You all know how cool and convenient Playway audio players are. Well parent company Findaway World has taken the concept of a program preloaded onto a portable player and brought it to video: say hello to Playaway View. I had the opportunity to test one of these gadgets. Mine came preloaded with National Geographic’s Underwater Creatures (100 programs from PBS Kids, Sesame Street, TumbleBooks,and others also are available). The unit is roughly 4¬º x 3¬º, has 3.5 full-color LCD screen, and weighs a drop more than five ounces, so it’s small and light enough to carry in a pocket or purse.
The screen can be adjusted for low, standard, and bright light, and programs can be watched whole or in chapters like a DVD. Buttons flanking both sides of the unit control play/pause, forward/rewind, and volume. A tiny speaker is built in, but the sound is better with headphones. A full charge (a charger is included) powers the unit for roughly eight hours.
Ok, tech specs done, what’s it like to use? Fun! I had a blast watching Underwater Creatures (and as much as I’ll always sit through anything with sharks, I kept thinking god, would I love to have one of these with Casablanca and a ton of other movies on it‚ Findaway World are you listening? There’s serious money to be made here).
After I was done, I gave the player its true litmus test: I let my ten-year-old kid use it. He liked it as much as I did. Playaway View is a natural for libraries and schools. Any kid who is familiar with a Nintendo DS will instantly take to Playaway View.