Middle child and I were at the dollar store earlier this week. It’s fall break and we were feeling antsy and rich, with dollars in our pockets and hours to kill. So we picked up one each of Crayola’s Color Studio HD+ and Light Marker products for a cool buck each (originally priced at $29.99 and co-branded with Griffin).
After returning home and putting these technologies to the test, we quickly figured out why they had been discounted down to a buck each.
They kind of suck.
The Light Marker app (free) uses your iPad’s onboard camera to look at a colored flashlight, letting your little artistic prodigy draw pictures from a foot or two away from the canvas. I’m not joking here. The child waves the flashlight in a dim or dark room, and with luck, manages to “draw” images to the screen.
It’s a terrible user experience and a terrible app.
However, it’s not nearly as bad as the unusable Crayola ColorStudio HD+ with stylus. This “stylus”, believe it or not, works by emitting a high pitched irritating pulsing beep, which the iPad tracks and triangulates to figure out where the “stylus” is on-screen. It also has a hideous color-changing light-show on the side of the “stylus”.
You have to push really hard to get the iPad to recognize the interaction. My daughter is way better at this than I am, and she drew the magnificent inspired art work at the top of the post.
Both apps are shortly going to be trashed.
As for the products, the Light Marker stylus is of moderate use in that it is, in fact, a flashlight, so can be used as a flashlight. The HD “stylus” will be in the trash shortly as it gave me a headache during use and its only good feature seems to be that it…no…never mind. It doesn’t have a good feature.
However, hidden within the packaging of the Light Marker is a damned fine iPad stand that we *loved*. Well worth that $1, this collapsable stand has rubberized footers, a solid build, and can not only be used with the intended iPad, but also pretty much every iDevice and Kindle we could throw at it — regardless of width and case. It folds down to almost nothing but is strong enough to throw into a backpack or purse.
I’m probably going to go back and buy a few more Light Marker packages because this stand is awesome.
To summarize: both products are crap, not worth $1, let alone $30. Given the ubiquity of $1 tablet styluses at the dollar store, it’s not as if they couldn’t have just packaged a decent toddler-appropriate stylus. This is a perfect example of people trying to be too clever and not at all practical when putting together a product.
However, if you have a Dollar Tree near you, head on over and buy some of these stands. I loved ’em.
Update: Compared to my beloved Two-Hands stands, this is nothing to write home about. Not nearly as stable, won’t move with the device when you pick it up, can’t adjust the angle with exact precision etc. BUT unlike the Two Hands, this cheapy stand can handle Kindle (Two Hands ends are too thin), thick cases (same problem), phones and ipod touches. I’ve been using this all afternoon for plopping testing devices into. If you’re looking for the ultimate iPad stand, stick with the Two Hands. For throwing testing devices onto, this is great.
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