.
- Romo, an iPhone-Powered Programmable Robot (macobserver.com)
- Romotive Inc. Partners With Brookstone To Bring, ROMO The Robot For iOS (techaeris.com)
- The new Romo: stronger, faster, smarter personal robot (and cuter, too) (venturebeat.com)
- Smartphone Robots (rechargeableplanet.wordpress.com)