Sphero’s New Cars Toy Is the Fanciest RC Car You Ever Did See

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In 2015, Sphero convinced you to fork over $200 for a tiny BB-8 that was—even for adults—pretty entertaining. Now it hopes you’ll pay $299 for an app-controlled version of Lightning McQueen, the hero of the Pixar franchise Cars. The toy goes on sale online today, and will hit the shelves of stores like Target and Best Buy on June 15, just before Cars 3 premiers in theaters. Is it cheap? No. But McQueen comes packed with more features than the average action figure.

Inside the toy, you’ll find three processors, which power five touch panels. An LCD screen in the windshield animates its eyes, and an ambient light sensor flicks on its high beams when it’s dark out. It’s full of nice touches, like a gas tank charge port. It takes 30 minutes to fully charge the car, which gets you roughly 40 minutes of run time.

Bryan Rowe

Like BB-8, McQueen can be steered through a smartphone app. The app also controls 300 different verbal phrases, created in collaboration with Pixar to make McQueen seem like an animate version of the loudmouth character on screen. The toy includes an impressive speaker that toggles between the character’s voice and low, rumbling engine sounds with a dynamic range.

When you’re done playing with it, McQueen waits a couple of minutes before telling you it’s powering down. This level of animate interaction feels a bit jarring at first, but proves it’s not your average inanimate object—and makes that price seem almost reasonable.