Living in a generation where everyone, even toddlers are equipped with a smart device, it is becoming more common to find toys that amuse people at both ends of the spectrum. That is exactly what DaVinci Now has done with its line of Dancing Party Animals. The animals are designed to plug into smartphones, tablets and other musical devices via a 3.5 mm auxiliary cable in order to play back music over its loud-speaker. The dancing speaker animal's also follow along to the beat of your music with some very...unique dance moves.
Although the sound quality was choppy while my little panda dancer swerved his hips, the actions alone were enough to keep my seven-year old amused until I finally shut him down. With a press of its hand however, the animal stops dancing to allow for a smoother music listening experience. There is no volume adjuster on the speaker itself, but the music plays pretty loud none the less. All in all, I enjoyed the sound quality produced when my little panda was sitting still and behaving, but the experience was quite different when he decides to dance. While I would opt for the non-grooving animal, my son opted for the moving animal simply because it was of course, entertaining. He even dressed it in a cape and let it do its thing while he attempted to break dance next to it. The party animals are equipped to dance to all types of music genres, including Rock, Pop, Hip Hop, Country, Classical and Oldies. And believe it or not, it is very musically inclined and does well in spotting the right beat - unlike my son who thinks every song should be accompanied with hardcore floor moves.
While Mr. Panda was quite the charmer with his snappy moves and soft black and white fur coat, he does not seem built to last - especially if its purpose is a child's toy. Whenever my son picked him up I was always afraid he would break its neck or other body part. Its inner parts are not very padded and its leg fur can be moved to expose not only the axillary cable port, but its plastic "bone" structure. This is the case for both legs, not just the leg where he plugs in. To be honest, it is built like the electronic toys I grew up with; anyone remember Glo Worms? I was given one as a baby and still had it when I was a toddler. I can remember the not-so-cuddly feeling of battery boxes under its shell. This is similar with the Dancing Party Animal. There is a Velcro lift behind its back that reveals its entire set of electrical components. Rather than be Bluetooth equipped like most mobile speakers today, the animal runs off three AA batteries, which are not included. The device seems a bit outdated but since it keeps my child engaged I would give it a thumbs up in my kid tested, mother approved line of tech toys. Also, at less than $35 depending on from where you purchase it, it makes a decent audio speaker for adults as well. In addition to the Party Animals website, the collection is currently available at Walgreens and other retail stores as well.
Since its introduction to the market, Dancing Party Animals have been available in several different species. Currently being offered are Marvin the Moose, Penny the Panda, Pogo the Pug, Daisy the Dog, Russell the Rabbit and Rosie the Racoon. Sandy (the dog) is also available but will soon be retiring, so if you fancy a party animal based on the character Sandy Olsen from the classic movie Grease, you better get moving. Burt the Bear, Smoky (the cat), Queaker the Squirrel, Hank the Hamster and Tiger the Cat will soon be joining the family as well. Each animal comes with its own personality, as well as an adoption certificate that is downloadable online.
As an animal lover, one of the things that truly caught my eye was that Cobra Digital, who works with DaVinci Now to sell the toys, has promised to share a portion of its profit to support three organizations that support homeless cats and dogs: Paws Chicago, The Anti-Cruelty Society and PETA.
In summation, although the fun little speaker cannot sustain decent sound quality while busting a move, it does have decent quality while sitting still and can keep the attention of a small child with its interesting dance moves. So whether you are looking for a unique, wired speaker to display in your home while you scurrying about with your daily duties, or you are looking for something to keep your child's attention while you are busy, the Dancing Party Animals are definitely something to consider.