For those of you with an iPhone or iPad with a front facing camera, who like the newest technological gimmicks on their device, Lookaway Player is a new app that you have to use. Possibly signalling the way that many multimedia devices will go in the future, the app allows you to watch YouTube videos and control the playback and volume with gestures made by indicating to the camera on the device. Yes you heard it. You can control you videos by signalling to your iPad. A “Shh” sign of touching your finger to your lips will mute the video, while looking away from the screen will cause the video to pause until you look at the screen again. The Lookaway Player app review below will establish if it actually works, and is it a useful feature that will users racing to download it?
The first thing to note is that the app will crash immediately if loaded without an active Internet connection. Annoying but not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things as you need an Internet connection to search and watch YouTube videos anyway. Once you have loaded the app, the user interface is a very simple 3 tab navigation allowing you to see popular videos, search YouTube for videos, and adjust the sensitivity of the Lookaway control features. With regard to the normal YouTube applications of viewing popular and trending videos and searching for videos, these features work well enough, although as mentioned before the lyout is very basic and simple.
Once I had loaded a video it was time to see if the features boasted about really did work. First up, I tested the mute feature touching my lips with an elaborate “shh” sign and sound. Lo and behold, the video sound was muted. Result. I manually restarted the sound using the volume control and repeated the exercise but not making any sound. With just the “shh” gesture made to the screen, the app responded and muted the video again. A useful feature, if you can’t make it to the volume buttons in time I’m sure.
The eye control also worked well when I turned my head away from the screen to look at something else and the playback was paused until I looked in the direction of the device again. It did not require a huge turn of the head and there was hardly any lag between the turn of the head and the video pausing. However it did require a full movement of the head, pointing the eyes in a different direction did not have any effect, even on the full sensitivity setting. To be honest though if I was watching a video that paused every time I turned my head, this could become extremely annoying, although it is a useful feature if you had to put your iPhone or iPad down in a hurry and didn’t have time to pause playback.
- Simple Interface
- Control your YouTube videos with physical gestures
- Quickly stop playback/mute sound without having to waste time touching the screen or device buttons
- Eye movement not enough to control playback, with a full head turn required
- Videos pausing every time you move your head can get very annoying
While controlling your YouTube videos with your gestures is quite a cool gimmick, I struggle to see it being really “useful” until you can control all playback options in this way. But in reality this app is just showing off what can be done and while everything works well enough, I just don’t see people getting enough use out of it to make it a really desirable app. You do have the option to turn off the gestures during playback, but as a YouTube player on its own there are better ones out there available for free.