My husband came home one day with a bag full of toys for our then 14-month-old son -- each painstakingly chosen from the clearance bin at the local MediaPlay store. Among his treasure-hunt finds was the Hit Clips Dance-Bot from Tiger Electronics (a division of Hasbro). It caught my interest because the original price sticker said $30! I asked how much he paid for this $30 toy, and he replied $1.80! Sure enough, the receipt confirmed it. I was very curious as to why a $30 toy was sold for under $2 -- and I believe we found the answer... but first let me tell you a bit about the Dance-Bot.
Recommend this product?
If you haven't been living under a rock recently then you probably are already aware of Tiger Electronics' line of "Hit Clips" toys. They hit the streets sometime in 2000, complete with a media blitz and tie-ins with McDonalds Happy Meals.
The "Clips" are small digital music chips (approximately the size of a postage stamp) that each contain approximately a minute's worth of a popular song. There are a large variety of clips available, mostly from artists that appeal to teens and pre-teens (Britney Spears, 'NSync, etc). Individual clips sale for approximately $3-$4.
The "clips" are played in "micro-music systems", also manufactured by Tiger Electronics. The mini-systems come in a variety of styles, from little boom-boxes to mini-karaoke machines. They are all key-chain sized and small enough to be taken anywhere.
The Dance-Bot is one such HitClips player. It is a little robot that stands approximately 7 inches tall. Mine is colored silver with blue (just like the picture above), but I have also seen a silver-with-gray version. The HitClip that comes with the Dance-Bot is either "Who Let the Dogs Out" from the Baha Men or the A*Teens rendition of "Dancing Queen" (we got "Who Let the Dogs Out" with ours).
The robot is called a Dance-Bot because he "dances" while the music is playing. The packaging states that he "shuffles and slides" while the music plays, or dances to "any loud and rockin' sound in the room". His elbows and shoulders are very loosely jointed (so that they move while he is dancing). His legs look like they would be jointed but aren't really -- they don't bend much but they have a little give just so he will rattle and move a bit while dancing.
The HitClip fits in a slot at the back of the Dance-Bot's head. The top of his head is clear, so you can see which clip is inserted. A Play/Off button on the robot's left shoulder controls the music playback. A mode button on the right shoulder controls whether the robot "dances" to all sounds (noise-dancing) or only when the music is playing (music-dancing). A red light representing the robot's eye flashes as the music plays.
The Hit Clips Dance-Bot requires 3 AAA batteries (not included). He also comes with a 90 day limited warranty. The manufacturer recommends this toy for children ages 5 and up.
Well, the "dancing" is really laughable. Basically there is rubber on the bottom of one of his feet to keep that one foot from moving. There are rollers on the bottom of the other foot. When he is "dancing" all that really means is that his rollable-leg moves left-and-right, just a little bit, to the music/noise. His loose joints cause him to shake a bit whenever his leg moves side-to-side, so I guess you could say he jiggles a little. I really wasn't expecting much, but for $30 I was expecting there to be more to the "dancing" than one leg moving a tiny bit!
What really made it funny was the "noise-dancing" mode. As soon as you pressed the button he would start to move. He is so noisy, what with his rattling loose-joints and his loudly-grinding gears, that his own dancing caused enough noise to keep him moving! It was a vicious cycle. My husband finally managed to get him to stop dancing (I don't know how he did it), and we watched him in a stony silence for a moment, not daring to breathe lest we set him off again. My husband then made a noise, hoping that the robot would make one move for the noise then go back to standing still again -- but it was not to be. As soon as he moved the noisy vicious cycle started again and he kept dancing and dancing (or maybe I should call it "lurching and lurching"). So, needless to say, the "noise-dancing" mode is completely useless.
He is not a total loss, thank goodness. My boy does get a kick out of him. He will dance around while the music plays, and enjoys pressing the buttons on the Dance-Bot's shoulders (my boy is a button-fanatic). Our son is only 15 months old -- the music-clip is definitely small enough to be swallowed and the toy is so cheaply-constructed it looks like it will fall apart easily, so we only rarely let him hold it and never let him play with it unsupervised. As a plain-old toy (for an older child) he is cute but there really isn't much to him. If it weren't for the music there would really be nothing special on him to make him worth playing with as a toy.
The sound quality is okay. The music recording itself is great but the speakers are so tiny that the sound doesn't really carry well. There is no volume control, however the volume is set at a decent level.
At the very most I would say that the Hit Clips Dance-Bot is worth maybe $5. Putting a $30 price on him is absolutely laughable! Since we only paid $1.80 I guess we got our money's worth, and I could not recommend paying much more than that.
If your child wanted to start a HitClips collection and needed a player, I would NOT recommend the Dance-Bot, as his dancing is nothing special and he is so noisy he competes with the music itself. You can easily find other HitClips players that do more for less money. If your child wanted a cool dancing toy then I again cannot really recommend the Dance-Bot as his "shuffle and slide" motions are, again, nothing special.
Tiger appears to have a new robot for this year (2002). Called the "Beat Bot 6000", the new Bot is cheaper (at $17) and appears to dance more than its Dance-Bot cousin (however we do not own one, so I really cannot give details on exactly how "new & improved" the new design is).
Manufacturer's Web Site:
Amount Paid (US$): 1.80 (sale)
Type of Toy: Other
Age Range of Child: 6 to 8 Years