OVERALL EDITOR'S RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
What It Is
Turn an old smartphone into a camera for little kids with Pixlplay. This ingenious device looks like an old-school 35mm camera, but instead of loading it with film, you load it with a smartphone.
The device, available in blue or orange, is made of sturdy plastic with rubber grips and a wrist strap to make it easy for small hands to hold. This also helps protect your smartphone from dirt and drops.
To insert your smartphone, open up the back panel, attach the headphone jack to your phone, feed the headphone jack cord where it needs to be per the instructions, and insert your phone between the adjustable clamps. This is really designed for iPhones, but it does work with many Androids.
Once the smartphone is inside the Pixlplay, you'll still be able to see the smartphone screen through the Pixlplay clear screen protector and have touch-screen capabilities to open up your phone's camera app or the free Pixlplay app. You can touch the shutter button within the app to take pictures or press the shutter button on the Pixlplay to take your pictures, just like you're using a real camera.
While you don't need to have the Pixlplay app, if you do download it, then you'll be able to take pictures and edit them with fun stickers, and go on photo scavenger hunts and create photo adventure books.
And to encourage even more creative play, Pixlplay comes with stickers, a sheet of photo props that kids can decorate, and an activity sheet.
Is It Fun?
If you've got an old smartphone in a drawer and you've got a little kid who loves to play with your technology, why not combine the two with Pixlplay? It allows a child to play with the coveted mom and dad's smartphone but doing more with it than just sitting on the couch, scrolling through apps and playing games. Because it turns the old smartphone into a camera, it gets kids up and active, taking pictures as they explore the house, the backyard, the neighborhood, or wherever you go. Kids will have a lot of fun staging their own photo shoots with the props, editing the pictures they take, and going on the guided scavenger hunts through the Pixlplay app. This is a great combination of creative and active play with a bit of technology added in. Plus, it's a fun way to get kids interested in photography at a young age.
Who It’s For
Pixlplay is for ages 3 and up. It is a great alternative for little kids who like playing with mommy and daddy's smartphones. It helps to protect the smartphone and it encourages creative and active play.
What To Be Aware Of
The free Pixlplay iOS app requires iOS 8 or above, so even though an iPhone 4 fits inside the Pixlplay device, it won't run the app because it's not compatible with the iOS 8 system.
An Android version of the Pixlplay app is [update: now available in beta mode]
Pixlplay is designed for iPhones, but it also works with many Android phones. The maximum size is 5.59 x 2.95 x 0.374 inches. You can visit the Pixl Toys website for specific device information.
You'll need to remove phone cases before inserting phones into Pixlplay.
The Pixlplay does not waterproof your smartphone.