Ed Note: This is part of our "In The Sandbox" series, where we invite teens to test and review connected toys, giving their perspective of what's fun to them—and what works.
In The Sandbox: Moff Band
As summer vacation approaches, children will have more time than ever to zone out on social media and video games. Moff Band aims to get kids to be more active by combining digital with physical, allowing you to make noises out of your phone by waving your hand. There are more than 30 sounds to choose from, which are found in the iOS and Android app. You pair the wearable over Bluetooth to either a smartphone or a tablet — but keep in mind that the band and the device need to be within 30 feet of each other for Moff Band to work.
The design of the Moff Band itself is simple. I got a review copy, a pink plastic bracelet with a sensor the size of a watch face. It had a purple rectangular button on the side and a little dash on the button that lit up when the band turned on. It was also pretty comfortable to wear around. My first thought when I put it on was that if the toy didn't work, you could definitely wear it as a piece of high tech looking jewelry.
Moff is pretty cool to wear, and flashes colors on your wrist.GearBrain
You don't get an instruction manual, but there are details on the web site on how to set up the device. There's also an app, called Moff, which I downloaded to my smartphone as well. The app connected to my band, and then asked four questions (my name, dominant arm, age and gender) to set up the device. Overall, I was able to start playing in less than a minute.
Start your own band
There were rows of options to choose from. I could click the sword button and sound like a pirate when I swiped my arm. But not only that—I could use four different types of swords too. I could also be a ninja, wizard, rock star, tennis player… The list goes on. I could bring my stuffed animals to life by making cat, dog, horse and lion sounds.
The drums were especially cool, because you could hit the cymbal or drum depending on where you swiped your arm. And with two people, one on the guitar and the other on the drums, you could start a band. I'm past the age of playing pretend with My Little Pony and foam swords, but I was still excited to try out all the sounds.
There were more things you unlocked the longer you played. You could only get the motorcycle sound, for example, after playing for a week. There were also some sounds that you had to download to play.
There are more than 30 sounds on the app.GearBrain
I downloaded the fireworks sound, and then tried to download the laser sound. Here's where I hit an issue. The download took so much time that I put my iPhone aside and came back five minutes later to find that the sound was still downloading. What could I do? The app was useless until the sound finished downloading. So I deleted the entire app and tried to download the sound again only to find that I had the same problem. The first sound downloaded fast and the second didn't download at all. The third time I got the app and tried to download multiple sounds, however, everything went more smoothly.
Of course, some sounds were better than others. I think the best ones were those that really paid attention to the way your hand moved. Take the example of the drums. The fact that you can play different things depending on where you arm swipes makes playing so much more interactive than, say, the guitar, which will make a sound no matter how you move your arm.
Moff Band is a great way to make playing pretend more realistic and the more you play, the more you unlock, so you can play more. You should be able to get 20 hours of continuous use of the band from the battery, but the device will go into idle mode after two minutes. Overall, I'd say Moff Band wasn't perfect, but as a fun toy, I'd call it a success.
- Attaches simply
- Quick set-up
- Lacks an instruction manual
- Occasionally froze while downloading new sounds