I have a life-long habit of doing things backwards. When it comes to buying the latest and greatest electronic gadget, I definitely go about it backwards. I rush out to buy what turns me on, what really appeals to me. Then, afterwards, I start reading the articles and reviews of the product - sometimes to my great regret.
Now that my Roboraptor is winging its way across the Pacific and should arrive at our place sometime late this week, I've started to focus on the Robopet. According to Amazon, the Robopet should start shipping around October 15th, so I have my fingers crossed that one will show up here by Halloween. So, it's time to start pulling together all the online information I can gather.
The PC Magazine Robopet review (August 29th), was a good place to start. They rated Robopet as "Good" - which would be a big red warning flag for me, if I hadn't taken the time to read through the review in detail.
Things they liked:
- Small size - desktop
- Cool tricks
Things they didn't like:
- Flawed design
- Easy to fall off tables
- No volume control
- Overpriced at $99.99
The reviewer takes WowWee to task a little for misrepresenting how lifelike the Robopet would be - saying that it looks more like a Chihuahua's skeleton. At the same time, he gives it kudos for it's movement and even jumping capability.
I have to agree that the noticeable lack of any eyes, noes, mouth, or ears seems a little strange, especially since there was so much effort put into developing a strong personality for the original Robosapien and the Roboraptor.
Like the RoboRaptor, the RoboPet has no side sensors to tell it when it is close to a table edge, so a little extra care is advised if you're going to play with it on your desktop. Personally, I didn't feel this was a major defect, but several of the reviewers seem to be concerned.
However, I was concerned to hear that although the Robopet changes his personality and behavior based on feedback and learning, if you turn his power off completely he forgets everything. This may turn out to be his single most critical design flaw.