MG Portable Android Gaming SystemThe MG Portable Android Wi-Fi Game System is best described as an Android “iPod”. Like an iPod, it can do almost everything that an iPhone can do but minus the phone functions.

However, the MG Portable is designed with your kids in mind.

Are you tired of the kids hogging your smart phone or tablet and draining their batteries by playing games?

How about a constant fear that your kids rake up hundreds of dollars in app purchases or in-game purchases while they are using your device?

Are you worried about what games they are playing, what they download and how much time are they spending playing?

I think any modern day parent will be familiar with all of the above.

MG Portable Gaming System for the Kids

So, along comes the MG Portable from PlayMG, an Android based device that promises to resolve your problems above. Like any Android phone, it has access to the Google Play Store so you or your kids can download any of the currently thousands of available games on the store.

Like an Android smartphone, the MG Portable has a touch screen and a G-sensor that are used for controlling the games.

Front view of MG Portable

Controlling Spending on the MG Portable

So how does the MG Portable solves the problem of your kids making unauthorized purchases? It has something called the MG Family Collaboration. It allows the parents to control the kids’ spending using a BillMyParents SpendSmart Prepaid Mastercard.

BillMyParents is a subscription service ($3.95/mo, 1 month free trial) that allows parents to put in money from allowances, birthday gifts, chores, etc into an account with a prepaid Mastercard that the kids can use to spend on games on the Google Play Store. The MG Portable comes with a bonus of an extra $10 when you sign up with the service and deposit an initial $10 into the prepaid card giving you a total of $20 to start with.

The MG Family Collaboration system also keeps track of all your kids’ activities – purchases, games downloaded, usage time, games played, etc – and sends the parents alerts via SMS and weekly reports via email.

MG Portable Specifications

MG Portable packagingThe MG Portable is powered by a TCC8925 Cortex A5 processor at 1GHz. The Cortex A5 processors are low powered, energy efficient processors that gives decent processing performance.

The MG Portable will not be suitable for playing the latest 3D Android games like Shadowgun or Asphalt 7 but it has more than enough processing power for most other games including popular games like Temple Run, Angry Birds Space and Cut the Rope.

It comes preloaded with a few premium games from EA and Com2us like NBA Jam and Need For Speed Hot Pursuit.

It has a 4″ capacitive touch screen, runs on Android 4.0, 1GB DDR3 RAM and 4GB of internal memory for storage out of which 2GB is usable. If you need additional storage, you can pop in a MicroSD card.

For network connectivity, it supports WiFi 802.11 b/g/n.

Other features include a 1.3MP front facing camera, a micro USB port for charging, a 3.5mm stereo headset jack and a 1880mAh battery.

Alternatives and Conclusion

In my opinion, the MG Portable’s biggest selling point is probably the MG Family Collaboration system. It currently sells for $169.99 so it is not exactly a cheap device.

If you want to let your kids have their own device so that they don’t touch yours, you can give them a dedicated portable gaming console like the Sony PS Vita or PSP, a cheap Android tablet or even your old smartphone (phone disabled) or tablet. There are parental control apps that you can install from the Google Play Store but they may not have all the functions of the MG Portable system.

The MG Portable’s parental control system is a nice to have feature but the monthly subscription for the BillMyParents features seems a bit hefty but if you want to teach your older kids financial responsibility, it might be money well spent.

There are some complaints from users on Amazon that the unit freezes but this seems to be a firmware bug. PlayMG seems to have resolved this issue by updating the firmware.