Amazon Glow is a unique way for kids to video chat and play interactive games with family across the miles

Technology

Amazon Glow is a new type of video chat device that incorporates a projector, camera and touch screen to allow kids to play games with far off family members. The device is more magical than I expected and more immersive than a tablet.

For starters, it’s much bigger than I thought it would be. When you first turn it on, the bright, colorful projection screen is memorizing.

There’s an onboard touchscreen, cameras and a projector which turns the included rubber mat into a giant, colorful touchscreen. Here, you can play games, do puzzles, read books and more.

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It’s available now by invitation only for $250 for early adopters.

One puzzle game involves real life pieces called Tangram Bits. You arrange them to form the outline of an animal and other objects. It’s an excellent mix of real and virtual and a great challenge for kids and adults.

Another neat feature is how you can scan an object and create a digital version of it, then move it around and draw around it.

There are animated storybooks and even the things you might do on a tablet, like a matching game, just seem more magical and fun on the Glow.

The device comes with a 1-year subscription to Amazon Kids+, which gives you access to lots of books and dozens of games and art activities. The device also comes with a 2 year worry free guarantee so if you break it you just send it back to Amazon and they’ll ship you a new one.

The twist on all of this? You can have a family member join in on the fun from across the miles and all they need is a tablet like an iPad along with the free Glow app.

So instead of standard video chat, you can now play games, read books and even do those same puzzles together.

Amazon Glow feels like a bit of the future has arrived early. It’s a neat concept and lots of fun to use, but it could be a tough sell for families who already have some sort of tablet for their kids. It’s best to use it in a dedicated space because it’s not very mobile.

Amazon Glow sells for $250 for early adopters and is available now by invitation only.

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