Consumer Reports tests best robotic toys for kids

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If you've been to a toy store lately, you've notice there has been a robot revolution with a host of high tech, interactive robot toys on the market. (WPVI)

If you've been to a toy store lately, you've notice there has been a robot revolution with a host of high tech, interactive robot toys on the market.

And if your child is asking for one, how do you pick? And do they really make good toys?

Consumer Reports expert testers checked them out, with a little help from some little helpers.

Consumer Reports mechanical engineer Emilio Gonzalez put five toy robots through his tests, checking for responsiveness, level of sophistication and overall fun factor.

Then he handed the controls over a tougher crowd - kids!

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.

In other words your toys will become their toys, so plan accordingly.
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