Today LEGO announced that they are retiring the Mindstorms brand and sets, instead choosing to focus on robotics products like 45678 SPIKE Prime, which we reviewed in 2020. The current Mindstorms product, 51515 Robot Inventor will be discontinued at the end of 2022, along with Powered Up elements 88016 Large Hub and 88018 Medium Angular Motor. In a clear signal that the company is shifting away from Mindstorms rather than preparing to launch a new generation, LEGO has said that the current Mindstorms team will be reassigned to other departments. The company has promised the current Mindstorms Robot Inventor app will be available through 2024. The 51515 Robot Inventor set (US $359.99 | CAN $459.99 | UK £314.99) is currently out of stock from LEGO in the United States and Canada, and it’s not clear whether it will be available again before it is removed from sale.
Here’s the full press release from LEGO:
Since its launch in September 1998, LEGO MINDSTORMS has been one of the core ‘Build & Code’ experiences in the company’s portfolio, carrying with it significant brand equity and becoming a stand-out experience for the early days of consumer robotics and leading to current Build & Code experiences such as SPIKE Prime, from LEGO Education’s LEGO Learning System.
However, now having a number of priorities in LEGO Education and other Build & Code experiences, we have decided to focus our resources and future plans by redirecting our MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor team and their expertise into different areas of the business.
This means the physical MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor product (51515) and its related elements (88016 and 88018) are to exit our portfolio from the end of 2022, whilst digital platforms – such as the LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor App – will remain live until at least the end of 2024.
We still have strong belief in the Build & Code proposition and will continue to support it through platforms such as SPIKE Prime, and we are continuing to hold on to the trademark for the MINDSTORMS brand and assessing our future plans together with LEGO Education.
Builder grubaluk is hitting all my nostalgia buttons with this wonderful Calvin and Hobbes model. The boy and his tiger are recreated perfectly and filled with life and personality. I am especially fond of the treatment of hair and fur here, from Calvin’s bangs to Hobbes’ ruffled chest fur and whiskers. But the fun doesn’t stop there. This model is motorized using a LEGO Powered Up hub, a few L motors and some clever programming in the Powered Up app. Be sure to check out the video after the break where the builder explains his process and shows how the magic is created.
Read on to check out this model in action
They say there is nothing you can’t build with LEGO bricks. Most of the time, that is very true provided you have enough plastic bricks. But let’s get real; there are certain categories of real-world things that do not translate into LEGO-world particularly well, carrying form but not function. One example would be musical instruments. It looks like building a playable LEGO musical instrument is nearly impossible. It also looks like you have to have the skills of a magician to land a job as a LEGO Ideas designer. The work the LEGO design team did to turn fan Donny Chen’s idea into the official 3,662-piece 21323 Grand Piano set seems truly amazing. However, you never judge a set until you have built it, so let’s assemble, tune and play this majestic instrument, which can be purchased today for US $349.99 | CA $449.99 | UK £319.99.
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LEGO is releasing three new individuals Powered Up components nest week. according to a post published by the design team. Until now, the LEGO Technic Powered Up components have only been available to buy as part of the sets, like 76112 App-Controlled Batmobile, LEGO City trains 60197 and 60198, or LEGO Technic 42099 4×4 X-treme Off-Roader, and many builders have been interested in having the electronic components available to be sold separately–especially with sets like the new 10237 Haunted House having optional motorized abilities.
The three Powered Up components will be available June 1st from LEGO, so keep an eye out for our New LEGO Set Guide for June coming out soon. Prices range from USD $40 to $90.
Click to read more about new Powered Up components from LEGO
The LEGO Powered Up technology is a followup to the LEGO Power Functions and made its debut in 60197 City Passenger Train and 60198 Cargo Train. LEGO Power Functions will be obsolete from current sets (if not already).
As LEGO seamlessly weaves Powered Up functions into their products, loss of some features and functions can sometimes leave fans more questions than answers. Over the short number of years, there has been more information sharing such as this consolidated FAQ made public. The LEGO Engagement team has also been reaching out to the LEGO community to gather feedback over time. Because of confidentiality and upcoming products, the lack of communication back to the community can sometimes be challenging. But to address that our feedback has been heard, the Powered Up team has released a public statement to share with the community.
Click to see the full statement from LEGO Powered Up Team
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.
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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.
Click here to read the review…
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.
Click here to see our impressions…
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.
Click to read the full review with videos