Do you like the idea of playing piano but aren’t sure if you want to put years into learning and mastering a new skill? PopuPiano by PopuMusic is a portable MIDI keyboard that you can use with a mobile app to learn how to play piano from scratch.

For those with piano skills, this device also works well as a portable keyboard. You can take this smart piano with you anywhere, improve your skills, and practice new songs on the go.

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    PopuPiano: The Smart Portable Piano Review image

    If you’re unsure whether this digital piano is for you, check out our PopuPiano review to see whether you should buy this musical instrument.

    PopuPiano Smart Portable Piano MIDI Controller: First Impressions & Specs

    PopuMusic is a company that makes smart music instruments accompanied by apps with tutorials and free lessons. Some of the most popular smart portable music instruments they make started as Indiegogo crowdfunding campaigns – the Poputar T1 and T2 (smart guitar), Populele 1 and 2 (smart ukulele), and Popupiano smart portable piano.

    Popupiano isn’t your ordinary keyboard but a MIDI controller (or MIDI keyboard) instead. MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface and gives you more possibilities in terms of sound effects than a traditional music instrument.

    While a MIDI keyboard may look like a regular keyboard (which is true in the case of PopuPiano), it doesn’t make a sound on its own. That means that PopuPiano doesn’t have a built-in speaker and requires a mobile app to function properly, i.e., to produce sound. The good news is that PopuPiano has an excellent PopuMusic app with everything you need to learn and practice your music skills.

    PopuPiano Smart Portable Piano MIDI Controller: First Impressions & Specs image

    Can you learn to play piano with PopuPiano MIDI keyboard? Before I share my own experience with the instrument with you, here’s the complete list of tech specifications of the PopuPiano smart portable piano by PopuMusic:

    • Dimensions: 18.3 x 4.8 x 1.3 inch (46.5 x 12.2 x 3.3 cm)
    • Weight: 3.85 lbs (1.75 kg)
    • Keys: 29 LED keys + chord pad
    • Audio player codec: MIDI
    • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 BLE (support Bluetooth MIDI), USB Type-C
    • Battery: 2200mAh lithium battery, with 1.5 hours of charging time
    • Colors: glowing black, sparkling white.
    • Extra features: supports professional arrangement software Logic, Cubase, Garageband, and other software
    • Price: from $348 (with bag) on Amazon and $299 (without bag) on the PopuMusic website – you can choose whether you want the version with or without the carrying case at checkout.

    Design and Unpacking

    Before I received the PopuPiano, I was intrigued and somewhat worried about the product I would receive. While the keyboard has 29 keys which suits my needs, it also looks like a big shiny toy in the picture. I wondered whether this product is aimed mainly at kids and if I could use it without getting annoyed by all the lights and constantly changing colors.

    However, when I received the PopuPiano, I couldn’t take my hands off it for several hours! While shiny and colorful, it’s also an interactive MIDI keyboard that makes you want to learn and play more.

    What’s in the Box

    Design and Unpacking image

    The bundle I received for the review is a black PopuPiano with a carrying case (or PopuBag). Here’s everything you’ll find when in the package when unboxing your PopuPiano:

    • PopuPiano LED keyboard
    • Chord pad
    • USB-C charging cable
    • User Manual
    • PopuBag carrying case

    PopuBag is a sturdy strapless carrying case with a glossy plastic finish for your PopuPiano and chord pad. The case has a rubbery handle, making it easy to carry your PopuPiano. The bag may look waterproof, but there’s a hole on top of it for powering up your device while on the go.

    Design and Unpacking image 2

    The keyboard itself is relatively small and light. Contrary to what I imagined before getting the product, the keys are of decent size (not too small as I expected), and I didn’t experience any difficulty while playing. At the same time, if you have bigger hands, you’ll probably wish the keys were a little wider.

    The main keyboard has 29 acrylic keys with LED lights underneath them. The LED light keys light up as interactive fingering guides and help you learn your way around the keyboard. For my taste, the keys look even more beautiful when the piano is powered off, but of course, the visual guides are an essential part of learning how to play.

    Design and Unpacking image 3

    The chord pad has 18 buttons grouped as six keys of different colors. It connects to the main keyboard via a magnetic connector which you’ll find on the sides of the chord pad and the keyboard. You can use the PopuPiano keyboard without the chord pad, but not vice versa. The chord pad cannot function when not connected to the main keyboard.

    Design and Unpacking image 4

    Although I couldn’t find it on the website when writing this review, PopuMusic originally offered a left-handed keyboard as an add-on for your PopuPiano on their Indiegogo campaign page. It would connect to the main keyboard instead of a chord pad, and you could use your PopuPiano to play duets with a friend.

    Is It Suitable for Beginners?

    The main questions people seem to be asking about the PopuPiano are: is it suitable for beginners, and can you learn to play the piano with PopuPiano if you’ve never done it before?

    Surprisingly, the answer to both questions is yes. I have some musical background, having spent ten years in music school as a kid, mostly playing piano. At the same time, I haven’t touched a piano in over ten years, which made me lose most of my skills in that sphere.

    With that background, I downloaded the PopuMusic app on my smartphone, connected the keyboard via Bluetooth, and decided to dive into it. I opened the Pop Hits module, expecting the worst – that I won’t be able to keep up with the app and would have to start with beginner tutorials.

    Is It Suitable for Beginners? image

    To my surprise, I didn’t have any issues following both the instructions on the screen and the LED guides on my keyboard. However, when facing those issues, the app has Practice and Demonstration options to get you playing quickly.

    Next, I gave PopuPiano to my boyfriend, who has zero experience playing any musical instrument, let alone the piano. Since he’s a complete beginner, he started with the Piano learning course.

    Is It Suitable for Beginners? image 2

    The course starts with simple things like correctly positioning your hands on the keyboard to make your wrists comfortable while playing. Then, the course is divided into sections that playfully introduce new skills. Plus, the lessons are constructed in the form of challenges. You can only move forward after you complete a challenge from the previous section, which makes the learning process similar to playing a video game and gives you a feeling of achievement.

    Compared to standard tutor lessons (which I had to take for ten years, so I’m speaking from experience), the PopuMusic app will teach you the same skills you’d get in half a year within a few hours.

    Visual LED guides and real-time feedback also help you master finger movements. The lessons further into the course reinforce the basics, and you’ll start getting the hang of it before you notice.

    How About Advanced-to-Pro Musicians?

    Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can explore other sections of the PopuMusic app aimed at more advanced players and musicians. One of my favorites is the Freeplay section, which allows you to use PopuPiano to create tracks and share them with the online community.

    This is also where the powerful Chord pad comes into play. While its primary function is to replace the chord keys found on a standard digital keyboard, you can get creative with it. For example, in the Freeplay section, change the keyboard’s voice from piano to drums and use the chord pad as a drum pad.

    How About Advanced-to-Pro Musicians? image

    If the PopuMusic app feels like something you’re done with, you can use PopuPiano for its MIDI capabilities. Thanks to the USB-C connectivity, you can connect your PopuPiano to a digital audio workstation, like Garageband or Logic, and use it to compose your tracks from scratch. (You can then use your tracks in your YouTube videos instead of looking for royalty-free music online).

    The Companion App

    We already touched on the PopuMusic app, but I’ll repeat it: the app is very impressive in terms of both the learning tutorials and practicing your skills. Learning which section hosts what may take some time since they aren’t always clearly labeled, but you won’t regret going through this learning curve. Having owned the PopuPiano for a few months, I still find new things to do and learn in the app.

    Some of my favorite features this music app offers include playing with your favorite artists in the Pop Hits section and recording your voice with the music using the Tap and Sing module.

    The Companion App image

    You can download the PopuMusic app for free on iOS and Android and the APK file. The app supports the following languages: English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.

    Battery Life

    PopuPiano is powered by a 2200mAh lithium battery which provides enough power for a decent 5-hour playing session when used continuously. The charging port is located at the back of the main keyboard. Once you plug the charger in, the green flashing light will show the battery status.

    Battery Life image

    When the battery level gets to as low as 10%, the keyboard will flash red to remind you to charge the battery. You can recharge your keyboard using the USB-C charging cable provided in about 1.5 hours from zero.

    Should You Buy the PopuPiano Smart Portable Piano MIDI Controller?

    In my reviews, I usually recommend the products I test only for a particular type of person. “If you own pets, this gadget is perfect for you, but if you have kids, avoid buying this one.”

    With PopuPiano, I’d recommend buying it for pretty much anyone. If you love music and are even remotely interested in learning to play or make your own music, the PopuPiano will fit well in your home and find its place in your soul.

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