The face may change but the software always remains the same. That statement, voiced in the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special, applies to both the Doctor and the most iconic tool in the Doctor Who universe. We were lucky enough to get our hands on one so that we could review it.
Calm down! We weren’t able to get our hands on an actual Doctor but we did receive a Doctor Who Tenth Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver Remote Control from Firebox.com, and we can’t tell you how that set our little Whovian hearts aflutter.
The very first thing we had to do was get over the sheer excitement of holding a replica of something that was held by Tenth Doctor David Tennant. You see, when the Wand Company decided to make a remote control replica of this sonic screwdriver, the BBC told them there was only one prop of the screwdriver still in existence… and they had given it to Tennant when he passed the reigns to Matt Smith. Luckily, they were able to get in touch with the actor, who graciously loaned his sonic screwdriver to the Wand Company so they could create a replica that was as authentic as possible.
The sonic screwdriver arrived in a solid hard plastic case, cradled by some strange weird but firm sponge-like material. That’s really the only way to describe it. Whatever the stuff is, it’s excellent for padding.
Under the padding on one side of the case were the directions on how to use the remote, along with a very cool diagram of the sonic screwdriver itself. On the other side of the case, also tucked under the padding, was this cool Gallifreyan medallion, which functions as a magnetic stand for the remote. It takes a few seconds to actually find the magnetic spot but there’s no doubt about it when you hit the spot because it clicks solidly in place.
The remote control itself is made of plastic and aluminum, with a removable black plastic cap on the bottom that conceals the charging plug for the included USB charger.
The black cap spins loosely around the bottom of the remote, which takes some getting used to. We constantly felt like it was going to fall off but the magnet inside does actually connect the cap firmly to the remote.
Just like the sonic screwdriver on the television show, the replica’s tip extends out with the push of a thumb-slide. In addition to recreating the movements of the Doctor’s iconic tool, this also functions as a volume control for sound and voice effects.
The remote has four distinct modes of operation:
- practice mode – voice effects instruct you in how to move the remote up, down, right, left, clockwise, and anti-clockwise.
- control mode – lets you control any infrared device, including iPod docks, TVs, and Blu-ray players.
- quiet control mode – just like control mode but sound effects are turned off
- fx mode – has no effect on devices but makes authentic sound effects from the Doctor Who television series to let you pretend you’re using the sonic screwdriver for various Time Lord activities [our favorite mode]
Programming the sonic screwdriver was fairly easy. You select one of the three memory banks for a particular device, press a command key on the regular remote, press the button on the sonic screwdriver and make the desired command movement, and the screwdriver stores the function with that movement.
As an added bit of fun, when in FX mode, you can aim the sonic screwdriver at any remote-controlled TV, press the button three times (holding it down on the final press), and the screwdriver will turn off the TV, with no programming required. Friends and family will be amazed – or possibly a little irritated – when you walk in, aim your trusty sonic screwdriver, and shut their TV off.
If David Tennant is one of your favorite Doctors, or you just have an irresistible urge to collect as many Doctor Who collectibles as possible, you’ll want to get your hands on the Doctor Who Tenth Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver Remote Control. It’s a great remote control and a great toy. It will be available April 23, 2014 but it can be pre-ordered now for $115.89.