Home » Gadgets » Jimu Astrobot tried out: The almost serious competition for Lego Mindstorm

Jimu Astrobot tried out: The almost serious competition for Lego Mindstorm

Thursday, August 24th, 2017 | Gadgets

The number of Lego copies available in Germany has grown significantly in recent years, and their quality has also increased. The Chinese manufacturer UBtech is also scratching the last limit with its Jimu kits: Legos Mindstorm sets. Meanwhile, they are also officially in Germany to buy. We have therefore looked at the Jimu Astrobot set, with which three different models can be built. And, of course, we tried our own constructions.

Tetris instead of Tütchenchaos
We collected our test set at an event of the distributor. On the way back to the office by bike we felt a strange feeling. Something was different: the typical loud rattling and rustling of a Lego box was missing. Only when the street noise ebbed, we heard a slight rattling.

When we open the box, we see the reason for it. Instead of many small sachets there are under one flap several tetris-like, single-colored, labeled cartons. Their contents tell us an overview. In the cartons, however, the components are then again put into bags. The packaging makes a high quality impression on us – and the package is suitable even after opening for component storage.
Shrunken Lego Technic
The building blocks are strongly reminiscent of Lego Technic. However, the Jimu building blocks are smaller, and Lego Technic on Jimu robots is hardly usable without tricks. Regardless of this: Qualitatively the building blocks can compete with Lego. Connections sit tightly and have no play. We were not able to detect any visible abrasion or material weaknesses after several construction and crash tests.

A printed introduction tells us the different parts, gives building tips and introduces a bit in the app Jumi for Android and iOS.

        
    Astrobot is controlled by smartphone. (Picture: Alexander Merz / Golem.de)

Enough electronics for experiments
Our set includes five 360-degree servos, two RGB LED modules, an IR rangefinder and a Bluetooth speaker. They are controlled by a fairly large controller, which also contains the exchangeable battery and the Bluetooth transmitter. Its on and off switch is conveniently located in a separate component, we also want to look at Lego Mindstorms. The battery is charged with the included power supply.
The electronic components are connected using very thin cables, which can be connected to the controller by daisy chaining. In this case, plugs and sockets are used, as are used, for example, for connecting sensors within housings. We are suspicious as to whether this solution is robust in the long term. However, the cable constructions do not have any manufacturer-specific components, there is replacement in every better electronics business.

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