Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Move over Ipod-meet Chumby I (Review)

As a self appointed geek, I am always on the lookout for the new and upcoming tech toy either for members of my family or myself, and I am pretty taken with one of our latest additions, the Chumby I. I can almost hear you muttering, "What’s a Chumby?" because that’s exactly what I said when I read about it in November, but it’s been only a few weeks and we are enamored with this little device.

You see, every Christmas I give my husband some things that he needs, and some that he doesn’t-in other words "toys"-and I was on the look out for something tech to fill "that need."  I think I did a search on Google for "best cheap tech gifts" and one of my favorite tech sites, PC World, popped up with the article, "Terrific Tech Gifts for $200 or Less", and let's just say I was aiming for less...

 Anyhow, the site had a slide show of 14 tech gadgets that were worthy of purchase, and I was on slide number 12 when I saw the Chumby One for the first time. Now the price was still a little too high for me, but when I did a search for information that was only Chumby related, I found out that the Chumby website was offering the device for $79 with I think free shipping and handling-this was down from the normal price of $129.95!

I read more reviews at another favorite technology get their take and they gave it high marks. Yes, I still haven't told you just what this thing is... It’s a small, wireless device that you can keep on your bedside table to wirelessly connect to the Internet. It’s 3.5 inch touch screen allows you to view comments on Facebook, check the latest weather forecasts for your area, connect to Pandora radio, check e-mail, play games, and the list goes on and on.

There are several “channels”in the Chumby  that you can program with around 1000 apps downloaded from the site (all gloriously free I might add). My husband has a channel that’s just weather related, another for news and sports from sites like ESPN and CBS, and he has a gaming/web cam/ "fun" channel. He picks the channel and the apps loop continuously (with a time for each site determined by him). If he wants to look at the site more closely, he hits the screen and the looping stops, and if he doesn’t want an app anymore, he simply logs into his account on the Chumby site from a computer, and deletes it.

This thing can also be a clock, so the old, outdated alarm clock that used to grace his nightstand is now gone. He can set an alarm with the Chumby One and wake up to music from Pandora, or other various alarms he can choose. Right now it’s a taps alarm with the bugle sound getting louder and louder the longer it plays-thank goodness I’m up before it goes off, but I can sometimes hear it from the bathroom… There is also a night mode that keeps the Chumby from looping, lowers the lighting on the screen, and shows only the time.

The Chumby One is the second of two models that came out in 2009. Unlike the original Chumby that has soft leather sides, and is slightly larger (and more costly) with some impressive features, the Chumby One can use a rechargeable lithium ion battery(the older model has to be plugged in), has one USB 2.0 high speed port, 2W mono speakers, an FM tuner, 454 MHz ARM processor (larger than the older model), 64 MB DDR SDRAM, and Internal microSD card firmware.

This device is like an iPod, Wipad, alarm clock, DS, radio, and digital photo frame (you can loop your Facebook pictures as well) all rolled into one. I can’t tell you how many times the kids have jumped on our bed to check out the Chumby screen. In fact, my husband just added an app that counts down the days to each of our birthdays, and the cake image on the screen continually changes the closer the date gets. (My daughter’s birthday is in March, and she now has a three-layer cake with icing…)

The thing is so cute that my daughter and I both want one, so I’m going to keep on the lookout for any discounts and sales. If you want to read more about the Chumby One, a good place to go is the CNET site or to the Chumby site (it will help you get a good idea about all the apps available and give you information about each model.)

I did want to point out that Sony came out with a competing device this year called the Sony Dash-it has a 7-inch touch screen that sells for $199. But I found out the Dash is just a Chumby in disguise because it was made in collaboration with Chumby (it runs with the Chumby operating system and uses all of the Chumby site apps) but it comes in a fancier package with a fancier price tag. So, based on price, (cuteness), portability, and good reviews for Chumby, I went in that direction, but I anxiously await the next new tech toy that combines the best of both…

*I just noticed that the Chumby site is actively advertising the Sony Dash as well, so it is a true partnership.

This review was done without any compensation from Chumby, CNET, or PCWorld.  I bought a Chumby this Christmas, and all opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were not influenced by any of the companies mentioned. All pictures in this post were taken by me to show some of the apps available.


  1. Ok this looks really cool. It does so much and an added alarm clock is neat. I have never heard of Chumby until now!

  2. Nichol, this escaped my attention as well-we were still into all the stuff for the Wii the past couple years, that I didn't even think to look for something new...

  3. This looks so cool! And so much cheaper then an ipad!!!!

  4. I love how it can loop your FB pics too. It does way more than I was expecting.

  5. Lindsey, that's why I was looking at it. I didn't want a toy with a high price tag.

    Blueviolet, the Facebook feature is pretty neat, and you can have a channel just for that so that the Chumby becomes like a digital frame...

  6. This sounds pretty awesome! I think my husband would like one of these too.

  7. Wow! This is a new one to me. Very cool. I think the FB feature would be very attractive to many consumers. Thanks for the review!

    Susan, you won a Wednesdays Ten over at Write With Pictures. Well done once again!

  8. I'm back! Loved your submission for last week's Friday Poetry over at WWP. Beautifully expressed. Thank you!

  9. Mommy is Green- I can't believe how much my husband likes this thing!

    Thanks for the honor Septembermom!

  10. I think needs some looking into. Nice find.


Please make my day and leave a comment.