“ Brand: Trends UK / Age: 3 Years+ „
With the discovery of the 'Staffordshire Hoard' quite locally last year, my Mum's enthusiasm and interest in archaeology has been rekindled and it was with that in mind that she chose to buy this child-size metal detector for my son last Christmas, along with a full-size version for herself. This afternoon, she happened to suggest that they can go out 'metal detecting' now that the weather is improving. Unfortunately, my son is not known for his tact and diplomacy and, with the brutal honesty of a seven year old, told her that his metal detector was 'rubbish and couldn't even find a coin under a piece of paper.' And that, in a nutshell, pretty much sums up this toy - useless and not fit for purpose!
My Mum does have a tendency to buy items from a local discount warehouse which are often cheap(er) imitations of branded products, so I was actually surprised to discover that this is a genuine National Geographic toy which retails at over £20. I've come to expect items with the National Geographic branding to be pretty good quality so that has added to our overall disappointment with this particular toy. First impressions on Christmas morning were quite positive. The metal detector comes supplied in separate pieces but my seven year old was able to slot these together himself with only minimal adult intervention. It is actually recommended for children aged 8 years and over but, size-wise, this was perfectly proportioned for a child of his age to hold and carry. It is very lightweight, to the point of feeling slightly flimsy, but has actually withstood a certain amount of heavy handedness from my children so far without showing any signs of damage. (Which is a shame, seeing as I would be quite glad to have a reason to dump this!)
The first disappointment was that this toy takes a less common large 9volt battery which wasn't supplied and nobody had the foresight to buy one in advance. My son had a couple of days before he was able to test the full potential of this toy out. Then, the real disappointment started! Despite being quite an authentic looking metal detector with a volume/sensitivity gauge, this doesn't actually 'detect' any metal at all, regardless of how many times the dial is adjusted and fiddled with. What you do get is a variation in a very irritating high-pitched beeping sound which will go off at random times and doesn't seem to have any bearing of whether there is actually any metal in close proximity or not. For an adult, this was more than a little annoying but it is incredibly frustrating and disappointing for the child for whom this is intended.
Shortly after Christmas we experienced a major freeze so we improvised at home to test out the true potential of this toy. This was the random coins hidden under a single sheet of paper that my son referred to today. Bizarrely, the detector failed to register anything whatsoever when it was waved (directly) over the sheet of paper with the coin hidden under it but would beep frantically when waved over paper with nothing underneath it. Further attempts to get this toy to 'work' were equally fruitless. The chances of using this to unearth anything of value out in the wide world are pretty much nil. In short, this detector couldn't be used for any useful purpose and, beyond being a good enough mini replica of a full-sized metal detector, this has very little to offer any child or their parents. The only use that my kids have made of this is as an improvised ride on toy or a somewhat inappropriate weapon!
This is still available from Argos (catalogue number 354/1140) and is currently on sale for £21.99, although I certainly wouldn't recommend that anybody shells out any hard-earned cash on one of these.
My ten year old daughter received this metal detector as a Christmas present, she is into gadgets and loves exploring so she was so excited when she opened up a present and found this, unfortunately her excitement didn't last long and here is why . . .
The metal detector is made by National Geographic, so we assumed it would be of a high quality. The box the metal detector comes in is of a high standard, it is made of sturdy cardboard and is strong enough to keep the detector in when it is not in use.
The metal detector comes in two parts, the base and the handle, these are clipped together and could be done so by my daughter with ease. The handle can extend to various lengths so it can be used comfortably by any sized child.
There is a little rectangular display screen that flips out just above the base, this lights up blue and shows you if you have found any treasure and also if the batteries are running low.
The metal detector omits a high pitched sound if it detects any metal, this is a good feature as unless you are very short it is hard to see the screen as you are at a fair distance away.
The problem is that it finds it very hard to detect any metal unless you practically place it on top of it. We took it to the beach and hid coins and metal ring pulls in the sand, not deep in a hole or anything just a light layer of sand scattered over them and it didn't detect any of them.
Another problem is the flimsiness of the metal detector, it really isn't at all robust and I fear that it will easily snap in the very near future.
The detector takes one 9v battery, this isn't included when you buy it, the battery lasts for such a short time, we use premium batteries and after two or three goes it needed replacing.
This metal detector is for children aged eight plus, but really I think at eight they would prefer a better and higher quality than this as it really does look and perform like a toy.
It retails at about £22.00 but don't waste your money, save up a few more and buy a proper one.
If however, you do want to buy it then it is available from most toy shops including Argos.
Hunt for lost items and hidden treasures! Rotating backlit digital LCD display shows status and battery strength. 26 two-piece adjustable shaft easily converts from full size to hand-held. Adjustable sensitivity plus audio tone alert with volume control.