The Force has never felt more real, thanks to the new Force Band coming September 30 from Sphero. Command your trusty BB-8 companion with just a turn of your wrist, stretch out with your feelings (and your hand) in the Force Awareness game, and practice your lightsaber moves in the companion app.
While it doesn’t respond how you’d expect 100% of the time, if the Sphero BB-8 is already part of your family, you’ll probably get just as much of a kick out of the additional functionality of the Force Band.
1. The Force Band is sold separately and works with other Sphero robots, including the original BB-8.
The Force Band alone costs $79.99 and can be paired with the original BB-8 Sphero released last year. The new Force Band app (iOS and Android) works with your BB-8 to control its movement, play Force Awareness, Force Training, and Combat Training games, and the other functionality you’re used to when playing with BB-8.
The battery lasts for about an hour of continuous use, so when you’re ready to practice your Force Awareness, you’ll have a decent time to do so before plugging it in to charge.
2. The Force Band also comes in a special edition box, paired with the Battle-Worn BB-8.
A few lucky Jedi can get their hands on the special edition Force Band and Battle-Worn BB-8. While the band is identical the one sold separately, this is your only chance to get your hands on BB-8 as he appears in The Force Awakens. Compared to the original Sphero BB-8, the exterior plastic feels a little bit thinner, but this BB-8 definitely looks more screen accurate.
The special edition Force Band and Battle-Worn BB-8 will be available for $199.99.
3. The band is high-quality and can fit almost any size wrist.
The sizing and magnetic clasp make the Force Band incredibly easy to put on just about any wrist. If you’re planning on sharing the Force Band with the kids (and you should), it’s a cinch to size it just right. The strap is thick and the clasp never felt in danger of coming undone accidentally.
The mechanism itself is surprisingly light. Since it looks like it came straight out of a Star Wars film, you might be expecting it to be made out of metal–but it’s plastic.
4. The band is also relatively large and definitely not subtle.
If you’re trying to play Combat Training or Force Awareness without anyone noticing, it’s not likely. Although the Force Band only measures 1.53 cm x 3.75 cm, it looks large on child-sized and 40-year-old-mom-sized wrists.
It also lights up, and Obi-Wan Kenobi is pretty loud for a Jedi in hiding. (If there’s volume control on the band, I couldn’t find it.)
But if you don’t mind Obi-Wan letting everyone around you know that there’s a holocron nearby, stretch out with your feelings in public all you want.
5. Force Awareness is arguably the Band’s best feature.
While at first glance the Force Awareness game sounds similar to Pokémon Go–find holocrons hidden around you by using the Force (Band)–the game doesn’t seem to be location or movement based. Holocrons of different rarities are discovered randomly when you put the band in the Awareness mode; move your hand as the band vibrates to find it.
Obi-Wan Kenobi will tell you if you’ve found a common holocron (and sound pretty disappointed about it) or a rare one, which you then can look at in the Force Band app. Collected holocrons unlock new weapons in the Combat Training section of the Force Band app.
Concentrating and using your hand to turn the holocron and open it in the app is probably the most Jedi-like you’ll feel while using the Force Band. Slowly turn your hand to rotate the holocron just right and it’s hard not to feel like Yoda.
Once you find a lightsaber, Combat Training becomes every kid’s dream come true, adding authentic sound effects to the imaginary lightsaber battles they already have.
6. You (er, I mean the kids) will feel like a Jedi.
No, seriously. The responses from BB-8 might give you trouble here and there, which is to be expected, but using the motions of your hand to open holocrons and control BB-8 is probably the closest you’ll ever come to feeling like you’re actually using the Force. (I had much better response with my right-hand motions instead of my left.)
Keeping the band in Force Awareness mode while working on homework or doing chores is a fantastic way to add a little bit of Star Wars fun in everyday activities.
While it’s definitely not a cheap toy, the Force Band and Force Band Special Edition are probably going on every Star Wars fan’s wishlist this holiday season. If your kids haven’t lost the wonder of the original Sphero BB-8, they will be delighted to take him for a spin with a flick of the wrist.
The Sphero Force Band will be available on September 30, 2016. Pre-orders are available now.
Top photo: Kelly Knox
All other images © Sphero