If there's one thing we can say about the Zizzle iZ, it's that we've never seen anything quite like him (apparently, it's a boy). This musical toy isn't just a plaything. He can function as an external mono speaker for your iPod or other MP3 player, thanks to the short stereo-to-stereo cable included with the package. The sound quality that you get from the iZ's single speaker is better than you'd expect from such a device, but it's definitely subpar.
There's no bass to speak of, though it hardly matters, as the iZ continually interjects his own noises and comments into your tunes. We could do without this feature, but we like that his nose flashes in various colours to the beat. When using the iZ in speaker mode, you can balance him on one of his three legs to better aim the single speaker located on the bottom of the toy. When you unplug your MP3 player, iZ thanks you with a loud burp and a jive-sounding comment.
As a toy, the Zizzle iZ is engaging, though he can become annoying after a while -- several colleagues offered to throw him out of the fifth-floor window the first day we played with him. When you're the one using him though, and once you've figured out how the sampler-like device works, it's a bit more entertaining.
Turn on the iZ by pressing the large button on his belly. Depending on where you push, this button controls the volume and the tempo, cycles through iZ's modes or changes the beat tracks. The last is applicable when iZ is in Play mode -- you can press the centre of the belly button to volley through the seven beat tracks. There are also seven lead tracks and seven rhythm tracks that will match up with the beat, controlled by twisting the ears. The flicker on iZ's head lets you add in random scratch sounds, which vary depending on the beat you're using. In DJ mode, iZ plays his own mixes, while WZIZ FM mode makes iZ think he's a radio. You can tune the so-called stations by twisting an ear. Currently, iZ is available decked out in red, green or blue.
Edited by James Kim
Additional editing by Kate Macefield