Quincy Artist Robot Review

May 06, 20
Quincy Artist Robot Review

We finally got our hands on the new Quincy Robot Artist / Teacher from LANDZO Technology, hailing from the green, tree-lined city streets of Nanjing, China.

LANDZO has a long history in creating STEM robotics products, and Quincy is their first user-friendly self-contained consumer product firmly aimed at the young learner education market.

To say we were excited to get Quincy would be an understatement! Due to the recent shipping backlog caused by the covid-19 outbreak we had to wait almost a month for it to arrive.

Was it worth the wait? Read on and find out!

We first saw Quincy the robot artist in action at a tradeshow late last year and that was the main reason why penpalbots.com was created; to source and sell the latest tech gadgets that aren't only fun but also educational.

In this review of the LANDZO Quincy robot I'll outline the key features, pros and cons of the device and share first-hand experience using the robot in my online classes and also from observing my 7 year old daughter using it.

What's in the Box?

The LANDZO Quincy robot artist is packed very securely in a custom box with strong foam inserts at the top and bottom to hold it firmly in place.

Down either side of the foam inserts are two boxes. One holds the robot arms and 2 markers, and the other holds the 64 included QR code cards and USB charging cable. The only other thing you need is a pencil or marker and a big stack of paper. Trust me - you'll be using a lot of paper! 

On top of the box is a nicely printed instruction manual, along with 4 themed workbooks with the same quality finish. The workbooks are based on the colour coded cards for each unit . The beginner kit comes with the following units:

  • In the room
  • In the orchard
  • In the zoo and 
  • In the yard

Along with the 4 units are 4 extra math themed interactive story cards that are really nicely done. The stories even have sound effects and these were a big hit with my 7 year old daughter. The 'In the yard' story card is especially charming, with animal sound effects that follow the storyline.

The markers are standard style, which means you can easily replace them with other pens or markers in the future. I found that felt tipped markers worked the best. Regular ballpoint pens aren't as effective because the robot arms don't really push down very hard when drawing. More on this important point later..

Meet Quincy!

The LANDZO Quincy robot artist has a great futuristic design with a lovely matte finish in teal green. The large single 'eye' camera on the front gives it lots of personality and reminds me of classic science fiction robot designs from my childhood. 

There's an LED ring around the camera/eye which varies in intensity depending on what function is currently underway. It becomes brighter when waiting for input and 'blinks' or flashes at key points too. 

There are three buttons along the top of Quincy's head light up and have the following functions:

  • Stop
  • Next
  • Repeat

The back of Quincy has a high quality speaker that can go surprisingly loud at full volume, along with a combination on/off switch and volume knob. There's also a rubber flap that hides a usb charging port and memory card slot for future updates.

It's all very well designed and put together, with high quality finish. I was very impressed overall with the look and premium feel of this device. 

The robot arms click firmly into place using super strong magnets and the whole thing is setup in a matter of seconds. It's foolproof and very easy to do. You just move the arms close to the magnet and BOOM they're connected. 

How Quincy Works

Quincy the robot artist is very easy to operate and is clearly designed for easy operation for children 4+ years of age. When you turn it on, the robot will say 'Power on' and then flex it's arms left and right to show you the range of movement and plan the paper placement. 

Then she asks 'Can you help me to setup the pen? Press any button to go on when you are ready'. This is the process it follows every time you turn Quincy on. I will share some suggestions later to save time and get the most out of your new Quincy Robot Artist.

Once the pen is inserted and secured in place using the screw attachment, you press any button and Quincy says 'ok let's start our trip' and the LED ring around the camera/eye lights up brighter in anticipation of scanning one of the 64 included cards.

If you don't do anything for a while it will announce 'system sleeping' until a button is pressed to bring her back to life. 

Simply pick a card and hold it in front of Quincy and the fun begins!

Quincy will give a happy greeting, such as 'good day' or 'nice to see you again' and then announce what the activity will be. The voice is professionally recorded and has a lovely British accent. My daughter says 'she sounds like Peppa Pig!'.

Throughout the process Quincy will chit chat and give detailed instructions about each step of the drawing or story. I was really surprised with how well done this part of the whole system is. The robot will constantly praise the student and give encouragement too.

What Activities Can Quincy Do?

1. Teach drawing step by step: with detailed instructions and praise/guidance. 

2. Spelling challenge: After the drawing is complete, she will then ask for 'one more challenge' and prompt the user to spell the word letter by letter and show how to write the word. 

3. Interactive stories: These have sound effects and a detailed story, along with drawing and math questions. I think these are the coolest part of the Quincy package and eagerly await update packs for these! There are 4 included with the base package and each one goes for around 10 minutes.

Important Information

The Quincy Artist Robot setup seems quite simple at first, but it takes a little trial and error to get the pen set up just right. If you just let the pen sit in the holder and lightly touch the page  and fasten it in place, it won't be 'low' enough' to draw clearly later on.

Prepare some scrap paper and experiment a little to get it setup properly. It took me a few tries before the pen was sitting in the holder at the right height - so give it a few tries. 

I find it's best if you let the pen tip touch the paper, but then push down a little on the pen so it's quite firmly on the paper before fastening it in place with the screw holder.

I feel this should be explained better in the manual, and I will be making a short video to share with customers to show the setup process to avoid frustration.

I also found that it took a little while for the robot to 'loosen up' and start drawing clearly. The first few tries the drawing was a little 'off' but that soon improved after 4-5 complete drawing activities,

Be patient with Quincy at first. Spend some time getting the pen setup just right and make sure to place the paper horizontally when you start drawing. It works better this way. Place a third or so of Quincy's body on the top of the paper to hold it in place, and away you go!

Remember that the robot will 'flex' it's arms left and right whenever you turn it on, so if the pen is uncapped it will draw on whatever surface it's on. I avoid this by gently tipping the robot back while it does it's little exercise routine/test.

I also tip it back at the end of a session and cap the pen; leaving the pen firmly in place for the next class or play session. 

Pros and Cons

This is the first version of an interactive drawing robot, and there are bound to be some quirks and areas for improvement. Here's my honest and (hopefully) unbiased opinion after 2-3 days of us.

Pros

  • The digitised pre-recorded voice is surprisingly well done and really adds a lot of personality and fun to the activities. 
  • You get a full set of cards with the robot, markers, activity books and USB cable. There's nothing else to buy.
  • The drawings are cute and stylised, and fun  to copy and draw along with the robot.
  • The internal battery lasts 5-6 hours on one charge. No need for batteries.
  • The speaker is good quality and the volume can go quite high. Easily loud enough to be heard in a busy classroom or play area.
  • The packaging and overall finish are premium quality. It's a very nicely designed and manufactured device.
  • The drawings are simply designed and easy to copy and remember. My daughter has been drawing the characters and items in other pictures and is very quickly remembering how to spell each word.
  • The spelling challenge after each drawing is a fantastic learning activity and I've never seen my child so engaged in anything like this before.
  • The lovely voice and charming design really make Quincy feel like a character, and we find ourselves referring to it as 'she' or 'her' automatically!

Cons

  • It takes some time to get it set up properly. In fact, I thought that ours was faulty before I played around with the pen position a little bit and gave it a few runs through different drawing programs to 'loosen up'. 
  • The cards are quite small and VERY easy to lose. We've only had ours a few days and the letter Y has disappeared into the ether. Seriously - we were being extra careful to keep all the cards together but we still managed to lose one. I suggest buying a little plastic box or drawstring bag to keep them in safely. Thankfully LANDZO provide a PDF download in case you need to print out any missing cards!
  • There is a big range of cards with the base unit, but an eager artist can get through the whole set in just a few days. Having said that, my 7 year old has drawn many of the animals and objects more than once and is now starting to combine the items into bigger scenes. There are more cards on the way and we will announce the price and themes as soon as the translation into English is finished.
  • You will go through a LOT of paper. Please use scrap paper or recycled paper to be kind to the environment.
  • You need to keep the paper firmly in place. The weight of Quincy is usually enough to make sure of this, but younger artists might be a little clumsy and move the paper by mistake. This will then make the drawing off centre and end up looking a mess. For younger artists I recommend securing the paper to a clipboard or tape it to the surface that you're drawing on.
  • Some of the drawings are a bit rough when Quincy is doing the story cards and has to draw a lot of content on one sheet of paper. The items are still recognisable, but the quality is a little rough compared to the standalone drawing cards. 

 

Final Verdict

Despite the lovely friendly voice, great design and build quality and selection of cards included in the box, I don't think this robot system will have much appeal for children over the age of 9-10, apart from the novelty factor.

My daughter is 7 and loves drawing, but has been struggling with spelling and letter recognition. The Quincy artist robot has been the perfect device for her and she has been using it consistently throughout the day and evening. She listens carefully and goes through the alphabet cards to spell each of the words after drawing each item. It's wonderful to see and has made the purchase worthwhile for me.

Having said that, I think Quincy has potential for older students and LANDZO have announced that there are add-on / expansion packs coming in the future. Stay tuned for more updates on this as we get the information.

I'm a sci-fi fan and robot geek so buying Quincy and promoting it to other parents and teachers was a no-brainer for me. I think if you have kids under 10 then this cute little robot teacher and artist will make a great addition to your home.  

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