Ozobot Vs Sphero: Which Programmable Robot Will Your Kids Love Most

I’m a big believer in introducing kids skills they need for the future as early as possible and in a fun way. There is no doubt in my mind that an understanding of coding fundamentals will give the children of today an advantage as an adult of tomorrow. However, the key to this is doing it in a fun and engaging way which is why I wanted to look at two of the most popular kids coding toys.

It might seem almost unrealistic to achieve, but the Ozobot vs Sphero discussion is a serious contention because the impossible task of mixing fun and learning is what these fun robotic toys do so well. What better way to equip your kids with the most demanded talents than incorporating skill-building exercises into their everyday fun?

While there are endless Sphero balls available, such as the Sphero Mini,
Sphero Bolt, in this post we are focussing on the SPRK+ as it is more inclined to learning than some of the more toy-like Sphero robot balls.

With regard to the Ozobot, there is the Bit and the Evo available. We’ll be looking at the Evo. The Bit is for younger children to introduce screen-free coding principles.

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Ozobot vs Sphero: the quick answer

Sphero SPRK+
Ozobot Evo
Sphero SPRK+: App-Enabled Robot Ball with Programmable Sensors + LED Lights - STEM Educational Toy...
Evo App-Connected Coding Robot (Black)
Recommended age
8 - 14 years
6+
Size
A baseball
A tangerine
Charge time
180 minutes
60 minutes
Battery life on a full charge
60 minutes
60 minutes
Stars
-
Sphero SPRK+
Sphero SPRK+: App-Enabled Robot Ball with Programmable Sensors + LED Lights - STEM Educational Toy...
Recommended age
8 - 14 years
Size
A baseball
Charge time
180 minutes
Battery life on a full charge
60 minutes
Stars
Ozobot Evo
Evo App-Connected Coding Robot (Black)
Recommended age
6+
Size
A tangerine
Charge time
60 minutes
Battery life on a full charge
60 minutes
Stars
-

Last update on 2020-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

To be perfectly honest, the number of features available to Sphero ball robot toy users are enough to lure even adults to playing with the STEM toy. That’s not saying the Ozobot is limited, it just doesn’t offer as many engaging points as Sphero balls.

Then again, Ozobots are great for drawing your kids in towards technology, with light, sensors and cool sounds making up a trifecta of responses that will seize every kids’ attention and never let it go. Until the battery runs down, of course.

Winner: Sphero SPRK, but keep reading out closer look as it may be that the Ozobot is better suited, especially if your kids are a bit younger.

Ozobot Evo review

The Ozobot is a small but mighty piece of programmable coding tech designed to gradually suck your kids into the wide world of coding. The STEM toy doesn’t have a distinct look, but its physical appeal relies on how much your kids love the Marvel Cinematic Universe and her superheroes.

As for its functionality, that’s best enjoyed in smaller spaces like when playing with Lego blocks. The bot is designed to switch its five light bulbs on or off depending on the programmable commands your kids type in. Ozobot lights also come with some cool phrases and fun sounds sometimes. The link between the drawing board and the robot is Bluetooth, which is forward thinking, but the fact that you can only send a program at a time – from a small list of programs – shows how limited the fun space of the Ozobot is. 

The robot assigns some tasks to the children, asking them to complete some codes – called Ozocodes – so the kids can enjoy the awesome light show. They also get the sense of fulfilment of getting the robot to complete the maze. There are also fun points like the Ozoblockly and the remote control-recorder that will keep your kids educated and entertained.

  • Coding is screen-free, so it isn’t intimidating and you don’t put more expensive gadgets at risk
  • The 1 hour-long charging time is fair enough
  • Considering how limited the toy is, it feels intentional that the battery life is set at an hour
  • Oh, so delicate!
Evo App-Connected Coding Robot (Black)
  • Meet Evo – an award-winning coding robot that unleashes your inner creator (ages 9+, beginner to master coding)

Last update on 2020-09-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sphero SPRK+ review

From the producers of robot toys such as the surreal Pixar Cars ‘Lightning McQueen’ and The Star Wars-inspired BB-9E and BB-8 toy sets, comes STEM toys that have created their strong points in this Ozobot vs Sphero argument. 

The Sphero SPRK+ is about the size of a baseball, but with a massive catalog of functionality that will put other big but purposeless toys to educational shame.

The bot works in different modes, so your kids never get bored of playing with the small delicate ball. They can play with the Sphero by chasing it about in Face Mode, or controlling the bot around using the mobile app. However, the peak learning value of the Sphero STEM toy is in the Sphero Edu application, which allows your kid manipulate the robot in so many ways using JavaScript. 

Unlike Ozobot with its unique languages, Sphero doesn’t hide with direct JavaScript commands that normalizes the world of programming for your children. They graduate from drawing paths between simple blocks of code, to actually control the color, mobility, direction and speed of the robot using commands that get more intricate as they keep learning. A journey that even allows them to rewrite the code of the robot if they get good enough to do that. But more on that later. 

  • Direct introduction to JavaScript for kids is a brilliant idea, and well executed.
  • Super-sophisticated. Kids will learn so much from using it. 
  • Short battery life.
  • Terribly long charging time
  • Delicate
Sphero SPRK+: App-Enabled Robot Ball with Programmable Sensors + LED Lights - STEM Educational Toy...
  • MORE THAN JUST A ROBOT: Sphero SPRK+ is a programmable robot ball designed to inspire creativity and curiosity through coding and play. Easily learn programming, complete hands-on activities, and...

Last update on 2020-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Side by side features comparison

We know they’re both tiny balls that can teach your kids about coding as they play, but what similarities differentiates them from each other. 

Coding

The biggest advantage of these programmable robots is that they are STEM toys that offer lessons in real world coding. Ozobots does a really remarkable job at that, offering a fictional bite at programming for kids.

The Ozoblockly programming language Ozobots use is based on Google’s ‘Blockly’ and MIT’s ‘Scratch’, which is great as an introductory tool for programming. 

By learning more about loops, variables, and other programming basics, the kids are induced into coding. At the same time, the lights and sound display encourage the kids to be more inquisitive about the applications of these codes with elements like sensors and motors for problem solutions.

The Ozoblockly programming language is used for the Ozobot toy coding robot.

On the other hand, the Sphero bots offer a very practical stammering at coding instruction. The app uses the very functional JavaScript in a very interactive way, so that your kids are well on their way to becoming tech geniuses before the age of 14, or so they thought. 

Before then, though, kids have to use the Scratch programming language to come to grips with the coding environment – After all, Scratch is meant to teach people to write lines of code from, well, scratch. It is after they get comfortable with manipulating the Sphero bots with Scratch commands that they can proceed to learning about the more sophisticated world of JavaScript. In this sense, Sphero STEM toys are limitless in educational value.  

Apps and software

Both the Ozobots and the Sphero bots have an app for more enjoyable learning and control, but they work very differently.

The Ozobot Evo model runs from the Ozobot app which allows access to the games as well as the robot’s programming tech. 

Sphero bots use the Sphero Edu app but also can be manipulated using web-based controllers – which allows them greater flexibility across all mobile and computer devices.

With this method, the web-based application also means kids will have to make use of computers or phones to code the actions of the Sphero bots like professional programmers would. A ‘Marvis Beacon teaches Programming’. If you will.

The Sphero Edu app is downloadable on all smartphones and a gret choice hwne comparing Ozobot Vs Sphero

Key differences

Design

By exploiting Marvel’s superheroes in designing its Ozoskins, Ozobot are a step-ahead in terms of child-friendliness. This is despite the fact that Sphero bots are available in different colors like green, blue, white, pink and orange, you can basically buy new color clothes for the Sphero robots, because you can also get the same colors for the Ozobots in addition to the superhero Ozoskins.

Overall functionality

The overwhelming assortment of features your kids can explore with the Sphero bots would normally put the ozobot vs sphero argument to rest. Modes like the Face Drive where the robot moves to the left, right depending on where the child nods towards, or backwards and forwards depending on whether the child is smiling or frowning. You’ll sooner find most kids laughing as they chase a robot around while making silly faces, than trying to complete a maze like with Ozobots.

There’s also the matter of the type of programming language that the two STEM toys use. Ozobots take a classroom approach to introducing programming, with its Ozocodes and Ozoblockly providing simulations for real-life programming that has no direct application, but is well thought-out for introducing kids to the world of programming through exposure to lines of code as well as interaction through the visual block languages and remote control applications. 

The Sphero bot skips that step, instead focusing on real-life practical coding languages like Scratch and JavaScript, watered down to their fundamentals for kids to learn from. The fact that the developers expect your kids to write a true code after learning through the app is testament to its expected effectiveness.

Sphero SPRK+: App-Enabled Robot Ball with Programmable Sensors + LED Lights - STEM Educational Toy...

Peer-to-peer network

Both Coding Robots allow your kids limited fun with other kids. Ozobots include markers and a canvas for painting dashed codes, which familiarizes them with the codes.

They can even send messages and instructions to their friends’ robots when they’re apart, which is a quirky introduction to social media if they can use it right. Sphero balls might need group work from other kids to push through.

Battery life 

Considering how small the two robots are, it’ll be strange if you expect them to last longer than your phone. The Sphero bots edge this department slightly with a 2-hour average runtime to go with the almost six hours you spend charging it.

The charge time is possibly offset by the fact that the Sphero bots offer micro USB or wireless charging, which is wonderful news for less-careful kids. 

Ozobots are all about the basics, so there’s no wireless charging. The bot cones with a micro-USB charging connector that fills up the bot battery within the hour, then you can use it for the next hour. So, your kids have fun every other hour, and that’s just weird.

Evo App-Connected Coding Robot (Black)

FAQ

  1. What are some cool things that I can do with my Sphero ball?

    The Face Drive mode allows you to control the Sphero bots with your facial expressions, or you can play with the joystick through the app interface.

  2. What is the purpose of an Ozobot?

    If you want a fun way to get your kids hooked and knowledgeable about the World of Robotics, then Ozobots can provide the perfect spark. The remote-controlled movements, sounds, and challenges require your kids to enter prewritten codes by coloring or typing them in. Soon, you’ll find your kids breathing codes. 

  3. How do round robots like Sphero move

    There are rollers beneath the balls that move as the internal motors turn.

  4. What are the recommended ages for children using Ozobots and Sphero balls?

    Kids above the age of 7 can enjoy the fun and instructive benefits of the coding robots.

  5. What is the best coding language for kids to learn with?

    Ozocodes might be a very limited coding language, but the designers created it expressly with kids in mind. Sphero bots, on the other hand, work using Google’s Blockly. While Google made Blockly for children and coding beginners, the language tilts towards the adult coding beginners than the children.

  6. Do Ozobots work with other markers?

    Sharpie markers are available in different colors and still serve as great substitutes for the original markers. You can also turn to Crayola markers if you can’t get your hands on Sharpie markers.

  7. What devices work with the SPRK+?

    The Sphero works with all devices, although Android devices below OS 4.4.2 are ineligible to work with this coding robot.

  8. Whats the difference between the Ozobot Bit vs Ozobot Evo

    The Ozobot Bit is a much simpler device for younger children to learn screen free coding. It is aimed at kids between 6 – 10 while the Evo is from 8 – 14. The Ozobot Evo also has a companion app and speaker.

Ozobot vs Sphero: final thoughts

The Sphero and Ozobots are wonderful STEM toys that combine fun and valuable education in a wonderful way for kids and are conveniently available on Amazon.

Kids love to see Ozobots dressed in the color of their favorite superheroes, and the magical glide of the Sphero is a thing of beauty.

Of course, the informative depth of the Sphero SPRK+ is a few steps above what the Ozobot is capable of, but Ozobots also bring the basics of programming to kids in such a way that’s easy for them to gobble up.

Once your kids are comfortable enough with the codes, the exciting World of Robotics awaits!

Last update on 2020-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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