Review of WowWee Rovio Headlight AttachmentPosted by Peter Redmer on Monday, 7 December 2009
Longtime Rovio users are very much aware that the Rovio, while performing quite admirably in well-lit environments, struggles in low light due to the small size of its LED headlight. Numerous Rovio devotees, many of them community members here, have created hacks and modifications to improve Rovio's lighting system.
However, what if you're not too keen on warming up the ol' soldering iron? Not a hacker or modder but still want to enjoy seeing in the dark with Rovio? WowWee has answered the call of many a Rovio lover by creating an official headlight attachment. I decided to purchase one to really take advantage of my Rovio; I always turn off the lights when I leave home to save energy (and money) but would still like to use the little guy to check things out while I'm gone. Does it stand up to the test?
Unboxing the Headlights
The headlights come in a nice, simple cardboard box with a very accurate picture of its contents.
Inside, you will discover the attachment secured via the typical WowWee twist ties along with instructions in multiple languages. Once you free the attachment from the simple packaging, you'll be ready to take a look at it.
The attachment is light and appears to be crafted from a single piece of sturdy plastic. Two LED lamps are mounted in the front, and the power connections dangle from the back. It is obviously custom-molded to Rovio's exact specifications, and feels like a nicely made piece of kit. Time to get it attached!
How To Install the Headlight Attachment for Rovio
Installing the headlights is really very simple, but I do recommend that you take your time with each step so as to not damage your Rovio. First, flip him over like a turtle on its shell and remove the battery compartment. You'll need a Philips head screwdriver to do this.
Now, remove the battery from the compartment. Make sure to pull the connectors apart from the plastic; avoid yanking on the wires if you can.
Now, connect the battery to the headlight attachment and then to the Rovio as shown above.
Now, weasel the battery back in there like I show myself doing above. One wire will be coming down from each side. It's a somewhat snug fit so you'll have to "push" down on the whole assembly to get it in there. Once you're in, screw the headlight attachment onto the Rovio. Note that it seems to replace the previous battery door; make sure to tuck it away in a safe place if you ever need it again.
Looks pretty snazzy, eh? But, how does it work? Head to the next page to find out.
Using the Rovio Headlight Attachment
The attachment is operated via the existing headlight button in the Rovio UI, and activating this button will turn on both Rovio's "old" headlamp and the attachment. The old light was virtually useless, so it really doesn't matter that they are both on. I tested the headlamp throughout my home, and here are some of the results.
The first set of photos is from my living room, with one dim light on in the room, enough for reading a book or using a laptop. The Rovio is directly in front of my entertainment center, and without the headlamp the video is virtually completely dark. However, with the headlight attachment turned on, the objects appear brightly illuminated.
This second set of photos displays the difference when Rovio is looking down a long hallway in almost complete darkness (there is a small amount of light coming from the room up ahead.) There is more than enough illumination to make your way down the hallway, even in virtual darkness.
This third set of photos is of Rovio looking into a completely dark room from the unlit hallway. Closer objects are, of course, much brighter than far away objects; but the light is more than sufficient to navigate from place to place.
Here's my final set of before and after photos - this time with Rovio inside the room displayed in the previous set, illimunating a box fan that is in close range.
I'm very pleased with the headlight attachment for the Rovio. They go for $29.99 USD - you can check the official WowWee store for availability. The headlight attachment is simple to use and connect to the Rovio and provides more than adequate lighting for most situations; at least enough to keep an eye on things while you're away! It's like having a whole new robot, actually.
- Simple to install and use
- Relatively inexpensive
- Well made
- Provides a lot of additional light
- You do not have to modify your Rovio in any way
- You have to buy it separately
- Will probably drain Rovio's battery faster (I didn't test this)
- Does not move with the head attachment; only provides light in front of Rovio
Overall, I think you'll be pretty happy with this headlight attachment; I like it *a lot.* Note that this isn't a huge floodlight or anything - I'm assuming it was designed with power consumption and aesthetics in mind as well as lighting - and will not be like putting the actual sun in front of your Rovio ;) As long as you can accept that, and especially if you love the little guy and use him often to check on things while you're away, this is a must-buy.