Pros: Transforms between Robot-mode and Jet-mode in 3 easy steps. Simple enough for preschoolers.
Cons: So minor it feels silly to even mention them
My 3 year old has always been nuts over his father's Transformer toys, but they are far too complicated for my little guy to "transform" by himself. When we found out about Playskool/Hasbro's Go-Bot's line of Transformers for the preschool set, we knew we had to get him some. The first one he received, a cool racecar/robot combo called the Aero-Bot Racer, was a mega-hit with my mechanically-minded little one. He carried it everywhere with him for weeks, transforming it for anyone who would pay attention. We were out and about with my boy when he spied some new Go-Bots on the store shelf, so we let him choose one for himself. After much deliberation, the one he selected was the Aero-Bot Ultra Jet.
Go-Bots are essentially large, chunky, transformers meant for preschoolers. Transformation is usually simple, consisting of 3-or-so steps. The Aero-Bot Ultra Jet has two modes - Jet mode and Robot mode. Switching between the two modes takes 3 steps (although it could be argued that transformation takes only 1 step), and my son was able to transform it all by himself as soon as it was out of the packaging.
In Jet mode you have a cool, metallic-blue jet plane to play with. Small wheels (one in front and one on each rocket booster) really do turn and aid in take-offs and landings. When the red windshield is pressed the toy makes jet-engine noises (basically the humming of the engine). In jet mode it measures just under 6½ inches long and the wingspan is roughly 14½ inches wide.
Robot mode is really cool too, and this Ultra-Jet is much more articulated in robot-mode than our Aero-Bot Racer. You can raise and lower his arms, as well as rotate them forward. The turbines that make up his "hands" can really be spun. His legs can be moved outward to give him a wider stance. His wings can be moved up or down just a bit. He stands roughly 6½ inches tall. When you press the red windshield in robot mode he says a variety of different phrases ("Transformers Go!", "Aero-Bot Power!", "Transformers to the rescue!", "Aero-Bot Go!", "Transformer Power!", "Aero-Bot to the rescue!") and his eyes light up as he speaks.
Converting from jet to robot is very simple. If you push down on the nose of the plane while pushing down on the tail, the front will crack open to reveal the robot's face. As you flip the plane's nose down to reveal the robot's upper body he will say "Transformation Complete" and the red lights flash in his eyes. Now, it could be argued that that single step all it takes to transform him from jet to robot, because at this point he can already stand (on his rocket-booster legs). The instructions state that his legs should be pulled apart (giving him a wider stance, which does indeed help him stand better) and that his arms can be swiveled forward, but those two steps aren't really necessary -- he looks enough like a robot without them.
Converting him from robot to jet is equally simple. The instructions request that you squeeze his legs back together, put his arms down and lock them into place, then flip up the robot's upper body to re-form the nose of the plane. There are little notches on the legs/boosters as well as where the arms can lock into place on the wings. My son is obsessive about everything being correct - which means the right pegs are in the right notches before my son will consider the transformation to jet complete.
The manufacturer recommends the Aero-Bot Ultra Jet for children ages 3 and up. Three 1.5v A76/LR44 button-cell batteries are required (included - thank goodness), which power the sounds and the lights.
I think that my son chose this particular Go-Bot because it was one of the larger Go-Bots on the shelf that day, and because it is a shiny metallic color rather than the regular colors found on most other Go-Bots. I like the fact that his two Go-Bots form two different types of vehicles - a jet and a racecar.
Unlike the Aero-Bot Racer, which to me looks a bit odd in robot form, I think this Go-Bot looks pretty darn cool when in robot form. He just looks a bit more natural, like a robot someone might actually design. He's more articulated than the racer version too. As far as transforming him goes, in that area I prefer the Aero-Bot Racer -- there is very noticeable difference between his robot-mode and his racecar-mode (in fact with the Racer it's hard to believe that those two modes are actually the same toy!). The Aero-Bot Ultra Jet doesn't transform quite as completely, with his wide, flashy wings making the biggest impact regardless of which form he's in. Seeing the racecar transform is more impressive to me than seeing the jet transform, just because it is SO different-looking before & after. That being said, transforming the jet is easier (because the racecar has a spring-loaded feature that took my little guy a few days to learn how to reset consistently), so if your child is younger or less mechanically inclined they might prefer the jet.
As with his other Go-Bot toy, I love the fact that he can see what goes into transforming his Go-Bot between the two modes. It's a bit like working a puzzle, doing certain things in a certain order to convert his figure from one thing to another. The fact that he's doing it all by himself, rather than having Mommy or Daddy do it for him, is fantastic too. This makes Go-Bots not only fun toys to play with, but educational toys as well.
My husband did make one observation: When in Jet-mode with his "arms" down, the turbine rotors are facing the tail-end of the jet. That's incorrect -- they're the intakes and should be facing forward. It's probably not something a little kid would notice as wrong, of course, and I do think the fact that the turbine's fan-like blades turn make it cooler, but it bugs my husband to have them pointing the wrong way (and bugs my son when my husband points them forward instead of toward the back when in jet-mode).
I love Go-Bots as travel toys. They are small enough for my son to carry by himself, with no pieces that fall off and get lost, and each Go-Bot is actually two toys in one. Whenever my husband and I have errands to run with our son, we now encourage him to choose a Go-Bot to take with him, because it keeps him occupied (either playing with it in one mode or the other, or transforming it between modes).
You might have noticed that both of our Go-Bots are called the same name: "Aero-Bot". Apparently Aero-Bot is the leader of the Go-Bots, and as such he can take on a few different forms. Making a single toy that could take multiple forms yet still be simple enough for preschoolers would be more difficult, however, so Hasbro chose to make different toys to represent his different transformations. There are actually quite a few "Aero-Bot" variations, so far we only have two of them. So our two Go-Bots are actually of the same character, but my son doesn't really realize this. To him they are "My jet transformer" and "My racecar transformer".
+) Two toys in one (a robot and a jet)
+) Simple transformation steps are easy enough for preschoolers to master all by themselves
+) Has different phrases/sound effects depending upon whether he's in robot mode, jet mode, or currently undergoing transformation.
+) His "eyes" light up when he speaks in robot mode
+) Educational - kids learn the steps it takes to manipulate the object from one mode to the other
+) Good toy for traveling (small, no pieces to lose, etc)
-) Not a really huge difference between his jet-mode and his robot-mode (when compared to some other Go-Bots)
-) If you're going to get nit-picky, his turbine engines are pointing the wrong way when in jet-mode
I continue to be really impressed with all of the Go-Bot toys we've purchased so far. They are currently my son's favorites - usurping his Spider-man and Friends toys for now (and that's really saying something). I especially love how convenient these toys are when traveling or running errands. If you've got a preschooler who likes robots or who thrills in "transforming" things, you just can't beat Go-Bots!
If you are interested in seeing what the Aero-Bot Ultra Jet looks like in robot form, here's a link from the official Hasbro website: http://www.hasbro.com/pl/page.viewproduct/product_id.13545/dn/default.cfm
Related Go-Bot Reviews:
Racer-Bot Beta Roadster
Silver-Bot Flying Fists