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Your smartphone has plenty of games to keep you entertained, but that’s not the only way it doubles as a toy. There are some awesome gizmos that you can control with an app, making them better than any toy you had as a kid.

Sure, you can build an RC car with an Arduino 8 Arduino Robots You Can Build for Less than $125 8 Arduino Robots You Can Build for Less than $125 Read More , but it’s not as fancy as a toy. If you really want to have some fun, treat yourself to one of these gadgets. Because no matter how old you get, don’t forget about the child within you.

Sphero BB-8 Droid

Sphero Star Wars BB-8 Droid Sphero Star Wars BB-8 Droid Authentic Movement: Guide your BB-8 with a smartphone or tablet Buy Now At Amazon $95.64

Sphero is obviously the first choice for anyone looking for a phone-controlled toy, but the BB-8 won a special place in our geeky hearts. And it’s dropped in price slightly from its launch cost of $150, available for just $125 now.

The BB-8 is almost like any other Sphero ball, only it comes with a detachable magnetic head. You can control the bot with your phone from 100 feet away, as it rolls at a top speed of 5 miles per hour. Oh yeah, and it reacts to voice commands too!

For more on this one, read our full review of the Sphero BB-8 Feline the Force: Sphero Star Wars BB-8 Review and Giveaway Feline the Force: Sphero Star Wars BB-8 Review and Giveaway Is this droid you’ve been looking for all along? Read More .

Sphero Ollie

Sphero Ollie Darkside App-Controlled Robot Sphero Ollie Darkside App-Controlled Robot App-controlled robot with a tough polycarbonate shell that will travel up to 6.3 m/s (20.6 f/s, 14 mph) Buy Now At Amazon $89.00

Ollie is the other Sphero bot that has been wowing everyone 10 Home Robots You Need to See to Believe 10 Home Robots You Need to See to Believe It will probably be many years before you can buy a robot with the smarts and functionality of Rosie from "The Jetsons." Nonetheless, today’s robots are moving in that direction. Read More who uses it. It’s much faster than the regular Sphero, with a top speed of 14 miles per hour, and has built-in LEDs that shine in the night.

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Ollie also performs several tricks, like jumping and flipping. The best part about Ollie is that it also doubles as a teaching tool. Gift Ollie to a child and they can play with it.

Psst, check out the “Darkside Edition” of the Ollie, it’s way cooler than the regular one (and cheaper too).

Wonder Workshop Dash

Wonder Workshop Dash Robot Wonder Workshop Dash Robot Dash is a real robot for children ages 6 and up that is responsive to its world; your child can bring it to life with our free apps available on iOS and Android. Dash comes with hundreds of exciting coding adventures and projects available in Wonder and Blockly apps. Buy Now At Amazon $149.95

Dash is a more child-oriented version of Sphero, with a cartoonish appearance and a charming personality. And what’s more, it is a great way to teach kids the basics of programming Coding in the Fun — 7 Creative Ways to Teach Programming with Toys Coding in the Fun — 7 Creative Ways to Teach Programming with Toys With so many benefits of learning to code, why wouldn't you want to start your child's learning early? Check out seven toys that make it fun. Read More .

It’s a simple drag-and-drop interface that children can use to get the basic hang of how logic works in programming. By default, Dash can move, dance, light up, make sounds, avoid obstacles, and even react to your voice. And you can unlock other features in the coding app.

As you can see in the video, Dash responds perfectly to input from your phone or tablet. It’s the ideal gift for kids aged six and more.

R.E.V. Air

WowWee R.E.V. AIR Toy (1 Drone & 1 Car Included) WowWee R.E.V. AIR Toy (1 Drone & 1 Car Included) Box includes 1 Drone and 1 Car for true Ground-to-Air Combat Buy Now At Amazon $49.99

You have to play a game with the Robotic Enhanced Vehicles (R.E.V.) kit to really appreciate how awesome it is. The kit includes a quadcopter drone 8 Questions to Ask When Buying Your First Drone 8 Questions to Ask When Buying Your First Drone Buying a drone is equal parts exciting and confusing. Here are some common questions most beginners have when purchasing their first drone. Read More and a car, with both being a part of an epic battle to the death.

It’s an augmented reality game Augmented Reality Games: Are They Worth The Money? Augmented Reality Games: Are They Worth The Money? Wouldn't it be easier to play a first person shooter if you were actually holding the gun? Or are such enhancements largely redundant in an age when mobile gaming can stand on its own. Read More , so your gadgets don’t actually take any hits. You can choose to play as the drone or the car, while the other is operated by an artificial intelligence (AI). Out-manoeuvre the attacks and bring down your opponent to win.

R.E.V. also allows for two players to control each vehicle, and you can have friends bring their own R.E.V. vehicles for a four-player battle royale. Wicked fun!

TobyRich Moskito Plane

TobyRich Moskito: Smartphone App Controlled Airplane - remote controlled drone for iOS & Android with joystick, biplane, double-decker, rc plane for beginners, adults, kids, very durable, crash-proof TobyRich Moskito: Smartphone App Controlled Airplane - remote controlled drone for iOS & Android with joystick, biplane, double-decker, rc plane for beginners, adults, kids, very durable, crash-proof Easy to fly: Control your airplane with intuitive movements of your hand using your smartphone Buy Now At Amazon

The reviews are unanimous: The TobyRich Moskito is the best starter toy for anyone who wants to fly a plane with their phone. It’s easy and intuitive, it is resilient to crashes, and it’s pretty cheap.

The Moskito is made out of durable materials because crashes are a part of the toy flying experience. The rudder is a little flimsy, but you can get a replacement part easily.

Importantly, you will adapt to the Moskito’s intuitive controls in minutes. And the gesture-based controls mean that your eyes stay on the plane, not on your phone, which what all the fun is about.

POWERUP 3.0 Paper Airplane

POWERUP 3.0 Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane POWERUP 3.0 Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane The world's first remote controlled paper airplane conversion kit has a 180 feet/ 55 meter range and a crash-resistant design Buy Now At Amazon $48.00

This is one of those toys that makes you freak out about how awesome technology is. The POWERUP actually turns any paper airplane into a remote-controlled plane for your phone!

It’s a tiny gadget with a smart sensor at the front, and a rudder and propellor behind. Build a paper airplane, place the gadget in it, and you can now control the airplane’s flight. How amazing is that?

POWERUP charges with a microUSB cord, and the whole thing is pretty durable. Plus, a kit of spare parts costs less than $10, in case anything breaks.

Don’t forget to go to POWERUP’s official site to find different designs to make a variety of cool-looking paper airplanes.

Brookstone Rover Land and Sea

Rover Land & Sea Rover Land & Sea Cruise on land or bring your adventure onto the water Buy Now At Amazon $129.99

If your house has a pool or you love to go outdoors, the Brookstone Rover Land and Sea will be an entertaining companion. It’s like a souped-up version of a classic RC car.

The built-in camera shows everything that the Rover sees, letting you control it from 150 feet away. It’s an all-terrain vehicle, handling lawns with the same ease as tiled floors. Oh, and did we mention it’s amphibious?

That’s right, the Rover Land and Sea operates in water too, and you can control its movement like on land. That’s a fun pool buddy, right there. Of course, you might want to put a waterproof case on your iPhone Waterproof Your iPhone With These Top 5 Cases Waterproof Your iPhone With These Top 5 Cases What do you do if you want an iPhone that isn't afraid to be dunked, submerged, showered on or attacked by a moisture-monster? Well, there's a case for that! Read More first.

Anki Overdrive

Anki Overdrive Starter Kit Anki Overdrive Starter Kit Use your mobile device to take command of real robotic Supercars in Anki OVERDRIVE. Buy Now At Amazon $143.99

If you grew up playing with Hot Wheels or any other such tiny cars, you will instantly fall in love with Anki Overdrive.

Lay out the track that comes as a part of the Anki Overdrive kit, place your cars on it, and get ready to race. Don’t be afraid to get rough with your opponents and fire virtual rockets or bullets at them. Anything goes in Overdrive, and all the action plays out on your screen.

The best one, though, is the Battle mode. There’s no race here, your job is to take out your opponent as many times as possible. It’s like playing Mario Kart in real life Excited About Mario Kart 8? Relive What Came Before! Excited About Mario Kart 8? Relive What Came Before! A lot of game franchises start off slowly and gradually build up a following. But Mario Kart burst into the gaming world and has never stood for anything less than brilliance. Read More !

But What About Drones?

You might have noticed the conspicuous absence of quadcopters and drones in this list. Thing is, drones are now their own market and recommending one would be impossible. That’s why we have this guide for the best drones in any budget The Best Drones for All Budgets in 2017 The Best Drones for All Budgets in 2017 What are the best drones? We covered quadcopters for the poor, rich, and everyone in-between. Whether you want a flying selfie machine or cheap cutting-edge toy, we've got you covered. Read More .

Now tell us, have you got any of the toys on this list? Which other cool smartphone-controlled gizmos have we missed?

Image Credit: ardiwebs via Shutterstock.com

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  1. Anonymous
    August 12, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    toys aren't concepts. they're actual things. unless you've actually used them & can say whether they're any good or not this article is just pointless chatter

  2. TechnoAngina
    September 11, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Weird, came here to respond to a reply and It doesn't show my prior comment. Have you guys started modding comments or are unregistered users hidden or something?

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      I still see the earlier comment, TechnoAngina. Far as I know, there's no such moderation happening. It might be that unregistered users are hidden, I'll look into it.

      But I haven't lost track of our earlier thread, so please feel free to reply right here :)

    • TechnoAngina
      September 11, 2013 at 6:44 pm

      Okay weirder still. I see it now! I was going to say earlier I lost my playful side when I joined a helpdesk. I end up debugging stuff like the problem I was saying I was seeing. Thanks for reminding me to look at my lighter side :)

  3. Pooky J
    September 11, 2013 at 7:22 am

    None of them are for Windows Phone :(

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 11, 2013 at 7:24 am

      Sorry Pooky, I didn't come across any that support WP. I'm hoping they can work some cool things out with a Kinect add-on though!

  4. Eric J
    September 11, 2013 at 5:41 am

    i like the parrot one.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 11, 2013 at 7:27 am

      The Parrot is the most well-developed one of the lot, and widely used now. It's got a few cool Augmented Reality games too, which make fun beyond the utility factor.

  5. TechnoAngina
    September 10, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    OMG, Android powered drone wars coming soon! A lot of these look freaking awesome, not quite "Shut up and take my money!" awesome for me, but I can definitely see how some people would be intrigued. Seriously imagine being able to livecast exploring the deeps through your phone someday? That's kind of cool where we are going.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 11, 2013 at 7:25 am

      The Sphero isn't "Shut up and take my money!"? Come on, TechnoAngina, where's your playful side? :D

  6. Gustavo De la Mora
    September 10, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    The Last one the underwater think, “Shut up and take my money!“

    • Pooky J
      September 11, 2013 at 7:23 am

      haha, me too

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 11, 2013 at 7:26 am

      Yeah, that's my personal favourite too. Imagine just taking it out on a lake and going exploring. Great adventures ahoy!

    • Suggymoto
      September 15, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      What happens if the battery goes while deep down? Does it auto-float on death?