If you’re on a budget and still want a taste of real-world robotics, look no further as the constantly updating list of the best cheap home robots that have made a quantum leap at getting way better than before. And many of them cost far below $100, including our editor’s choice, Sky Viper’s Mebo, now in a better version 2.0 than the much-maligned previous one.
Mebo (2.0!) is an interactive robot shaped like a classic robotic arm and crane, like one of those staples of robotic kits of yesteryear (without being one, meaning you don’t have to assemble anything if you wish to play with it immediately), and does a lot of the “standard” activities you’ve come to expect from such products, at seemingly the lower-level of abilities (it isn’t particularly autonomous, for example).
However, when you realize it doesn’t have the five-figure price tag other machines of such abilities command, it suddenly starts looking really cool.
Review & Rating
- Plenty of features
- Relatively low cost (compared to other modern units)
- Tank-style tread wheels and tracks for stable propulsion that's good for different surfaces and terrain
- Accessible via the Internet, and you can command it using your mobile device as well as see and hear its surroundings wherever you deploy it at home
- Even though it serves its purpose with a good amount of movement, it is limited compared to other units (albeit at more than 10x the price)
- It's robotic in function, but not at all autonomous or imbued with artificial intelligence
- You can eventually tire of using it after an extended period
- Battery doesn't last very long
It is a robotic arm and crane like you may have seen in old images and media features-- giving you the street cred of a full-fledged robotic arm like the classics-- but without the sophisticated work or complexity associated with older kits. Some people may get bored with it quickly if they miss realizing how much more you can do with it.
It gives you access to modern robotic features like a camera and virtual, remote viewing and communication, and also comes with an app that lets you control it, and even access your device remotely via the Internet, no matter where you are geographically.
It's priced like a regular electronic device, so it won't break the bank, yet provide you with more depth than any regular "toy" or roving camera.
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- Product Dimensions : 16 x 8 x 12 inches
- Item Weight : 0.96 ounces
- Shipping Weight : 6.7 pounds
- Batteries : 1 Lithium Polymer batteries required. (included)
- Range: Approximately 200 feet
Providing the standard robotic features any self-respecting owner expects, it comes with the full bag. This includes video streaming from the bot’s point-of-view onto a phone or tablet in 720p (HD), which means you can send it to different parts of your house for example, and see and hear everything Mebo does in its vicinity.
It also includes wifi connectivity that allows you to control it anywhere in your home, the ability to record videos to be shared online, moving with tank-like terrain tracks at faster speeds than its predecessors, articulate 360-degree motion, and its signature five-axis precision-controlled arm that lets you grasp, lift, carry and pick up things and have fun just fiddling with it. Or use it to pick up stuff when you’re hungry, want a beer, or play ball with the dog.
The Good: What We Like
It’s a robotic charmer that isn’t too heavy on the wallet, that, for its price, packs a lot of features, many of which you’d normally expect on far more expensive units.
It serves well for entertainment and play, or to actually do more serious and light things like pick up things (like food or drinks or items) in the kitchen or rooms remotely, or view and listen in on different areas of the house and controlling it using your mobile device while you’re in another location, whether in the house or another location altogether via the Internet.
The Bad: What We Don’t Like
While it’s still a great bargain, you still get a wee bit what you pay for in terms of battery life, the scope of abilities, good remote-control aspects but absent full autonomy.
As such, it’s far more entertaining and useful than a remote-controlled toy, but for the most part, it’s like a robotic remote-controlled device that can still give you lots of entertainment and use, but not one that is independent (like a Roomba robo vacuum) and that uses true artificial intelligence.
It’s a cool product to have that costs less than $100 (compared to others that cost well into the five figures) and works mostly via remote control using your mobile device. It can do plenty for entertainment or for remotely surveying different parts of your house, regardless of whether you’re in the vicinity in another room or away and checking in via the Internet without needing to install multiple fixed cameras and instead just using Mebo to move around and see as well as hear what’s happening in real-time.
It’s cost naturally limits some things like a shorter battery life, limited range of movements, and the like.
But for its price, it’s still relatively advanced with plenty of things it can do or be used for, and something owners (and their kids) enjoy a lot.