** INTRODUCTION **
Before I start the review I would like to mention that I am writing about the navigator alongside the innotab2, as there is many devices you can use the navigator with, and because the navigator will only work with a device connected I only have the innotab2 that I can relate to. The navigator was a surprise to me actually because I didn't know such thing existed I thought all books, games and videos was always going to be bought on cartridges, which I knew was going to be a little expensive, but I was wrong. After using the navigator a few times now I have decided to write on it as I know a lot of people would have vtech products that maybe you can use with the navigator.
** INSTALLATION & SETUP **
The installation does not take long to get through especially with the easy step by step instructions. I got an installation cd with Ethan's innotab2, just place the cd into the computer, the cd should auto run. You will be asked to choose the device you want to work with the navigator obviously mine was the innotab2, and then follow the installation instructions on screen. You will then be asked to connect the innotab2 to the computer via a USB lead, the innotab will be automatically be noticed by your computer and also the navigator. You will be then asked to set up an account, so that you can log in and out of the navigator when you wish, it doesn't take long and is easy to setup. Once you have setup an account you will be then asked to log in, then you're ready to start browsing around the navigator.
** WHAT DOES THE NAVIGATOR DO? **
The navigator allows you to purchase content for the innotab2 and other devices compatible with the navigator. You can also browse the navigator for more vtech products that you may wish to purchase, you can honestly say it's an online store but not in a webpage. I do find the navigator to be reliable when using it, and quick when browsing around, even the purchasing and transferring is quick so overall it's a great thing to have set up on your computer especially if your wanting new content for the device in hand, and most importantly not having to wait days for things to be delivered or having to wit for things to be in stock. Ok most of the games are not what you would buy from shops but they are still playable and enables you to build up a library of contents for your child.
** BROWSING AROUND **
Browsing around the navigator is very easy and simple to do; you can find anything you want on there within the vtech products obviously. I use this navigator for purchasing content for Ethan's innotab2 mostly games at the moment, they are small games with only a few levels but Ethan enjoys them all the same. With everything being categorised on the navigator everything is simple to find. Let me break down the sort of things you will find within the navigator:-
You see such categories as
Home - Click on your device shown in the middle of the screen, then it will open a drop down box of the profile you want to view from your innotab, click on one to open it up. Once this is done, on the left hand side of the screen you will be able to choose from Games, E-books, Videos, Music, & Other. Below these categories you will see another list of things, like my downloads, file manager, menu themes transfer, & update my innotab2.
My downloads will show you everything you have downloaded to your device.
File manager will show you pictures, videos and music which is stored on your Childs device, we had a look at some of Ethan's videos last night and we were in tears with laughter.
Menu themes are transferred to your child's device there are 3 already available to use.
Update my innotab2 this gives you the chance to update the innotab2 when they become available.
Download Centre - Now this is where you are able to purchase games, books, music, & videos, most of these are categorised into age group, publisher, or curriculum. You can even have your child learning languages like Spanish, German or French. There are many books, games, videos here to choose from, so your child will never get bored of playing just one game, or reading the same book, and I have to say the prices are great too, and it doesn't break the bank, they all range from £2.99 - £4.99 just think of how many things you can buy for that on the navigator then buying them from the shop. Ok the games are quite short but it keeps my child occupied and doesn't get bored playing the same games at the moment so it's a bonus. If you click on an item that may interest you, the product is rated out of 5 stars, the higher the stars the better the product for the child, so keep this in mind when buying things off there, although I have bought things off there with 2-3 stars and I have not heard Ethan complain.
My account - Everything you need to know about your account is here, or if you need to change anything within the account you can do it here.
Help - this will give you help about using the navigator, or any problems or issues you may have.
** PROGRESS LOG **
Within the navigator also you will a progress log, now when clicking on this providing your child as submitted scores from games etc, this will be put into the progress log, this keeps an eye on your child's progress. At the moment there is nothing in my child's progress log, but it does categorise it for you, for instance you have language development, Reading, Mathematics, Social studies and Science, Creative and critical thinking. Once you have submitted scores to the progress log you will then know where your child is at in the category. The progress log will also help into making recommendations to you for your child to help them learn and be better in what they know and do. I think this is a great idea, and helps us parents know what your child is capable of or what they are lacking on, although we have nothing in there yet on Ethan's log, hopefully we will get that sorted soon as I just want him to have fun on it for now.
** DOWNLOADING, PURCHASING & TRANSFERRING **
When you have found something you want to add to your child's device whether it will a book, game, or a video, all you have to do is click on the item your wanting to purchase, it will then add that item to your basket, click the checkout tab, then put in your debit/credit card details. Once you have done this you will be given a authorisation code keep this handy in case things go wrong with the downloading or transferring, which hasn't happened to me yet, but you never know. You then can close down the site, and continue with downloading the game, once it has downloaded a screen will pop, allowing you're to transfer the item to the device; this only takes a few seconds to do. Then you can start using the item as soon as you're finished with the navigator.
** AVAILABILTY & PRICE **
If you don't have a installation cd that came with your device or you can't find it, you can do a search for the learning lodge navigator on the internet and download and install it that way, it does not cost a penny to download it, and well worth it.
** FINAL THOUGHTS **
I am glad we have something like this for my child's device as I know it will save us money and keep Ethan occupied. I do have to say that you do have free content as soon as you sign up an account with the navigator; I got a free game and 2 videos free. Although the items on there are cheap to purchase and they can be quite small games, you're getting what you pay for and will take no time at all into building up a library for your child. For everything you view on there you do have screen shots of what your about to purchase along with the ratings, so this gives you have a good insight to what the game looks like, you will also find a short brief description of it too. I am going to start with getting more books for Ethan to read as I know he likes his reading. I have to also admit that the games on there are all learning games and not games just for fun, which is something I am a big fan of as there is no harm to helping your child progress in their learning, so whilst your child is sitting there having fun you know they are learning new things too. I am happy in using the navigator and I would recommend to it anyone that has vtech range.