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Lifewire / Andrew Hayward
It genuinely made us laugh
Easy to set up and use
Multiple control options
Limited abilities and activities
Hit-or-miss gesture controls
No educational component
Requires eight total batteries
Miposaur lacks a reason to keep you playing once the initial baffled amusement wears off.
We may never see real dinosaurs roam the earth—that is unless a Jurassic Park-esque scenario comes into play—but at least you can have your very own robotic dinosaur to control. WowWee’s Miposaur is exactly that: a chunky, black plastic connected toy that can be moved and commanded in a number of ways, whether via a smartphone app, the included trackball, or even the movements of your hands.
Miposaur has been on the market for a few years now, and it’s not quite as smart of a “smart” toy as some newer connected options; there are more capable and responsive toys, not to mention some that have educational coding elements available. There’s some fun to be had here, but like the dinosaurs, it just doesn’t last.
Miposaur looks as much the robotic part as the dinosaur, with blue and silver accents on the black body as well as faux hinge details and lights. It’s plastic all over, and it seems capable of taking everyday nicks and scratches, although we wouldn’t recommend driving it off of a table or down the stairs.
One setting sees him beatbox when near the ball—definitely hilarious. Sometimes he farts, too.
Miposaur has a couple of clear, kickstand-like resting points behind its wheels. However, when in use, the toy balances right on its two treaded wheels and stays upright as it cruises around your home. Miposaur isn’t heavily articulated; the legs and arms are fixed in place, although the tail has rubber connecting the three segments to give it flexibility. In any case, Miposaur isn’t meant to double as an action figure.
Miposaur also comes with what is labeled a “trackball,” although it’s not like the computer control device that might spring to mind. Instead, the baseball-sized plastic ball is wirelessly linked to Miposaur and he’s drawn to it when rolled or carried. The ball has a slider that lets you choose between six different play settings—more on that shortly.
There’s not much to set up. Parents will need to grab a screwdriver along with four AA batteries for Miposaur and four AAA batteries for the trackball. Once you’ve installed those and closed up the hatches, both Miposaur and the trackball have an On-Off switch to flick. Alternately, you can purchase a rechargeable battery pack for Miposaur, but not the ball.
That’s about it, aside from setting up the smartphone/tablet app. Luckily, that’s no hassle. The Miposaur app is available for both iOS and Android, and it connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to your Miposaur toy.
The iOS and Android app is purely optional, as Miposaur can be controlled via the trackball and hand gestures. That’s key for parents who may not always want a young kid using their phone or staring at a screen. However, it’s worth exploring, as it opens up additional features.
Miposaur’s simplistic feature set and hit-or-miss interactions feel downright prehistoric just a few years after release.
The Miposaur app holds the key to directly steering the toy like a remote-controlled car, letting you glide your robotic dinosaur all around. Essentially, there’s just a blank screen for you to place your thumbs on, with your left thumb creating a virtual stick for forward/backward movements and the right thumb handling left/right turning. It’s not the smoothest-driving smart toy we’ve seen, but the chaotic roaming can be hilarious. If you have another connected toy handy, then you could set up makeshift races around your home.
Alternately, you can draw a path in the app for your Miposaur to follow in real life, or choose a song from your phone for Miposaur to dance to. He doesn’t have a whole lot of moves, but again, it’s really funny to watch. The app also lets you “battle” Miposaur against another Miposaur or one of WowWee’s other connected robots, but we weren’t able to test that feature.
As mentioned, the app is just one way to command Miposaur. The main way is through the trackball, which has six different preset modes that you can swap between. With one setting, you can shake the ball to watch Miposaur dance. Another sees him beatbox when near the ball—definitely hilarious. Sometimes he farts, too. Otherwise, he can dance in circles near the ball, pretend to eat, or chase and knock the ball around.
The leash setting allows you to walk around with a wireless “tether” and see Miposaur follow you, but he rarely follows for long and often just smashes into walls, chairs, tables, or whatever else you might have around.
The leash setting allows you to walk around with a wireless “tether” and see Miposaur follow you, but he rarely follows for long and often just smashes into walls, chairs, tables, or whatever else you might have around. For a smart toy, Miposaur is actually pretty dumb, unfortunately.
Gesture controls bear that out, as well. Miposaur has small sensors that allow him to respond to hand motions, such as swiping left or right in front of him to turn, swiping around his head to get him to spin around, or clapping to make him do tricks. These are very much hit-or-miss, however—there’s little consistency in how well they work.
Miposaur has no educational value, unfortunately. That’s been an increasingly key component of many connected toys, and some even add the feature later—such as Sphero’s BB-8 droid from Star Wars, which gained coding lessons later on after release. Miposaur has no such feature. It’s just a toy with touchscreen controls
For a smart toy, Miposaur is actually pretty dumb, unfortunately.
We’ve seen Miposaur sell for about $70-80 lately, which is pricey for a toy but certainly cheaper than some other smartphone-enabled, connected toys. Its retail price on Amazon is a hefty $119, though it’s usually on sale for less. If your kid is crazy for dinosaurs or you think it’ll be an ideal introduction to robotic toys, then it might be worth the expense. But if your kid is already immersed in things like video games, smartphones, and smart toys, then we’re not sure it will hold his or her attention for long.
Setting up Miposaur is as easy as sliding in batteries and hitting the power switch, but that’s not true of the Makeblock mBot. You’ll receive a box of parts, and it took us about 30 minutes to construct this remote-controlled, driveable car contraption. But while Miposaur is limited in its range of activities, the mBot is customizable and it’s fun and rewarding to build it yourself. Additionally, it has a range of coding lessons to help you learn how to program moves and routines. It takes more work, true, but the mBot offers a lot more possibilities too.
Kind of a dino-snore.
We got a few good laughs out of Miposaur, but we also felt like we’d seen and done everything it had to offer very quickly. Our six-year-old co-tester grew tired of Miposaur after a few sessions, and we couldn’t convince him to keep playing after that. Miposaur has its moments, but app-connected toys have advanced so quickly that its simplistic feature set and hit-or-miss interactions feel downright prehistoric just a few years after release.
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