IntroElegoo Industries contacted me and asked me if they should send me one of their toy-robots and I could do a review of it. I agreed under the condition, that I would do an honest review. They agreed and sent me the Elegoo Robot Mini car.
The AssemblyThe car comes with a detailed assembly instruction printed on a huge piece of paper. But since it's marked as suitable for children, it should be possible for me to put those pieces together without it. And with a little trial and error, I could assemble the car within half an hour without reading the instructions. After that I checked, if I missed something out. I forgot the screws for the battery holder. Other than that - the assembly was quite self explanatory.
The HardwareWell the complete chassis is made of plywood. With the controversy of the excessive waste through plastic, it's a good alternative. It really fells good and looks nice.
It has an Arduino Nano as controller, a Bluetooth adapter, light and distance sensor, a piezo speaker, three Neopixels, two geared motors, a motor driver and a Li-Io battery pack. So could start playing with it, without buying additional components. It has also a cable and pin-headers you can put on the roof of the car. So you could add additional sensors or LEDs to the car without opening it up again.
The SoftwareA preset of several functionalities are already uploaded to the controller of the Elegoo car. It has a line-following mode, an obstacle avoidance mode, a following mode and can be controlled with an app, that you have to install on your smartphone or tablet. So it should be playable right out of the box. You can download the complete source code for the robot from the Elegoo Website. That has the advantage that you don't have to reinvent the wheel. You can add functionalities or modify the existing ones.
The line following mode didn't work as expected. The avoidance mode works, but still can be improved.
The AppFor remote controlling the robot, I downloaded the App from the PlayStore. Unfortunately I could not connect to the car. I've tried two different Smartphones and a tablet. None of them wanted to be connected to the car. So I can't really tell how good or bad the App is.
What I likeI like, that you can download the car's software and chassis. So you can customize the car as you like. But you don't get a naked construction kit. So even when you are new to the robot building topic, you'll get something you can work with. It already has some functionality. You can see how other solve problems. I would recommend this robot over construction kits, where you get all the parts and have to develop software and logic for yourself.
What I don't likeIf the preinstalled software promises several functionalities, I would have expected them to work somehow. The line-following mode didn't work at all (see video). And I couldn't use the app because the car won't pair with my phone.
All in all, I think if you want to build and program your first robot, you should go for the Elegoo Robot Mini Car. The 35 € are good invested.
Elegoo Robot Mini Car
Elegoo Robot Mini Car (20% off with discount code: NENIOC20 - valid till 10.01.2020)