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The 5 Best Star Wars Toys of 2017

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The 5 Best <i>Star Wars</i> Toys of 2017

George LucasStar Wars empire was built on its toys, from Boba Fett action figures to big plastic Millennium Falcons that made my generation feel like we could join the Rebel Alliance and fight against the Dark Side. As the movies have gotten more technologically advanced, so have the toys. Lucasfilm has not gotten any shyer about licensing its iconic characters now that Disney is in charge, and some of those partnerships have resulted into some really cool playthings. Here are the 10 best Star Wars toys available in 2017:

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5. Hasbro Star Wars Force Link Starter Set – From $19.39

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For its collaboration with Disney, Hasbro announced a number of new toys that integrate with a wristband. The wristband will pair with action figures, spaceships and play sets through an NFC-enabled chip. Additionally, it also comes with speakers to give you sound effects as you do battle. Hasbro reps said that all the sounds are already preloaded onto the wristband, and that the purchase of the hardware, or action figures, will unlock the sounds. When you pick up the action figure, you’ll just tap it to the wristband, and the figure gets identified and the appropriate sound is loaded. In addition to action figures, there’s a playset that’s shaped like a BB-8. Open up the playset, and there are rooms, trap doors and escape latches for your action figures to play in. —Chuong Nguyen

4. Star Wars Jedi Challenges AR Headset with Lightsaber – $346.95

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With its Lenovo collaboration, Disney celebrates The Last Jedi by bringing you into the Star Wars universe through a new augmented reality experience called the Star Wars Jedi Challenge. Unlike desktop-powered VR experiences, this is an experience that’s driven entirely by your smartphone, which means you won’t need a ton of horsepower and there aren’t any wires that would restrict your movement. And while this may sound similar to existing smartphone-driven VR experiences today, like the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream headsets, there are some notable differences. The Disney-designed and Lenovo-made Star Wars experience headset comes with cameras on the headsets, which brings the physical outside world into the VR experience, and tracking beacons add in elements from the real world to the virtual world. In my brief demo with the headset, the straps are very comfortable, and the 1.04-pound weight of the headset feels very evenly distributed so that it’s not forward-heavy. When you’re holding the Lightsaber, the cameras in the headset will track the controller and display an AR version of the Lightsaber inside the headset. —Chuong Nguyen

3. Sphero BB-8, R2-D2 and BB-9E – from $149.99

We got to play with BB-8 on the streets of New York thanks to Sphero creator Adam Wilson (see video above). Controlled via App on your mobile phone or tablet, the adorable little droid rolls around your home (or crosswalk) just like in the movie. A cool virtual reality function creates a hologram effect for personal messages, as well. Sphero is back again this year to partner with Disney to launch two more Star Wars droids: R2-D2 and BB-9E. All three droids come with similar capabilities, allowing you to drive them around through smartphone-controlled apps, light up with LEDs and integrate with the SpheroEDU app to introduce children to coding, adding an educational element to the toy. Additionally, if you’re watching various Star Wars movies, the “Watch With Me” feature allows all three droids to react differently to various segments throughout the film, bringing interactivity to movie watching. —Josh Jackson and Chuong Nguyen

2. Propel Star Wars Quad Copter – $99.00

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While other toys place the Star Wars experiences on solid ground, Propel is taking to the skies with its drones and quadcopters. There are several models of drones in the initial launch series: the T-65 X-wing Starfighter, Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced x1 and a 74-Z speeder bike. These drones are capable of speeds up to 50km per hour, according to Propel, and the unique thing is that the propellers are placed on the underside rather than at the top. While control of the drone is done solely through the bundled remote control, there is an app experience that will train you how to fly through simple lessons and obstacle courses. Once you’re ready, a multi-player mode will allow you to fly your drone and battle your friends. —Chuong Nguyen

1. littleBits Droid Inventor Kit – $99.95

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It has to be said: This is the droid you’re looking for. Sorry, but the littleBits build-it-yourself R2D2 is Star Wars toy of the year. My teenage son and daughter had a blast working together to put this foot-tall robot together and test out the various missions. As with the Sphero BB-8 before it, your smartphone is your remote control for the droid with adorable bleeps and bloops. The app’s missions include drawing out secret messages by attaching a pen to using the force (hand motions) to move it around. Recommended for aspiring makers age 8 and up. —Josh Jackson

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