Sunday 28 October 2012

The Innotab 2 Review

Kid's technology today is on a complete other level to what it was back in my childhood. Everything is colour and does so many different things to keep kid's learning and entertained all the time. It is no surprise that is has come on in leaps and bounds over the years though, what with all of the latest technology that has come around, kid's are more inclined to take to such savvy toys.

We have been sent a VTech Innotab 2 to have a play with which is a prime example of how toy's have developed, and the Innotab 2 is already the second generation of Innotab.

When the Innotab 2  arrived I heard my iPad breathe a huge sigh of relief in the hopes it may keep the toddlers sticky fingers from dancing all over it, after all this toy is just like an iPad for kiddies and my expectations were set pretty high.

Although the Innotab 2 is aimed at children from 4 years through to 9 years old, I knew it would be a big hit with my 16 month old. Children these days are growing up with this technology and it is surprising how even at 16 months old Leo knows how to swipe his finger across the screen to scroll through and how touching icons will action a command. 

The new InnoTab 2 is a multi-media touch screen tablet for children and comes in two stylish colours, Pink and Blue. It boasts a 5 inch screen encased in durable plastic and rubber bumpers on each corner, as if it expects to be dropped! A lovely touch is the built in 1.3 mega pixel camera, that kids will love to get snap happy with. The camera is on an adjustable lens which allows the kid's to snap photos of themselves which can then be used as their profile photo, or to snap scenic shots by adjusting the lens.

What's in the box?

- The Innotab 2
- Read, Play & Create Cartridge
- USB Cable
- Instruction Manual

So while Leo was napping I opened up the Innotab 2 and decided to get it all set up and have a little play before little man was up and decided not to share. The Innotab 2 requires 4AA batteries to function and you will be pleased to know that battery changes are really simple, by just pushing the release button on the back of the Innotab to access to battery compartment.

The best place to start with the set up is by hooking the Innotab 2 up to the computer using the USB cable, and downloading the 'Learning Lodge Navigator' download to your computer. This download allows you to control everything that you put onto your Innotab 2, and you can then choose the 2 free apps that your little one would like! I found using the Learning Lodge really simple and soon had some apps installed to have a play with. 

VTech very kindly sent a £20.00 Learning App Card along with our Innotab so that we could download some more apps and music. So I wasted no time finding some nursery rhymes to download and put onto it for little man. 

When Leo awoke he wasted no time in taking it off me, and I took the opportunity to try out the cartridge that came with it. The cartridge entitled 'Read, Play and Create' has a ebook, a learning game and a colouring application, providing plenty to do. Leo and I sat huddled up on the sofa and followed the ebook about a dog that moves to the city, which Leo followed all the way through loving all of the animation provided within the story. 

In keeping with the creativity factor that the camera provides there is also a video player, art studio, G sensor, MP3 music player, e-reader, calendar, friends list, notes app and an augmented reality game. Of course you can download more apps and online content from the online Learning Lodge Navigator as I mentioned earlier. Apps retail from as little as 99p depending upon which apps you are after,the nursery rhymes we purchased cost around £6.00.

There are many different apps to suit each child's taste from music, TV programmes and Ebooks, There are many children's favourites such as Peppa Pig and Thomas and Friends that you can download. 

A very unexpected but welcomed feature on the Innotab 2 is that it has a memory card slot, allowing you to expand the memory and fill it up with more apps and games! The initial internal memory is 2GB but it really is up to you how much you expand it by!  

The Innotab 2 even comes with it's very own stylus, of course at present Leo is just pressing what ever he feels like, but I handed the Innotab to my younger sister and she was having a great time flipping through all of the great features and really making use of them. The stylus really makes getting around this tablet a doddle and interacting with all of the features.

On the back of the Innotab is a stand feature which allows you to open it up and freely stand it on it's own. You can stand it either landscape or vertically.

What I really like about the Innotab 2 is that it is promoting essential skills and also being a very enjoyable toy, Leo is always having a play with my iPad and now that we have this nifty little tablet, it means the iPad is having a break. Toddlers are picking up on all of these new technologies earlier and earlier, and although Leo cannot use this toy to the best level yet, it is great for the ebooks and letting him get to know what he can do with it. I don't think it will be long before he is completely accustomed to his Innotab and showing me what to do! 

I can confirm that the Innotab is durable, and is obviously prepared for a few drops and bumps here and there, as Leo has already demonstrated a few times, I wouldn't recommend deliberately throwing it around to see what happens, but it is safe to say the clumsiness of  toddlers and children has been taken into consideration!

The only thing I did find with the Innotab 2 was that the loading time between the apps can take longer than you may expect it too, and I thought his may reflect on a child's attention span, but other than this I thought the Innotab 2 was brilliant. The rotating camera lens is fab and there is hours of fun crammed into this compact hand held.

Alice (my younger sister) has given the Innotab 2 her seal of approval and may even give Leo a run for his money on who get's to play with it more. It is safe to say that there is plenty to do on it and this will continue to develop with the hundreds of readily available apps and cartridges. 

The Innotab 2 is set to be a big hit for Christmas 2012 and retails at £84.99. 

We are really enjoying the Innotab 2 and I know it is going to get plenty of use!

Disclaimer: I was sent the Innotab 2 for the purpose of this review, however all views and opinions are completely honest and my own. 

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