Since its debut in 2001, the Pixter has excelled in providing children with an electronic platform on which to explore their creativity. The newest version, called the Pixter Multi-Media, combines an electronic art studio, a gaming platform and a video player into one device. Measuring 7 by 5 inches, with a 3.9 inches touch-sensitive screen and attached stylus, this new device can play the earlier Pixter software cartridges. Four AA batteries power it.
The Pixter Multi-Media gives kids the ability to free draw on the unit's screen using a wide variety of digital artist’s tools including stamps and an assortment of brushes. Kids can also use scene starters for drawing inspiration. Other options include filling in color-by-number pictures, connecting dots to create pictures and uncovering scratchboard pictures by using the stylus to scratch over the surface to reveal the picture underneath. This handheld also has a multi-directional gamepad for playing a "Tetris"-type game.
To watch videos, parents will need to buy add-on software for $20. Each of the nine new video software titles lets kids watch about 20 minutes of cartoon or live-action footage. The software also includes a video creator that lets kids manipulate the video footage to create something new. Some of the video software titles feature branded characters, including Dora and SpongeBob, while others offer content from the BBC's Walking With Dinosaurs or the Winter X Games.
Watching video on the Pixter is not like watching it on a TV screen—it is grainy, and the action does not flow smoothly. However, the video creator software is easy to use and kids will enjoy recombining the snippets of the video to create their own short movie.
Don't buy Pixter Multi-Media for its video playing ability. Rather select this handheld if you are looking for an excellent, highly portable, compact creativity tool. Its activities will spark your child’s imagination.
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