Pleo review

Price when reviewed

Like a Tamagotchi for the 21st century, Pleo is a baby Camarasaurus in need of nurture. Indeed, when you first switch him on he’s like a lost puppy, gradually growing in confidence as you lavish him with attention (or not, if you abuse him) until he’s ready to explore the world on his own. He has good and bad moods, becomes ill and hurts himself like any child, and it’s quite a shock to realise how easily you can tell all this just by watching him play.

The technology on show is nothing short of remarkable: he’ll respond to touch pretty much anywhere on his skin; he can grip his “training leaf” between his jaws for a game of tug-of-war; while a nose camera and other sensors detect movement, sound and even light, all of which he’ll react to. The makers claim each Pleo develops its own personality from your treatment of it; plus, with an SDK available, other playful personalities have already been created for download via the SD card slot in his belly.

But all this wizardry comes at a cost. The battery lasts a mere hour or so before it needs charging, and you have to remove it from Pleo to do so – no automatic trips to a docking station for this little robot. Plus, your wallet will take a pounding to the tune of £230.

And, for all the fun Pleo gives, once the initial cooing period wears off there’s no escaping the simple fact that he doesn’t really do a great deal beyond shuffling around and mooing a bit. That said, the kids will adore him on Christmas morning.

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