Mattel’s Fijit Friends Review – Sage

Fijit Friends is the latest interactive toy from Mattel that mixes fun with hi-tech wizardry. When Fijit debuted at Toy Fair 2011 earlier this year, we were instantly captivated. Fijit Friends come alive if you interact with them. They will dance, tell jokes, and just chat up a storm if you are looking for a robotic little pal. The device features 150 built-in responses that should keep your child or even yourself entertained for a while.

There are currently four Fijit Friends in all: Sage, Logan, Willa, and Serafina. Each one has their own personality and will interact accordingly. For example, Sage is more adventurous  and will tend to interact with you on that level. They come in four different colors, along with different shaped ears. Logan, for instance, has ears that look like hockey sticks, which is appropriate for his personality type, which is sporty.

The Fijit Friends are far from cuddly but they do have a soft, squishy rubbery-like skin that enables lifelike movements. Their ears are also removable. Does that mean swappable ears or other accessories are coming in the near future? Could be.  The Fijit’s face also lights up and blinks when interacting with you. The more you interact with the toy – the more its face will glow with delight as well as yours.  However, I would suggest keeping this toy away from younger kids due to its soft exterior, it could be easily punctured.

Fijit friends are very easy to operate and are powered by batteries that are included. The on/off switch is on the bottom of the device. There are also two buttons on the back of Fijit’s head to activate different levels of interactivity – the Home button and Chirp button.  The Home button lets you reset the Fijit out of a type of interaction path you may be in. For instance if you want to get out of joke mode or dance mode – press the Home button and you can start again. The Chirp button when pressed will unlock new features in the future. Currently if you go the Fijit website, you will find secret jokes and dances that can be unlocked on your Fijit when you press the Chirp button.

Fijit is an adorable toy that will interact with you by telling jokes, dancing, and straight-up chatting. One of the drawbacks however is that you will have to speak clearly for Fijit to understand you, and by understand – we mean that you must speak using short phrases, for example: ‘Dance with me’, ‘ Chat with Me’ , or giving one word answers like ‘great!’ or ‘sad.’ When you speak, you will have to speak loud and clearly and Fijit will respond accordingly. If you are expecting Fijit to react to any type of phrase or word, it won’t. It only interacts with you when you say specific words and phrases that are laid out for you in the manual. Fijit’s special spot is its belly button, when pressed, will also illicit random reactions.

Fijit Friends are adorable and will certainly entertain for a few hours, but after a while, the luster will wear off. The toy, while being fun and interactive, only responds when spoken to loud and clearly and in paraphrases.  The most entertaining aspect of the Fijit is the way it dances to its own music, or music you play from an external source. It truly bobs it head and moves its body with more rhythm than even myself. Another adorable mode that Fijit offers is when you tell it to go to sleep. When activated, Fijit will turn its head down and begin to snore and shake its body in an extremely lifelike manner.

However, these features as entertaining as they are, probably won’t hold your interest, or your child’s interest for very long and for a price tag of $49.99 it should do a little more.  We anticipate this toy being hot for the holidays and if Mattel really utilizes that Chirp button, then it may actually be a toy kids play with, way past the holidays.

The Good: Fijit is adorable and soft to the touch. Adults as well as kids will love it. Robotic movements are lifelike. Dance mode and joke mode are particularly engaging.

The Bad: Fijit is hard of hearing sometimes and doesn’t respond to phrases right away. It will only react to certain phrases.  Kids could lose interest after a while due to repetitive sayings and interaction.