WowWee CHiP Review: The Lovable Robot Dog

Who Is CHiP?

Before beginning with the WowWee CHiP review, let’s first discuss who CHiP is. CHiP (Canine Home intelligence Pet) is the newest creation by the company WowWee. CHiP is an interactive robot dog with situational awareness and learning capabilities.

Click here to check the price of CHiP on Amazon

If an artificial intelligence robot dog sounds familiar to you, it might be because it is. Back in 1999, Sony came out with a robot dog called Aibo. Sony used sensors and autonomous programs on their robot dogs in order to have them behave like an actual dog. The robot dogs were able to do tricks, wag their tail, and occasionally act on their own judgement. The biggest downside to these dogs were the price. At over $2000, not many people had the luxury of being able to afford it.

Thankfully the price of robot dogs have decreased significantly since then. At less than 1/10 of the cost of Aibo, CHiP makes it possible for many more people to afford him.

When we first heard about CHiP, we were excited to get our hands on him. An interactive robot dog that can learn and do tricks? It sounded too good to be true. Thankfully it wasn’t.

After receiving our CHiP in the mail, we were eager to test it out. We decided to create a WowWee CHiP review so that buyers will know what to expect when buying their very own CHiP. Is it worth getting? What can CHiP do? Let’s find out!

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CHiP Specs

Length: 9.3 inchesHeight: 8.7 inches
Weight: 2.53 poundsMaterial: Plastic, Metal
Works With: Both iOS and AndroidRecommended Age: 8+

First Thoughts:

**Before you consider buying CHiP, make sure your mobile device can support the CHiP app. The app has tutorials and information that will help you learn about the things CHiP can do. It will save you from any headaches and confusion when first starting out. We had to learn this the hard way!**

When we first received the package, we opened up the box right away. The packaging was pretty impressive. We shook the box and did not hear anything move around, which was a good sign that the package was still intact.

A small knife was all we needed in order to open the package, and it was just to cut the pieces of tape keeping CHiP enclosed. Below is a list of the items that should be in the package when it first arrives.

Items included:

  • CHiP robot dog
  • Charging cable
  • Smartbed charging base
  • Smartball
  • Smartband
  • Manual
  • 4 Wheel guards
  • Screws

CHiP Video

If you haven’t seen CHiP in action, feel free to check out the video below!

ProsCons
- Voice recognition system
- Can do a variety of tricks
- Will charge himself when his battery is low
- Multiple ways to control CHiP
- Evolving intelligence
- Durable
- Wheel guards are not factory installed
- Manual can be a bit difficult to follow

WowWee CHiP Design

CHiP’s colors consist of black, white, and blue, giving him a very futuristic look. In order to turn him on, you have to change the switch on the upper front part of the stomach. Just open the little hatch and turn the switch from off to on. Once he’s on, CHiP is ready to play!

One of the most interesting things about CHiP’s design was the wheels he was using. The wheels are called mecanum wheels, which means that CHiP can move in any direction, making him omni-directional. It makes it easier and more efficient for CHiP when he chases a ball, slides sideways to block a ball (he has the ability to play soccer!), and follows you around.

Our first issue with CHiP was that he did not have his wheel guards installed right out of the package. CHiP works just fine without them installed, but the manual advised putting them on. In order to install the guards, you have to unlock each wheel and screw the wheel guards on. It was pretty easy to install the guards, but it was annoying since the guards could have come attached already.

 On the front of CHiP is a gray circle, which we ended up finding out was a cap sensor. The sensor is there for when you play fetch with him. It makes it easier for the ball to stay with CHiP until he has a chance to return it to you.

The eyes of CHiP are important as well since they help indicate what mood CHiP is in. Right out of the box CHiP’s eyes will be blue. When he is angry his eyes will turn a vivid red color. If you give CHiP a voice command, CHiP’s eyes will turn a green color to show that he is listening to what you’re saying.

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Features

CHiP uses the BeaconSense system, which means that he can sense the surrounding area in order to know where he is in relation to the things around him. BeaconSense uses infrared light in order to operate. CHiP also uses voice recognition technology in order to follow any vocal command you give him.

Inside CHiP is a Multi-Access accelerometer and gyroscope. The reason for this is that it helps CHiP sense when he is being picked up, which will make him happy. CHiP can also respond to touch via capacitive sensor technology. If you were to pet his head, for example, he will get really happy. You can also rub your nose against his and he’ll nuzzle you right back.

Voice Commands

The most exciting part of our review was trying out the voice commands. In order for you to give a voice command, you first have to say “Hey CHiP!” If he heard you, his eyes will turn green and he will bark twice to acknowledge that he heard you. That is when you give him a command for him to follow. These commands include “Fetch”, “Sit Down”, and “Yoga.”

We found out that CHiP’s ability to hear voice commands were spotty at times since there were a few occasions where we had to repeat ourselves in order for him to hear us. This might have something to do with him growing accustomed to and learning the commands to simulate a real dog, but we were not entirely sure.

Smartball

Included in the package is CHiP’s favorite toy, the Smartball. The Smartball requires 4 AAA batteries to work, and they are unfortunately not included.  You need to unscrew the cover first in order to install the batteries. When you turn it on for the first time, CHiP stops what he is doing and gets really excited. Once you give him the “Fetch” command, he takes off. Once he gets the Smartball within his paws, he comes panting back so that you can roll or toss it again.

In terms of design, the Smartball has 8 infrared LED sensors that assist in helping CHiP find the ball. The ball is about 3 inches in diameter, and weighs .4 pounds.

The Smartball is pretty durable and seems to be able to withstand damage from drops and shocks, but WowWee doesn’t recommend throwing the Smartball on to hard surfaces or causing any severe impacts. A light toss or rolling the ball is recommended instead.

Smartband

The Smartband is another item you will get when you purchase CHiP. The Smartband enables CHiP to recognize the person wearing it as its “master”. There are buttons on the watch that allow you to do different actions.

One button is a picture of a thumbs up sign, similar to a “Like” button on Facebook. When CHiP does something you like, press the button to let CHiP know that what he did was good. He will adjust his behavior as time goes on to do it more often, which is pretty awesome.

You can press the “Follow” button (Looks like a location icon) on the watch to have CHiP follow you around. We found that CHiP has issues sometimes when finding you, so you may have to point the IR sensor (located at the top of the Smartband) at his eyes in order to get him to respond.

There is a button ion the watch indicated by an exclamation mark that is known as Sic’Em. Press this button to get CHiP to attack your target. We did not mess around too much with this one because we were getting mixed results with it.

The remote control button at the bottom of the watch can be used to control CHiP’s movements. It will turn the Smartband into a joystick that you can use as a remote control.

The big CHiP button in the middle of the watch is also useful since it can stop any action he’s doing at a specific moment in time.

The watch also responds to a “tap” and a “hold”. This allows you to  choose and program all sorts of secondary shortcuts on the Smartband through the CHiP app.

 Smartbed

The final item in the package is the Smartbed. Whenever CHiP gets low on power or is idle, he will head over to his Smartbed and charge himself. Just make sure he is within range of the Smartbed. Otherwise he won’t be able to find it. CHiP’s maximum range is about 15 feet.

We noticed that he occasionally has issues finding the charger or that he won’t sit properly when he does find it. You have the ability to put him on the charger yourself, but that’s not as fun!

WowWee CHiP App

It cannot be stressed enough that you should make sure you have the CHiP app in your app store before purchasing the WowWee. Although it isn’t necessary, having the app makes CHiP much more entertaining since there are more things you can do. You can feed CHiP treats, or you can convert your device into a remote that can control CHiP’s movements.

There is also a notification center that allows you to check the status of CHiP’s happiness, hunger, and energy.  If one area becomes deficient, the app will send a notification to the user.

Although the app is available for both Apple and Android, the app appears to have less support on the Android than on the iOS. Just something to keep in mind.

FAQ’s

Q: Is WowWee CHiP waterproof?

A: CHiP is not waterproof, so we would recommend keeping him away from any water source.

Q: Can CHiP be used outside?

A: Although CHiP could technically be used outside, he is more suited for inside.

Q: Will CHiP work well on carpets?

A: As long as the carpets are not extremely thick, CHiP should not have an issue.

How To Videos

Our Final Verdict

After concluding our WowWee CHiP review, we felt that CHiP is well worth the purchase. There are a few issues that need to be worked out, but the complexity and intrigue that CHiP offers is just too good to pass up. Although he’s a bit pricey, CHiP would be a great gift for both kids and adults. If you’re interested in getting a robot dog, check out our list of best robot dogs.

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