CarBot Review: DeskPets’ iOS-Controlled Mini Car

While the The Parrot Quadricopter may be an exciting gadget for iPhone users, its $300 price tag can be a deterrent. For those looking for a more wallet-friendly option, DeskPets has introduced CarBot, a diminutive four-wheeled robot priced under $30, which can be maneuvered using a complimentary iPhone application. DeskPets provided TUAW with a sample for evaluation, and I took the opportunity to test drive this tiny automaton around my home in Los Angeles using my iPhone 5.

Initially, opening the CarBot’s packaging might seem daunting due to the various components. However, setup is straightforward once you get the hang of it.

The vehicle is ready to use right out of the box, featuring a green, semi-transparent body filled with electronics. It includes a small adapter that connects to your iDevice’s headphone jack. After connecting the adapter and activating both it and the vehicle, launching the free app on your iPhone completes the setup.

The CarBot offers four operational modes. The default mode allows basic driving functions through the app, including moving forward or backward, using a digital horn, and steering.

A switch under the car adjusts frequencies, enabling the use of multiple cars each controlled from different iPhones. The vehicle performs adequately on carpet and even better on smoother surfaces like linoleum or tile.

In multiplayer battle mode, accessible when multiple cars are present, players can “shoot” infrared beams to reduce opponents’ life meters. A “Boost” feature provides a temporary speed increase. The third mode, “obstacle detection,” will eventually work with an upcoming MazeBot accessory, allowing the CarBot to navigate mazes autonomously.


Mark is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing insightful and engaging content to Apple enthusiasts around the world. With a deep understanding of Apple products like the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook, Mark’s articles offer readers valuable tips, news, and reviews. His expertise in the tech industry, combined with a knack for clear and concise writing, makes him a trusted voice in the Apple community. When he’s not writing, Mark enjoys exploring the latest apps and software updates, always staying ahead of the curve.