Barbie Video Girl is one of those unique toys that comes around once in a while, that no matter how old you are – you will have a blast with it. I don’t think I have seriously played with a Barbie doll in many years. Except when I unpacked my 90210 dolls recently – ummm never-mind…. Anyway when you combine technology with an iconic doll like Barbie, we couldn’t resist getting our hands on her and seeing what she could do with her new bionic insides.
Even though this Barbie is for ages 6+, parents will have to help their little ones at first to get started. The packaging for Barbie Video Girl is a welcome delight as it has the new ‘easy open’ blister package. So just press along the perforated dots and when the plastic is punched out, just reach in and grab her out. However, you will still need scissors to free her from plastic that holds her to the cardboard she is attached too. She also requires four AAA batteries which are not included and she requires a Philips screwdriver to take the battery cover off the inner portion of Barbie’s thighs, where the batteries are inserted. Once that is done, you can turn your attention to the back of barbie and that is where the controls are for the video recording. There is a delete button that looks like a garbage can, a play button for instant playback, and a camera button to stop and start recording – and this button also powers the doll on and off.
All you need to do is hold down the ‘camera’ button and then the LCD comes on ready for you to record video in 320 x 240 resolution at 15fps. Once you are ready to start seeing through the eyes of Barbie – just press the camera button again and you will start recording. You can also press the camera button again to toggle between stopping and starting the recording of videos. So when you start recording, you are seeing through the eyes of Barbie. All you see from her perspective through the LCD, is her hands and what is directly in front of her.
I have to say, I never thought I would find myself walking down the streets of NY hailing a cab, going shopping, and having brunch with Barbie. It was an experience to witness – many folks stopped me asking what I was doing and others gave me the typical New Yorker ‘you must be crazy look.’ While I was dinning with Barbie, one patron asked where she could get her for her grand-kids – she said that she thought that Barbie Video Girl was absolutely adorable and then asked “Where will you be taking her next?”
Once I got all the video I needed to complete a ‘typical day’ for Barbie. It was time to hook her up to the computer and start editing that footage. The Barbie Video Girl is both Mac and PC compatible, however the Barbie Video girl editing software is only compatible with Windows – bummer. So those with Mac’s will have to edit your Barbie vids via Final Cut pro or iMovie. I plugged her into my computer via her purple USB cable and pulled off my video as if she was a flash drive. She only holds about 256 MB worth of video and sadly there is no expansion slot for added memory. So unless you delete your footage throughout the day, you better get in some good quick shots with Barbie or you will be pulling video off for your kids constantly.
In order to use the Barbie Video Girl editing software you’ll have to go to the Barbie Video Girl site and download it. The software is free, however at the time of this review and since the product hasn’t been officially released yet – it’s not available for me to edit my video with. However I did see a demo not so long ago and it’s extremely easy to use and it incorporates a lot of elements of iMovie. You can drag clips to different sections on a timeline bar, add special effects, sounds, fade in and outs etc…adding a Barbie polish to your video. Most kids will pick up how to use it in a second.
Once the video is edited, you can save it to your computer and then upload to share with friends via YouTube or any social networking site. There will be other opportunities to share your videos with the Barbie community as well in the future.
As much as I had a great time with Barbie Video Girl there are some drawbacks. The video quality is subpar to say the least. Kids like to run and and don’t necessarily have the steadiest hands. So the camera doesn’t handle quick action all that well, resulting in a lot of flickering and wavy shots. Even in the brightest sunlight, the video looked kind of dull and in the dark, ‘Barbie’ could barely see what was in front of her. Barbie Video Girl also doesn’t give you much options for wardrobe. Because of a camera lens plunged into her chest- she might only be stuck with a wardrobe that features windbreakers and summer jackets. Because a normal outfit would cover up her lens, hence the painted on top and necklace.
All in all Barbie Video Girl is a very unique toy and deviation from what your typical Barbie’s are like. She is the Bionic technologically advanced Barbie who was meant to hang out with the soon to be released Computer Engineer Barbie. She would also make a great date for your Tony Stark action figure as they both have unique looking ‘hearts’ in their chests. She will unleash the creativity in not only kids but adults and if you get bored with her ( which I doubt) she can be used as a covert Nanny cam…or maybe to catch Ken cheating, when he thinks she is off at night as he skips out on her with Cher Doll.
In any case for $49.99, even with a less than stellar camera this would make a great addition to your Barbie collection and I can already see the kiddy and adult viral videos being made with it. Barbie Video Girl will retail for $49.99 and is available in Blonde, Brunette, or African American.
The Good: Ingenious new Barbie makes you see the world through ‘Barbie’s eyes.’ Easy to use. Barbie is fashionable as always. Compatible with both PC and Mac and with fresh batteries can last up to 75 minutes of playtime.
The Bad: Batteries are not included. Camera quality is not the greatest but does the job. Editing software is compatible for Windows, not Mac OS. Her wardrobe maybe limited. Expansion slot or bigger memory would have been nice – but hey, they have to save something for the next version.