Lego Mindstorms EV3 vs Spike Prime

Spike vs Mindstorm

Should I buy the new SPIKE Prime or get a second hand Mindstorms for my child?

Did you know that the infamous Lego Mindstorms EV3 has been officially retired as of 31 June 2021? It has been with the Lego Robotics family for 8 years! SPIKE Prime is the latest lego education robotic kit ready to replace the Lego Mindstorms EV3.

Let’s compare the difference between Mindstorms and SPIKE Prime.

Mindstorms

SPIKE Prime

Hardware

Odd Shape

 

Have a more rectangular shape

Improvement
Overall easier to build with SPIKE Prime Lego.

Gyro Sensor
A sensor that detect movement.

A stand alone sensor with drift and lag issues

Built-in gyro sensor with no drift and minimal lag

Improvement with SPIKE Prime
– The built in gyro sensor for SPIKE Prime is more reliable than Mindstorms gyro sensor.
– Do not need to plug in the gyro sensor so 1 more port available.

Touch Sensor
Touch Sensor is an electronic sensor that can detect touch

There are three modes of a touch sensor in Mindstorms. They are Released (default), Pressed and Bumped (i.e. pressed, then released).

SPIKE Prime’s touch sensor has the function of Mindstorm’s touch sensor and also act as a force sensor. It can measure pressure of up to 10 Newtons.

Improvement with SPIKE Prime
– SPIKE Prime’s touch sensor also act as a force sensor.

User Interface

Diagram based coding interface

Scratch-like block coding and Python available

Improvement
There is no clear winner as both are not perfect. Nevertheless, if we must choose, we prefer SPIKE Prime as it prepare Kids for programming in text-based programming languages.

Charging and Download Cable

Stand alone charging and downloading cable

2 in 1 cable for both charging and downloading

Improvement with SPIKE Prime
– 1 cable for both charging and downloading

Cable for Motors and Sensors

Stand alone thicker black cable with different length

The white cable that connects both the sensors and motors are non-detachable and thinner.

Improvement with SPIKE Prime
– Wires are easier to manage when attached to the motors and sensors.

Port

4 inputs (sensor) port
4 output (motor) port

6 universal ports that can be used as both sensors or motors

Improvement with SPIKE Prime
– Can plug in the sensors or motors on either side of the SPIKE Hub is an improvement

SD Card Port

The SD Card Port increases the available memory for Mindstorms Brick by maximum of 32 GB

Not available on SPIKE Hub

Tradeoff
– Code fails to download with very large programs
– The latest version of the software provides a warning when the limit is reached and does not allow you to download the code to your robot

Batteries

Can use the special rechargeable battery that comes with the brick or six AA batteries.

You can only use the special Rechargeable Battery that comes with the Hub and the SPIKE Prime Set. The battery is charged using the micro USB cable that’s included in the set. The Rechargeable Battery is also available to buy as a separate item (45610 – LEGO Technic™ Large Hub Battery).

Tradeoff
– Battery must be connected to the hub to charge. As a result, you cannot have extra batteries on the side charging (i.e. you must own another hub to charge the extra battery)

Resources

Many available for Mindstorms

Few resources for SPIKE Prime as it is a new.

Tradeoff
There are few resources or SPIKE Prime now but many available for Mindstorms. However, new resources for SPIKE Prime are coming out every week.

Bugs
A software bug is an error, flaw or fault in a computer program or system that causes it to produce an incorrect or unexpected result, or to behave in unintended ways

Mindstorms had bugs but mostly addressed throughout the years

SPIKE Prime is new. There are constant updates coming in all the time to fix bugs. Need to constantly install the updates

Tradeoff
SPIKE Prime will have bugs and it needs to be constantly updated

Mindstorms Brick vs SPIKE Hub

With menu navigation and allow you to change some settings.

With light matrix technology that doesn’t offer any high resolution display and limited menu navigation.

Tradeoff
Although the Mindstorms brick is a bit old school, we prefer to have a brick that have more control

If you have the Lego Mindstorms EV3, you can continue to use this great product to learn Robotics and Programming. There are several online resources available for self learning at home. Nonetheless, we won’t advise you to buy a new Mindstorms as Lego has stopped production. This means that replacement parts would be hard to find. Though Lego SPIKE has its flaws, it is generally a new product and in time to come, it would be as wholesome as the Mindstorms in terms of its online resources and also software bug issues.

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