Friday, 10 August 2012

Toy Review - Vtech Innotab

*I am writing this review as part of my application to be a Toyologist for Toys R Us.  It is also a post that I have been meaning to do for a while.*

You may remember that back in May it was Aled's 4th birthday.  For his main present we got him a Vtech Innotab.  This has been one of the best presents we have ever got any of our children!  Aled was always playing on our iPhones and iPads and we wanted them back!  For Christmas we had bought Aled a second hand Vtech Smile Cyber Pocket, however he didn't really take to it, so although the Innotab looked great, we weren't entirely sure whether he would accept it as a suitable substitute for the iPad.

"InnoTab is a multi-media educational tablet for children 4-9 that combines interactive and animated reading, learning games, creative activities and a rich collection of applications. It features a 5” colour touch screen, a tilt-sensor for game control, as well as interfaces for USB, SD card and a headphone jack, all housed in a sleek, kid-tough and compact design for easy portability." (from the Vtech website).

Before purchasing the Innotab, I did do quite a bit of web research as to whether it was any better to the Leapfrog's Leappad.  Both had their pluses and minuses, but after watching a couple of You Tube comparisons I settled on the Innotab.  I felt that the fluid movement of the touchscreen and ability to add an SD card far outweighed the camera and positives of the Leappad.

One of the first things that you will notice on opening the box is the Learning Lodge Navigator installer cd.  This is a great bit of software on which you can monitor your child's progress on your laptop.  You can also download games or ebooks in the download centre here.  When you register your Innotab to the software you get 3 credits, meaning that you get 3 free games or ebooks for your Innotab.  There is a good selection of games on there, but I do hope that even with the release of the Innotab 2 Vtech do release more for the original Innotab.

The Innotab is very robust and has taken a bit of a bashing from my boys, but is still intact and not even a scratch on the screen.

Aled has the Toy Story 3 games cartridge, which at approximately £20-£25 each are quite reasonably priced.  Aled loves to play the games on here, which have different level abilities.  Sometimes he chooses a level above his ability, on which either myself or hubby have to help out with, but on the whole he is able to play the game by himself with no help from us.

Aled is able to easily navigate the menu and find what he wants to play with.  As of yet we haven't tried out the function to play videos or music, so I can't comment on that ability.

With every great item, there are always downsides.  This is no exception with the Innotab.  The first thing to have gone missing from the Innotab is of course the stylus.  Anyone who has ever owned a Nintendo DS will know just how annoying it is to loose one.  Luckily the Innotab doesn't need the stylus as it does respond well to finger touch.

Next, the slide out plastic stand on the back came off within a few weeks.  I don't know if this is due to the 'rough and tumble' way that my boys play with their toys, or if it is just a flaw in the design, but the stand didn't last very long with my boys.  The clip part of the battery cover also broke off very quickly, which again, it could be from the boys playing with it too roughly or the fact that we have to change the batteries quite often, but our battery cover is now stuck on with tape!

That brings me onto the biggest downside of the Innotab, the battery life!  It takes 4 AA batteries and they only last about 3-4 hours of play.  We have invested in some rechargeable batteries, which has made a great deal of difference.  I would dread to think of the cost if we hadn't.  It would be nice if it had a rechargeable internal battery like a mobile phone.

All in all, the Innotab has been a huge hit in our house with both Aled and Noah.  So much so, that we have bought another one for Noah for his birthday in a couple of weeks (shh, don't tell him!).

Jackie. x

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