Geek toys review: Nanodots

Chris Comiskey at


When the carrying pouch is more entertaining than its contents, there’s something amiss. Inside an admittedly awesome yellow drawstring bag—complete with atomic logo emblazoned across the front—lies a handful of magnetic BBs called nanodots. That stick to each other. Awkwardly. That’s all they do. This is sort of like tearing open the wrapping paper off a massive box on Christmas morning only to discover a mouth-guard and a jockstrap within.

The idea of the nanodots seems cool enough: you’re supposed to be able to mold them like clay, creating nifty, bead-based shapes and miniature modern art masterpieces. In actuality, all I was able to make was a grayish, poop-like cylinder and a hideous metallic doily. Wheeeee. I guess if you bought dozens of packages (there’s a measly 216 dots per bag purchased), you could construct something worthwhile, but at 30 bucks a sack, that’s not likely to happen. Oh, and these are the cheap ones. For $35, you can order the black or silver versions. Or, for a staggeringly painful $40, you can buy them in gold coloring.

On the plus-side, each tiny ball sticks remarkably well to other metallic surfaces, making these perfect for fridge magnets or office use. But that’s distinctly utilitarian, and completely separate from the nanodots’ intended purpose: fun. So if you want some nuclear-powered ferromagnetic spheres to hold your vacation photos to your cubicle, these’ll do just fine. But if you’re looking for a creative sculpturing outlet, stick with Play-Doh instead—it’s cheaper, it smells better, and it doesn’t require an ER visit if accidentally ingested.

Grab onehere

It’ll cost ya: $30 to $40 for 216 dots, depending on color (plus shipping)

The plush storage bag is terrific for: Keeping an emergency stock of LEGOs in your jeans’ pocket, filling with rocks to wield as a mini-bludgeoning device, using as an improvised cat-food bowl.