“ Manufacturer: Bruin / Type: Music - Toy Keyboard „
I loved playing the keyboard when I was younger, I even had lessons when I was in my early teens and got quite good, until it was seen as a geeky thing to be doing, so I stopped playing. When I was browsing for Christmas presents for my 2 year old daughter I seen this keyboard and had to buy it for her.
~~ Information ~~
I bought this keyboard when it was on sale from Toys R Us, I think I paid around £25 instead of the RRP of £49.99. The recommended age for the keyboard is 3 years and up.
The keyboard is available to buy in two different colours, either pink or blue. It takes four AA batteries.
~~ Assembly ~~
The keyboard comes in a couple of different pieces in the cardboard box, there is a sheet of instructions but they aren't really needed, the pieces are pretty much self explanatory.
Simply slot the sides of the base of the keyboard onto each side of the circular pole, after this is done the keyboard base is completed and all you have to do is slot the main keyboard on top. There are no fiddly screws or clips and it all just slots into place. The microphone jack has to be inserted into the hole in the back of the keyboard, the microphone holder has to slot into the keyboard and that's it. Assembly is complete.
~~ The keyboard ~~
The keyboard looks exactly like a scale version of a normal sized keyboard. It has the normal white and black notes, then above these are various little buttons so you can personalise the way you want to play. There are different key sounds and different background music to choose from. There is a slider to control the volume and another to control the tempo of the background music. In the centre at the top of the keyboard is a little light up star pattern, it lights up green and orange when background music, or notes are played.
To the left of all the personalisation buttons is a DJ record, this has a button in the middle which, when pressed, will change the sound effect, there are a few DJ sounds to choose from, one sounds like a scratching disc. Once you have found your desired noise, twisting the record around will start the sound effect off, the more you move it, the more the effect will play. This seems like a fun part of the keyboard to start with, until a two year old thinks that it's funny to keep twisting the record and making it say 'ohh yeahhh' in a manly chav way over and over again. She thinks this is hilarious, I however, do not.
This keyboard also comes with it's very own stool. The stool is a nice height, when my two year old sits on it, she can reach the floor easily and at the same time, can quite easily reach all of the keys and buttons on the keyboard. Our stool isn't just used for the keyboard, my daughter uses it to sit at my end tables to do drawing and watches television whilst sitting on it. It's not the comfiest of stools being entirely plastic, but it's fine for the little amount of time sat on it.
One problem with the keyboard we have come across is the microphone and it's holder. Firstly, the microphone holder is a good idea but it isn't well put together. As it just slots into the keyboard there is nothing keeping it in place, it stays there when the microphone is sat inside it, or if it isn't in the holder, it's just taking the microphone out or putting it in the holder is where the problem lies. The holder is quick to come out of it's designated little hole as soon as there is a bit of movement which is highly annoying, especially having to place it back in the hole every time it falls out. The microphone itself isn't that great either, when it is in the holder it is too far back on the keyboard for it to be used when playing the keyboard at the same time, even for me. You have to literally touch your lips against the microphone for it to work so the holder being so far back makes it double as hard reaching it to make the microphone work.
This keyboard features a record setting so you can record whatever you are playing. There are various buttons that work with the record setting with record, stop and playback being some of them. To get this to work you simply press record, play the keys on the keyboard then press stop when you are finished. The playback button will then play back exactly what you have just played. My daughter loves me playing twinkle, twinkle little star on record so that she can play it back over and over. The recording will stay logged on the keyboard until more keys are pressed so it doesn't stay on there long, but long enough to get some use out of it.
My daughter, although being a year under the recommended age, absolutely loves her keyboard, so much so that whenever I try and play a full song she goes mad and pushes me off of the keys and covers them up so I can't play, spoil sport! We got this for Christmas and it's played with more often than her other toys, there are no signs of the batteries wearing out yet so I imagine battery consumption will be good. I think I bought this more for me than my daughter if I'm honest, after she goes to bed I like watching television and trying to remember the songs I used to play in the past, of course it isn't the best piano for adults, but I like playing the basics, like the Eastenders theme song!
The problems with the microphone are highly annoying for both me and my daughter, she loves the microphone itself, but gets so frustrated with the holder falling out all of the time. She loves singing, and loves hearing her voice louder when using the microphone, the only problem is she gets frustrated with the microphone getting wet from her saliva as she has to hold it so close to her mouth to get it to work. Other than that problem, she enjoys the keyboard. Of course, only being two years old, she can't play anything in the way of proper tunes, she does try and play a couple of notes one after the other but it normally ends up in her going mad over all the keys!
~~ Overall ~~
At a RRP of a penny under £50, I wouldn't recommend buying this keyboard at full price, I think the problems with the microphone don't justify spending that much on it. However, if you can find it half price as I did, snap it up. The quality of the keyboard is fantastic, and it has various extras that make the keyboard even more fun like the DJ record and different instrument sounds. The record button is another good feature of this, although short lived, it is fun to playback what you have just played. My daughter loves her keyboard and in time I hope she really starts taking a passion in playing the keyboard like I used to.