Yesterday I was psyched to get the Robopanda I won from Working Moms Against Guilt in the mail. The Panda came direct from the manufacturer and they were nice enough to include an envelope with all of the batteries. It retails for around $150 (an amount I rarely spend on any single item) and it was hi-tech and cool sounding, so I was pretty excited to try it out.
Then I opened the box.
I am not as inept as I sometimes portray myself in this blog. Really, I swear. And it took me (no exaggeration) 30 minutes just to get the Panda out of the box. There were more wires, plastic and tape holding it still than can be found in my car. Seriously, if I was a kid and this was my Christmas present, I would be so over it by the time my parents handed it to me. Instant gratification is definitely NOT an option.
Once I finally freed it from its restraints I learned that the Robopanda is heavy. And, while I needed a screw driver to open the three hatches that house batteries, the hatch on the back where you insert a personality card opens easily. Actually, it pretty much opens if you just look at it. LP has no problem getting this hatch open. Not that she really likes to get close enough to the Panda to touch anything...which takes us to the actual Panda toy...
It is definitely not what I expected. I thought it would be an interactive toy that would respond when touched. It does respond when touched, but only if you touch it in specific spots, hard. And only if you are responding to an instruction from it to touch a specific spot.
For example, the Panda will say "If you think my Teddy looks like me, touch my head." If I whack the thing's head, occasionally it acknowledges that I touched it. Usually it says, "No, you don't think so? Do you think it looks more like you? If so, touch my back." I then smack its back. Again, it ignores me saying, "You are right, you are not nearly as cute as my Teddy." Lovely, the thing ignores me and insults me.
Anyway, if LP does decide to touch it, it usually isn't in response to a request. I understand she is not in the target age range for the product and so it takes her some time to warm up. By the time she decides to try and give him a high-five, Panda is off telling stories. If he is in the middle of a story the only way you get him to stop or redirect mid-sentence is to turn him off.
I have not experimented too much with the Panda. Maybe he is or can be more fun. But considering LP is a bit put-off by him and the Hoos finds the thing creepy, I am not sure he will get much use. We are hoping my nephews will give him a good home. Unless someone out there wants to pay shipping, then I will send him on to you. I imagine it will not be cheap since I really think he weighs a lot. And there is no way I can get him back into his original box.