The Rover App-Controlled Spy Tank adds to Brookstone's line up of Wifi controlled toys. In order to get up and running the bot needs 6 AA batteries which are included and needs its antenna screwed on.
After downloading the free app from the Apple App store, iPod Touches, iPads and iPhones can control the tank. It creates its own wifi network so that there's no interference and it can be controlled from up to 200 feet away unobstructed or 100 feet if there are walls in between.
The tank is generally responsive until it gets out of range. The video quality isn't great, but it's good enough to see where you're going, who you're bumping into and any obstacles in your path. You can snap screenshots of any evidence you may find in your travels and the pictures store on your device. The tank also has a night vision mode which works quite well. You can steer the tank and do some recon in pitch black.
There's a microphone so you can hear what's being said, but one of the drawbacks of this toy is that there's no way to communicate back with the people who may be surprised by it. You can record a path that it can retrace and you can use your devices accelerometer in G-Drive Mode, though I've found that the manual controls are a bit more reliable.
Battery life is generally good and we were able to play with the toy for more than 30 minutes without any problems. It's body is made of plastic and seems pretty sturdy and the treads are durable. We'd like to see some more functionality from the app and a way to communicate with people you may run into.
The $150 price point makes it more affordable than some other Wifi toys so for the big kid in the house this could make for a pretty good holiday present. It's available now.