When they re-released the Stylophone a few years ago my other-half got very excited and asked me to get him one for Christmas; being a loving girlfriend I obliged and when they released the Stylophone Beatbox I got him one of those too.
The packaging features a suitably 1970s colour scheme of orange and brown made a little more modern with addition of a silhouette of a crowd and some "rappers". You get the normal information on the box as you would expect along with the information that the Beatbox features "UK Beatbox Champion MC Zani" (I have to admit to not having heard of either MC Zani or indeed the UK Beatbox championships).
The styling of the Stylophone Beatbox is very reminiscent of the original Stylophone but obviously the shape has been altered to accommodate the metal circle which forms the Beatbox area. (It works by making a circuit when the stylus is applied to the metal).
To play the Beatbox you simply use the attached stylus (held on with a cream coloured wire) to touch the various sections of the Beatbox area. There are thirteen different sections and 3 modes to choose from giving you a wide range of samples to play with.
Mode 1 features MC Zani's vocal Beatbox but to be honest I never use this mode as it's a little "Urban" for my tastes, Mode 2 offers synth drum effects and Mode 3 mimics a keyboard. You can also adjust the pitch with a dial on the base.
Because this is a new Stylophone product as opposed to a (almost) faithful reproduction Stylophone have been able to add a few nice features like a connection cable and port so you can attach your MP3 player and play over/with music. I also like the record and playback function which not only lets you record your "beats" but also to loop them creating layers of sound which can be done to great effect. A headphone port is also included which will be a true blessing to those within earshot!
The Beatbox is a well built piece of kit that feels very sturdy and robust. The only weakness is I can see is the stylus as if this comes off it won't work any more and despite the box suggesting that this is suitable for ages 7+ I think a lot of 7 year olds would end up pulling the stylus off.
I have to admit that this item does spend a good deal of it's time sat in it's box on a shelf but when it does come out to play I always have a good laugh with it and I am sure in the right hands it could be used to produce actual music.
Amazon sell this for £15.13 which seems a little steep to be honest unless you possess the above mentioned "right hands" and wish to produce genuine music. If you can find one for around the £10.00 mark then I think it would be worth it for the fun.