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    Gamertell Review: Zhu Zhu Pets electronic pet toys

    by Jenni Lada on Oct 8, 2009 at 07:03 PM

    Product: Zhu Zhu Pets
    Price: $8.00 to $9.99
    Rating: One thumb up, one sideways; 85/100; B; * * * 1/2 out of 5.
    Pros: Soft, with a nice color assortment. Cute names. Sensors are responsive, not too sensitive. Multiple functioning modes. Good size that’s easy for younger kids to grip. No way for kids to get the batteries out. Interacts with playsets by reading codes. Doubles as a fantastic cat toy.
    Cons: You don’t be able to find it anywhere between now and Christmas 2009. No way to turn it completely off. A child with long hair could get it caught in the hamster’s wheels. Can’t use a regular hamster ball (which would be cheaper) with the toy – you have to purchase an official Go Go Adventure Ball. Doesn’t run on carpets. Accessories and playsets are a bit expensive. Easily gets dirty, easily lost.
    Overall: A cute, soft, gender-neutral toy that is definitely charming and pretty affordable. Kids will probably need at least one accessory/playset to keep the Zhu Zhu Pet interesting. It’d be a good pet substitute for kids who are either too young or not responsible enough for a real pet.

    The Zhu Zhu Pets already have a confirmed spot in Toys ‘R Us’ 2009 Hot Holiday Toy List. Most major news outlets have run stories on what’s being considered the most popular holiday toy. If you walk past the toy section in your local Walmart, you’ll see empty shelves and a note limited people to two Zhu Zhu Pets or Zhu Zhu Pet accessories per purchase. Overnight, they’ve become the toy of 2009.

    After searching five Walmart stores, I finally discovered a Zhu Zhu Pet. A few minutes later and I was the proud owner of Pipsqueak.

    Meet Pipsqueak.

    There are a total of eight Zhu Zhu Pets available, each with different coloring and (supposedly) different personalities. I happened to be lucky enough to find a Pipsqueak which has lemon-colored fur with white accents on her face and paws. There is also a white, shooting star design embroidered on her back.

    According to the Zhu Zhu Pets website, she is curious, smart and a bit of a daredevil. I’d have to say the description is fairly accurate, as the toy seems pretty aware of its surroundings when placed on the ground to roam free and seems to get into any opening, including an out-of-the-way gap behind my refrigerator. However, I saw my cousin playing with a Chunk Zhu Zhu Pet and it seemed to behave in the exact same manner. So the personalities are probably superficial.

    The Zhu Zhu Pet is approximately five inches long, two-and-a-half inches tall and two and a half inches wide. The fur is soft, like a plush animal. It feels well made and solidly constructed. There are no small parts that can fall off or out. The plastic eyes and nose are securely fastened to the toy and the toy is recommended for ages four and up.

    It uses two AAA batteries, which fit into a plastic, screw-on compartment on the bottom of the pet. There is a code reader for the playsets and accessories on the bottom between the two plastic wheels. The toy has three sensors: one on the back, one on the head and one on its nose. Pushing the buttons causes it to go into different modes or make noises.

    Go Zhu Zhu Pet, Go!

    A Zhu Zhu Pet is essentially a pet substitute. It has two different modes called Loving Mode and Explore Mode. Loving Mode, which is also called Nurturing or Talk Mode, is triggered by petting the sensor on hamster’s head. After pressing the sensor, the pet will start making soothing and soft noises at random intervals over a one minute period. After one minute, the pet turns itself off. It makes sort of a cute mascot when its in this mode.

    Pressing the back sensor starts Explore Mode, also referred to as Adventure Mode, is when the Zhu Zhu Pet will explore its environment for a four minute period. It will behave randomly, scurrying around and making noises while on the floor. If you have one of the playsets or environments, it will interact with the toy by reading codes on it that tell it how to react. You can also instantly turn the toy off by pressing the back sensor a second time.

    It’s pretty entertaining to watch the toy zip around. It makes an assortment of noises and moves around in a fairly random manner. If it runs into something, the hamster will immediately stop and turn itself around. I found it amusing and I’m sure younger children would have fun running around after it, altering its path or constructing obstacle courses.

    I highly recommend keeping an eye on the Zhu Zhu Pet while playing with it. The toy can and will find its way into the most unlikely areas. As I mentioned before, my Pipsqueak ended up finding it’s way into a four-foot wide space between my refrigerator and the wall and retrieving it wasn’t a pleasant experience.

    It also seems like it would be quite difficult to clean if it got dirty, another good reason to keep an eye on it while playing. For Zhu Zhu Pets like the gray Num Nums or brown Mr. Squiggles or Scoodles, this would be less of a problem. However, owners of the light pink Jilly, white Chunk, or black and white Winkie could be the owner of one mangey looking fake hamster if they aren’t careful.
    While a Zhu Zhu Pet alone is pretty reasonably priced, the accessories can be a bit expensive. You’ll end up paying between $10 and $20 for custom accessories that can only be used with the Zhu Zhu Pets. You can’t substitute real hamster balls, wheels or habitats, which may be cheaper (especially if you find them at Goodwill). The Zhu Zhu Pets have code readers built in which allow them to interact with and use the accessories in special ways. Putting a Zhu Zhu Pet in a regular hamster ball will make it just sort of stand still or spin in place.

    Virtual Hamster

    Zhu Zhu Pet is a pretty realistic representation of the pet hamster experience. It does pretty much everything a real hamster does but you don’t have to worry about feeding it, unexpected escape attempts or occasional biting. If you buy your child a Zhu Zhu Pet and he or she tires of it, you also don’t have to shoulder care responsibilities or worry about it experiencing neglect. Price wise it works out, too, since a real hamster will easily cost more than a one-time $8 fee.

    The Zhu Zhu Pets are definitely deserving of attention and are certainly adorable. IIt’d probably appeal most to children under 10 but fans of hamsters or small critters of any age will probably want one as well.

    If nothing else, a Zhu Zhu Pet makes a fantastic cat toy. From the moment I removed Pipsqueak from her packaging, my cat was enthralled with the critter. I’m not sure if it was the random noises or the unpredictable movement pattern but he loved it. When it was turned “off,” I’d find him cuddling the toy and when it was on in Explore Mode, he’d chase it all around the kitchen and living room.

    Site [Zhu Zhu Pets]

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    • Abby M. said:

      I didn’t want my kid to miss the fun of playing Zhu Zhu pet hamster, so I bought him Mr Squiggles which he surely loves to play around.

    • Abby M. said:

      It is so amazing to buy Zhu Zhu pet hamsters for my son, because I feel that I am part of the toy craze this year.

    • Gavin said:

      Awe, so cute and no dead babies!

    • Michael said:

      I continue to be amazed at how quickly these are flying off the shelves. No one can keep them in stock for very long 🙂

    • AMBER HAYS from BRYAN,TX said:

      I know both my kids wanted one,so I got lucky on ebay and found a lot of all 5 hamster accessories plus all 4 hamsters for $180. Seeing how if I would have bought that hamster by themselves with people raising their prices it would have cost me $20-$30 per hamster anyway, now for not that much more they have the entire set. I am sewing their own little blankets for them as well i found cheap little fur lines purses for their carriers instead of paying $20 for the blanket and carrier licensed by zhu zhu. SO they are going to be very happy and I am glad I didnt get hurt trying to fight people to get one..

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