Review: Sphero Specdrums

Stephen Watson
April 27, 2019

Available from Very @ £64.99

Sphero is a brand that has been at the using there products to not only allow kids to have fun but also provide a learning platform to teach basic coding such as the BB8 we recently reviewed and they have not disappointed this time around.

The Sphero Spectdrums are the latest offering and they are an app-enabled musical ring that lets you make sounds on anything you come across as well the colour sensor mat you are given.

Like other products from Sphero they have created the perfect blend of fun and learning and at £69 for one specdrum or £99 for 2 specdrum rings. We had the chance to give this a real try and we love it.

When you open the box you we had the £64.99 version with one ring you also ger the roller up play mat that has various coloured panels as you can see below and it also comes with a  short USB to Micro USB cable for charging. However, If you are like me and have a dozen USB to Micro USB cables just use a longer cable if you want to charge and play at the same time. You are also given with a small carry bag to take everything with you on the move.

The ring itself is well made using a silicone material which allows it be be fit more figure sizes and allows it to be very comfortable when using it. Size wise :

Depth 44mm  

Height 184 mm

Width 153 mm

The Pad that comes with it where you make the music has a nice textured finish and is the size of 2 mouse mats. The ring gives you 2 hours of play which should be plenty for most kids who this product is aimed for.

So the Sphero spectrums require you to download an app to use the the specdrums and sphero give you a chance of 2 with the Specdrums mix or Specdrums music apps both are available to download but the Specdrums music app has not available on Android as for this review but am sure that will change soon. Once downloaded the apps are easy to use. Once downloaded and you have hooked up the ring via bluetooth  your ready to play.

The Specdrum Mix app is more for the fun factor and allows you to simply play without having to do much.   The Mix app shows you the multicolored panels like you see on the mat. The bottom panels play a musical scale or different sounds depending on voice pack. The top 4 panels are attached to note lops or programmed drum noises.  There are 14 different packs currently to make a variety of different sounds all free. The first loop you turn on specdrum you set the timings meaning when your press the buttons it works perfectly.

The Specdrum music app is more of the educational side of things it allows for recording and making your own tunes.

What makes this product really cool is the face you can make a sharp tap with the colour sensor on something like a wall then the colour sensor will match it to the closest tune matched to the colour to make a sound or hold the sensor on the colour for a longer tune.

The slight negative of this is when your finished playing the soundboard that comes with each voice pack you hit a small barrier. However, with practice you will progress past just making random sounds.

Another feature which is very good is the fact you can change the colours of the panels to any you like. Providing you have an object of that colour nearby that you can scan. You can also alter the sounds from a pre recorded pack or simply record your own using the music app.

The performance of this product does have a few issues such as the ring would disconnect on certain notes. I also found a spelling mistake on the app and it’s a shame there a few glitches but am sure if Sphero come up with an update they can get rid of the issues we found.

The fact its pocket size is a bonus meaning you can take this around and the specdrums can fit in the palm of your hand allowing for you to walk around freely and play as you go as long as you have your smartphone nearby. This got my kids moving and trying to make music both in and outside.

Overall, the sphero specdrums allow the unique experience that for someone with an iphone X you can use up to 6 specdrums and create music with friends if you have 6 but at £69.99 each or 2 specdrums for £99 its will be expensive to have to buy multiple sets.

They kept my kids entertained and it was fun to see the sounds made by them both. I was also impressed that not only fun but it also acted at a learning aid as it helps with the following subjects: Technology, Science, Engineering, art and maths.  

At £69 it’s well worth buying for anyone with enjoyment in music but I found it a great product for making learning fun.

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