Posted April 17, 2014 by Amy in Books

Playaway Light (All-In-One Audiobook) Review


I love to read – adore it, really. But to be honest, there are a lot of places where you just can’t read all that comfortably (or safely). When you get stuck in a great book, you just want to take it everywhere you go until it’s finished, but you can’t read comfortably at the gym,or on a dark commute. Sometimes it’s nice to hear a story while working on other things, especially if you’re a chronic multi-tasker like myself. And of course, there are many of our friends and family who suffer from less than ideal vision, or simply struggle with reading. For those times, an audio book is ideal.

Of course, not everyone has the resources or the desire to mess around with downloading audio books to a purchased device, and even those that do often prefer to check out books from the library rather than purchasing each and every one. If only there were an all-in-one solution, accessible to everyone with a library card. Easy to use in a variety of situations, inexpensive, and eminently portable, the Playaway Light from Findaway World is exactly what you’ve been waiting for.

The Playaway is a simple, lightweight device that is slightly smaller than a deck of cards. The wedge shape fits comfortably in your hands, and its small size makes it perfect for stowing in a pocket, purse, or backpack for reading on the go. Better yet, it is so simple to use. Powered by a single AAA battery, it packs a lot of user friendly functionality into its tiny package. The front of the device holds most of the buttons needed to use the audiobook. The top right corner holds the brightly colored power button. This must be held down for a few seconds to power off, so you won’t have issues with accidental shutoffs. In the top left corner is the SPD button, which gives you a choice between five different speeds, so that you can hear the book at your own pace.

The bottom of the device holds the play/pause button, which is quite large and centered for easy access. It is surrounded by four different buttons for fast forwarding and rewinding, as well as moving forward and back between chapters. Each button is easily distinguishable by touch, ensuring that those listening in the dark or without sight can use the device without needing to see it. For the more visual types, the screen on the Playway Light lights up when needed, giving you a small but easily readable display that quickly shows everything from progress within the book to current chapter to battery life. The side of the device holds the volume buttons. There is no internal speakers on the Playaway Light, but the device utilizes a universal jack, which can be quickly hooked up to your favorite headphones or speaker.

What all of this boils down to is a simple to use, portable device that is accessible for every walk of life. You don’t need internet, there is no need to be tech savvy, and all it costs you is a library card. The Playaway Light isn’t for sale to the public, but it is available for checkout at schools, military installations, and libraries across the country, and all you need is a set of headphones. What could be more accessible than that?

The Playaway Light is available in a variety of titles, but the one we tested was Clifford! The Big Red Dog (it was a big hit with the under eight set in our household). The nice part about testing this with a children’s title is that the ease of use truly shined. Even my pre-reading preschooler was able to use the device with a minimum of instruction, and she loved having it “read” to her. The book itself played out like most audio books, with a variety of music, sound effects, and enthusiastic narration that hooked all my kid testers right from the start. They loved being able to see at a glance what chapter they were on, and how much was left in the book. And even when we turned it off for the night, the Playaway Light held our place until the next reading.

The Playaway Light All-In-One Audiobook is the perfect solution for readers of all ages and abilities to get a great reading experience on the go. Check them out at your nearest public library, school, or military installation.


U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)