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Chumby reviews

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chumby.jpg

So, in case you weren’t aware of what the ‘Chumby‘ is, it’s a small computer enclosed inside a beanbag-like casing. It is capable of displaying the news headlines, stock information, email, and other Internet content through the use of ‘widgets’. It does all of this over a Wi-Fi network. The Chumby can act like a clock (or alarm clock) and also play games. The gimmick with the Chumby is that you can ‘slap’ it around to navigate between widgets. However, before we get to the summary review, here’s the specs:

* 3.5-inch LCD color touchscreen
* 350MHz ARM processor
* 64MB SDRAM
* 64MB NAND flash ROM
* Wi-Fi connectivity
* Built-in stereo speakers
* Squeeze sensor
* Accelerometer (motion sensor)
* Audio support: MP3
* Two USB 2.0 ports
* Headphone output

Good:
+ Touch-screen LCD
+ Tons of widgets available (60+)
+ Capable of playing music off of a thumb drive
+ You can plug in your iPod and the Chumby will play your tracks
+ Photo viewing is admirable – you can invite friends to send photos to it
+ Software updates over Wi-Fi
+ It’s cute

Bad:
– Screen size too small?
– Mashing the Chumby to navigate between widgets is painful and slow
– Adding and managing a widget must be done on a computer, not on the Chumby
– Must be plugged into a power outlet – no rechargeable battery
– Screen is too bright to be used as an alarm clock – even in ‘night mode’
– You can’t pause podcasts
– Onboard keyboard can be hard to use
– No iPhone support

The Chumby costs $179.95 (including shipping) at Chumby.com. It is available in latte, black, and pearl (white) color. For what it does, I think it’s over priced. The Chumby needs to be constantly connected to a power outlet, which is a deal breaker for me.

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