Body and Head
- Wheels and sliders (Mobility) - Wrex The Dawg has wheels on his back legs and sliding pads on the bottom of his front paws. While walking robots have significant difficulty with carpet and do much better on hardwood and linoleum floors, Wrex does quite well on short pile carpet too, although turning maybe sluggish at times compared to uncarpeted floors. (He, like WowWee’s Tri-Bot, will be an excellent tool for annoying the family cat or dog due to their excellent wheel based mobility.)
If you have trouble turning Wrex, try moving him forward briefly for a moment to flatten out the sliders on his front paws. Sometimes one of them will tilt up and dig in to the floor as his turns, slowing him down. Flattening out the sliders helps with that problem.
- Slot machine eyes - Wrex’s eyes spin at various times to reflect his current mood and desire. His left eye spins vertically and shows his current mood while the right eye spins horizontally and shows his current desire.
- Animated mouth and ears - His ears wiggle about depending on what he is doing and when he talks his jaw moves in sync with what he is saying.
- Articulated front and back legs - his front legs rotate at the shoulder and elbow while his back legs rotate at the hip.
- Rotating squeaky tail - when you squeeze his tail it makes a squeaky noise like a child’s squeeze toy and it rotates around depending on his what he is doing
- Reprogramming hatch (Control Panel) - on top of Wrex’s back is a flip-up cover that hides his 4 button numeric Control Panel. More on the the control panel later
- Bump button nose - Wrex’s nose acts like a stop button when he is moving and a random behavior selection button when he is not. If you have recently entered a numeric code, and Wrex is not moving, holding his nose button down for 3 seconds will replay the last code.
- Start button - Wrex needs to be started up just like an old car when you first turn him on. You do this by pressing the black button with the lightning bolt icon on his back near his tail. It’s really just a funny gimmick that adds to his personality. He’ll ask you to press it at first but if you don’t within 30 seconds, he’ll just start himself up anyways.
Here’s a list of Wrex’s sensors and what they do:
- Proximity Sensors - these infrared sensors mounted in his chest allow Wrex to detect obstacles in front of him and to avoid them. If you turn him on in using the power switch’s Edge Detection setting, he can also detect ledges like that of a table or stairs so he doesn’t fall off them.
- Rear Leg Hand sensors - Wrex has sensors near his back legs that will make him stop moving if he detects an object back there. He will stop moving when this happens and say “Don’t get your hand stuck”. This feature is meant to prevent your hand from getting pinched by his legs when reaching behind him (it’s a very nice safety feature and why are you grabbing Wrex’s butt anyways?)
Warning, never rely on edge detector sensors to save your expensive robot from falling and breaking since they sometimes fail to detect edges. This rule applies to any robot you buy that has them. Be smart!
You can turn off his infrared sensors by entering the code 1111 in to his control panel. This will disable his obstacle avoidance ability so he won’t stop when there are obstacles in front of him. It will also turn off edge detection if you turned him on with that feature enabled. You can use the same code to turn obstacle avoidance back on however, edge detection can only be reenabled by turning Wrex off and on again.
Remote Control (with Tilt Sensor)
Note: the picture of the remote control is slightly old and varies from the real remote in minor ways. The bottom button is green not red, and the directional pad consists of four buttons marked with an up arrow, a down arrow, a spin left, and a spin right icon; not four arrow buttons.
Wrex The Dawg’s remote control is styled after an industrial crane’s and takes 3 “AAA” batteries to operate. It’s a simple and easy to learn remote. At top is the Mood Dial which is used to select Wrex’s current mood, or to put Wrex in Guard mode or Free Roam mode. The red button seated inside the dial is the STOP button and will stop Wrex from moving. Below the Mood Dial are two buttons for creating and playing programs for Wrex. Moving further downward you find the four movement buttons to move Wrex about: forward, backward, spin left, and spin right. Next is the volume level slider (Low, Medium, and High) and at the bottom is the Trick Dial. The Trick Dial selects one of the six tricks that that are available depending on Wrex’s current mood, and contains the green GO button which executes the selected trick. It also has a setting for feeding Wrex a virtual bone or triggering his demonstration routine.
If Wrex doesn’t seem to respond to the remote and the batteries are in good shape, try standing up and pointing the remote downwards at him since his receiver for the remote’s signals seem to react best to that posture. Remember, there are two AA batteries in Wrex’s body that can affect how well he reacts to commands along with the buttons in his remote control so those to could be at fault if Wrex is being unresponsive to the remote.
While Wrex The Dawg is completely lacking in social graces, he more than makes up for it with his humorous personality. He has three moods (Happy, Angry, and Crazy) and four special operation modes (Guard, Free Roam, Demonstration and Program). Guard and Free Roam are selected using the Mood Dial at the top of the remote while Program mode is entered by pressing the P button (Program) on the left just beneath the Mood Dial. Each mood has a unique set of 6 tricks that Wrex can do and also affects how Wrex reacts to stimuli such as what he does when a hand waved in his face, etc. The tricks are selected by using the Trick Dial at the bottom of the remote followed by a press of the the green GO button seated inside the dial. The trick triggered by the position of the Trick Dial changes depending on which of the three moods Wrex is in, which means that there are 18 tricks total. Wrex will also ask to be fed at times which you do using the setting labeled with the bone icon on the Trick Dial.
Tricks can also be triggered using the numeric keypad on his back too.
To avoid spoiling the fun of discovery I won’t list all of Wrex The Dawg’s tricks here, but he has quite a repertoire. He’s a real ham at playing dead (“Can you say Oscar?”), howls, dances in a truly inappropriate manner for a dog, farts incredibly well, and much more. When left idle he will randomly do one of his tricks, sometimes change his mood spontaneously, swear at cats, and perform a host of other funny and rude animations to make you laugh.
Wrex also has several behavior modes that can only be accessed from the Control Panel. There are six different modes in all. Since I want you to have fun experimenting I won’t list them but I will mention two of my favorites. First is Cat mode where some of Wrex’s animations and sounds are replaced with those of a cat. My second favorite is Robosapien mode which will delight owners of the original Robosapien; instead of cat sounds and animations you get ones belong to the original Robosapien. Each mode is not a complete sound and animation replacement for the vast array of Wrex’s tricks and behaviors, but there’s plenty of fun in each and they really add spice to Wrex’s personality.
Occasionally when left idle, Wrex The Dawg will also suggest a Control Panel code for you to try. You will hear him say “Here’s a code you can try” and then he will play a four distinctive sound in series. These sounds correlate to the four numbers on his Control Panel. When you press one of the four number buttons, you discover that each has a very distinctive sound of its own. To try out Wrex’s suggested code you press the buttons that have the same sounds as those that Wrex played you. Remember to press the buttons in the same order and the number of times that matches what Wrex played you. Each code represents one of the animations or modes listed in the manual or if you’re lucky, one of the hidden unlisted animations (Easter eggs).
Special Operation Modes
Wrex The Dawg has four special operation modes: Guard, Free Roam, Demonstration and Program mode:
- Guard - the ever popular guard mode that almost all WowWee robots have. Place Wrex in the area you want to guard and turn the Mood Dial to the Guard position. He will announce his entrance in to guard mode by loudly saying “Yes Sir!”. He will wait patiently for any intruders and will turn around occasionally to make sure they aren’t sneaking up on them. If he detects any movement he will bark at the intruder. When you take him out of Guard mode he will tell you that “someone has been sniffing through your stuff and it wasn’t me”. This can be a hilarious event when triggered by an unsuspecting pet or family member, especially in the dark. (Be nice though!). Note, he will exit guard mode after 30 minutes by himself, or sooner if you rotate the Mood Dial out of Guard mode.
- Free Roam (Off The Leash) - Turning the Mood Dial to the Off The Leash mode on the remote puts Wrex in to autonomous Free Roam mode. Upon entering this mode he will say loudly “Leash Off”. In this mode he will explore your home making humorous comments as he drives about. He will avoid obstacles and walls with his infrared detectors as best as he can. Note, he will exit free roam mode in about 5 minutes by himself, or sooner if you turn the Mood Dial to another setting.
- Like most consumer robots Wrex The Dawg’s ability to navigate a difficult area is not his strong suit. A floor cluttered with objects that are below his chest mounted infrared proximity sensors when up close, will cause him to get stuck since those objects will not be detected. Also, very dark surfaces (which don’t reflect infrared signals well) may confuse him causing him to push against the surface instead of avoiding it.
- Demonstration Mode - In demonstration mode Wrex will show some his repertoire to give you an idea of what he can do and how he does it.
- Program Mode - You can program up to 80 operation steps into Wrex to be played back later at the press of a button. This can be a fun way to make your own little performances or gags to entertain your friends and family members. For example, when guests visit my house, I have Wrex turn into a cat, charge at them, turn into Robosapien, and then fart (naturally).
You can enter things to do for Wrex The Dawg during a program using the remote control. Tricks can be entered either through the remote or by typing in their numeric codes using the keypad under his Control Panel. You can also enter the numeric codes for the Extended Behavior modes using the keypad and Wrex will accept them, but they will not alter his behavior during or after the program.
Malfunction and Breakdown
Wrex breaks down, on purpose! There’s are few things funnier than a proud modern robot dog squeaking pathetically and swaying side to side when he’s trying to charge straight forward. When this happens it is one of the signs that Wrex has malfunctioned. Don’t worry, he’s not broken, it’s just part of his offbeat character. You can choose to let Wrex limp on in life tragically until he finally has a complete Breakdown. Or you can enter 1234, Wrex’s reset code, in to his control panel and get him back to full doggy health.
Wrex The Dawg is terrific. He is funny, charming in his own inappropriate way, and dripping with personality. His remote control is very easy to master with great big dials and buttons and is backed up by a well written manual that covers its operation in detail. In addition, his multifunction nose button makes the little pooch that much more fun to play with since it’s a quick and easy way to stop him, or randomly alter his behavior. This means that Wrex, just like WowWee’s Tri-Bot, is easy to love and even easier to learn, making him a great all around gift for friends and family and allows me to recommend him even for those folk who are not technically inclined. His moods, extended behavior modes, tendency to breakdown on purpose, and innate personality are a delight that gives him a wildly unique personality. There’s no other robot like him and he’ll provide you and yours with many hours of laughs and surprises.
Don’t forget to also include yourself as someone to buy Wrex for!
I did find some things I would like improved but these were minor annoyances that did not detract from Wrex’s charm. The buttons related to programming on the remote control are very close to the Mood Dial so occasionally you will enter programming mode or play a stored program by accident when you turn the Mood Dial. Also, both dials have a small white notch on them to let you know which setting you have selected but I found the notch hard to see unless the room was brightly lit. One last nitpick, the lettering that labels the three positions for Wrex’s power switch on his underside are hard to see.
But the resounding verdict on Wrex is that he is a great little robot dog that has only one mission in life; to make you laugh, and he doesn’t care how far he has to go to do that! He truly is the silliest robot you will ever love and a cartoon character brought to life!
Below you can watch an in-depth video review that will show you Wrex The Dawg in action. This video was created after we played with the Wrex The Dawg solidly for several days.