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Purchased this for Christmas for my lg who is 21 months, to stop her taking our ipad all the time! We had tried all the ones which look like iPads but she Sussed that they were not the same instantly. The moment she opened this on Christmas day she said "effanys ipad" and we knew from that moment we were onto a winner it is PERFECT
The actual innotab is quite large at just over 8x6 inches but the screen in approx 2x5 inches and the rest is this amazing rubber padding which protects the innotab from any damage. In one month we have already had it dropped several times but absolutely no damage has occurred (touch wood)
The screen on the new innotab 3 is much smaller and as we wanted this for films etc we wanted apt he larger screen and so chose the innotab 2 but this is just our preference
There is a stand which pulls out so she can have it standing up either landscape or portrait to watch her films, draw etc,
It has buttons to adjust the volume and brightness of the screen and even a place for headphones
There is a camera which can be rotated to face the world or the face of my lg (we have several selfies already on the internal memory) it's lively to see the world from her point of view, all be it most of the pictures are of her or the floor!! The quality of the pictures is very good and they take up a ridiculously small amount of memory!
There is no internet access which was very important to us when choosing a product for her as we didn't want any access to the internet and this allows us to feel happy that she is safe and we don't have to check what she is doing every few minutes!!
There is a learning lodge which you download to your computer and this is the parental control centre so to speak, you can track your child's progress, download games, music and videos from the lodge (they cost anywhere from a few pound for a basic game to £20 for a branded game such as doc mcstuffins etc), although the product says suitable from 3 years we have found that this will grow with her as the games you can get in the learning lodge are suitable from 1-3 year 3-5 etc and so the innotab will lags her a long time (if you can't decide between the innotab baby and innotab 2 I would recommend this every time as it will be able to be used for a longer period of time by just updating the games- it's also a third cheaper than the innotab baby)
Within 2 days our lg knew where the power button was, how to return to the home screen to choose another game/ video etc
, how to log in to her name, that the loading screen meant she needs to wait, how to access the camera- before shouting "cheese mummy" at the too of her lungs or the video feature where she chooses either Minnie Mouse to watch or mr tumble (she has an hours worth of both and they only cost a few pounds each)
She hasn't even begun to explore many of the games we have downloaded yet as she is still amazed and engrossed in the videos feature (obviously mummy and daddy have had a little play too) And the games are really good, the colouring ones are great and she has enjoyed these a few times, there are different shapes, animals etc for example you can add a frog which jumps along leaving footprints and a car which leaves tyre marks etc
Additional extras can be purchased such as a gel skin (however we don't have this as the rubber surround does a great job on its own) and a bag carry case which we have and is fantastic- I'd recommend one of these!
The only real downside is that it runs on batteries and even if you purchase an in car adapter/ mains adapter they do not charge the innotab they just don't suck the battery power whilst they are plugged in, however we don't tend to use the adapter and she uses it daily but only on second set of cheap batteries so it doesn't drain them too fast and it Is slow to start up (however our lg already knows that the loading screen means she has to wait and she has quickly fit used to this!)
This is a great little tablet for kids who haven't been exposed to ipads etc. If they have they might find these abit inadequate in comparison. I got my 5 and 7 year olds these last xmas. They haven't had any massive exposure to technology so they were very excited by these. Set up was very easy and it was just a matter of inserting the learning lodge cd and connecting the usb cable. Then you can download the free items and you also have the option to purchase more items. Lots of educational books and games and the kids loved them. They have somewhat cooled on them recently but every so often they do get picked up and are a great little companion for a car journey. Only downside I can think of is they are very sore on batteries. So much so I had to purchase rechargeables plus the vtech charger.
I decided to buy this for my son for his birthday, he was three years old. I looked into the leap pad first and decided the Innotab suited us better as my son loved using my tablet and used his brothers ds sometimes. I shopped around online to try and find the best deals, in the end I bought it from Studio 24 for £54.99
My son was really happy when he opened the Innotab 2 up, he said it was his very own tablet computer, just like Mummy's. Setting up the Innotab 2 was really simple, the instructions on the screen guide you through each step. My son instantly started taking photos of everyone in the room, he was excited when he realised he could turn the camera around to take photos of himself. I was very happy with the quality of the camera.
Connecting the Innotab 2 to the computer I found extremely simple. The Innotab 2 comes with a CD included within the box and a cable to connect the device to the computer. The software installed quickly on to the computer and my son was able to use the Innotab right away. We then decided to get the two free apps to add to the device. My son picked two games- One called Twist h2O which is a science experiment and the Alphabet train. My son really enjoys both games but he particularly likes the Alphabet Train game. He adores catching the trains to add the missing letters. I like the fact you can select difficulty levels on the games so it suits children of all ages and abilities.
There are a few features on this product that I really like, one which is when you switch on the Innotab, it asks you to select a player, this feature is great as I have 3 children and it stops them fighting over each others profiles even my 2 year old daughter has her own profile including a photo. So she can easily identify which one is hers.
The internal storage space is limited but we have purchased an SD card to increase the capacity. We bought this from argos. I like the option of being able to add extra memory as my son really enjoys the downloaded games and would be a shame if he ran out of memory and had to delete some to make space for new ones.
Another feature I think is good, is the stand on the back of the Innotab 2. Its great when watching Videos or listening to music etc The stand does come off easily but we purchased the bag for the Innotab 2 and we pop all the bits into the bag, when there not being used. The bag also keeps the Innotab 2 safe. My son loves carrying it around when we take it to grandparents etc.
I like the choice of games already installed on the Innotab 2. My daughter who is just 2 loves the Art Studio app she adores painting and using the car and heart brushes and changing the colour of the paints. My son has also downloaded a few books on to the e reader. He enjoys these a lot and regularly, reads them at bedtime with daddy. The screen is very clear and easy to read.
We asked family members to purchase some games cartridges, as part of our sons other presents. I must say the games are fantastic. My son particularly likes his Dinosaur train game. He has to find fossils and bones and then guess which dinosaur they belong to. It keeps him entertained for ages especially on long car journeys.
One disadvantage but I think all children's electronic toys these days are the same, is it eats batteries. I would advise you to get rechargeable batteries for this device and always carry a spare set if going on a long Journey.
I really like the quality of the Innotab 2, the fact that you can add music and videos to it is great, especially when having a few children fighting over what is on tv. I do however think this product is aimed at small children with basic computer knowledge. My son really loves his brothers DS therefore sometimes finds the Innotab a bit basic. So I will be passing down to my daughter soon
Lewis, my son is three years old and my mum has three foster kids at the moment, one who is four (but was three at Christmas.) one who is five and the other is seven. Mum had heard good things about the 'tablets' for kids, After having a look at them in 'Toys 'R' Us' she decided to get the Innotab 2 for the three youngest children and the Leappad 2 for the seven year old. Mum spent a bit of time looking online and on the high street for the best deal and managed to find both devices for under £50.
Lew was really excited about the Innotab when he opened it and the other boys were really happy to have their tablets. I was given the job of setting them all up which was really easy. First I set all the boys up on their Innotabs and got them to take pictures of themselves for their profile pictures. We left them all getting to grips with them while I started to set each of the Innotabs up with their SD cards and getting their free apps ( the Innotab 2 comes with 2 free apps).
Setting the Innotab up on the computer is also as easy as it could be. There was a CD in the box and it only took a few minutes to install the software. I let the boys choose their free apps and stuck a couple of movies and songs on for each of them.
I didn't have any trouble putting videos or songs on the Innotab as most of my files are AVI (for video.) or MP3 (for Audio.) but since have found a couple of videos that are either WMV or MP4 which have had to be converted. Free video format conversion tools are available online, just use google to find a program if you need one, but file conversion is a process that takes some time.
The internal storage space on both the Innotab 2 and Leappad 2 is somewhat limited but with the Innotab 2 you have the option of using an SD card to increase the capacity. We bought three 16GB SD cards for £8 each from amazon. I have spoken to some parents at pre-school who resent having to pay extra for additional storage space but I would rather have the option of being able to expand.
I was really surprised by the decent quality of the video playback and if Meg and I fancy watching something on TV while Lew is up and wants to watch a film (rare but it does happen occasionally.) we just stick a film on the Innotab and put the headphones on him. There is a stand on the back of the Innotab and it can be stood up either landscape or portrait. The stand is fairly sturdy but has come off a couple of times, it is easy to reattach and hasn't suffered any permanent damage yet!
As well as the Video and music player the Innotab comes with a games cartridge that has a game, book and activity on it. These are all great fun but Lew has spent a lot more time playing with the Toy story cartridge that another family member bought for him, new cartridges cost around £20.
There are some pre-installed apps on the Innotab other than the music and video player which are; an E-reader, camera, video recorder, calendar, notepad, art studio and calculator. Lew hasn't used the pre-installed apps much but as his reading skills improve I am sure he will as they all seem to work very well. The Camera quality is a little poor for taking photo's and recording video but we weren't expecting it to be super high quality.
Lew chose 'Keyboard Jam' and 'Finger Artist' for his free apps. Keyboard Jam is a fairly simple two octave keyboard with either Piano or Accordion sounds, Lew hasn't used this very much but the other kids enjoy playing with it. Finger Artist lets you colour in and save pictures of different animals and is great fun. Lewis has spent a lot of time playing it and I would recommend it even as a paid for app. New apps cost around three quid which isn't unreasonable but I would try and find a review of them first as the quality can vary from app to app.
The Innotab eats batteries at a fair rate so it is worth getting some rechargeables. Lew's Innotab sometimes has a problem that if it gets knocked the batteries come slightly out of position and have to be taken out and put back in before it will work, I have only seen this happen to Lew's so he may have done something to it. The Innotab came with a spare stylus which is handy as he has lost his first one. You can buy a new stylus online and they don't cost much if you do lose the second one.
The Innotab 2 looks a lot sturdier than the Leappad 2 but it also looks slightly more childish. After having seen both in action I would say that the Innotab is much more suited to younger children (3-5.) and the Leappad slightly older (5-8). Being able to play your own music and video files is a major plus for the Innotab over the Leappad and means that the oldest of mum's foster kids often borrows an Innotab to watch a film.
I bought this for my now 6 year old daughter for Christmas. Luckily enough for me I decided to open the box and get it sorted before the big day, and I say luckily for me because it was an enormous feat to actually extract it from the box - scissors and strength were required to actually get my hands on this product. My thumb has never been the same since...So my advice is, if you are buying this as a gift, make sure you take it out of the box before letting your child even have a glimpse of it. And buy some batteries, it takes 4 x AA which are not included.
First you have to install the batteries, and then you can turn it on. Once the Innotab has powered up, you are talked through the settings such as date & time, and then you type in your name (your child's name) and then take a picture for the profile pic. All very simple and easy to complete. And now you can start to use your Innotab 2. It works like a touch screen phone - icons appear on the screen and you can swipe the screen to see more icons. Initially it appears there is not a lot to do, but then I realised that you have to install software (using the provided CD) onto your computer. So I did this, then connected the Innotab to my PC, and you complete another registration form, with your information, and then you can access 2 free downloads. There are quite a lot to choose from, but most are pretty basic and only £2.99 if you were to pay for them anyway. I chose a counting game, and a rhyming game. And then I bought a few more downloadable games, so when she opened it on Christmas day she would have a good selection to choose from.
Once this was done, I had a quick play with the Innotab before putting it away for Christmas. My initial reaction is that it's very easy to navigate, the games so far are very easy to follow and use, and the touch screen is not too sensitive, you have to give it a good prod to get it to select things, which is pretty good in my opinion because most children are quite heavy handed anyway, so it's obviously built to withstand a certain amount of pressure. The screen is not as high quality as I would have expected for the price, but I'm quite certain this will not bother my daughter in the slightest. The whole unit feels good to hold, it's a nice large size and feels sturdy.
What My Daughter Thought
When she opened it, she wasn't quite sure what it was, but I turned it on for her, gave her the stylus (which is unattached but can be stored in the slot on the side of the Innotab) and away she went. She soon picked up how to use it (from previous experience of using my touch screen phone) and found the games with relative ease and spent a good half an hour getting to know the product and seeing what it could do. I think she was pleased with it and spent a lot of the Christmas period using it.
3 Months Later
Although my daughter has been relatively pleased with her Innotab 2, if I was to go back in time I would not purchase it again. My main reason for this is because I also purchased a Leappad 2 for my other daughter, which in my opinion, after both children have used both products several times over, is far superior to the Innotab 2.
Games (Downloaded and Cartridge)
The Innotab 2 is advertised as for an older market (age 4 - 9), whereas the Leappad is recommended for children aged 3 and upwards (hence the reason I gave my older child the Innotab), but from experience, the quality of the games on the Innotab are in my opinion better suited to a younger market, and my 6 year old daughter gets bored because they are far too easy for her. Also the 'fun' downloadable games are extremely basic and only have a few levels; they also don't save your progress so you start from the same point every time you start a game. Which is fine for a 3 or 4 year old, but not an educated 6 year old. There are some educational games available too, but whereas the fun games are too basic, these ones are a bit too complex and she struggles with them. (Vtech can't win it seems!)
The fun games that are available to download usually involve choosing the right shape to fit in a hole, or moving blocks so that a penguin can get to the other side of the screen, or making a dog jump to catch a bone. The educational ones revolve around shopping or taxis and you have to use mathematics to give the correct change etc. When you are choosing games to download it is difficult to understand what the game is about as there is limited information, and you have no real idea whether it will suit your child or not.
We have one cartridge game for the Innotab 2 which is Hello Kitty and again this is really basic for her, and she finds it boring. Although there is a lot more available to do on the cartridge game, the tasks are still really simple and made for a young child. The cartridge games retail at around £19.99 (hence the reason we only have one), which I think is rather pricey if you have already forked out for the Innotab which retails around the £85 mark.
The Innotab did actually come with a free cartridge which is Art Studio and this is pretty good, and it is probably where she has spent most of her time. You can create pictures, using a variety of tools, and you can also decorate photos which you have taken using the Innotab's built in camera. And these can be saved in the gallery for you to look at again later.
The best thing about the Innotab 2 is that you can (provided you have an SD card which again you have to purchase separately) store and watch videos on it. The only annoying thing about this aspect is that you cannot just transfer them onto the Innotab, you have to do some strange file converting before they are compatible. Thankfully my husband is good at this sort of thing; otherwise we would not have been able to use this function of the device. So my daughter now has 3 full length Wiggles DVDS on her Innotab which she loves because it is like her own personal TV. And the stand which unfolds from the back means she can sit at a table and watch the screen without having to hold it steady. So on our next long car journey, this feature will come in very handy, provided we have plenty of spare batteries, which leads me very nicely onto the next section of my review.
The Innotab 2 does not come supplied with batteries, nor does it have its own charging unit. It requires 4 x AA batteries, and I would recommend buying good quality rechargeable ones, otherwise you may be purchasing a lot of batteries. Again, this is an added expense when you have already spent a lot of money on the original product. I have read many reviews saying the battery life is rubbish and they only last a couple of hours etc. This was one of the reasons I was hesitating about buying an Innotab2 (and indeed a Leappad 2), however I have not found the batteries to be that much of an issue. Yes, if your child is using the device constantly, then you are going to be regularly replacing the batteries. But, if your children are like mine and play with their devices for 20 minutes at a time every few days (since the novelty has worn off) then you probably won't even notice how the battery life performs because you will hardly ever be replacing them.
I cannot remember the last time I replaced the batteries in my daughter's Innotab 2, which I think is good sign. I will admit in the beginning, when they were both playing with each other's devices and swapping and changing and using them regularly (several times a day), the batteries did require replacing perhaps once every couple of days, which is still a lot better than what most of the reviews that I had read were saying. So the only thing I can think of is that these children were playing on their devices all day long (not something I would ever allow my child to do!)
Again, I am comparing the Innotab 2 to the Leappad 2, and again it comes in at second place. The Innotab is slow to start up and the screen is slow to respond to my daughter's touch. There is no featherlight stroking with it, sometimes you have to literally press down (as if you were pressing an actual button) and hold before it will respond to the stylus, and this is something which in the beginning I thought was an advantage, but now after witnessing my daughter jabbing the screen continuously in frustration, I believe it is a disadvantage!. This is extremely frustrating for my daughter, especially since she has used the Leappad 2 which is much more responsive.
The screen is not crystal clear, which is not particularly an issue for my daughter, but I think it could have been better. The camera is also poor quality (similar to Vtech's version of a kid's digital camera).
You can also plug the unit into your computer to see how much your child is learning through playing the games. I however, have not used this feature because I am pretty sure I know how clever my daughter is, and I don't need an electronic device to tell me whether she can count to 10 or if she knows the colour blue.
I have been pretty disappointed with the Innotab 2, it seems that Vtech, for all that they create these 'educational toys' just can't seem to get it right. I have owned many Vtech toys in the past, and also many Leapfrog ones, and Vtech seem to try hard but just not quite deliver (in my opinion). My daughter would never say that she doesn't like her Innotab 2, but I do believe she would have preferred the Leappad 2 instead. The games are too basic, the screen is unresponsive, the screen is small in comparison to the actual size of the product, the age range is way off because there is no way a 9 year old would get any enjoyment out of this. And there are by far too many additional costs once you have purchased the initial product (batteries, battery charger, case (I made one myself), SD card, games...)
These are currently available in pink or blue on Amazon for the discounted price of £59.99 (March 2013). So if you still think you want one for your child, now is the time to buy!
An Innotab is basically a tablet but designed for a small child. It is described as a multi-media learning handheld combining educational games, fun activities and e-books on a multi-functional touch-screen tablet. It is aimed at children ages 4-9 but to be honest I think this is a little stretched. For Christmas this was my children's main item they each wanted and at £80 each I did worry a little. I was able to pick them up on offer which made them a little more attractive so do shop around. It has a 5 inch touch screen, with motion sensor so everything is very easy for little one to use.
I found this very easy to set and actually surprised myself after having all three ready for my children to use in less than half an hour. You receive the Innotab itself, accessories to connect the tablet to the computer, and the software to purchase apps and games. One thing I did notice was there was no charger. I was not surprised as we had the same problem with the Storio previously. You can set up to four different profiles, and this is very easy to do by simply adding a few details like the age and name of a child. This is then linked up to the learning navigator which shows you your child's progress, and this is also where you download all of the apps and games for your Innotab.
Once the software has installed on your computer you can download all the apps pre provided when you purchase the tablet itself. You need to download the art centre and other apps, along with the three free tokens you are given to choose from a range of games or books. The thing that we found great about this is all of my children received three free games or books each. All nine games are saved in the same place, and they can be sent to all three of the tablets. This means we ended up with 9 apps for each tablet despite them being three different Innotabs. Everything is extremely easy to do and I was able to do it without any instructions at all. Also to extend the memory you can add an SD card. This means pictures and movies can be uploaded and watched on the Innotab which we thought was great. Then when you log in you are taken the main menu which is very easy and clear to use.
This I have to say is one of the most used sections of the tablet. It spins around so little one can take a picture of someone else, or back towards them to make a self portrait. The pictures can be stored on the tablet and used in the games and apps themselves to make them more interesting. Also they can be used with special effects which my children thought was brilliant as they can edit the picture to however they like. It is fairly easy to use and the pictures can be stored on a SD card so they can be uploaded to a computer and you can keep your child's creations forever. The resolution of the camera is not perfect but for a tablet aimed at small children it is perfectly acceptable. There is also a video recording option which I think is fantastic, and so do my children as this again is one of the most used parts of the tablet
As you may have guessed this is a library of books that you have downloaded that little one can read either with yourself, independently or they can get the Innotab to read it to them. The illustrations are all very detailed and the text is child friendly should the child want to read it themselves without any aid from the story reader. A number of words are highlighted throughout the books and if little one clicks on these it will take them to a dictionary so they can learn what the word is, and what it means. I think this is a great addition and something my children really enjoy. Even if they know what the word means they love hearing the dictionary explain it.
They manage to keep illustrations interesting and engaging but are careful not to have moving graphics like the game, as that would distract the child away from the words on the page. It is very easy for little one to switch between the different reading modes, and with a touch of the screen they can have the book spoken aloud to them. Also if they are trying to read independently and they get stuck on a word they can touch the word in question and it will be read aloud to the child. They are careful to keep the words and phonics clear so little one can learn how to read the word next time.
Games differ depending on where they came from. The games on the cartridges are all character based, and use puzzles and games to keep them both fun but also so little one can learn along the way too. The apps you download from the app store are also all educational. With each game they seem to have really thought about how they can both keep it fun for little one so it holds there interest, but at the same times it helps them learn to count, introduces a wider vocabulary, number work, colours and so much more. At £2.99 an app they can be expensive but each one we have purchased my children have found to be great fun.
The graphics are simple but detailed enough to give it a video game theme while still being educational. Each app or cartridge has a recommended age range so you can find one to best suit your child. I did think this would be the most used part of the tablet but to be honest this is actually the forgotten area. My children much prefer the E books or the camera area and so this is often one of the last parts of the tablets they will play with. I just think as my children have used apps on our I phone and tablet they find these somewhat lacking. I personally do not see a huge difference, but my children still prefer using the games on our tablet rather than their own.
This is a great part of the tablet but one part that my children do not enjoy as much as I hoped. You can draw paint and generally get your imagination going by building different pictures. There are stickers, colouring, painting and lots of other different activities to get your child thinking creative. It is very easy to use and simply tapping the screen or rolling the pen around helps create masterpieces. Despite it being perfectly made for small hands my children become bored very quickly. They like to create pictures, and my daughter especially loves anything arty so I was very surprised this was not a well loved area of the tablet. It is similar to paint on the computer but has more choice available.
You can purchase different cartridges for the Innotab for around £15- £20. They are easy to inset into the cartridge space available and my children are able to do this themselves. You do receive one with the Innotab when you purchase it but anything it is more a demo one. It has a game, E book and other apps included but compared to the cartridges you can buy they are very basic. The main advantage of buying a cartridge over the apps available at the store is it includes a number of activities, games and books for your child all focused on one character. There are lots to choose from so my sons were able to have Disney cars while my daughter has the Disney princess. The games and books are a great addition and it does save times on downloading all the apps separately. I do think they are pricey for what they are. The tablet is fully useable without cartridges so they are not essential for use, but they do add a little more depth to games and stories compared to the downloads.
One thing we like about this is there is a stand at the back of the tablet. This means little one can place it on any flat surface to use it rather than having to hold it in their hand for long periods. This is perfect for stopping them holding it to close to their face while playing and I think it is a great addition. The menu is fully accessible even to my two year old son who knows how to navigate it perfectly. The icons are all large with good size pictures so they can see what is where. All of my children are all able to use this independently. I do need to download apps and at times they do still ask for help, but the whole layout is child friendly. The touch screen is very sensitive so that little one has no need to press it over and over again, but at the same time it is not overly sensitive so they turn pages by accident.
There are a lot of apps available for download when you first purchase the Innotab including the calendar, notes, art centre and many more. To be honest I think my children are a little young to be interested in these at the moment. They do enjoy the colouring and love that you can save your finished creation, but the other parts seem to be forgotten about. It is mainly the camera, E reader and games centre that are used and I think it is a shame as there is a lot more to do. Games and Apps can become very expensive. For each game or E book you purchase it can cost £2.99 each. Then for cartridges they range from £15-£20 each so they certainly make their money from the extras available. I like that it would be too difficult for a child to purchase the Apps so no large unexpected bill. But considering you can buy a character branded game for £4 on the iphone and that includes 5 or 6 games for the same price they really are asking too much.
My children are two, four and five so all at the bottom of the suggested age range. If they become bored with the games quickly I do think a 9 year old would receive even less use from this tablet, so personally I would suggest it from around 3-7 years to get the best use out of it. They do use these tablets from time to time but really the use has been less than I had expected. It's gone from the must have toy to just something that is used occasionally. Durability is fantastic. My two year old son has dropped his number of times and it has survived without even a scratch.
Like with most similar toys this is a battery eater. We can put brand new Duracell batteries in and within a few hours they are dead. We invested in a charger which has to be purchased separately as for some strange reason there is not one provided when you purchase it. This saves a lot of money on batteries, but even when it is fully charged it will run out extremely quickly. When it is being used we have to charge it each and every day which can be very annoying. It is good in one way as it limits the time little one can spend on it at one time unless you allow them to sit with it charging while they play. It is also the biggest downside as it makes my children lose interest. They get really enthusiastic about using this tablet, but then the batteries run out so it sits forgotten about for another few days until they realise that it is ready to be used again.
**Would I recommend?**
I am still in two minds about this Innotab. It does hold their attention while we are travelling and has proved its worth for an activity in the car and for short periods of time. For its £70 retail price to be honest there is no way I would not recommend it. I just think it is too pricey for what you get. My children do enjoy using this, but it gets short bursts of play due to the poor battery life. It is a novelty to them that they have their own tablet, but they still much prefer using ours. We were lucky to pick up all three of ours for around £120 so that was a much more reasonable £40 each. It is great that the free apps provided when you purchase can be transferred on to all three tablets, and that each child can each have a different profile to see their improvements. I just think once you add in the cost of the Innotab, then the games and accessories that need to be purchased to make it more interesting it is too expensive.
**- INTRODUCTION -**
When I was browsing around for something for Ethan for Christmas I had a few things in mind to what type of present I wanted to get him, and it didn't really produce much difficulty into finding what I wanted for him. I wanted something fun for him alongside something that can and would learn him also. He used to play on my tablet for a while but with mine being expensive I didn't want it getting ruined in anyway, he used to play on it daily playing games and also reading books on it, so I knew something like this he would love. I didn't want to get him something that you can just play games on like a ds or something like that, as I don't think they can learn anything from them, but I also didn't want it to be all about learning either, so I thought buying the innotab would be great for both factors, and it proved to be a hit on Christmas morning with Ethan.
**- PACKAGING -**
The innotab itself comes in a cardboard box, it as a cover which well pulled back you can see the innotab through the clear plastic film, the box as all sorts of content on it, from games, to books, videos to the camera, you name it. It wowed me at the first sight of this and knew Ethan would like it. The box is very standard cardboard box but snuggles the innotab so there is no room for movement, the box is mostly white in colour but is a strong sturdy box.
**- WHAT'S IN THE BOX? -**
In the box you will find
The innotab console
2 stylus pens
A CD with the learning lodge navigator installation
Everything you will need to get you started and although it takes batteries or a adapter these are not in the box, so you will need to buy these separately.
**- LOOK & FEEL -**
Now the look and feel of the innotab is great for the little hands of children, not to small and not to bulky, easy to walk around with as it isn't heavy, and with the curvy edges easy to handle when using it. The console is blue and white although not sure how many colours are available as I have only seen the pink and white and of course this one. The corners are rubber so if dropped they wont get damaged in anyway, and also helps with the handling of the console.
The rest of the tab is made from tough thick plastic so hopefully wont get broke so easily if accidents occur. The front of tablet is white with the 5" screen located in the centre of the tablet surrounded with a nice dark grey frame. Alongside the right hand edge of the tablet there is a number of coloured buttons to press, which will enable you to toggle things like the sound, brightness, camera, on and off, home button which when pressed will take you back to the menu screen. The bottom left hand side there is a speaker, its not a big one, but enough sound comes out of it for the pleasing of the children.
The camera is located at the top of the tablet, rolling it forwards and backwards enables the child to take pictures either facing them or away from them, which is ideal for kids, as you know what it is like trying to take a picture of yourself with a camera it proves to be difficult. The 1.3 mega pixel camera isn't as good as what we would use but in saying that it isn't to bad to where you cannot notice what you have took. There is more than one resolution to the camera which helps when taking the picture although Ethan does not understand things like that as yet and just enjoys playing with it and seeing what it can do.
The back of the tablet is where the batteries are kept if using batteries. Inserting the batteries is easy just slide the cover of the battery compartment and place the batteries in the tablet and switch on, I do have to say the batteries don't last long at all in the this device. There is also a compartment for additional memory which is screwed shut so that kid cannot get into it to remove it, this is a big thing when you have lots of games, books, pictures etc building up on the console.
There is also an earphone and power adapter socket located at the top of the tablet enabling the child to listen to music or watch videos in comfort through earphones. The power adapter as to be plugged in to use the tablet otherwise it switches off straight away, not so good when your child wants to be on the move with it but better for the hours of play that it provides your child with. Also the USB socket is alongside those sockets and that is used for transferring things from a computer to the tablet or visa versa, it enables you to also add content to the tablet.
**- STARTING UP THE TABLET -**
Once you have put in the batteries or connected the tablet to the power adapter then your ready to switch it on by pressing the power button on the tablet, it does not take long to power up. Once that has finished options will be given to you with setting the time, name, profile picture, wallpaper, everything you need to set up the tablet. You can do this at a later date if the child prefers.
You can have up to 4 other children setup on the tablet so every child can use their own profile, which is great if you have more than one child, and with the tablet being touch screen everything is easy to setup by using the stylus pen which was included and can be safely tucked into the device when not using it. Once everything is setup to your child's taste then you will be directed to the menu which gives you a list of things you can do on the tablet, themes are also available through a program on a computer that you can transfer to the tablet.
Battery operated tablet does not last long and will be lucky if you get half hours play out of them, so is not much fun really even with rechargeable batteries the child still has to wait around for them to charge up if you have only one set. Power lead is better although your child wont be able to move about when playing on the tablet, not necessarily a bad thing as it will stop accidents from occurring.
**- MENU -**
This is where all the fun is you will find lots to do in here, and everything is categorised so your child will get to know where to find things easily when going to play something or use something. Let me break this down for you all as there is a lot to get through and might be easy to read breaking the categories down.
- E.Reader -
The E Reader is a book library this is where your child will be able to view all the books on the tablet, when transferring books this is the place they will go. There are options within the books, your child can either read alone or with someone themselves, or have the book read to them, colourful pictures and animations makes the books more exciting to read. Ethan has learned a lot of new words whilst reading the books on here and I am happy he still enjoys reading when there is such a lot more on here that he could be doing.
- Games -
I have to say that at the moment there is not many games on there, you can either play via cartridge games, or download and transfer them to the tablet, either way there are games your child can play, weather they are just fun, learning or creativity. You don't get many levels on the games but I think if there was more levels to one game Ethan may loose interest in the game completely. You do get a couple of games free when you buy the tablet to start you off as you do with the books, which is a good start to the libraries.
The games are quite fun to play and Ethan loves them all that he as played on, it keeps him occupied and still plays the games that he has completed already, so I know that that it isn't going to waste. I thought that maybe once he has completed a game he wouldn't return to it again and then would be bored with nothing to play on there, but that is not the case.
- Art Studio -
This as to be the favourite of the tablet for Ethan, he loves being creative just like his mum, and knowing he can draw, paint, crayon, and do pictures here makes him happy, and saves the floors of being covered in paper. There are so many colours to choose from, you can use paint brushes, pencils, crayons, stamps, there is so much to do and create in this little bundle. He likes making silly faces with the stamps, and also drawing pictures and adding in a few of the animal stamps that are available in there.
- Camera -
The camera is not one of the best I have seen, but it does the job for Ethan and he is happy with it, he loves taking pictures of his bedroom and of his toys, occasionally he takes them off himself. It does state there are 2-3 other resolutions but to be honest Ethan is happy with the way it is and doesn't like anyone touching it. Pictures can be used as profile pictures or set as a wallpaper, so Ethan as been experimenting with that and gets excited when he as achieved something on his own.
- Video Recorder -
Ethan loves this as he knows he can make his own videos on it, when his cousin came to stay last weekend the both of them was making a video, although you could hear them talking to one another and I think they forgot they were on record but some of the things they come out with are so cute. And great to look back on them, Ethan was quite shocked at what he saw as he knew it was him but didn't know how or why it was on there. Now that he does he does play with it often and does some scanning around his room. The play back isn't brilliant but its good enough for the kids.
- Notes -
Notes is something Ethan doesn't really grasp, but then he is still young and doesn't get what you have to do, I have told him he could do writing on there and make some sentences which he loves doing. The other day he did some and I was so proud of him, as I know something's he knows how to spell something on paper but cant really understand what he as put and gets very upset when I ask him what it says. At lest with this little note pad he can jot down anything he wants with ease by tapping the letters with the stylus pen.
- Photos -
This is where all the photos are placed, weather you have drawn or made a picture in the art studio or weather it be on the camera they are all put in here so Ethan can find them whenever he wants to show his family what he as done or took. They can be used for wallpaper or profile pictures.
- Videos -
This goes the same as the photos, any videos that are made with the recorder or even purchased videos can be stored here, so they are all easy to find.
- Music -
Although Ethan is into music he doesn't have a music library at the moment, he does have one song on there that came with the tablet and does tend to listen to that sometimes but until he is older I think this will be empty for a while unless I can find some children's ones.
- Cartridge -
This is a category that tends to speak for itself really; anything on the cartridge can be access through clicking on this button. Anything that is on the cartridge will then be loaded up and you can start playing and use the cartridge.
- Downloads -
Again this also speaks for itself any downloads that you have transferred to the tablet will all be here, so easy finding for your child.
**- GRAPHICS AND SOUNDS -**
The graphics on the games or even in the art studio are great, very animated, colourful, bright, and entertaining for Ethan to keep using, the sounds on something of the games he plays are annoying sometimes, but they are clear and loud enough for him to hear, although sometimes to loud. I was quite surprised to be honest, as I have seen computers for kids in shops and they are not so clear on the screen, with the screens on some of them being too small you can hardly see what you're looking at, and are pixel graphics. This tablet is the best one I have seen in the children's range and I don't for one minute regret buying it. Even on the books that are on the tablet are clean, crisp and you can understand what they are saying when Ethan as let the book read to him, the pictures are bright and clear and easy to read the words in the book.
**- AVAILABILITY & PRICE -**
I bought this one from 24studio at the price of £54.99 which is not too bad really to what you get with it and what you do with it. You can buy this from other places such as -
Argos - £74.99
Toys R Us - £79.99
Amazon - £53.57
**- FINAL THOUGHTS -**
I am glad I got Ethan this, I knew it would be something he would like, I am he hasn't proved me to be wrong. I was disappointed on the batteries, and because of that Ethan had to wait until Boxing Day for us to go out and buy a power adapter for it. The power adapter cost us £9.99 from Argos for the vetch one so will work in all vtech toys, which is a bonus. There is a website to go on where you can download free content for your tablet, unfortunately not much but its all good. There you can view and purchased books, music, videos and games from there and wont cost a lot, but great for treating your kids without having to leave the house or pay out loads on one game. The website is the learning lodge navigator, you will have to download this and install to your computer to use it, but worth it. I am glad that Ethan loves everything on the tablet, and can use everything himself, he loves experimenting and learning new things and with this he can certainly achieve a lot.
I am always trying to encourage my nearly 3 year old daughters development and I was looking for her main Christmas present to be something that she can not only have fun with, but she can also learn with too and it would last her for a couple of years. I usually have a clear idea in my head when it comes to what kind of a toy I would like and the capabilities that I would like it to have. I searched the internet looking to see if I could find something that hit the mark or came pretty close to it, I looked at a number of different learning tablets before settling for the Innotab 2. Prior to my daughter using this, over the last few months I have been going through all the various functions and familiarizing myself with it, so as to explain, and show my daughter how to use it properly. When my daughter finally opened this for Christmas, I wasn't surprised at all at the results.
==What is it?==
The Innotab 2 is a learning app tablet developed by Vtech for children aged 4 - 9yrs. It has a 5" touch screen which has a g-sensor to enable fun interactive game play, a built in 1.3 megapixel rotating camera, and a built in microphone. The tablet and its apps are designed to help develop core skills in reading, maths, spelling, logic and creativity. The tablet comes in two colours; Blue and Pink, as my daughter loves pink this is the one I opted for. Although she has only just turned 3 and this is recommended for children 4 and over, I like to think I know my child well enough that she would be able to use this properly, with some adult supervision of course. The tablet has 2Gb onboard memory with a built in SD card slot to enable you to add more memory if you wish, it can take up to a 32Gb SD card, I recommend that you purchase one, as it will come in handy when downloading files etc from your computer to the tablet. You can purchase a 32Gb SD card from amazon.co.uk and it will set you back about £12.00.
According to the Vtech website the developmental benefits include cognitive development, visualisation and memory, language development, basic maths skills, problem solving and reading development. So now you can see why I thought this would be a good thing to buy for my child.
**Differences Between the Innotab 2 and the Innotab**
The main differences between version 1 and version 2 are the inclusion of the rotating camera and the microphone. I decided to purchase the newer version due to these upgrades.
==What's in the box==
1 x Innotab 2 Tablet
2 x Innotab 2 Stylus - you can purchase spare compatible stylus' from the Vtech website, which I have done knowing how careless 2 year olds can be sometimes. Just as well I did, as within a few days she had lost the stylus that came with it, unfortunately though, the spare stylus' don't fit in the stylus slot at the back of the tablet, so it might be a good idea to by a carry case for the Innotab 2.
1 x USB Cable - This is used for transferring files onto your device and for linking it to the computer to access the Learning Lodge.
1 x Ready, Play & Create Cartridge - This comes with a few games and e-book, we will go into more detail on this further down.
1 x Learning Lodge Navigator Installation CD - You can download the Learning Lodge Navigator via http://www.vtechuk.com/our-ranges/learninglodgenavigator/ or you can use this simple to install CD. The Learning Lodge Navigator is the parents hub, from here you can keep an eye on your child's progress on the tablet and also you can purchase and download various different apps, and e-books. You do get two free downloads when you install this for the first time and I have since had a further free download, they do like to send you emails periodically and sometimes there are little offers or freebies on there.
1 x User Manual - Explains everything you need to know about this device with some photographs to explain the more complex things. You can also download this manual from the Vtech website, before I ordered this I read through the manual to help me make my purchasing decision.
The first thing to do when setting this tablet up is to install the batteries, it takes 4AA batteries and the battery compartment is located on the back of the tablet. Inside the battery compartment you will find the SD card slot, if buying an SD card, insert that in while you're inserting the batteries. One thing I have to say while we are on this subject, is the tablet is extremely battery hungry, you can buy rechargeable batteries for it or you can buy an AC adaptor, which is what I have done. When the AC Adaptor is plugged in it overrides the battery power and runs off the mains, not practical if going anywhere, but I think I will keep batteries for journeys and use the AC adaptor in the house. You can purchase an AC adaptor from amazon.co.uk for around £9.99. I usually store the Innotab and adaptor together, so when my daughter wants to play with the device, she brings both over and I set it all up for her, she's got used to it not running on batteries.
Just below the battery compartment is a stand, this is so that you can stand the tablet up mainly when you are using the tablet as a digital photo frame or possibly to watch a movie, the beauty of having more memory is that you can download movies onto the Innotab and use the tablet as a portable media player. This stand is quite flimsy in the hands of a three year old and I've already had to reattach it a few times.
The stylus slot is also on the back of the device, the stylus simply slots in there, or in my case it doesn't, as Lily lost the only stylus we had that fits.
The cartridge slot completes the back of the tablet, this is where you insert the cartridges, they just simply slot into the slot and they are easy to remove too. My daughter struggles removing the cartridges, which is quite handy, as through seeing daddy removing and inserting them properly she will learn to do the same.
Top centre edge of the tablet is where you will find the 1.3 megapixel camera, it rotates to face the rear, upwards or to the front. The camera is capable of taking still photographs or videos. Some games have a feature that makes the most of the camera i.e. taking a photograph of yourself and putting yourself in the game or using the camera to create the games environment so that what you see through the camera is where the game is played. I like this feature a lot and Lily loved it when I put her into one of the games, which I shall explain further into this review. Quite often I hear the command of "Cheese!!!" and I have to turn around while she takes a photo of her finger, as she is covering the lens.
Top right edge are where the AC adaptor port and headphone ports are. I have purchased headphones for my daughter as I take her on coach journeys and wouldn't want her disrupting other passengers while she is using the tablet. She sometimes uses the headphones in the house and in fact she quite often insists on it.
On the right edge there is a USB adaptor port, it has a rubber dust cover over, which is simple to lift up so you can plug the USB cable into it, for linking to a computer. You do not need a computer to run this tablet but I would recommend it.
All the edges of the tablet are rubberised for protection, the only thing I would say that is vulnerable to accidents is the screen, but you can purchase screen protectors relatively cheaply, which I have done, I paid a lot of money for this, I don't want it broken in the first few weeks.
Although the Innotab is mainly a touch screen device there are a few important buttons on the front of the tablet. Starting from left to right we have the camera button, you press this to enter the camera app and to also take a picture. Next we have the power button, use this to switch your tablet on or off. Under the power button are the brightness buttons, press these to adjust the brightness of the screen. Under the brightness buttons is the built in microphone, you can use this to record yourself or to play games that you need a microphone. The two volume buttons are located near the bottom of the left side, the volume can get quite loud so it is useful to know exactly where these are, (just a little bit of advice there). Under the volume buttons we have a help button, this is useful if you need instructions repeated or if you need a hint when playing a game. The last button is bottom centre, and it is the home button, this button will take you to the home screen when pressed at any time. To the left of the home button is the speaker.
On setting up the Innotab 2 for the first time you are prompted to set up your profile, you can also log in as a guest, which is what I did while playing, erm I mean familiarizing myself with it. When my daughter first got started on the Innotab I set her profile up and she recognizes her name , so logging in is not a problem for her. You are prompted to type in your name using the touch screen keypad (QWERTY keyboard) and then you have the option of taking your photo for your profile or you can use one of the pre-loaded avatars.
The tablet has 14 built in features
Clock - set the time.
Friends - This is an address book for storing your friends information, Lily is a little too young for this although she has been in their whilst familiarising herself with it.
Calculator - Self explanatory, simple calculator with the main four symbols to do basic maths. I have shown my daughter how to use this, but at the moment she is still trying to grasp the concept of basic maths.
Calendar - You can use this to input birthdays and special occasions, Lily has put in reminders at various dates for random things, I think she was just having a button pressing moment.
Music - Turn the tablet into an mp3 player, download music onto the tablet via the USB cable. I have stored a few tracks on it and sometimes I have to put up with the strains of 'Agadoo' or 'Gangnam' Style, as unfortunately she neglects to headphones for this procedure.
Notes - Type out notes, reminders etc and store them on the tablet, another aspect of the Innotab 2 that Lily has no use for at the moment.
Art Studio - This is a fun app similar to 'Paint' on Microsoft Windows, different pen styles etc to play about with, open a picture file and draw all over it. Before she got the Innotab 2, Lily would sometimes use 'Microsoft Paint' and when she first got the device, she did lots of painting on it. This doesn't replace her non electronic painting and colouring in, she still does all that as well, which is good.
Videos - This is where I have all my daughters films stored, before she got this I stored loads of episodes of Peppa Pig on it for her. The only downside I find is that the screen is very touch sensitive and sometimes when scrolling through the videos you can accidentally press a video to start.
Video Recorder - Your child can record his or her own home movies using the built in camera. Lily hasn't used this function yet, and in a way I'm glad, god knows what can be caught on camera in the hands of a three year old.
Games - The game that is built in is called 'Face Race', a fun game where you take your photo using the onboard camera and your character tries to balance walking along a beam. You use the Innotab to control it, tilting it from left to right to help balance your character. I took a photo of Lily and put her in the game, I showed her what to do and it wasn't long before she was doing it herself. She did tilt that little bit too far at first and kept getting frustrated as she fell off the beam.
Photos - This is where your child can store photographs either taken with the built in camera or downloaded from your computer via the USB cable.
Camera - Takes you straight to the onboard camera.
E Reader - This is where your downloadable E books are stored. You can either watch the story being read to you or you can look at the story dictionary and it will explain some keywords that are in the book. During "Watch the Story" mode, certain words are highlighted, your child can touch these words at any time and an explanation of the word is given. Lily seems to just have the story read to her and sometimes she clicks on the pictures to get some sort of animation.
You can either view the Innotab screen in portrait mode or landscape mode simply by tilting the screen. Lily seems to prefer it in landscape though, I think it makes the screen look bigger, also the games have to be in landscape.
There are two other buttons on the bottom of the screen; Downloads - where your child can access the downloaded content, and Cartridge - to access the software cartridge. I never taught her how to use these buttons and she seems to know exactly what she wants to do on the device and what part of the device she wants to access.
==Ready, Play & Create Cartridge==
The tablet comes with a cartridge to start off your child's collection, this cartridge includes reading, learning game and creativity.
Reading - In the Reading section there is animated E-book called "What's That Noise", you turn the pages by running your stylus across the screen from right to left. My daughter plays with my touch screen phone, she is more than capable of handling the touch screen on this tablet, I thought I would get my phone back by giving her this but, no, she wants both. Out of all the things on this cartridge, this is the one my daughter uses the most, she likes interacting with the story by touching the different characters and watching their animations.
Learning Game - In this section is a game called "Alien Rescue", you point the onboard camera at the environment (facing it away from you) and your environment becomes the games backdrop. Try and catch all the aliens by moving the tablet. Looks like a great fun game, although you will probably need a lot of practice as I did find it quite difficult to play at first. Lily has never played this game, probably down to her getting far too much stuff for Christmas and she has other cartridges she plays more regulary.
Creativity - "Colour and Pop" is a little app where your child colours in a picture using the paint pots on the right side of the screen. Your child just touches the paint pot and touches part of a picture to colour it in. When she first got this device, Lily played with this app for hours and I had to show her there was more things to do on the Innotab 2 rather than just paint.
The Innotab 2 is quite an expensive piece of equipment, but when you look at what your child can do with it, it is worth every penny. amazon.co.uk have it at the decent price of £67.49 including postage, and the RRP according to amazon.co.uk is £84.99, so that is a good saving in my book. The cartridges for the tablet range from £14.99 - £19.99, so these won't break the bank either. She got two cartridges for her Christmas; 'Mickey Mouse Clubhouse' and 'Toy Story'.
After familiarizing myself with this device for a few months now(familiarizing myself with it sounds much better than playing with my new toy I think), I have to say this is a fantastic piece of equipment. There is so much that a child can do on it. There are many accessories and software that you can buy for it, mainly Disney titles, although there is a 'Hello Kitty' cartridge on the market. I have also purchased a carry case for it and this has storage for her tablet and little pockets for her cartridges, I think I paid about £8.00 for the carry case, so relatively inexpensive. My particular favourite things about are the games where you can be the star or your environment is the scene that you play the game in. The tablet is quite robust, so in the hands of a young child it is fine. The only downside I would say is the battery life or lack of it, I think it would be better if it had a lithium battery that you can charge up built into the machine. I would highly recommend this tablet as it really is a helpful tool for your child's development and in this ever changing technological world it is good for children to be able to use new gadgets and learn in different ways. Lily seemed to find it relatively easy to use, although there are some things she does have problems with, mainly some of the games, which are aimed at older children. The Innotab 2 is something my daughter uses every day, whether it's for playing her music and dancing or her favourite thing at the moment, the 'Pay Pete' game on the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cartridge. I expected her to watch more films on it but I guess she is already spoiled in that department with a telly in her room and my telly downstairs. If purchasing for an under the age range child, I would recommend doing what I do with it and keeping it downstairs, that way he/she is supervised and you are also there to lend a helping hand when your child gets stuck on a certain game. The tablet comes in two different colours; Pink and blue, I opted for the girly pink one, not sure about the carry case though, I have only seen the pink carry case.
This is the advert for the Innotab 2, incidentally if your children are anything like mine they will have probably seen adverts on Disney Junior, after the advert has been on I usually hear the cry "Santa get me that!!" and she doesn't know that I have already bought her it.