If you are a fan of classic Transformers, you would recall than aside from Earth vehicles, the Cybertronian life forms actually took on more disguises as Earth objects when they adopted this planet as their home.
Decepticon leader Megatron was a Walter P-38 hand gun, while his trusted advisor, Soundwave was a micro cassette recorder, and Reflector was a camera. Over at the Autobots, Perceptor was a microscope while Blaster was a micro cassette player.
Now China tech company Xiaomi wants in on the action, with their own version of Soundwave, who transforms into the Mi Pad 2 tablet. Soundwave is an icon within the Transformers universe, and one of the few, other than Megatron and Optimus Prime, to have alternate collectibles created in his name. Here, we have the Xiaomi Soundwave beside his G1 mode. This G1 version is actually a working MP3 player, made in the form of his micro cassette mode.
It’s a curious thing, to have a tablet turn into a robot, but if you’ve watched any of the Bayformers films, it’s not new. There have been printers and even a vending machine Transformer (damn you Bay!), so a tablet makes sense.
Xiaomi says it has worked with toy maker Hasbro in coming up with this unique robot, which turns from a 7mm thin tablet into a robot, complete with a 30-step turn. Now, this is primarily a toy, so you will notice the breaks in the screen of the device in tablet form. Flip it over and you can spot the underbelly of the beast, just like you would any Transformer in vehicle form.
Since this is a flat tablet, a lot of the transformation involves folding this robot to give it its 3D form. Parts of the tablet also break out, to form Soundwave’s blaster and shield.
Some of the steps are rather complicated though, and there is a manual provided, but the images are ridiculously small, so bring along a magnifying glass to aid in your quest.
Alas, this China-only toy is not sold outside of the country, although it was available at the recent San Diego Comic Con. Priced at about US$30, it’s a cheap toy to have and worth hunting down if you have the chance.