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WowWee CHiP Interactive Robot Dog

£N/A
build quality
fun
design
longevity

4.3

5

Overall

What makes it different to other electronic pets is that it’s got a lot more different types of sensors which make it act a bit more like a real pet than just a toy.

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£300.00

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Jennifer Watts

5th October 2016

By Jennifer Watts

Mum, Wife, Gadget Lover & Foodie


WowWee CHiP is like a new generation of electronic pet. It’s really interactive and encourages kids to engage with it and it’ll respond to you stroking to it and talking to it and so on. I think what makes it different to other electronic pets is that it’s got a lot more different types of sensors which make it act a bit more like a real pet than just a toy. It’s got ‘beacon sense’ sensors that tell CHiP where your tables and things are so he can avoid them, which works some of the time (sometimes he will just bump into things!), and ‘gesture sense’ so he knows if you’re waving your hand in front of him or something.

CHiP has voice recognition which is a nice touch, but we’ve found it to be a bit hit and miss so far. He responds really well to my husband’s neutral accent, but definitely has a bit of trouble with my scouse and my daughter’s high pitched, lispy kid voice which is a shame. Overall it’s pretty impressive though.

Honestly, at first everything seemed really chaotic and I thought I’m really not going to like this. But it turns out CHiP just gets excited the first time the accessories are all turned on and he was trying to play with everything all at once. After a few minutes everything calmed down and things were much more manageable and we were actually able to make a start playing with CHiP and learning what to do.

Accessories

There’s 3 accessories that come with CHiP which I thought was really good because with other toys I expect you’d need to purchase these sorts of things separately. It’s nice that it all comes together as a package. You get the Smartband, the Smartball, and the Smartbed in the box along with CHiP.

The Smartband is like a watch and it’s got infrared sensors on it so CHiP can ‘see’ you. It’s also got bluetooth so you can ‘like’ behaviours (a bit like Facebook really!) and CHiP will do these things more often. It’s a bit like you can influence their personality through positive reinforcement like a real dog!

The Smartball is OK. It’s infrared too so CHiP can ‘see’ his ball and play with it. If you have the band on too he’ll bring it back to you like he’s playing fetch. The only problem with the Smartball is that my daughter always wants to throw the ball to the dog, because that’s what you do, but it’s too fragile.

The Smartbed is the best bit I think. When CHiP’s battery is low he’ll take himself off to bed to recharge (as long as it’s within range, it’s about 15 feet I think). Just make sure to put the bed in a big open space so he can back himself in, otherwise it’s like watching a learner driver trying to do a parallel park!

App-Based

CHiP is an app-based toy, like a lot of interactive toys these days. I’m really in two minds about them! On the one hand I think having an app means there’s much more you can do with the toy, and app-based toys always seem to be more ‘two-way’ in terms of interaction so they’re more engaging. I also like that the manufacturer can update the software so the toy stays relevant for longer so it’s a pretty good investment. On the other hand, I just think my daughter is a little too young to have her own iPad, so she’s constantly asking to borrow mine. Maybe I just need to buy her one now, I don’t know.

I thought the app for the WowWee CHiP was OK, but nothing special really. You can use it to check’s CHiP’s stats (like his battery level, his mood, and so on), to see what tricks he’s learnt, and you can ‘feed’ him, but it just feels a bit basic at the moment. I think this is because it’s so new though. I’m expecting them to add more stuff to the app in time which will probably make it much more interesting.

Downsides?

There’s a couple of areas where I think the WowWee CHiP could be improved. First, if you’re paying out for a toy (and let’s be honest, this isn’t cheap), would it really hurt them to include batteries? CHiP himself comes with a battery pack, but the smartball needs 4 X AAA’s. Why not just include them?

Secondly, although this is good, it doesn’t quite seem finished. It feels a bit like they’ve launched this in Beta or something. If you look for information online (which we had to do because the instructions that came in the box were rubbish), their FAQ section is laughable. Like I wanted to know how long the battery would last and the response was pretty much ‘we don’t know yet’ which doesn’t exactly instill confidence. At the moment, it’s a bit like a Zoomer toy, but I think it’s got the ability to be much better than that. The good thing I suppose is that the software can be updated through the app when new stuff is ready to go, so I don’t feel like I’ve wasted money in any way. I’m just excited to see what comes next!

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To read more on this model, check out the WowWee CHiP homepage here (opens new window).

Images

  • Age: 8+
  • Weight: 998 g
  • Dimensions: 38.1 x 22 x 30 cm
  • Model Number: 0805
  • Batteries: 4 x AAA (not included)
  • Assembly Required?: Yes
  • Material: Plastic
  • Accessories: 1 x Smartband, 1 x Smartball, 1 x Smartbed

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