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LEGO BOOST Creative Toolbox review

One of the most interesting sets that was released this month is the #17101 LEGO BOOST Creative Toolbox robotic kit. As there has been a lot of questions about the set, I thought to discuss some of the basics you need to know to get yourself familiar with the LEGO BOOST robotics system. So let’s take a closer look. 🙂

One thing to mention right away is that the LEGO BOOST app is an integral part of the #17101 LEGO BOOST Creative Toolbox. In other words, you can’t use the LEGO BOOST set without first downloading the app. Even the instructions are on the app, so you won’t even be able to build any of the models without it. And to use the app, you will need a compatible tablet. The requirement for Apple products is iOs 10.3 or newer, and the tested devices are as follows: iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, and iPad 4th generation. For Android devices, the minimum required specifications are Android 5.0 or above, Blutooth 4.1 or higher, 1 GB RAM, 1.4 ghz dual core processor, 8″ display or larger, microphone, and speaker. Tested devices are as follows: ASUS ZenPad S 8.0″, Google Pixel C, HTC Nexus 9, Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 8″, Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 8″, Nvidia SHIELD Tablet (LTE), Samsung Galaxy Tab S, Samsung Galaxy Tab A, Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 nook, Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet (LTE) Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact (LTE), and Xiaomi Mi Pad 2. Please note that while these Android tablets have been tested, the list won’t automatically exclude your device, unless it is outside the required minimum specifications. Notice though, that the Kindle fire is not on the list, and the LEGO BOOST app is currently not listed at the Amazon app store. For a regularly updated list of compatible devices, and links to download the LEGO BOOST app from the Apple App store and Google Play store, check the LEGO BOOST Device Guide.

Now that we sorted out what kind of tablet you need, let’s take a look at what’s in the LEGO BOOST box! The #17101 LEGO BOOST Creative Toolbox includes three LEGO BOOST Bricks: the Move Hub, the Color and Distance Sensor, and the Interactive Motor. The set also includes 847 bricks (including the three above mentioned BOOST bricks), one LEGO BOOST poster, and a playmat.

The LEGO BOOST Move Hub contains two motors with tachometers, the BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) connections with your tablet, two input and output ports, a 6-axis tilt sensor and a multicolored light. Also in the hub is the battery compartment for six AAA batteries and the green “on” button. The LEGO BOOST Color and Distance Sensor can sense both distance (how far from an object it is) and different colors that are placed in front of it. It can also be used as a motion detector or just as a light, enabling the user to choose between four different light modes; red, green, blue, and a combination of all three. The LEGO BOOST Interactive Motor has the same functionality as the motor in the Move Hub, but as a detachable unit.

The playmat is an important part of the initial experience kids have with LEGO BOOST. The playmat is only needed for the three models (getting started vehicle, Vernie, and the M.T.R.4) that move. The playmat contains a grid that is calibrated to the movement commands in these models. It allows kids to understand that one move block in the coding enables the model to move one square on the grid of the playmat.

Once you have the LEGO BOOST app downloaded, and the #17101 LEGO BOOST Creative Toolbox, you can begin building and experimenting with the five different LEGO BOOST models. In the video review below by the BrickVault, you will have a chance to see all five models in action, and you will also get an introduction to how LEGO BOOST works.

As you can see in the video above, LEGO BOOST is very user-friendly and programming the robots is quite intuitive. Compared to LEGO MINDSTORMS, LEGO BOOST is for younger children, with the recommended age-range of 7-12 (although older kids and adults are definitely welcome to play with it as well). LEGO BOOST is based on fun and easy-to-do icon-based coding, whereas LEGO MINDSTORMS is for older kids who are ready for complex coding language. Also, LEGO BOOST doesn’t have a P-Brick that can be programmed as with LEGO MINDSTORMS. For LEGO BOOST all the programming and operating of the robots takes place via the tablet. In addition, LEGO MINDSTORMS is based on the LEGO Technic platform, whereas LEGO BOOST is mainly based on the regular LEGO building system. This makes customizing the LEGO BOOST robots a lot easier for younger kids, who are not as comfortable with using the more complex LEGO Technic system.

LEGO is clearly investing time and energy into the LEGO BOOST system, so we can expect more buildable models, coding ideas, games, challenges, etc. The official LEGO BOOST website is the place to check for any news and new developments. Also, since this is a brand new system, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are going to be some kinks with the initial version of the app, but I’m sure LEGO is going to keep it regularly updated to iron out any issues, and upgraded to remain compatible with both Apple and Android devices. If you live near a LEGO store, you can sign up for LEGO BOOST workshops to learn how the system works (take your tablet or smart phone!). The initial round of workshops is held August 1st-6th and 14th-20th.

Here is the official description of the set: Combine the versatile LEGO building system with advanced technology to boost your creativity with the awesome LEGO BOOST Creative Toolbox. Download the free tablet app to your device and follow the step-by-step instructions to build and code any of the five multifunctional models. Experience Vernie the Robot—a moving and talking robot; the M.T.R.4 (Multi-Tooled Rover 4)—a robust, versatile rover with four different tool attachments including a spring-loaded shooter; the Guitar4000—a musical instrument with pitch bend and sound effects; Frankie the Cat—an interactive pet that plays, purrs and expresses its mood; or the AutoBuilder—an automated production line that really builds miniature LEGO models! Bring your creations to life with the app’s intuitive, icon-based coding interface and complete an array of exciting activities designed for each model. This set also includes a playmat for use with specific activities, and a LEGO BOOST wall poster! Includes over 840 LEGO pieces, plus a LEGO Move Hub, Interactive Motor, and a Color & Distance Sensor. Vernie the robot stands over 10” (27cm) tall. M.T.R.4 (Multi-Tooled Rover 4) measures over 4” (12cm) high, 9” (23cm) long and 5” (14cm) wide. Guitar4000 measures over 1” (5cm) high, 16” (42cm) long and 5” (15cm) wide. Frankie the Cat stands over 6” (17cm) tall. The AutoBuilder measures over 10” (27cm) high, 7” (19cm) long and 6” (16cm) wide. 847 pieces. Price: $159.99 – BUY HERE.

What do you think? How do you like LEGO BOOST so far? Are you planning to give it a try? Have you had a chance to play with it already? Feel free to share your thoughts and own review in the comment section below! 😉

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{ 18 comments… add one }
  • legoed19 August 5, 2017, 2:01 PM

    This one’s not for me. I don’t have a tablet and I’m not at all interested in coding. Two good reasons to avoid it I think!

  • Hayato August 5, 2017, 3:47 PM

    I do like what Boost has to offer, but I think we will wait a bit until they iron out the kinks. Maybe get it for Christmas, or sometime next year.

    • admin August 5, 2017, 7:58 PM

      Sounds like a good plan! 😀

  • JasonK August 5, 2017, 4:31 PM

    I want to try this out so bad!!!

  • jabber-baby-wocky August 5, 2017, 5:03 PM

    Looks very interesting, but I wish it would work independently from an app, like Mindstorms does. Also, they should add pc and mac compatibility, as they have a more stable operating system. And it’s not like everyone has a tablet. I see the need to use an app the weakest point of this set. I like the models, the colors, the fact that Boost uses system pieces.

    • admin August 5, 2017, 8:00 PM

      Yeah, more devices to control the robots would be very useful. Although I don’t know how easy or hard would it be to achieve that. I agree that it would be great if the system could work both with and independently of a tablet. Perhaps more options will be added later.

  • Adam August 5, 2017, 7:29 PM

    My 4 year old son and I built the robot today and had a blast. We both loved it! Of course after about ten minutes of playing with the robot. My son was already saying let’s build the cat, lol! There is so much play quality with the set it’s a must for my family 🙂

    • admin August 5, 2017, 8:01 PM

      Adam, thanks for sharing that! Sounds like you guys are having a blast! Enjoy playing with your robots! 😀

  • Kim September 30, 2017, 11:23 AM

    Can you have different log ins within the app? We have one compatible device and more than one kiddo who would like to use it. If it’s like the Scratch coding on the MIT site they are able to save their codes and access them on whatever device they log into. Do you know if you can do that here?

    • admin September 30, 2017, 4:25 PM

      Kim, yes, that’s my understanding. If you are not sure how to do it, you can call LEGO’s customer service and they will be able to help you out. 🙂

  • Martin November 14, 2017, 4:55 AM

    Hi, Is there any chance to use for programming 5,5″ Android device? The robot looks great but I dont have a tablet and to buy it just for robot….Thanks.

    • admin November 14, 2017, 11:00 AM

      Martin, according to the compatibility list, Android devices over 5.0 will work. However, besides the operating system, there are also some other requirements that your device need to have: Android tablet with Bluetooth low power technology (BlueTooth 4.1 or higher), 1 GB ram, dual core processor 1.4 ghz, 8” display or larger, microphone, speaker. So, if your device meets those requirements, it would work. Here is the list for checking compatibility: https://www.lego.com/en-us/service/device-guide/boost

      • Samuel November 20, 2017, 9:43 PM

        Just checked the compatibility list, and it shows Sony Z3 Tablet Compact (LTE) is on the list. However, the Sony tablet should be running bluetooth 4.0 instead of 4.1, so which statement should be correct?

        • admin November 20, 2017, 11:14 PM

          Samuel, I was just reading this morning on the LEGO Ambassador Forum that BOOST needs Bluetooth 4.1 or higher, and it doesn’t work with 4.0, no matter what’s the device. This was said by people who tried it.

          • Samuel November 21, 2017, 1:00 AM

            I doubt that as LEGO has included it in the device compatible list which should have been thoroughly tested before included. Anyway, I owned the Sony Z3 Tablet Compact so will try it out when I receive my copy of the LEGO Boost 17101 later this week.


            Device tested
            ASUS ZenPad S 8,0″
            Google Pixel C
            HTC Nexus 9
            HTC Nexus 9 (2)
            Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 8″
            Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 8″
            Nvidia SHIELD Tablet (LTE)
            Samsung Galaxy Tab S
            Samsung Galaxy Tab A
            Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 nook
            Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet (LTE)
            Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact (LTE)(2)
            Xiaomi Mi Pad 2

            • admin November 21, 2017, 9:52 AM

              I hope you are right. Feel free to come back with an update. I was only sharing what others said who tried different devices. There is obviously a lack of a complete and accurate list, so some LEGO Ambassadors took it on themselves to compile a list with actually tested devices.

              • Samuel November 21, 2017, 10:40 PM

                No worries…and thanks for your advice here! I was told from a Lego Boost Community on FB that tablet devices having Bluetooth 4.0 with low energy (+LE) should be compatible, which my Sony Z3 tablet compact has, but I will try by my own and find out. Also other sources claim Lego will open the Lego Boost app to mobile phones around this Christmas, and if that’s the case, it will be a great news!

                • admin November 21, 2017, 11:09 PM

                  Oh, that’s interesting! It would definitely make BOOST a lot more relevant to a lot of people! I’m surprised they didn’t do it earlier, as I have heard from a number of people who were interested to get the set for Christmas, but because it’s compatible with so few devices they decided against it.

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