Lego Mindstorms EV3 Review

Our rating: 5 stars

The new Mindstorms EV3 programmable robot kit offers what Lego describe as their most advanced technology ever developed. It enables you to create and design your own walking, talking and even thinking robots, either following the instructions to build one of 5 predesigned models, or customizing them according to your own imagination.

Powered by an ARM9 processor and two AAA batteries, this new Lego Mindstorms set lets creative and technical minds from 10 years of age and up take on preset robot construction tasks. It can even be controlled by your smart device through a free app download. So without further ado, let’s take a deeper look into the ins and outs of the EV3 robotics technology.

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Lego 31313 Mindstorms EV3 Review Video

Lego Mindstorm EV3 Set 31313 Main Features

* Over 550 Lego Technic elements
* Instructions for 5 robots:
TRACK3R, R3PTAR, SPIK3R, EV3RSTORM and GRIPP3R
(instructions for 1 robot in box, others downloadable to your computer)
* Further customization possible
* Control with the included remote or through an app on your smart device
* Supported by active community of EV3 users at Lego.com/mindstorms
* Age 10+

Lego Mindstorms EV3 Review

Lego Mindstorms EV3 verticalIf you know anything about the Lego Mindstorms series of programmable robotics and construction toys and products, you will surely already understand the appeal of the EV3. This advanced technical construction product allows young, intelligent minds from age 10 and above to build a robot which actually walks and talks.

The Lego Mindstorms EV3 set #31313 contains more than 550 elements. It’s visually appealing to the technically minded with red, silver, black and white coloring. From an educational point of view, it’s excellent for problem-solving and logic development and the improvement of fine motor skills.

Some people may consider this a toy just because it comes from the Lego brand, but in fact the onboard USB port, microSD card reader, infrared sensor and redesigned color and touch sensor technologies testify to its high-tech abilities. What’s more, in the EV3 those features are combined with Lego Technic elements and easy-to-follow design instructions. Both young people and adults can get a huge amount of constructing these robots and will appreciate the walking, talking and intuitive creations they can make.

The main instructions are for five different robots which you can see pictured on the right here – along with a sixth that is customized. You’re not limited to the standard robot creations at all.

In fact, included in this set is a bonus package of 12 design ideas which were created by other Mindstorms EV3 owners at the online community that Lego has created. EV3 owners can go here to ask questions and bounce ideas off other users of the product. One really neat feature is the ability to modify the code and create your own customized experience. The owners group takes full advantage of that.

For the technically minded, here are more details and specs. The P-Brick which is the “brain” of the EV3 runs Linux on an ARM9 processor. There’s 64MB RAM system memory along with 16MB Flash. Up to 32GB of external storage is supported through the microSD slot. The unit also has Bluetooth wireless control capabilities.

If you want to look at the Mindstorms EV3 alongside the NXT, the previous Mindstorms product, you’ll see that the EV3 offers control over 4 motors in comparison to the single motor of the NXT. This is just one of the many technologically advanced features this product offers.

Points to note are firstly the price: you do pay for the excellent mix of robotics technology and Lego functionality, but this is not a simple building set by any means and you do get value for the amount you pay. With the choice of 5 different robots to build and the ability to customize further, this is something that will keep older kids and adults immersed for a long time. It’s marked “not suitable for children under 10”.

Finally you should be aware that the software and most of the robot instructions need to be downloaded from the Lego website – they don’t come in physical form in the box. Software needs to be downloaded to and programmed from a computer.

The Mindstorms EV3 runs on the open-source Linux platform, giving you extreme customization and personalization options if you want to go beyond the basic instructions. Smartphone integration and multiple online apps join a huge number of technical features that easily justify the price tag.

We’re sure that Lego has another hit on their hands with this product. It is certain will appeal to tech-minded youngsters and adults alike. After all, who doesn’t like robots? Kids will learn a lot from building them and have a lot of fun too.

In short, the Lego Mindstorms EV3 is one of those rare products that are highly enjoyable, while also challenging young (and older) minds to grow.

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Our rating: 5 stars

Published 29 October 2013

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