PlayMG, a smartphone-ish Wi-Fi Android app gaming system for kids, is just the ticket for parents whose children always ask if they can play on Mom or Dad’s phone. The sleek design, feel and weight of this handheld device is similar to leading smartphones, so kids won’t know the difference, except this device does not have a phone feature.
For sophisticated very early adopters, i.e., kids as soon as they are able to hold a cell phone, those silly mock smartphones are no match. These savvy tech toddlers know by the kiddie colors and light-weight plasticy feel that those made-for-children devices are toys. PlayMG on the other hand, with its 4” touchscreen, front-facing camera, and stereo headset jack would pass as the real deal even to an adult; in fact, its styling is superior to many authentic smartphones out there.
The obvious main advantage of the PlayMG over a true smartphone is that there are no data charges and kids can’t rack up high phone bills; but that does not mean a child can not incur charges. As with all Android devices, some downloads are free and other apps and media cost money, which can be paid with a few taps on the device. To help prevent this, PlayMG created the MG Family Collaboration System which includes a $10 offer when you by the system from SpendSmartTM prepaid MasterCard®. Other features include the "Digital Wallet” and "Remote Trust" notification functions so that parents can oversee what kids are spending.
Because the ICS 4.0 system operates on Wi-Fi, there are not data charges, but you do need to connect to a network to access certain games and media. While you do have to either find a free hot spot or otherwise get a subscribe to a carrier to get Wi-Fi service, with PlayMG there are no monthly charges or expensive cartridge games to buy.
As a bonus, several top games come pre-loaded on the device, including $10 worth of top EA Mobile games 'Need for Speed Hot Pursuit' and 'NBA JAM' preloade, eight Com2uS popular game titles, Slice It, Swing Shot, Homerun Battle2, Tiny Farm, Tower, Defense, 9 Innings Baseball, Super Action Hero and Derby Days.
The only stand-out odd detail of PlayMG is its egg-like shape. It has two rounded handles at either end, with cut-outs presumably to thread with a lanyard or wrist strap. The disadvantage of this peculiar profile is that the device does not fit any existing cases on the market. The concern of course is that the device may break if dropped; and because of its slippery, smooth design, this is a real concern, especially in the hands of children.
Besides the awkward shape, the PlayMG is a welcome alternative to turning over a fully functional smartphone to a child; so next visit to a restaurant, long car ride, wait in the bank line, or wherever else bored kids nag to play a handheld video game, PlayMG is a great answer.
PlayMG is available at Target, Amazon and Toys R US. PlayMG Product (8GB) $159.99;
PlayMG Bundle w/ Charger (24GB) $149.99; PlayMG Bundle with Charger & Case (40GB)