“ Manufacturer: VTech / Age: 1 Year+ „
I bought the Smartville Post Office for my daughter as a stocking filler a couple of years ago.
The toy consists of the post office, a detachable parcel shute, 2 packages, a postbox and letter and 3 animals - an eagle, a snail and a horse (which I don't quite undertand, as there's no relevance to a post office!)
The animals all have circular bases which correspond to slots on the base of the post office. One of the slots has a sensor and when you put the animal onto it, the toy will say "I'm an Eagle/Horse/Snail"
There are weighing scales on the base of the toy and 2 parcels - one large and one small. There is a sensor on the scales so that when you put a package on it, it will say either "Big package" or "Small package"
There is a parcel shute with an ABC button at the top. When you press the button the alphabet tune plays, or it says "do you know your ABC"
This toy does have quite a lot of buttons to press, a flashing light and several melodies and some educational value with repeated references to ABC.
My children do enjoy playing with this for short periods of time, but there are only so many times you can press the buttons and send the packages down the parcel shute. We bring it out every few weeks for couple of days and then put it away again.
They do tend to use the postbox and letter all the time with their other dolls, so that has come in very useful.
The toy takes 2 AA batteries. There are 2 volume settings, which is lucky because at it's loudest it can be quite annyoing!
For the full price of £12.99 that this product often retails at, I think it is overpriced. I was lucky enough to pick mine up for £5.99 in Home and Bargain, which I think is a more realistic price for what you are getting.
Part of the Vtech Smartville range the Post Office is perhaps the element in the series that I'd least recommend.
Despite my son having and playing with the toys in this range for not long off three years now this is the unit that has had the least use and, on reflection I can see why. This is not a stand alone toy in my opinion, it needs to go alongside other units in the Smartville range, particularly the Alphabet Train Station.
It's a simple set up comprising a post office "counter", scales and a slide chute. There are 3 characters (an eagle, a cow, and, fittingly given the state of our own postal service, a snail!) a letter, a post box and two parcels, one larger than the other. The characters and parcels can be used to initiate songs and phrases that are supposedly educational. It introduces the concept of size (although in a very simplistic manner), colour (again very limited) and letters (again the Train Station performs much better in this area). To my mind the educational aspect of this toy is limited. Motor skills might be honed but no degree of accuracy is really needed.
One of the unusual features of the Smartville range are the "hot spots" which can be used by the child to set off certain functions. No more than circles with raised pins in them, the "hot spots" are receptive to the child placing a character in them. The character will then activate a sound function. There are also a couple of push buttons on the unit which set of similar phrases or music. Music plays when the unit is turned on. Where the hot spots on the main train unit seemed to serve a purpose those on the post office seem rather pointless. The most different feature of this set is the ability of the "scales" to recognise the different sized parcels. Far from exciting for parent or child!
Although this toy is expandable with other buildings and character sets it's worth noting that only the train station "hot spots" will correctly identify all of the characters and accessories or give the right phrases. If you put a train station (or other unit) character onto a post office "hot spot" for example, the post office will not be able to tell what it is and it may not respond with a correct phrase. This is very confusing for a young child.
The toy seems to be quite sturdy and battery life (2xAA) is good. There is a two level volume button but to be honest every child seems to turn the button to maximum. This level is OK, loud, but not overly so!
Not really recommended as part of the range. Certainly not recommended in isolation.