LEGO Mindstorms EV3 31313 Reviews

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3 Responses to LEGO Mindstorms EV3 31313 Reviews

  • H. Chan "All-Things Tech" says:
    201 of 206 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Amazing product that sparks the imagination, September 7, 2013
    By 
    H. Chan “All-Things Tech” (San Jose, CA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    = Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
    This review is from: LEGO Mindstorms EV3 31313 (Toy)
    The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 (31313) is my first mindstorms product that I have ever owned so I can’t compare it with the previous generations. After playing with it for 6 days and building 4 of 5 the default models, I am simply left amazed, inspired and smiling from ear to ear.

    The set comes in a large flat box with a removable outer sleeve that you can cut out to use as an obstacle course (the 1st basic EV3 model you build utilizes this). When you open the box, the contents are contained in several plastic bags with the main computer brick (P-Brick) in a white cardboard box and instruction booklet and stickers in another plastic bag with cardboard backing.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with any bins or boxes to store/organize the pieces. So I suggest buying some storage organizer or if you happen to have the LEGO Mindstorms Education EV3 Core Set (45544) you can combine BOTH sets into the Education Core Set storage bin for one beefy development kit!! (more on that later)

    The instruction booklet gives you instructions on building the basic robot model and instructions for writing the program directly into the P-Brick to get you started. The instruction booklet will point you to LEGO website to download the FREE “EV3 Software” which will comes with detailed instructions to build and program the other 4 standard models as well as 12 more models from the Mindstorms community. The download is rather large (about 603MB download for the windows version) so you can download and try it out now and experiment before deciding to put down your money.

    Once you download and install the EV3 software, you’ll be guided through an intuitive interface that guides you to building the selected models. Once you select the model, you will go over a series of missions that goes over building the Lego Model and Programming. You can scan the QR code with your Android or iOS Tablet to download the free android/iOs app (Large 142 MB, so download it over wifi!!) called “LEGO Mindstorms 3D Builder” for your Android Tablet or iPad that gives you the build instructions in 3D (i.e. pan and rotate the LEGO pieces on a Tablet) or you can also view it through your web browser.

    In each mission, you go through the build instructions and then the step-by-step programming instructions (or you load the completed program) and download it to the P-Brick over USB. So far each model has taken me on average 1 – 3 hours to build (not counting programming) and about 1/2 hour to take apart. As you build each model, you will learn the various design techniques and patterns in building your robot model.

    After you program you robot model, the robot will either interact with you through the various sensors, running a simple loop or control it thorough the included IR Beacon/Remote. You can also enabled the Bluetooth on the P-Brick and download the Android/iOS app called “Lego Mindstorms Robot Commander” and control the 5 basic models or custom model over bluetooth. My 4 year-old son loves interacting with R3PTAR model.

    For the more advance user:
    This is a great platform for learning linux (which is the main reason why I got it). The P-Brick runs Linux on a ARM9 processor with 64MB RAM and 16MB Flash + up to 32GB of external storage via microSD. You can communicate with it over wifi dongle via telnet (only supports Netgear WNA 1100) and the Linux source code is available and well documented.

    As I have previously hinted, I have also purchased the “LEGO Mindstorms Education EV3 Core Set 45544” when it came out in Sept 1, 2013. However it was designed to go with the Education EV3 software which costs extra ($99). Fortunately the P-Bricks are the same in both kits and thus works with the Free EV3 software. The education kit does contain some different sensors (e.g. ultrasonic and gyro sensor) and technic parts as well as a rechargeable DC battery and storage tray/bin which is large enough to contain both “Retail” and “Education” Sets in one box. The Retail EV3 Software can support the ultrasonic and gyro sensors from the Education set if you enable a trick that you can find off of “google”.

    With these 2 sets you can daisy chain the 2 P-Bricks which will allow you to build more complex achines.

    In summary, I’m am really happy that I got this fabulous and amazing EV3 mindstorms set. It is easy to use, has a large community of users and has a large eco system (i.e compatible with the older NXT parts and 3rd party devices). Its a bit pricey but for all the things that you can do with it, so its easy to justify its value. Its a great way to introduce your kids to programming while having FUN!!

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  • Megan says:
    113 of 117 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Very good upgrade to the Mindstorms line, September 8, 2013
    By 
    Megan

    = Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: LEGO Mindstorms EV3 31313 (Toy)
    My kids and I have played with the new EV3 for a whole weekend. We’ve only built two robots and have otherwise experimented with the set.

    Pros:
    – Android interface is very good. Not only can you control any of the five stock robots out of the box there is a nice interface for building controls for your own creations. This means no figuring out how to control things! It just works.
    – Easy to build with a good selection of parts
    – Nice techy look. My kids built some spaceships while I built one of the harder, non-stock robots.
    – Easy to program. We used one of the downloadable extra robots and its code, but then used that to make our own modifications. That makes it easy to start off with someone else’s code and then later try to do all your own.
    – Bluetooth works relatively easily. I had troubles at first but now it works fine. Don’t mistakenly tick the box for iPhone thinking they mean any phone. Leave that unticked if you’re using Android.
    – After your initial five robots there are several great downloadable robot instruction sets.

    Cons:
    – No built-in wifi. This really should have been built in.
    – Cable is mini USB instead of micro USB.
    – Long bootup and shutdown time. This is likely because the brick runs a full Linux build running on a slower chipset. Takes time.

    I have a five year old who likes to play with the original Mindstorms and an eight year old who prefers normal lego. They were both interested in the look and style of the new set. The younger one built something with interlocking gears and the older one used the new wing shapes to make some cool ships.

    Once you get the lay of the land you’ll find that this is very easy to use. You have to download the software from the website – there is no CD. However I tend to throw away CDs and do that anyway. The book only covers the first basic tracked robot but that is fine. All the rest of the builds require a computer. You’ll likely have a computer anyway to use this so that is fine. However I find that it excels if you use a phone. The EV3 app makes control a snap.

    I’ve not tried to program from the brick yet. It looks difficult and a bit confusing. To program from a PC, if you’ve not done it before, you may want to purchase a book to learn what to do. There are some videos online to help learn how to program too.

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  • J. J. Burtch "In Life, Try to be the Type of ... says:
    149 of 160 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    AMAZING…, November 7, 2013
    = Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: LEGO Mindstorms EV3 31313 (Toy)

    I am a seasoned RC vehicle veteran. Over the last several years I’ve owned and operated nearly 50 different RC vehicles, ranging from basic starter trucks all the way up to $500+ vehicles. My experience with RC vehicles led me to a Parrot AR.Drone, which has a few features on it that allow it to fly somewhat autonomously. These autonomous features made me start looking into ways to make a regular RC truck more autonomous, which of course led me to start looking into robotics.

    Years ago, when the very first LEGO Mindstorms set was released, I actually purchased one. Upon getting it home, I decided that it was probably too advanced for me, and I ended up returning it. Fast forward to this year. While looking into ways to start getting into robotics, I headed to the store to buy a Robosapien X. Although basic, the Robosapien X seemed like a good place to start with robotics, as it had a basic way of being programmed, and it had some options for modifying it to add features and accessories. While at the store, I saw the Mindstorms EV3 set. I was immediately in awe, as the box just draws you in. I liked the looks of the models that it was showing, and knowing LEGO quality I knew it would be a product that functioned as good as it looked. It was a bit pricey for me, so I passed on it initially.

    A few days later, I kept thinking about the EV3 set, so I just went ahead and ordered one on Amazon. It arrived quickly, as is the case for most of the things shipped from Amazon, and I was all set to get started.

    Upon opening the packaging, you quickly realize that the outside sleeve is a “course” for the robots that you are going to build to navigate on. It’s a nice feature, and a good way to include something like this. The cardboard is more sturdy than just a poster that folds up, so it seems like it will last longer than if it was made out of regular paper and included in the box.

    After getting the box open, I started inspecting the things that were included. Lots of parts, the motors, sensors, and that all important “brain” type of brick. The instructions included are for building the first model, which is called Track3r.

    I set about following the instructions to get the Track3r built. It was a fairly quick build, with no real issues that popped up. As is always the case the instructions were clear and concise and didn’t leave me guessing at any point. After getting the model built, I headed to my PC to download the EV3 software, which installed quickly and easily. I then went about following the instructions for setting up my first program.

    Now, I’m pretty tech savvy…however, I’ve never really tried any kind of computer programming. This was the part of the Mindstorms EV3 kit that had me a bit concerned, as I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to wrap my head around it.

    Luckily, the LEGO programming method is extremely easy to use. It’s a graphic system where you drag and drop “blocks” that serve as the commands, and then in those blocks you change settings in order to change what the robot will do when it reaches that portion of the program.

    In a matter of minutes I had the first program written and installed, and the robot very quickly did exactly what it was supposed to do…it moved forward, spun a blade and knocked a tire off of a spot, then moved back to the starting point.

    I was impressed. I had managed to program a robot all by myself, and it didn’t even seem to frustrate at all.

    Over the next several days, I continued using the EV3 software to progress through the different models and “missions” that went with the Track3r. I continued to not have many problems with the programming, and by about the third mission I realized something…the LEGO EV3 software was slowly, subtly, but surely TEACHING me programming. Each mission was bringing new variables to the table that required different programming blocks and options. It was so subtle that at first you don’t even realize that you’re being taught something, and to me this is ingenious. Any time learning can be disguised as fun, I feel that it’s something that will be more easily recalled and will be something that people WANT to continue to do.

    After the first four missions, before even progressing to the final mission with the Track3r, I decided to give it a go at creating a program completely from scratch. What I wanted to do was effectively “reverse” the Track3r, so that it’s back was it’s front and it’s front was it’s back, so that it could use the IR sensor as an “eye.” I then wanted the Track3r to move around on it’s own, and when it came into a certain proximity of an object it would back up and turn around, then continue going.

    It took me a little while to figure out a couple of the functions, mainly because I wanted the speed it reversed and the amount it turned to be “random,” but…

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