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4.5 out of 5 stars23
4.5 out of 5 stars
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 30 January 2012
This smaller Bigtrak is only 20cm long by 13cm wide but just as much fun as the bigger version.

When first out of the box you need to attach stickers to the Bigtrak, and insert 3 AA batteries. Once this is done, and the 6 moon craters that come with the junior set out, the Bigtrak is good to go. The toy is programmed, just like the original, via the keyboard on its top. Getting the Bigtrak to move around will require some simple programming - hence the age 8 guideline, though I've found my 5 year old is more than capable of inputting commands to the Bigtrak with a little guidance. You can put in up to 16 commands at once which will make the machine move forwards, backwards, rotate or fire a phaser. There's a "test" button to get you started, but really the joy of the toy is getting it to follow your commands.

They've made the controls easy, so distance forwards is measured in length of the toy - if you press the forward button and "5" it will move forward by five lengths of the toy; you can input up to 99 lengths forward or backward. To get it to rotate you press the left and right arrows and then minutes of a clock - so to do a 360 rotation you input 60. This is actually simpler to do than explain, and further eased by the use of a x2 button, and by the manual which explains everything with pictures of the buttons you need in a clear and logical manner. That's not to say you have to spend hours learning how to use it and, anyway, there's a "test" button to press which sets the Bigtrak off by itself and show you what it can do with the right instructions. Once you have input everything you press "go" and hope for the best. We've found the Bigtrak follows commands flawlessly, though it struggles to turn on carpet as opposed to a veneer surface. On the Bigtrak junior only the middle wheels are actually motorised (I have no idea if this is the case with its more expensive and bigger brother), so it doesn't cope that well with rough surfaces and sometimes it doesn't rotate quite as expected.

That said it's great fun trying to get it to negotiate a course of moon craters (the craters themselves are pretty poor quality to be honest but do the job), or to carry an object to another family member - you can actually buy an add on can holder and rocket launcher. The Bigtrak makes very 1980's computer noises (think Vic20 if you are old enough) at the start and end of the manoeuvres, not too loudly on the scale of modern toys. All in all it's a great exercise in nostalgia that seems to appeal to modern kids too. It's not the most robust of toys, though it does seem to be fairly well built on the scale of plastic toys and it certainly stands up to play pretty well. The keyboard is quite small but easy to use and I like the fact that they've kept the Bigtrak's eighties looks and not tried to change it. It doesn't travel at a huge speed but trundles along - for the price you can't complain really, we have had hours of fun with it. I like the fact that it turns itself into sleep mode if you stop playing with it - there is also an on/off button under the unit. The toy doesn't seem to drain batteries too badly at all.

Overall the Bigtrak does not disappoint at all, it's still a great toy with great play value that should appeal to adults like me who didn't have one, and a whole new generation of kids who may be more used to using software than simple programming but, if they are anything like my daughters (blame it on being the offspring of an IT bod), will quite enjoy working out how to input basic commands. Recommended - it's just a shame I didn't have one in 1981...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2012
I bought two of these, one for my 50 year old uncle and one for me (45). It is a great toy and kept us occupied for hours at Christmas.

My daughter aged 7 has worked out how to programme it quite easily. Even my three year old can get it to move and fire. It's very easy to get some good results with it.

A great toy. With lots of educational potential in programming and maths.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 May 2014
My 5 year old son picked up the programming very quickly, even my 3 year old son has started pressing the buttons to get Bigtrak J to move. The flashing laser light was a big hit. It feels tough and well made.
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on 12 January 2014
Bought for 7 year old to play with his 11 year old son. Whilst lots of programming for children is available on the internet - especially "Scratch" I was looking for something more kinaesthetic. All of us have enjoyed playing with it - 7 year old loves the retro blue 'laser' that you can programme in to it. Doesn't quite do 90 degree turns - variable on carpet but quite good on hardfloor.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2012
This is a must have for a child who wants to think and solve problems and not just sit bleary eyed in front of a games consul!
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on 26 October 2014
These are like a miniature of the larger version. Just a shame that the accessories are not readily available and expensive. The adults enjoyed them more than the kids and I do wish I had bought a "Bee bot' for my youngest (now 6) but it was a lot dearer (twice the price) and I thought this would be as good.
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on 1 April 2014
My grandson loved this. Schools have had similar items for a long time and it is a good way for children to learn how to use parts of angles to negotiate turns. My grandson had great fun plotting courses around the house. A great educational toy.
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on 7 April 2014
I had the original Big Trak back in the 80's and this diddy one has all the fun i remember. The first i ordered had to go back to Amazon due to a faulty gearbox but the replacement has been fine so far. A great toy at a decent price
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on 19 January 2014
I purchased this as a novelty Christmas present for a very adult male and he loves it and so do the rest of the family i am now thinking it will be a good present for other male members next year
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on 19 February 2013
Bought for a male friend who loves toys/gadgets. He absolutely loves it and had great fun on Christmas Day when he had programmed it.
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