If your child loves the workings of technology, coding, and enjoys the concept of robots, a Sphero Mini or an Ollie would be a great option to purchase, especially for a birthday or Christmas.
What is great about these robots is that while they are fun and keep your children entertained for hours on end, they are also educational too!
But which robot should you choose? The Sphero Mini or the Ollie?
This can be a difficult decision as both are great toys and are similar in some ways. However, there are some key differences between the two.
In this article, we have researched and compiled all of the information someone looking to purchase either of these should know. We have done all the hard work so you do not have to.
We will be comparing both STEM robot models to give you a better insight into what both have to offer for your child. We will be discussing which one is the better option and whether or not either is worth purchasing.
We hope you will find this article useful!
Sphero Company Background
Sphero is a company that focuses on STEM toys. These toys are created for children and in addition to being fun, they are also educational. They help children improve their capabilities in several different ways such as showing initiative, problem-solving, coding, and even music.
Their codable robots teach children the basics of coding without it feeling like a school lesson. Children can learn these new skills in their own time and come up with some of their own creative ideas.
The company has activated more than five million robots, clearly showing that they are a popular choice with parents and within the educational system. They are also used by more than 40,000 trusted educators across the globe.
Their products are not limited in their popularity. Given that Sphero was only founded in 2010, the company has grown from strength to strength, even working with huge brands such as Disney. It is clear to see why they are such a popular choice amongst parents, teachers, and children alike.
The Sphero Mini is a smaller version of the original Sphero robot. Just because it is smaller, in no way does this mean it is not as good. It is a popular and favorite choice for many children.
This STEM robot is small and programmable. It is roughly the size of a ping pong ball. Its accurate dimensions are 1.57 x 1.57 x 1.57 inches.
It only weighs 3.87 ounces. It is pocket-sized and easy to carry. It is recommended for children aged 8+.
The Sphero Mini has around an hour of playtime before it will need to be charged, which is great given its small size. The Bluetooth connection range is around 10 meters. It has a range of different LED colors it can flash between.
It has a removable plastic shell that can be changed and it comes with a USB charger. It is compatible with both android and apple devices.
You can use the Sphero EDU app and the Sphero Play app with the Sphero Mini, giving your child a variety of different options to choose from. The apps are easy to download and navigate.
This STEM toy aims to educate children on programming. There are many different ways in which it does this, such as driving the Sphero and controlling it.
The Sphero Mini comes with the following items:
- 3 traffic cones - this is a great way for your child to direct the Sphero to weave in and out of these cones
- 6 bowling pins - your child can have great fun programming the Sphero Mini to play bowling
These are great additional extras and will allow your child to create their obstacle courses and games.
The Sphero Mini has a variety of different drive modes that are accessed through the Sphero Play app.
In addition to this, it also gives you access to a variety of different arcade-style games. The ball can be used as a controller to play games via the app.
In addition to this, the Sphero EDU app will allow your child to learn all of the basics surrounding coding.
In terms of price, the Sphero Mini is very reasonable considering all it can do. Please be aware that you will need access to an apple, windows, or android device to use the apps that accompany this robot.
Overall, this is a great robot that is fun in addition to being educational.
The Ollie is a fantastic robot if your child likes racing cars or things that can move quickly. This robot is built for tricks, fun, and speed.
It is a cylinder shape and has two rings of rubber at each end of the robot that serves as wheels. The Ollie can reach speeds of up to 14 mph, making it a much-loved favorite with many children!
What is great about this robot is that it is particularly durable. It can crash into objects at speed, do spins and tricks with ease and without breaking.
In terms of its dimensions, these are 10 x 4.33 x 4.76 inches and the Ollie weighs a total of 1.31 pounds. The Prime Hubs allow your child to use this robot on many different terrains.
Like with the Sphero Mini, the Ollie is an app-controlled robot. It connects to the Sphero EDO app. Through this app, you can race and program the Ollie to move.
The Bluetooth range of the Ollie is particularly good and can reach up to 100 feet, which is great for use outdoors at larger distances. It has a USB charger and will provide up to an hour of play.
The Ollie comes in one color, white with blue tires. However, there are additional features you can add to this robot, such as different colored tires and hubcaps.
These would need to be purchased at an additional cost. It is reasonably priced, especially given how durable it is.
Sphero Mini VS Ollie
When looking at both of these robots, while they do have some similarities, there are some fundamental differences.
In terms of design, they are completely different. The Ollie is a much more robust robot that is built for speed, whereas the Mini is a lot slower and made for precision. The Ollie is larger overall and is a little heavier in comparison to the Mini.
While they both can connect and use the Sphero EDU app, the mini can also use the
Sphero Play app. Although you can do more in the way of gameplay with the Mini, if you want a robot to race, the Ollie is the preferable option. You can control the robot’s speed, LED lights, handling, and acceleration with the app.
The LED Lights mean that your child can use this robot outside at night too. The Ollie can also use the Sphero MacroLab app to program the robot.
The Ollie is a brilliant choice for a child that enjoys playing outside and wants to test the robot out on multiple terrains. It is a lot more durable of the two robots. If your child prefers a much more relaxed app-based way of playing, the Sphero Mini would be more suitable. It is a lot smaller but is the least durable of the two models.
The Bluetooth range of the Ollie is much larger than the Mini sitting at 100 feet, compared to 10 meters. In terms of playtime, both of these robots have similar battery life and will last for around one hour before needing to be recharged.
As you can see, both of these Sphero robots are a great choice for your child. In terms of which one is best, we would say they are both great. They are both very similar in price and are fairly inexpensive considering that they are both educational and fun.
As they are created for different purposes, it is hard to choose one over the other. They are both great models in their own right. Instead, we would recommend looking at each product individually and deciding which one would be the better fit for your child.
If your child would prefer a robot that has many different functions and games attached to it, the Sphero Mini is your best option. It allows for precision and is a lot slower placed while still being fun.
If your child prefers things that are more fast-paced and can be raced, the Sphero Ollie would be perfect. It is durable and can withstand both indoor and outdoor use. It can be used on many terrains and would be perfect for active children.
Summary and Where To Purchase
Both of these STEM robots are great fun and will provide your child with hours of entertainment.
Although they are educational, they are interactive and engaging. They are similar in price and both are made out of good quality materials.
Whichever one you decide to purchase will depend on your child’s individual preferences.
As a parent of a five-year-old inquisitive boy, I have gained a lot of experience finding fun activities and toys to help him understand science and understanding our world in general. On this blog, you’ll find an extensive amount of tutorials, guides, and toys about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math based on my personal experience to help your child develop critical STEM skills.