In early 2021, Transformers fans all shared a collective gasp when Hasbro and Robosen debuted a 19-inch tall Optimus Prime toy that could transform from a truck, to a robot, and back again, all on its own. It was an engineering marvel, a fantasy come true for countless ‘80s kids, and almost two years later, there’s now a new and improved version that knocks a few bucks off the steep price tag.

The Robosen Elite Edition Auto-Converting Optimus Prime is almost identical to its predecessor unless you come at it with a tape measure. The original Collector’s Edition or Flagship version stood 19-inches tall, while the new Elite Edition benefits from a couple of years of continued electronics miniaturization and tops out at 16-inches tall instead.

The Robosen Elite Edition Auto-Converting Optimus Prime striking two familiar heroic poses.

Image: Robosen

Almost everything else is identical, right down to the over 5,000 components that go into the robot including 60 microchips, 27 servos, and accessories like Prime’s blaster and energy axe that can be swapped in as needed. It also still boasts 80 different phrases recorded by Peter Cullen who voiced the character in the original ‘80s animated series.

The Elite Edition Auto-Converting Optimus Prime is still most easily controlled using an accompanying smartphone app to trigger one of 43 different commands like “convert” and “roll out,” or by just guiding the robot’s movements manually while walking in robot mode or driving around in its Freightliner semi-truck mode. Voice commands are also an option, but the consensus of reviews of the original auto-transforming Prime seem to indicate the robot wasn’t as good at following verbal commands as modern smart assistants are.

The Robosen Elite Edition Auto-Converting Optimus Prime in robot mode and the Freightliner semi-truck mode.

Image: Robosen

There are several reasons to opt for the new Elite Prime over the original, with the most obvious being that you might not actually have a choice because the first release is no longer in production, so when the stock that Hasbro Pulse and Robosen are selling runs out, that’s it. The other reason to opt for version two is that at $700, it’s $50 cheaper than what the original Collector’s Edition Prime originally sold for at launch, and $500 cheaper than what the remaining Collector’s Edition Primes are now selling for, after a significant price bump to $1,200 today. The new Elite version will also be available for purchase from a wider number of retailers including Entertainment Earth, the BigBadToyStore, Costco, and even Amazon, so the chances of discounts, or cheaper shipping, will be improved.

Unfortunately, the equally impressive and expensive $750 transforming trailer accessory is only compatible with the original and larger Collector’s Edition version of the toy, so if you were hoping for that complete set, and haven’t ordered one alreadyyou’re now going to have to cough up close to $2,000 for the pair.

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