* Prices may differ from that shown
My 8 year old daughter realized that she "needed" a toy pony when she first saw an advert on TV for a toy called Toffee the pony (this is not the toy I am reviewing, by the way). The toy in question was a rather large animatronic toy pony that moved its head, blinked, and made noises, much in the way that a real pony does, but presumably without the mess and expense involved with owning a real horse. Ever since she first saw the ad on TV, she would turn into something resembling Verucca Salt from Charlie and the chocolate factory, whining at me " Can I have a toy pony?" ad infinitum.
Personally, I was not convinced in the wisdom of buying such a toy. For one thing, the toy itself cost £50. Secondly, as a wise consumer, I had read a few reviews of the toy in question, and most of them were pretty unfavourable, claiming that the toy was quite badly made and not very durable. I actually showed her some of these reviews to try and convince her that the toy pony was a piece of overpriced tat, and for a while, it worked. However, it was whilst looking on the internet, that my daughter soon noticed a similar toy that seemed a lot more appealing. This one was called Honey, My Baby Pony. Within a short time, she was back to the whingeing routine again, with renewed vigour.
I had hoped that she would forget about the toy, but some time later, when she was actually due a present, and I asked her what she would like, the answer came back short and sweet. "Honey Pony". Thus I trawled the internet, trying to find the best deal for the toy, which had an RRP of about £40.
*I bagged a bargain!*
My timing was incredibly lucky, because at the same time as I was looking for the toy online, Tesco Direct were having a toy sale. Not only that, they were also taking the VAT off the prices of all the toys too. Thus I managed to find myself a Honey Pony for the reduced price of £17, which Tesco would deliver free to my local store for pickup. I was a bit worried when I got there and saw the ridiculously huge box in front of me. Was this a life size horse, I wondered? Luckily, the large box was just superfluous packaging, and the pony toy was in a smaller box inside, although it was still quite a big toy, about the same size as a small dog.
*The toy itself*
The toy comes in a cardboard box, which does a good job at protecting the toy from damage. As you can guess, the toy is secured in the box with lots of bits of twisty wire, which is one of my pet hates! There is nothing worse than trying desperately to release a toy from a box, armed with just a pair of scissors, when there always seems to be one wire twist that you havent noticed, keeping the toy fixed firmly in the box. With no small amount of struggling, I did manage to eventually free Honey pony and her plastic carrot accessory.
The toy is animatronic, so requires batteries to power the movement and sound features. The toy takes 4 x CC batteries, which are included with the toy. The battery compartment is located underneath the toy, on her tummy, underneath a velcro panel. The battery compartment is protected by two screws, so young kids can't get their little fingers on the batteries. The tummy panel also has a flip switch to toggle between the two modes, Demo and Play, as well as turning the toy off. The demo version has limited movement, with Honey just moving her eyes and ears and snorting, whereas, the full play mode has a better range of sounds and motion. You can understand why the toy is in demo mode whilst in the box, because the toy is tied down and unable to move freely. In the 3 months that we have had the toy, the demo batteries are still going strong, and I haven't had to replace them yet.
Honey is a soft toy, but obviously has some hard components because of her robotic interior. This means that she is not particularly cuddly, because the inside of her head is hard and plastic, and so is her back. Her legs are soft though, with a soft filling. Personally, I think that the toy would have been a bit more appealing with more padding to make it a bit cuddlier.
Honey is a pale beige colour with a white nose and a white stripe on the front of her nose. Her hooves are a slightly darker brown shade of fabric and she has a beige fluffy mane and tail. The fur on her body is very smooth and velvety, really lovely to the touch. Her eyes are big and deep brown, with large pupils. She has long eyelashes when she blinks, with beige coloured eyelids that match the shade of her fur.
*Activating the toy*
Honey has three sensors on her body that activate different responses when you press them:
Back: Honey has a sensor button on her back, which you press when you stroke her along her back. This makes her ears perk up, her eyes blink, and her neck swing from side to side. She also makes a high pitched neighing noise. She repeats these movements for about 10 seconds before stopping, but will then neigh again if you don't press any more sensors, just to remind you that she is there, before snorting again and finally going quiet.
Nose: If you stroke honey downwards on her nose, you will activate another sensor button. When this is pressed, Honey will briefly sway her head, prick her ears up and neigh. She doesn't move as much as when you press her back sensor, but will still do a high pitched neigh if you ignore her for too long.
Inside mouth: Honey can't open and close her mouth, but you can push her mouth open manually. This is so you can get the plastic toy carot inside. There is nothing special about the carrot; it is the action of opening the toy's mouth that activates the sensor. When the toy senses that something is in it's mouth, it makes a low whinny noise, before making crunching noises. When you take the item out of her mouth, she will neigh and whinny for more. The effect is really funny if you put your finger in her mouth, as it sounds like she is crunching on your bones (sick, I know!).
The toy has a very basic form of artificial intelligence. Basically, the more you play with the toy, the more it responds. If you stroke the toy repeatedly, she will go into a frenzy of neighing and swaying, blinking her eyes and wiggling her ears. She won't stop for ages, even after you have. We had a really funny incident illustrating this, a week or so ago. It was about 11:00 p.m. and we were all in bed. Our room is next to our daughter's room. She was fast aslepp in bed, with Honey on the bed, switched on. As she moved in the bed, she must have knocked one of the sensors, setting the toy off into a frenzy of neighs and snorts. The noise disturbed us, and it took me a while to work out what it was! Amazingly, the noise and motion didn't wake up my daughter, who remaind fast asleep. We managed to retrieve Honey, and turn her off again! This probably illustrates the wisdom of turning off the toy if you are taking it to bed with you!
The movement and noises made by the toy are really good, and very young children could actually believe that this toy was really alive, especially the random way that she will start moving and snorting again after being left alone for about 10 minutes!
I am very happy with the price that I paid for the toy, but I'm not sure it is worth more than £30. It is definitely a better toy that the Toffee pony that my daughter originally wanted, as her friend has one and isn't overly impressed with it. Also, this toy looks more like a real pony than the Toffee pony, which looks more character based and cartoony, with its big head and huge orange eyes. Animagic, who make this toy, also do a range of other animatronic animals, such as dogs and cats, so they are experts at what they do. That aside, the toy does sound a bit robotic when it moves, and can be a bit reminiscent of a Terminator when you hear the whirring gears as it moves its head, ears and eyes! This may put some people off, but my daughter doesn't mind. The toy is the perfect size to sit on her lap as she strokes it, brushes its mane and feeds it the carrot, just like caring for a real pet. She really loves the toy, and it seems a perfect size for her Jessie cowgirl doll to ride on the back of, which is an added bonus! She plays with the toy every day and has it on her bed at night, which proves to me that it wasn't just a fad toy. In my opinion, there does seem to be a limited amount of things that you can do with the toy besides stroking it and feeding it, but that doesn't seem to bother her. When her friends come round, this is one of the first toys that she gets out to show them.
The toy has lasted well these last few months, though I do have a few doubts about its long term durability, as I'm sure that a hard drop on the floor, or someone accidentaly sitting on the toy would do quite a lot of irreversible damage. Time will tell how durable the toy actually is, as it has been my experience with previous animatronic and talking toys that we have owned, that they have a tendency to stop working bit by bit, as the wires slowly become detatched inside. I hope that this does not happen with this toy, as it really is a delightful toy that has bought a lot of pleasure to my daughter. Let's just hope she doesn't want a real one now!
I bought my three year old the Animagic Honey pony as a top up Chrimbo pressie after an unexpected Amazon voucher landed in my inbox on the last day of ordering in time for delivery for the big day. Well, it would have been rude not to spend it!
What I got for £30 is a toy horse which doesn't actually do much, but is worth the cash in my opinion as it's such a cute thing and Hollie has loved it from the moment she unwrapped it. It didn't even bother me (too much) that the next day I saw the pony at a knock down price of thirteen quid in Wilkinsons!
Honey is an interactive toy, an animal which most kids would love to have as a pet bought to life. A bit. It runs through 4 x CC batteries, these are included and all I can say is that five weeks later they are still going strong. To be honest with you, Honey isn't the most energetic toy I've seen, so I'd imagine battery consumption would be fairly low.
There are pressure points on Honey's back and nose, it's when you touch one of these that the toy will spring to life. I say touch, in reality you do have to locate and press down on these harder than you'd think considering the fact that this toy is designed to appeal to very young children.
Depending upon which pressure point you use Honey will neigh, move her head and eyes or make hoofbeat sounds. Hollie has had no problems getting the pony to work, although there were a few tears at the start when she couldn't understand why a normal soft stroke wouldn't activate the toy.
Honey is actually much larger than she looked online. The toy can be carried around, but at three years old (with short arms to match!) Hollie tends to leave it in one place rather than going to the bother of moving or carrying it around.
Honey also has a carrot which you 'feed' to her, I can't actually remember what that does now as the plastic carrot was lost a few days after she had the pony! One thing I will say is that the end of the carrot is very sharp so I was kinda glad when Hollie lost it as I was just about sick of being stabbed with it! The carrot is one of those unnecessary loose 'bits' which look like they have only been included to be lost, Mark mentioned that if we ever find the carrot again he will attach it to Honey's neck with a ribbon to avoid losing it for a second time.
The pony's fur is lovely and soft, unfortunately it's still not a suitable bedtime toy as the body and head are quite hard and rigid beneath the soft fur. This is to be expected due to the interactive nature of the toy but it is a shame that Hollie can't take her new favourite toy to bed with her.
This hasn't spoiled her enjoyment of Honey at all though, hence my comment about the toy being worth the money I paid for it. Hollie loves to stroke and play with the pony, she often uses it as part of her role playing games which can only be a good thing when it comes to developing her imagination and confidence. She did get a bit frustrated at first as the shape and dimensions of Honey aren't much good for taking dolly for a ride, but that's not what this toy was designed for so it won't lose a star for that.
Oh, I just remembered. Honey has one quite irritating aspect while she is being played with, the whirring. You see, each time Honey neighs or does any of her rather unimpressive (by an adults standard) party-pieces it's accompanied by a harsh and very loud mechanical whirring sound. This just about shreds my brain after a few short minutes, but Hollie doesn't seem to have noticed up to yet!
I think any young girl would love Honey. She looks fantastic and is (marginally) more interesting that a bog standard soft toy. Worth 30 quid? Well yes to see the look on Hollie's face, but if you're watching the pennies than you can probably do a lot better for your cash.