Product Type: VTech Child Development
Newest Review: ... for navigation, an on/off button, volume controls and then a full querty keyboard. I think the system is really pretty and you can c... more
A child friendly tablet?
VTech Storio Animated Reading System
Member Name: emmad5689
VTech Storio Animated Reading System
Advantages: Very educational, cartridges are well known characters, durable
Disadvantages: Poor battery life
I always keep an eye on the forums on www.moneysavingexpert.com as I am one for trying to save money any way possible and last year I was extremely lucky to catch a post where someone told me (and others) about a mistake on the Tesco website where they had listed the Storio system for sale at £16.97 rather than the usual £54.99. I decided it was worth a try and after a complaint when the wrong item was despatched Tesco decided to honour their mistake and I got the Storio system complete with Dora the Explorer game for £16.97.
The Storio system is made by Vtech which is a leading brand in childrens educational toys and I had no doubt in my mind that this would be a really good educational yet fun system. The computer system is aimed at children aged from 3-7 years and Sophie was 4 years old when she was given the system and she has been able to use the system with ease. The system and the games which go with it are used to teach,
The system is available in 2 different colours way, blue with orange or pink with purple, we bought the pink version as Sophie loves pink and at the time the system came complete with Toy Story for the blue system and Dora the Explorer for the pink system.
The system comes packaged in a cardboard box which has a flap on the front which can be opened so that you can see the system inside the box. On the front of the box the system is pictured and there are two little girls on the front who look really pleased with the system. The box is very brightly coloured with the main part being blue but then there are different little bits with promises of what the system can do all containing different colours. The system is easy to get out of the box and is simply held inside an extra piece of cardboard inside with a plastic covering on the front. Inside the box you get the system, the Dora the Explorer cartridge, A user Manual and a USB cable for connecting the system to your computer.
==The Storio System==
The system is made of plastic as you would expect, on the front of it there is a wriggly line of little flowers running up which are really pretty and add a nice girly touch to the system. There is of course the name of the product and the logo of the makers displayed on the front. The front of the system is bright pink and then when you open the front cover (like a book) the inside is pale pink on half and bright pink on half. You have a pretty large screen about 4 inches x 2 ½ inches and then there are a row of brightly coloured buttons for navigation, an on/off button, volume controls and then a full querty keyboard. I think the system is really pretty and you can certainly tell it is for a girl the only time I think this could be a bad thing is if you wanted a system for both and boy and girl to play on as there doesn't really seem to be a neutral option.
The system is very easy to navigate your way around, underneath the screen you have the main navigation buttons which are exit which does as you would expect it sends you back from whatever screen you are on, you often get a are you sure message on the screen when you press this so that you cannot exit by accident which is great as obviously is is very easy for young hands to knock buttons. You have a button for repeating a page, a button for playing and pausing the story, a button to bookmark your plae in a story if you want to leave it for a length of time and finally a help button. These buttons are coloured yellow, orange, red, green and blue so if your child is too young to read what the buttons say they can learn which colour they need to use which I think is really helpful and really helped Sophie navigate the system herself and as she is a very independant young girl this was great for her.
==Setting up the System==
To begin using the Storio system you need to put 4 x AA batteries into the panel on the back of the system, I would suggest using rechargeable batteries as when it is used a lot the batteries don't seem to last 5 minutes. When you first turn the system on it asks you to enter your name and then it remembers the name every time the system is turned on. Once you have set the name the system goes to the menu screen which is split into 2 different tabs, there is the playroom tab which has the options colouring book, photo album and art studio and then there is a bookshelf tab which has backpack, writing, certificates and setup on it.
The cartridges for the system are about £20 each which is actually not too bad a price as you really get a lot from them and my daughter doesn't get bored of them either. There are a wide range of cartridges available in many different character options, we got Dora the Explorer with the system and bought Sophie the Disney Princess cartridge to go with it too. To place a cartridge in the system is very easy, the slot is at the top of the system and the cartridge fits in it with the picture pointing outwards although it only fits in one way anyway so can't be put in wrongly which of course is a great thing with young children so that they cannot cause the system any damage in that way.
You can download items from the website and you have V coins so that you can buy new E books from there, any downloaded items are stored within the backpack on this tab. We have never downloaded from the website so we haven't ever used the backpack feature.
Within the writing option there are two further options letter and numbers or words, in letters and number you are provided with the letters A-Z in upper case and lower case and then the numbers from 0 - 9 and you have to touch one with the stylus provided. When you touch one of the letters or numbers the system will tell your child which it is and then the system draws the letter or number on the screen and then gives your child an outline to draw in. If your child doesn't start writing the system will show them what strokes to follow one at a time to encourage them. I like this part of the system as it makes it very easy for your child to learn to write their letters and Sophie enjoys practicing her letters with it and loves to show me how she does her letters and she uses the rhymes she learns at school whilst she is doing them too.
The certificates section stores exactly that certificates that your child earns through playing with the system. The set up option is exactly as you would think it is where you set your name, what picture you would like to represent you, you can set yourself a welcome message and you can also control the music option which is a great option in my opinion as the music gets really annoying.
If your child wants to listen to a book they do that from the Bookshelf screen which will display whatever book you have inputted in the centre of the screen. Your child simply has to touch the picture of the book and it will start to tell the story, your child can play, pause and replay bits of the story with the brightly coloured buttons under the screen. Aswell as hearing the story there is also reading games and a story dictionary on every cartridge.
Sophie loves the Playroom tab, you have the option of a colouring book where you select a picture from a selection of ten to begin with an then colour it in. The pictures are pretty simple things such as a camera, a couple of balls and even a cartoon style car. When you have picked your picture to colour you get a paint palette down the right hand side of the screen with red, orange, yellow, pale green, dark green, pale blue, dark blue, purple, black and white. You get three different palettes all with the same options of colours but in different hues, there is also an eraser button and a save button. To colour the pictures is very easy you touch the colour you would like to use and then touch the area on the picture to fill it with that colour. I would say that apart from listening to the stories this is Sophie's favourite activity on the system, she loves colouring in real life and loves doing it in a virtual way too.
The photo album options has a range of pictures stored such as a squirrel and a flower, you can rotate the pictures and change the sizes aswell as adding extra bits on such as frames, this option also stores all your saved pictures too which Sophie enjoys looking through and often asks us to look through with her and of course we have to tell how great every picture is.
Finally you have the art studio, I think this bit is great fun and better than colouring the pictures in, you can select any picture from file or start a new picture, you can add clip art style pictures, frames and different effects onto the pictures. I can tell you a picture of a Squirrel completed in mosaic style tiles looks pretty good. Sophie likes to use this option to go and change her pictures that she has coloured and add frames onto them, there is a great range of shapes and frames so plenty to keep your child amused.
Sophie loves this system and it is the first computer system that she has actually played on properly as she is more hands on in real terms than having a liking for technology. Sophie loves to listen to the stories and she will often get the system out when she is tired and flick through a story on it which I think is because she wants a story but knows if we try and read a book her sister tries to kump in. Sophie finds the system really easy to navigate and the whole thing is touch screen and there is a pale pink stylus hidden inside the system at the bottom. Sophie takes the system with her when she stays the weekend at the caravan with her Grandparents and it keeps her amused for ages and with strong rechargeable batteries it does last the full weekend.
I don't honestly think that a 3 year old would be able to do half of the things the system can do but I think it is easy enough to use and with a little bit of help it could give a young child a great head start on their letters and numbers. The system is really durable, ours has been dropped many times and has a couple of scratches on it but the flap protects the screen really well so it is still in perfect working order. It lovely watching Sophie being so pleased with herself when she has managed to complete a game herself or the system congratulates her for completing letters in the writing mode. This is a really great system and I would say it is well worth paying the full price for it although obviously I was very happy with the amount I paid.
Summary: A fantastic system
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