Owly (Bigben Kids) review

For years, we knew Bigben as a publisher of videogame franchises like the WRC games, Tennis World Tour and Sherlock Holmes. The name vanished from the public eye when it changed to Nacon, but now it’s back with its Bigben Kids label – bringing innovative tech to toys for kids. We take a look at one of their new products today by checking out the Owly, a combination of a night light, story projector and music player.

It’s worth pointing out that the blue Owly also comes as the Owlivia – a pink model that has the same feature set but is aimed towards girls. As you’d expect, both the Owly and the Owlyvia are shaped like owls, with a cute though somewhat minimalist design that makes perfect sense when you consider the target group and purpose of the Owly. The Owly is meant to deliver bedtime stories to little ones and then serve as a comforting night light, so anything too detailed would only because a visual distraction rather than a soothing beacon.

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Owly and Owlivia both wear a little top hat, which isn’t just a part of their design and personality but also doubles as a built in projector. The head can be turned to adjust the angle at which you project as well, so this should work in any bedroom setup. The set comes with three story discs, and stories play out a bit like the classic View-Master discs in how they’re split across a dozen different images on slides.

Stories aren’t predefined (as in: voiced) either, so as a parent you have a lot of freedom to make up your own characters and story twists – and when kids get a little older it’s fun to incorporate their input as well. The projection quality, as long as the lights are turned down, is quite good, and the Owly plays a few soothing melodies as your backup track as well.

Once story time is over, the Owly can be set to keep emitting light while your little one falls asleep, with timer options for 15 minutes to an hour available to you. The intensity of the light can be adjusted, and you can choose to have it emit a white light or apply a rainbow effect. You can also store the story discs inside the Owly to make sure they don’t go missing or get damaged when it’s time to wake up.

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Additional story discs are available, but the base product comes with three original story discs already – which with a little added imagination should already go a long way. The same can be said for the Owly itself, because it’s not a wired solution and be easily carried to the bedside thanks to a built-in rechargeable battery with a 2200mAh capacity.

The Owly and Owlivia are a great example of how modern technology can help out with an age old ritual, and makes story time extra exciting for young kids. Having Owly there by the bedside also helps as a soothing experience once mom and dad leave, but the biggest benefit is how well this nightlight/projector adds to the bonding experience between parents and their kids. As such, a lovely gift idea for the holidays that’s a little different from what you’ll normally find in toy stores.

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