Ozobot vs. Sphero – What’s the Difference?

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In today’s world, everyone is trying to get their children interested in STEM. From toys that help children code to technologically-advanced LEGO sets, STEM toys are now everywhere – and they probably aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. 

One of the most popular STEM toys out there is the programmable robot. The idea goes that children typically love electronics, especially those that move and have flashy colors, so why not give them a robot to teach them programming? Of course, children are not going to be learning complex coding at this age, but these robots are an excellent way to spark a child’s interest in programming and introduce them to some of the basics.

Out of all the programmable robots out there, Ozobot and Sphero are two of the most popular ones.

Related Post: Sphero BOLT Review

Ozobot Evo vs. Sphero BOLT – Key Points:

Ozobot Evo vs. Sphero BOLT
Screen-free Coding
Evo App-Connected Coding Robot (Black)
Sophisticated & Flexible
Sphero BOLT: App-Enabled Robot Ball with Programmable Sensors + LED Matrix, Infrared & Compass - STEM Educational Toy for Kids - Learn JavaScript, Scratch & Swift
Name
Ozobot Evo
Sphero BOLT
Features
Code with OzBlockly; Sound system; Bluetooth
Code with app; 8x8 color LED matrix; Advanced sensors; Bluetooth SMART
Battery Life
1 hour
2+ hours
Charging Time
1 hour (micro-USB)
6 hours (wireless)
Recommended Age
8+
8+
Customer Rating
-
-
Prime Status
-
More Information
Screen-free Coding
Ozobot Evo vs. Sphero BOLT
Evo App-Connected Coding Robot (Black)
Name
Ozobot Evo
Features
Code with OzBlockly; Sound system; Bluetooth
Battery Life
1 hour
Charging Time
1 hour (micro-USB)
Recommended Age
8+
Customer Rating
-
Prime Status
-
More Information
Sophisticated & Flexible
Ozobot Evo vs. Sphero BOLT
Sphero BOLT: App-Enabled Robot Ball with Programmable Sensors + LED Matrix, Infrared & Compass - STEM Educational Toy for Kids - Learn JavaScript, Scratch & Swift
Name
Sphero BOLT
Features
Code with app; 8x8 color LED matrix; Advanced sensors; Bluetooth SMART
Battery Life
2+ hours
Charging Time
6 hours (wireless)
Recommended Age
8+
Customer Rating
-
Prime Status
More Information

What Are the Differences Between Ozobot and Sphero?

Programming

The primary purpose of these robots is to teach programming, but they approach this very differently. Ozobot uses a unique coding language called Ozoblockly, which is similar to Scratch. However, this language does not extend past this brand’s small family of robots. 

Sphero uses Scratch, which was made at MIT, directly as its coding language. This language is easy to use and specially made for children and beginners. As children gain skills, they can also program Sphero with JavaScript, which is one of the most potent and popular coding languages on the web. Using JavaScript allows children to use all of Sphero’s features.

Charging

Both robots require you to charge them. However, their charging methods and runtime are different. Ozobot’s products are charged with a micro-USB connector, and both the Bit and Evo take about an hour to charge. When fully charged, both robots last for about an hour. 

The more massive Sphero BOLT lasts for two hours when fully charged, while the smaller Sphero Mini only lasts for one. The BOLT is charged with a wireless charger, which is particularly suitable for children who tend to break wires. The Mini has a micro USB. Both take about 6 hours to charge. 

App Compatibility

Ozobot and Sphero both have apps that extend the uses of their robots. However, they are incredibly different. Ozobot has separate apps for each of their robots. The Bit app is mostly games that have varying degrees of difficulty. The Evo is compatible with a much larger app; however, that allows you to control the robot and program it completely. 

The Sphero app is similar in that you can directly control the robot or program it to perform certain maneuvers. However, Sphero also has a web-based app that allows you to write code on a computer just like you would when programing something in the real world. Sphero’s app also works with nearly every type of device, while Ozobot is more limited. 

ozobot

How to Choose Between Ozobot and Sphero

In many cases, the Sphero is going to win out. Its programing language expands out into the real world and it allows children to use even more complicated, functional coding languages like JavaScript. It’s app also features more functions and works on more devices. If you don’t want to handover your Smartphone, Sphero is the apparent option. 

Sphero is also about the same cost as Ozobot, so there is hardly a reason to consider price-related reasons when choosing between them. 

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The only real downside to Sphero is its atrocious charging time. You can only use it for a couple of hours once per day realistically. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and charging is very easily achieved by simply placing it on the charging cradle. If you’re worried about your child’s electronic usage or are trying to stay within the AAP’s screen time suggestion, giving your child an electronic device that only works for a couple of hours a day can be a godsend!

Which One Would You Pick: Ozobot or Sphero?

Ozobot or Sphero

Both of these robots are quality toys that can get your child into programming. Overall, we preferred the Sphero. It’s programming language just carries over more to more advanced programming, and the app is high-quality. We particularly love that you can program the Sphero on a computer, which eliminates the need for a smartphone to be involved. Oh, and watching it roll around on the floor is almost magical!

Frequently Asked Questions

What age are Ozobot Bit and Evo appropriate for?

The Ozobot Bit and Evo are aimed at children aged 8 years and over.

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What age is Sphero BOLT appropriate for?

The Sphero BOLT is recommended for kids from 8 years onwards.

What is OzoBlockly?

OzoBlockly is a block-based coding environment used to program the Ozobot Bit and Evo. It can be used in a web browser on most operating systems.

What programming languages does Sphero support?

Sphero robot balls can be programmed using:

  1. Draw – a drawing environment, where users can simply draw the path they wish the robot to take,
  2. Blocks – a block-based coding environment, which allows programs to be switched to view a Javascript version of the code, and
  3. Text – Sphero can be programmed using Javascript.

Does Ozobot work with any markers?

Ozobot have washable markers for use with their robot toys, however, you can also use Crayola markers or even wide chisel style tipped markers (eg. Sharpie) in black, blue, green and red.

Mark Coster, BSc(Hons) PhD MRACI CChem
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Last update on 2020-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API