Some say that LEGO is only meant for kids and season 3 of Top Gear was the best one. All we know is LEGO and the BBC are bringing a very special LEGO Technic set, 42109 App-Controlled Top Gear Rally Car, and it is powered by a couple of new Powered Up motors. Thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, the car can be controlled via an app installed on a smartphone or a tablet. Despite the smart elements under the bonnet, the model consists of just 463 pieces, which makes it one of the smallest LEGO remote-controlled cars ever released. The set comes with a price tag of US $129.99 | CAN $179.99 | UK £124.99 and is already available in stores.
While assembling the latest and the biggest LEGO Technic set ever, I came up with countless versions of the introductory paragraph for this review. However, once I turned this thing on and spend some time operating it, it became clear that none of my paragraphs work better than raw facts about the set which speak for themselves. So, here is LEGO Technic 42100 Liebherr R 9800 Excavator, the biggest LEGO Technic set ever with 4,108 pieces, among which are 7 Powered Up motors and 2 smart-hub. The finished model weighs around 6 kg / 13.2 lbs (including the weight of 12 AA cells). This is a fully motorized copy that can be controlled via a smartphone or a tablet and it is all as good as it sounds. With impressive numbers comes an impressive price tag; the set is available for US $449.99 | CAN $549.99 | UK £399.99. And here comes the most important question: is the set worth the money? Let’s build it, test it and find out.
Here is a simple truth: these days LEGO remains one of those few common activities that give you a rest from a smartphone. For me and for many of our readers, building with LEGO has always been a pastime that requires no downloads, installing or updates; you open a box and the play begins. Obviously, winning over modern-day kids who love digital entertainment and touchscreens is a tough challenge for a toy manufacturer. They say if you can’t beat them, join them, but LEGO thinks differently: if you can’t beat them, build them into the play experience. Along comes LEGO Technic Powered Up — the first generation of LEGO Technic electric elements that bring smartphones and tablets into play. With a whole lot of sensors and features, the new smart hub and motors are among the most advanced LEGO pieces ever produced. LEGO Technic 42099 4×4 X-treme Off-Roader introduces the new play system. The set includes just 958 pieces, but the new expensive electric elements are to blame for the price tag of US $249.99 | CAN $299.99 | UK £199.99. It is available starting today, so we are building and testing the model in an attempt to discover the limits of the new Powered Up system and Control+ smart app.
LEGO typically releases new sets at the beginning of the month, but they have uploaded a mid-April wave of sets from The LEGO Movie 2, Spider-Man: Far from Home, Toy Story 4 as well as new Powered Up components. Of note, The Rexcelsior is the largest set released this month, the Spider-Man sets qualify for the current Avengers Tower gift with purchase, and Powered Up components are now available.
This wave is certainly a bit bigger than the 17 sets that came earlier this month but still short of the 112 new sets from this January. But no fear, we have your guide right here to each and every new set.
See all of the Mid-April 2019 wave of LEGO sets available now
The LEGO Batman App-Controlled Batmobile (76112) made its debut earlier in the year and has been quite anticipated since then. LEGO sets are pretty static in general within the System theme, with exceptions like vehicles running on tracks and rails such as trains and the recent roller coaster, so it’s pretty nice to have a free-form controlled device in the mainstream market that won’t take much time from build to play. The new Batmobile finally hits store shelves today, and we’re taking it for a spin so we can pretend to be the Dark Knight for a day.
Coming in at 321 elements and with a price tag of $99 USD and available on LEGO online stores on August 1st, let’s dive deep and evaluate if it’s worth parting with your hard earned dollar.