Monday 13 November 2017

Meccano M.A.X. Robot Review (age 10+) for SpinMaster Toys

The Meccano M.A.X. (Meccano Advanced Xfactor) set 17401 is a really impressive robot who combines Artificial Intelligence with customisable programming, to create a unique character that is truly your own creation, and your mate, because he'll tell you jokes and facts and dance with you, and have seemingly intelligent conversation, among other things.

Your M.A.X. is housed in a really impressive and huge box - although I have to say it arrives taped because it isn't really sturdy enough for the job and you will find it's not ideal for storage afterwards. It is however incredibly exciting inside...

Inside the box you have 332 Meccano Parts plus AC/DC Wall Mount Charger (10.4W), 1 Rechargeable Ni-MH Battery 1800 mAh, 2 Tools, Sticker Sheet, M.A.X Brain Module, IR Sensor Module, 2 Smart Motor Modules, LED Module, 3 kgs Servo, 1.9 kgs Micro Servo, USB Cable and Instruction Booklet.

Delicate components are boxed and in fact the computer chips are encased in plastic, so a slipped screwdriver as you build shouldn't be a complete disaster. The instructions are standard Meccano, nice and clear with 1:1 exact size images for comparison so that you always pick the correct bolts.

You can make out some of the more obvious parts of your model in the box, but most is a mystery and as this is a 332 piece model who will stand 12" tall, it's going to take you a while to solve. The suggestion is 1-3 hours. My 9 year old was adamant he was doing it himself and I only helped when he was stuck. It took him significantly longer, although he did stop for tea.

Meccano M.A.X. is programmed to speak in English, but other languages are available - you can find out more on the website. When assembled he still has an empty brain, so download the programme and then plug him into your PC to install his mind.

You'll need to turn him on and speak to him and he'll wake up. He asks a few questions and the performs a systems check, and then you are ready to go. M.A.X. has motion sensors on the front to prevent crashes, and as well as rolling about he has a moving head and grippy hand.

M.A.X. can be programmed using the buttons on his control panel or via voice command. He definitely understands some people better than others. Make sure you downloaded the UK English pack and the button on the back is turned to 'Robot' rather than 'Drone' (Drone is used if you turn your Meccano into a vehicle for example, without speech).

M.A.X. charges by USB, unplugging the power supply to his control panel, which is easy enough as it just unclips. Your child really will become more confident and understanding about wiring and power. A charge seems to last for ages, so he's not frustrating at all in that respect.

There are several commands M.,A.X. understands and you can teach him new things. He will dance, sing, tell jokes, tell you facts and a host of other actions. Here's a very brief look at M.A.X. in action...

M.A.X. is excellent. There's so much learning for children and in a fantastic way that is loads of fun. He's a more expensive gift than most, but it's easy to see where that money goes. The technology involved is immense and the range of activities is huge. We haven't even started looking at the app. yet and we've spent hours with him.

Meccano M.A.X. is available to buy now rrp £149.99 from all larger or specialist toy shops instore or online, including Argos, Smyths, Toys R Us, The Entertainer or Amazon, where it is currently £132.99.

To find out more about the entire Meccano range, take a look at the Meccano website. We've previously reviewed Basher - one of the smaller Meccano Micronoids (rrp £39.99, age 8+)

We were sent our Meccano M.A.X. by SpinMaster for Review. The Amazon link is an affiliate link, so I get a few pence each time someone orders through me, but they don't pay any more!


  1. This does look like a super cool robot. He can do so many wonderful things x

    1. He really is cool - he raps and tells slightly rude jokes about farts and stuff - my son thinks he's ace :D

  2. I like your writing style really loving this site.

    1. Thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to comment :)


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