Product Type: VTech toys
Newest Review: ... 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 exc... more
Every Young Child Should Have One of These!
Member Name: mikeb2102
Date: 24/10/12, updated on 16/01/13 (198 review reads)
Advantages: Too many to list
Disadvantages: Battery hungry
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/learninglodgenav igator/ 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.
Summary: Learning tablet and so much more for children aged 4-9
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