Phone Braver 7
Review by JoshB
We’ve talked previously about the origin of Phone Braver 7, or Ketai Sousakan 7, in another review. Basically, he’s a self-aware transformable phone detective. Wrap your head around that for a minute. You think your iPhone is advanced? It’s nothing compared to this.
Bandai made a whole line of mass-market toys for this series. Considering Japan’s obsession with mobile phones, this is no surprise. In addition to the products that are actual toys, Bandai released a Chogokin version of our phone buddy, this time aimed at adult collectors.
Where the DX phone braver toys are clearly meant to be toys and focus on play value, the Chogokin focuses more on appearance and build quality. Why Bandai is unable to merge these two concepts in this release is beyond me. It’s a decent release, but whether you get this one or the DX comes down to what you are looking for.
The Phone Braver 7 is part of the official Chogokin line, and it comes with the number GE-46. Picking up the box you can tell that yes, this is, in fact, a Chogokin.
Open the box and you get a full Styrofoam tray.
In the box you get:
1 Phone Braver
1 charging station
7 optional hands
7 optional face plates
1 instruction book
In phone mode, Seven is a brick. He’s solid and compact, much svelter than its DX counterpart. There are no ugly protrusions on the side, and all the details of a real phone are there. The entire body (the part with the keypad) is diecast metal.
Flip the top and you get a blank screen. The DX had a cool LED face that animated based on button presses. For this release, the faces are interchangeable plates. While not as cool as an actual electronic screen, these give you more visible faces. To replace faces, pry the tab off the side and swap out the plates. Each plate is translucent. Be sure to remove the blue plastic film from each plate.
Like the DX, this version does have electronic lights and sounds. This version, however, needs to be connected to the charging base to have power.
The base is a big black box with a green power button on the front. Slide the top off and you have storage for the hands and the faceplates, as well as cord storage and a battery compartment. Remove the battery cover with a Phillips screwdriver and insert 4 AAA batteries (not included).
Pull the cord out of the box and re-attach the cover. Flip on the power switch which will glow green when on. On the side of Seven, open the panel and insert the USB cable into the side of the figure. Seven will light up.
The toy features 25 different sounds and phrases, each activated by a key press or combination of presses. The only keys that activate the sounds are the top silver keys. The numbered key pad is inactive. You cannot press individual buttons, nor does it light up.
The sounds have a much better clarity than the DX, but it sucks that the number keys do not activate anything.
Lest we forget, Seven changes into a robot!
Transformation is similar to the DX, but slightly better engineered. The joints are tighter, and the connection points less conspicuous. The legs unfold like the other version, but on this one you have articulated feet. The rear heel, front toe, and ankle are all movable. Not only does this look better, it allows for more stable posing.
The arms unfold like before, but with a catch. In phone mode, the hands meet on the back as one solid unit that locks in both arms to the legs. You need to pop one hand off to transform to robot mode. You then remove the unit entirely and replace with any optional hands. At first I hated this, but then I realized I could just leave the normal fists on instead and the toy transforms no problem. The double hand block is sort of useless really. The whole hand assembly swings up from the back, and clips in to the side of the faceplate.
The hands can be swapped out with any of the variant hands. The hands are really expressive; they reflect the nature of the character. Two sets of fists are included: one set of solid fists, and one set with opening hands, presumably to grasp something.
In robot mode, Seven is tall and lanky. The legs look great, but the arms are too short and too high up on the head. The proportions on the DX are much better. There are some sweet details, though, that get revealed in robot mode, such as the camera lens on the back.
The lights and sounds cannot be activated unless Seven is plugged into the charging base. Seven has no internal battery, so it cannot hold a charge. This makes using the electronics awkward in robot mode.
Phone Braver 7 looks great, and is probably the most accurate representation of the character out there (aside from the short arms), but it’s not as fun as the DX toy, which is loaded with play value. For the price point that this toy retailed at, this toy should have had more impressive electronics. Too bad this wasn’t a real phone…
What’s that? A real phone? In conjunction with the release of the show, Japanese phone maker Softbank released the 815T PB mobile phone. This phone looks just like the one in the show, and has an attachment that gives it arms and legs like just like Phone Braver 7 (hence the PB in the phone name). It’s a real phone, and it turns into a robot.
You probably can’t get the real phone in the US, but you can order the Chogokin Phone Braver from HobbyLink Japan. As of this writing (7/2010) It’s on sale for about 60% off.
|Posted 27 July, 2010 - 09:40 by JoshB|