Pleo videos, review

Pleo robot baby dinosaur!

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Review - Pleo

So it's impossibly cute and impossibly expensive. But is Pleo any good? It all depends who it's for, it depends on what you expect and it depends on how big a deal £250 is to you. So not a definite yes or no then...

First, the positives. Its 'lifelike' behaviour really is lifelike. The response time of the sensors and processors inside make Pleo quick to react, just like a real err.... baby dinosaur.

When stroking Pleo, it helps to know where the sensors are, especially if demonstrating him/her to your friends. Don't forget that there are sensors on Pleo's feet, too. These stop Pleo walking off tabletops, but also mean that Pleo will get a bit nervous if you lift him/her off the ground altogether. Which mean that you'll need to pet it more.... Ahh....

Pleo is firmware-upgradeable, too, so you can load on (SD or USB, from Ugobe) new personalities and behaviour in the future - pretty cool or pretty scary, depending on your point of view!

On the downside, Pleo's not big on walking. If you hang around long enough it will walk, but not far and not very fast - in this regard it's not much of a virtual pet. If you want speed around the house, get the much cheaper (and arguably as cute) GUPI.

There's also the little matter of gear noise (i.e. whirring), which takes away from the realism unless you somehow tune it out. Still, it's not that loud, and you'll probably be louder with your own exhortations to Pleo ("Come on, girl, there, there", etc.)

Pleo obviously appeals to just about anybody, though kids and adults will get different behaviour and satisfaction from it. But you can't deny that it's the vanguard of a whole new era of AI-style robotic pets. Moreover, Pleo breaks through the AI barrier and genuinely fools you into thinking that this toy has feelings and personality. And that may be quite enough to help you part with £250.

Under Pleo's skin !