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Chumby Industries Chumby Classic review

Barry de la Rosa
16 Feb 2010
Chumby Industries Chumby Classic
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
140
inc VAT

It's a little expensive for a fancy alarm clock, but not versatile enough to be useful once you've woken up.

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The Chumby is an absurd-looking little gadget that looks like a cross between a bean bag and an alarm clock. The 3.5in LCD touchscreen has a rubber surround and there's a panel on the back with power and USB ports, but the rest of the case is made up of padded leather.

Essentially, the Chumby is a wireless Flash-capable device that's configured via the Web. Once you've registered it at the web site, you then choose from a huge selection of Flash widgets: games, news tickers, video compilations, daily comics, weather, internet radio - the list is 1,500-strong and counting. Your choice of widgets is then downloaded and played in rotation.

You can check Facebook and Twitter, browse Ebay or look something up on Wikipedia if you're feeling curious; otherwise, you can just let the Chumby scroll through its various widgets. Hitting a concealed button on top brings up a control panel, where you can set options, for example go into Night mode (which darkens the screen) or pause on the current widget – maybe a customised clock.

You can set alarms and use the Chumby simply as an alarm clock, although it doesn't have dedicated alarm clock functions such as a snooze button. In addition, most of the widgets are interactive, so leaving the Chumby sitting on a bed-side table all day seems like a waste - especially considering the price.

This is the Chumby's main problem: it's so unique that we didn't know exactly how to fit it into our lives. It's too expensive just to be a fancy alarm clock, but once we've woken up in the morning, there are far more versatile and convenient devices with which we can browse the digital world.

Details

Price£140
Rating***

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