PlayMG Handheld Gaming Device
The MG Android Gaming System is a first of its kind Android based handheld gaming system that uses the Google Play market as its source for games in an Android device that allows kids and parents to game wherever they want.
Ease of Use, Performance: 4.5/5
Look & Feel: 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5
Total: 5/5 Stars
PlayMG brings a new gaming system to the market with the MG which is a simple handheld Android gaming system that uses Google Play as its gaming and apps store. The MG is a simple design much like many popular Android phones and is close in specs for the size and screen of my Samsung Galaxy Stellar smartphone but the MG is not a smartphone.
The MG comes with the handheld device, an 8 GB micro SD card and instructions for both using the handheld android gaming device and how to set up purchasing accounts for youth and monitoring. The device does not come with yet another power adapter or cord as they figure you probably have one of those lying around but you can add one to your purchase for a reasonable price.
The PlayMG handheld gaming system costs about $149 currently from their site and comes with $10 of preloaded games and a $10 deal when you start the MasterCard SpendSmart card where PlayMG will match the first $10 your load onto the device. The MG does come with a few dozen games but you can spend weeks just checking out the free ones before you even worry about buying any unless you have some specific ones of interest.
The MG does look like a smartphone but it has no cell phone hardware so you connect to the internet over your Wi-Fi connection to download games and apps from the Google Play Store. The MG also has a micro USB connection to charge and connect to your computer so you can easily transfer large files without tying up your Wi-Fi connection or draining the battery.
The Android based system works well and I have had no problems with my prelaunch model that a simple reset did not solve but you can also use the Google backup service to ensure all your kids games are easily recovered. The MG has a single core processor and plenty of memory for the casual and even first person shooters I tried and no game or app had any problems.
The system did lock up once on me while working with the settings but a simple reset by holding the screen brightness and volume down buttons reset the device and got things working properly without having to reload or change anything. The MG has a volume up and down button, a power button, screen brightness button and onscreen buttons for home, back and menu functions.
The internal battery is an 1880 mAh battery that gives about 3.75 hours of real play time or can be set to standby for 4+ days according to the company. I found this to be pretty accurate in my real world conditions but plugging it in when not in use is a good idea so you have it ready when you want it.
The MG has a few perks that cellphones don’t have in the kid friendly way you buy games and allows parents to load money into an account that kids can spend at their leisure. MasterCard has a youth or teen spending system called SpendSmart that limits spending and monitors activity of the account by parents to help kids with budgeting and responsibility.
PlayMG has set up a system with MasterCard that allows you to load money onto the device and kids can spend what they want but only what you load so when that money is gone the kids don’t spend your life savings on games. This fiscal responsibility is a great way for kids to learn how to budget money but other features of the system also help parents with time management for their kids.
The gaming system uses what they have dubbed Family Collaboration which also has a spending account on the system that comes from MasterCard that alerts parents about kids spending. This system requires you to receive a MasterCard debit card in your teens name but it also has the protection of a regular debit card from a major credit card company and integrates into your Google play account.
The account will lock out spending other than the MasterCard debit card and shows on screen how much the account has for spending using the MG Family Collaboration app. Angry Birds Star Wars, Wreck-it Ralph and other popular games are now available on a handheld gaming system that you don’t have to worry about your kids spending too much on or making phone calls you can’t afford or don’t know about.
The MG allows parents to give kids the same games they have on their phone but in a way that teaches kids to spend money wisely and give parents peace of mind. Parents can receive emails weekly about spending, time spent on the device and what exactly they have downloaded to keep track of their kid’s activities on the MG system.
The MG works well as a teaching tool that kids will understand and learn from if you want to use it but you can also not use the account and notice system and use the MG as a regular Android gaming system. The MG has a 1 Ghz CPU with 1,024 MB of system Ram and 4 gigabytes of internal storage along with an additional 8 gigabytes of storage on the included 8 GB micro SD card for additional space.
You can store a lot of games, books and music but not that many movies will fit but you can watch movies and videos either directly that you download or through the browser. The MG works just like an Android based smart phone without the cell phones ability to make phone calls and it uses a regular Android 4 system and the Google Play market.
The Gorilla Glass 4 inch touch screen means no need to worry about protecting the device like some less expensive cell phones and the device also has the 1.3 megapixel camera for use in games and apps as well as taking quick snapshots. I have also used the MG with a few apps but this is limited to apps that do not use Bluetooth or the phone but you can surf the internet over a Wi-Fi connection and do things like use the device with apps like finance or mail.
You can set up a Gmail account on the MG and use apps to keep your budget and many other things so the MG is not a kid’s only gaming system if you want a quick way to keep and play games without having to tie up your smartphone. I have successfully used a Logitech security system app to view my Logitech home security system on the MG so the system work well enough to view live video streaming over my network.
The MG also has a 3.5 mm audio connection for use as a music player with your favorite set of headphones or external speakers for a better listening experience but the MG speakers do work well enough for gaming. I much prefer the better clarity that headsets give and the loop on the top makes a great way to securely carry the device on a lanyard or strap.
The MG does have a lot of features and is a great handheld gaming system that I would seriously consider a contender for the future of handheld gaming against those companies like Nintendo and Sony. The MG makes a great way to teach kids money smarts and a way to get back your phone so you can enjoy some of the games you bought for yourself without worry about your kids calling China by accident.
I highly recommend the MG by PlayMG as a fantastic handheld gaming system that has more uses and much more flexibility than those other gaming specific systems. PlayMG will also be coming out with cases, value bundles and more soon so check out their site and remember them for your upcoming gift giving needs.