Retail vs Education
There are two versions of the EV3 robot kit: the 'retail' or 'home' version and the 'education' version. This page describes some of the differences and gives links to further information. If you are a teacher or a school you should certainly buy the education version and otherwise you should probably buy the retail version. The included sensors and other parts are somewhat different in each version and thus the models you can make are also different. If you need items that are included in the other version then you can buy them separately. Having said that, there are MANY differences in the pieces included in each set. For example the education set includes 2 large wheels (diameter 56mm) while the retail (home) set includes 4 less large wheels (diameter 43.2mm).
- the 'retail' or 'home' version has an emphasis on 'cool' aesthetics, fun, animal appearances and remote control. The kit includes an infrared sensor and beacon/remote control and some fun accessories such as a ball-firing device which are not included with the education version. LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 software is also included and is freely downloadable HERE for Windows and OSX. The home version lacks the lessons included in the Education version, and also lacks the ultrasound and gyro programming blocks (since the corresponding sensors are not included in the retail kit) but these blocks can be downloaded separately free HERE and added to the free software. Here's how to add the downloaded blocks to the Retail version of the software (see also this Youtube video):
- Open your EV3 Software (retail version).
- Go to Tools and click on "Block Import".
- Select the file you downloaded.
- Restart LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3.
- the 'education' version has an emphasis on serious programming. It includes an ultrasonic proximity sensor and a gyro (rotation) sensor which are not included in the retail version, though they can be bought separately. It does NOT include the infrared sensor or remote control though these can be bought separately. It does not include various extras like the ball-firing device. It DOES includes a rechargeable battery. It is necessary to buy a battery charger. Since January 2016 the education version includes the education version of the software - you no longer need to buy that separately. The education software includes many good 'Robot Educator' lessons that are not included in the retail version, as well as a data logging capability.