Product Type: Tomy baby toys
Newest Review: ... Teletubbie inspired sound but of the hundreds of sounds these characters make I would have thought Tomy could have come up with something a... more
Chatting with the Tubbies!
Tomy Teletubby Telephone
Member Name: chrisandmark
Tomy Teletubby Telephone
Advantages: Nice and quiet (!), easy for a baby or toddler to use
Disadvantages: A bit too quiet sometimes, hard to find now but worth it for a little Teletubbies fan
While I was sorting out the toyboxes recently I came across this Teletubbies toy phone, after pressing the various buttons and having nothing happen I decided it didn't work so popped it on the pile that was heading landfill way. Trying to dispose of toys with an eighteen month old toddler around you is the proverbial exercise in futility - no sooner had I put the phone on the 'bin' pile David picked it up and ran away with it as quickly as his fat little legs would take him. He's not interested in Teletubbies one little bit; the phone was bought for Hollie when she was a baby and I doubt David has even seen the Teletubbies other than being given her hand-me-down toys, I suspect it was the resemblance to my mums phone (brick sized clamshell monstrosity in a middle aged aquamarine case) that drew him to it.
Anyway, it worked after Mark changed the batteries and the toy was given a new lease of life in David's hands. It's a cute, if basic, toy phone - although other than the shape and fact that one of the four buttons makes a 'ring, ring' sound this barely resembles a phone at all. It has been designed so well to fit in with the Teletubbies brand - a sky blue phone with lots of green detailing, the phone antenna (remember those?!) is a cloud and the four buttons are the colours of each of the four Teletubbies. Where the screen would be on a real flip phone is a Perspex covered cut out and inside is a 3D group gathering of Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po, these can be jiggled up and down slightly by moving a small roller underneath. All very low tech but surprisingly charming for it.
This is a fairly quiet toy, the fact that it takes three batteries being a lesson in overkill in my opinion as the sound effects are very quiet indeed - maybe this is why the original batteries lasted through two years of solid play from Hollie, followed by another two years of languishing in the toybox waiting for the day David would claim it. Apart from the 'ring, ring' I mentioned earlier there are a further three sound effects made by the phone; a short snippet of the Teletubbies theme tune, a group 'Eh-Oh' (hello) and the final one being a basic giggle which is patently a Teletubbie inspired sound but of the hundreds of sounds these characters make I would have thought Tomy could have come up with something a little more interesting. When I say this is a quiet toy, I mean the volume is ridiculously low - so low in fact that if David is playing with the phone while the tele is on you can't hear the toy at all. While this might be a good thing from a parents point of view (in these times of mega loud baby toys), it's not so great if your child can't hear the thing above everyday household sounds!
Hollie used to love pressing the large(ish) buttons and hearing the sounds produced, David hasn't been so enamoured by this aspect and seems to enjoy the clicking sound as he opens and closes the phone much more! He's realised which button makes which sound and recently the Teletubbies theme has been played in a loop with the other sounds barely being played at all, I'm thinking he likes this one in particular as he has a couple of the talking Teletubbies which were passed down from his sisters and they both play the theme tune so maybe he recognises it.
More often than not though he simply runs around grasping the phone in his sweaty little hand. It's a very small toy but fairly bulky for a toddlers grip, when new it had a small strip of material attached to the bottom of the phone which I'd use to strap it to Hollie's pushchair or wrist - this has long since disappeared however and although it would be possible to replace it I've never bothered. When closed the phone makes a reasonably heavy missile so if you have a little 'thrower' (as I do in David) you need to watch how they're playing with it - I'm pretty certain it's television-smashing heavy and know from experience that it will leave a bruise if you're hit in the face with a forcefully thrown Tubbie-Phone!
There's not much more to say about this sweet but basic toy really. David loves the small mirror which is located inside the phone, although the quality has gone downhill over the years and it now gives a rather distorted reflection - think those 'amusing' mirrors at the fair which leave you looking either disabled or as fat as an elephant and you'll get the gist of how this mirror works these days. I personally think it's a great looking toy when closed as the plastic front has been moulded and painted with a cheerful Teletubbies image, the paint is chipping off now but in all honesty this has been a problem since the toy was relatively new when the corners and various portions of the Tubbies faces chipped to a certain point but didn't get any worse. Laa-Laa in particular looks like an odd horror movie character with both her nose and mouth chipped to such a degree that her face now looks like a mask!
Overall I think this is a decent toy, the fact that it's lasted for such a long time is very surprising as it never felt like the highest quality toy in the first place. It's looking a bit bashed and bothered now but am still pretty amazed that it's actually working - David is playing with it as I type, he never seems to get tired of studying the front and likes to open and close the phone (if nothing else) regularly throughout the day.
If you like the sound of this sweet little phone then be prepared to do a little searching. Obviously Teletubbies are well past their sell-by date these days so the normal Tomy stockists don't tend to sell the phone anymore - you see them on Ebay here and there going for a couple of quid plus postage, otherwise I'd imagine the best place to look out for one would be a car boot sale where I reckon you'd pick one up for 50p or (at most) £1. I can't say I'd recommend you going on a huge hunt for it as there are decent quality toy phones around featuring more up-to-date characters, but if you spot one at a reasonable price (and have a toddler) then you could do a lot worse. The recommended age range is from six months, which is bizarre as no way would a six month old be able to work this toy - neither would they be able to hold it, and frankly the quietness of the sound effects make it a bit rubbish as a toy for a very young baby.
Summary: A nice little toy that won't break the bank - but won't tax your child too much either!
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