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As a parent I often find that I run out of ways to teach my children new things and when we were looking for a Christmas present for our eldest we thought that this computer would be a fun way for her to learn. The computer is made by Vtech and is generally around £40 but we managed to get it when Tesco had reduced in and therefore we paid £35 for it with a free Disney Princess game. I managed to pick up some second hand games on Ebay to keep the cost down too and to be honest I'm glad I did as this computer is simply not for my daughter.
The computer comes packaged in a large white box with a plastic carry handle, on the front of the box there is a couple of little girls looking at you with the controls in their hands and then a TV screen showing a scene from the Disney Princess game, finally there is a picture of Cinderella and a see through part to the right hand side so you can see into the box. It is stated that the computer is suitable for 3-7 year olds and that it teaches language, problem solving, maths, spelling, music and more.
The front of the box is on a flap attached to the main box with Velcro, on pulling the flap back you have pictures of numerous games that are available along with numerous scenes from some of the available games. It is stated that game play is easy with the wireless controller and that the controller can be used up to 15 feet away.
Inside the box we found the game console, the Cinderella game, the wires for connecting to the TV and a set of instructions all packaged in a string cardboard tray, the wireless control was next to the cardboard tray and lined up so that it could be seen through the clear part of the box at the front.
Connecting to the TV is very easy and the wire is already attached to the console, you simply plug the yellow and white leads in the corresponding holes and the TV and it came straight through on our TV although some people may need to tune it in.
The console itself is pink purple and silver in colour, the cartridge slides into the holder at the front and there is a flip top section at the back of the console on the top where your child can store their games, you can fit up to 9 games in at a time. On the front of the console there is a orange square showing a picture of the control which flashes when it receives a signal from the controller. On the opposite side on the front is the off button which is red with a picture of a sleeping moon on it and a larger circular button in green showing a smiling sun which is the on or restart button. On the underneath there is a battery compartment and the console requires 4 x AA batteries for it to work, the compartment is not locked in any way which I don't like as I don't like the thought that my daughter could get hold of batteries if I wasn't watching, on the underneath there are also four little purple feet that the console stands on.
The controller is a rectangular shape which curves in at the middle and has curved edges to make it confortable to hold, the controller is motion sensored for play with some games, there is a pink knob on the left which is a directional stick. In the middle there is a help button which will give hints on some games, an ABC button which allows the child to change to learning zone play and a exit button which will pause the game. Below the above three buttons there are four coloured circular buttons which are used to answer questions on certain games and then finally on the right hand side of the controller is a large pink circle button which is the enter key.
On the rear of the controller there is a little triangular area where a button can be changed from player one to player two and tuned off, this allows two people to play each other using only one controller. The final bit of the controller is a battery compartment which requires 3 x AAA batteries to be used, the compartment can be opened with a screwdriver or the side of a coin which I think it good as you cannot always find a screwdriver and I try not to even attempt entry into my husband's tool cupboard.
The system is very easy to use but my daughter just can't seem to get to grips with it, she is now four and still struggles so much so that she just gives up and it is put away after 5 minutes of play. I think she may be like me and have a problem working the directional stick, when i play on a computer I have to use directional buttons. I am hoping that waiting another few months may see some improvement as otherwise the whole system is just a waste. There are many different games available for the system and these are mostly character games that most children will recognise such as Cars, Thomas the Tank Engine and Dora the Explorer.
Even though my daughter doesn't like the system I would recommend it as I feel it is an easy system to work and has a high educational value for young children I just hope she will get some play out of it sometime soon.
I bought this for my son for his first birthday thinking it was great value (for a console) and a learning tool. I was dissappointed with the poor quality of the graphics. I understand this is designed for young children but the familiar charachters aren't even cartoon quality.
My son didn't really start to use this until he was over 18 months and then soon got bored. You can play games with colours, numbers, shapes, hide and seek etc.
It is well built and sturdy ( safe for young children!). It's also very set up friendly (minimal set up required).
By the time he was capable of using this effectively he was equally as capable of using other better quality consoles such as the vsmile pocket which has the added functionality of being portable.
The console was reasonably priced. Game were quite high but there are some good offers online.
I wouldn't reccommend this product to highly as ours has been barley used and is now sat around.
My mother in law bought this for my daughters first christmas present but to be honest I think it was a waste of money. It states on it that its from age 9 months-there was no way my daughter was going to sit still to play on something she didnt know how to use.
It comes with a game and she was also bought another-Noahs Ark but it was all about colouring and things that were for older children and we found it quite difficult to use let alone a baby!
The 'control pad ' is big and bulky great for little fingers and has bright coloured different shapes on it-this she liked to play with just without the tv.
Thankfully it has a play alone button on it so it can be used as a toy and it speaks and plays tunes and says what each shape is etc. This git a lot of play but the tv bit is actually sat an our tv where it has been for 2 years. Now shes 3 I think she might sit and play with it and be able to understand.
We bought the V.Smile Baby a couple of years ago for my son`s first birthday as he was getting very bored with his toys and was taking way too much interest in my computer!
~V.Smile Baby Infant Development System~
The V.smile is a computer console for babies and toddlers aged 9 months to 3 years. It comes with an activity panel which has bright chunky shape keys which are just right for the little ones. They games are designed to be bright and colourful and they will learn things like shapes ,numbers,colours ,pairs , opposites , sounds and baby sign language.
~What do you get in the box?~
A base unit with connection leads
Learn & Discover Home cartridge
~The Base Unit~
Is made out of tough plastic , it is orange and white in colour and has purple feet. There are 2 purple windows one has a picture of a tv which is the wireless signal reciever and the other is the on/off button. There is a space at the back of the unit which will hold 4 cartridges , at the front of the base unit you place the cartridge you want to use in the slot.
~Activity Panel ~
This is made out of tough plastic , again it is orange and white in colour. On the panel you will find.
A Yellow Star
Baby -safe soft bumper
There is an on/off switch , a mode selector , TV play/stand alone switch, and an exit button.
~Setting it up~
You will need to put the base unit near your tv as there is a white lead attached to the base unit which is not very long, this lead has a yellow connector which is a composite video connector and a white connector which is for audio. If your tv does not have a composite video connector there is an adapter which connects to the scart socket.The great thing about the V.smile is you can have the activity panel across the room from the tv and base unit and it will still work so you can sit in comfort and play.
You need to put 3AA batteries in the base unit and 4AA in the activity panel , once you have done that press the On button on the base unit and then the On button on the activity panel. Make sure that it is set to TV play otherwise it will not work.
On the activity panel you will see the mode selector where you have 3 choices , Play Time , Watch & Learn and Learn & Explore. When you have finished with your chosen mode of play just press the exit button and that will bring you back to a menu. You can also have this in Play alone mode where the baby/toddler just gets to play with the buttons which make lots of sounds.
~What do I think?~
When we first bought this for my son he wasn`t really interested in it , he liked pressing the buttons and would laugh at the Teletubbies but even at a year old he was more interested in my computer than his toys I guess thats what happens when we have a house full of computers! So the V.smile has been in the cupboard for the last year or so and recently my son has been playing PC and online games but the problem with this is he needs supervision and I can`t get on with the housework! Yesterday I decided to dig out the V.smile we set it up and my son loves it , the best thing is he doesn`t need my help so I can get on with other things.
Don`t go expecting the graphics to be brilliant on the V.smile , they are quite basic and the colours are bright BUT they are just right for the age group it is aimed at.
One annoying thing with the V.smile is if your baby/toddler decides to switch off the the activity panel the base panel will also go off ,which means if they then turn the activity panel back on you will have to turn the base unit on as it will not automatically do this.
For ages 9 months to 3 years
Price £34 from Tesco , Amazon , Argos
This review is also on Ciao same username
V.Smile Baby Infant Development System gives your child a sensory rich learning experience from 9-36 months.