Robosen Elite Optimus Prime brings nostalgia at a steep price

The year was 1986… August I believe. I showed up to a theater in Lion’s Head Village in Nashville a few minutes late for the Transformers movie and managed to miss the very first couple of minutes of the movie that would traumatize me for years (it seemed like, looks like only months,) until the resurrection seven months later in the TV series in 1987.

TL;DR – fun toy, not quite my Optimus Prime, priced wrong.

That was one of the most traumatic childhood movies, I remember how much I cared for that character and yeah. Optimus Prime was a character I really looked up to as a youngster… I collected Transformers, and they were a big part of my childhood. I sort of gravitated away from Transformers over the next three and a half decades. The Michael Bay stuff was not for me but it was fun to watch. None of the follow up cartoon series tended to catch me, and the Marvel comics went from interesting to not quite quickly.

But Optimus was always a character I really did hold as a good influence on my childhood. When Robosen’s PR contacted me about this I even did one of my extremely rare commentary on a product I did not have in hand because I found it both neat and nostalgic. There was also a contest involved so yeah.

I really don’t do PR on products not in hand generally… sort of my thing. The video below is not edited well. I’m going to attempt to redo it at some point soon but if you want to see three minutes of soundless unboxing followed by about 5 minutes of the toy in action vs a gun-toting unicorn, you got it.

Time for Optimus Prime to Roll Out

Optimus showed and sat for a time. Christmas was coming up and being right on the back of yet another room remodel (this one due to extensive ceiling damage, not a fun one,) there was no space in the house to even put the box down. Combine with the cardboard box fiascos of December, Optimus Prime sat there as a Christmas present for me.

Finally opened it needed charging, or I wasn’t pushing the power button long enough, ah well…

Let’s nitpick Robosen’s Optimus Prime for a minute

Somehow I ended up with the wrong app from Google Play… Founders Edition and Elite look the same, pretty sure I scanned a QR code to get to the wrong one, but I may be mistaken.

Charges via 5v round plug (like a Google Home Mini / Nest Mini uses,) and also has a USB port, that it apparently does not charge by. I could locate no charger that claimed it was pushing a charge into the Micro-USB port under Optimus’s belt buckle. 1) It’s 2023 now, why Micro USB as opposed to USB-C? 2) I have to keep a wall charger for this handy? Come on, it’s got a USB port.

Having had the original toy, it transformed in a certain way in which it was standing pointing the direction that the truck had been facing. This stands and faces the opposite way. The grill in truck form that would have been his stomach is his back. Basically if he’s driving toward you and transforms he’s now facing the other direction. You can see the transformation from the cartoons right in the intro first ten seconds of the following video:

The toy I had was this and this is how I’ll forever remember it:

The Robosen Optimus Prime walks like it’s struggling to hold in a steel turd. Watching Optimus walk completely breaks the illusion that this is Optimus… Let me tell you, the driving mode and some of the poses are insane and cool, the upper articulation is great, but that walking is wind-up toy level. With the walking like he’s holding water in his butt, and the comments after the pushup routines, it feels like Optimus needs a retirement home or a whole lot of Advil.

If you have a gun or an axe in his hand there are moves you’re not supposed to do. Well, my 7yo didn’t know that… there’s nothing to prevent it from attempting to transform while holding a weapon. Not a huge deal as I don’t generally have the weapons on him but something to consider. Weapon in hand and doing certain poses can flip a guy.


I gave Robosen’s Optimus Prime a few days

My kids really enjoy this. It’s an amusing toy for them. I enjoy hearing the voice of Optimus Prime, the driving mode is cool, the app feels like it was made to cash in on nostalgia and forgot we’ve got 30+ years of programming and user interface enhancements… like seriously, drop the intro… auto connect to the Autobot.

I asked some people about this because I was not feeling comfortable with how I was feeling about this… the general consensus is that for $180 this is an amazing toy that’s pretty accurate and the problems can be overlooked. Unfortunately it’s not $180 currently, it’s $600-700 USD.

I mean, I’m not entirely sure but I think the bones of the Optimus Prime are the Interstellar Scout K1 with a paint job, a couple of wheels, licensing and some spiffy programming.

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Maybe their $300 Planetary Rover with Peter Cullen yelling out the window?

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The pricing feels way off. Please don’t get me wrong here, I think this thing is great… little me would have been all over this playing for hours on end in the 80’s. I was still old in the 80’s as a note but I was much more into Transformers. The problems, other than walking, are me nitpicking.

The entire wall of “wut…?” comes down to the pricing. That and the phrase on their website “this is an authentic reproduction of the classic Generation 1 character redefined for fans from every generation.” – as noted Optimus points the wrong way, the grill is not his chest but his back on this one, and it’s close but it’s not a reproduction, it’s inspired by the first, unless I’m missing something.

This toy is cool. That it can hear “Hey Optimus Prime” and follow commands is cool. Driving Optimus Prime around as a truck is cool. The app needs work. The controls need work. The walking needs work. The price is about 300% of what it should be.

I’d like to buy my childhood back quite often. This is close, but misses for me. Extremely cool toy however. Do not get me wrong.

You can find the Robosen Elite Optimus Prime, or the Founder’s edition, on Amazon or on Robosen’s website.

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Robosen Elite Optimus Prime
2023 01 03 19.20.27 - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

The Robosen Elite Optimus Prime brings nostalgia pretty well, but the price and walking may have you cringing

Product Brand: Robosen

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: 600

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
3.7

Pros

  • Cool toy
  • Original voice
  • Nostalgia

Cons

  • Price
  • Walks badly
  • Minor things involved in recreating the original toy

Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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