Monday, September 17, 2012

KK Reviews: Mimobots

Mimobots, the flagship goods made by Mimoco, are a perfect blend of designer toys and consumer electronics. I've been a big fan of these super fun removable USB flash drives for years, and I'm thrilled to have a chance to review several of the latest bots here.

For this shoot, I wanted to do something special. One of the common features of Japanese life is the presence of stone statues. You can find stone cats, squirrels, frogs, and other animals in front of houses and stores - on walls, pedestals, landings, and windowsills. Though inanimate, these still objects represent the animus (spirit) present in all things.
Japanese folklore is full of tales of yokai - spirit animals like kappa and tanuki usually out of sight, but still coexisting with the rest of us. Mimobots themselves are often based on characters from cartoons or comics, or based on designs from artists, or even miniature representations of well-known people. As such, the object is representative of something beyond its immediate form. And, based on the data you add to the drive, it can possess an infinite variety of content - your songs, your photos, your files.
So I thought it would be fitting to shoot the Mimobots with some everyday, and some very famous, streetside statues. Along the way, I'll talk about different aspects of the drives.

Let's start with a Bruce Lee Mimobot:
Bruce Lee is part of the Legends series, which also includes Albert Einstein Mimobots. On the well-designed packaging, you can see a sticker indicating this is an 8GB flash drive. You can buy Mimobots in a range of sizes, as small as 4GB and as large as 64GB.

Here's Bruce in front of a stone creature perched innocuously in front of a house. Like other Mimobots, Bruce stands at 2 3/8" (60 mm) tall. The size is perfect for tossing in your bag or carrying in your pocket.
 More after the jump:

Like Bruce Lee, Mimobots are rock solid. The flash memory chips are encased in extremely well made bodies. Years ago at the Taipei Toy Festival, the CEO of the company told me that Mimobots were indestructible. I have to say, I've been using these drives for years, and they're never failed me. (I can't say the same for some of the SD cards and other removable storage devices I've bought in the past!)

In fact, Mimobots are FCC/CE certified, meaning they've gone through rigorous testing and have passed muster for consumer electronics standards used in North America, Europe, and elsewhere. Wisely, though, the Mimoco website encourages users to back up their data on more than one type of media (like a removable hard drive, CD, etc).
 Let's move on to the Flash:
The Flash is part of the Mimobot Popular Culture series, which includes other DC comics characters, Hello Kitty characters, Transformers, GI Joe, etc. This review bot is a 16GB drive. That brings me to another great point about Mimobots: the price. Mimobots start at just $14.99 (for a 4 GB drive). That's an excellent price for a product that is really fun and functional.

The Flash found himself a stone kitty to hang out with. I've biked past this cat a hundred times. It's funny how these objects really do become a familiar part of the landscape, and by extension, your daily life. Of course when you think of the Flash, the first thing that comes to mind is speed. Mimobots are as fast as any removable flash drive I've used. They work with high-speed USB 2.0 ports and are backwards compatible with USB 1.1. Plus they work with PCs and Macs.

Where can you get Mimobots like Flash? There's plenty of good news there. You can get them directly on the Mimoco site. The company is based in Boston, but they ship internationally. Speaking of the wider world. Mimoco goods are also sold in an impressive array of small and large stores (including Best Buy, Staples, etc) on five continents! I counted 66 stores in California alone. Shops all over the place, including Germany, Iceland, Guatemala, Thailand, and many other countries carry Mimobots. Click here to check out the locations.
 Let's move on to Storm Shadow:
Storm Shadow, a classic GI Joe character, is also part of the Popular Culture line. Other lines of Mimobots include the Independent Artist series (Tokidoki, Gary Baseman, Emily the Strange, etc.) and the Original Characters series (Dr. Knowledgeus, Galacula, Fairybit, etc.)
Speaking of Dr. Knowledgeus (as we say hi to Storm Shadow hanging out with another stone kitty), did you know Mimobots have a backstory? They're from the planet Blõôh, which is located in galaxy 4210. They came to Earth and, well, I won't give it all away. You can read the full story here.

Now's a good time to talk about another feature that makes Mimobots so much more than your standard big box memory drive. Each Mimobot comes pre-loaded with multimedia content related to the character. Different types of content - or Mimory - include icons, wallpaper, screensavers, avatars, sound files, animation, movie previews, and more.

Earlier today I checked out a couple of previews for Bruce Lee DVDs and installed the Bruce Lee "mimoByte." That's a collection of sound bytes from the kung fu legend. When you insert or remove the Mimbot, one of the clips is played. Pretty cool.

Heading back to our group of friends, we can see that on the bottom back side, there's kind of translucent semi-oval. That's the indicator light that flashes when the drive is in use.

The Flash doing his thing.

You can also get ProtoHoodies for your Mimobots, which hold the drive and are attached to a keychain.

Here's the group in their ProtoHoodies with Tanuki, a native Japanese raccoon dog and one of the most famous yokai - known for getting into trouble. You'll see lots of Tanuki statues in front of restaurants.

And here's a look at the bots with their caps removed. There are two designs of Mimobots. The ones on the left and right are a kind of skull cap design, where the top comes off, revealing the USB stick. The other design, in the middle, clicks onto the head as well, but it also covers the character's face. This allows for lots of interesting design possibilities.
 Now some more images of the crew out on the town:
Storm Shadow looks down from above...

The gang's all here.

Who you callin' toady?

The Flash has found a Fortune cat (Maneki Neko) inside a business. Note how the left paw is up. When that paw is up (or moving up and down), it attracts customers. When the right paw is in motion or raised, it's fortuitous in a more general or monetary sense.

Now this is a real parrot. Very much full of life, not nailed down, and certainly not bereft of a wicked beak. So this is as close as I wanted to approach the beautiful bird with Bruce. The colors do match, though, right? Beautiful plumage!

Tired after a long photo shoot ,the crew found an elephant statue in front of a curry restaurant. Like I said, there are animal statues everywhere!

Perched on the great beast's cranium, the Mimobot crew would like to remind you that, like elephants, Mimobots have one heck of a memory.
And that's our look at Mimobots. I should note Mimoco sells lots of other things, like apparel, books, toys, as well as a line of MicroSD USB card readers. You can check out all that good stuff on the Mimoco website.

A final note about Mimoco is they have great customer service. You can return Mimobots within a year if they're defective. And, they have 10 day "retroactive price protection," meaning if the item you buy goes on sale or is reduced in price within 10 days of your purchasing it, they'll refund you the difference. That's something they'd certainly be proud of back on planet Blõôh!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...