Vtech are well known for their fantastic range of educational electronic games and i have been considering for sometime to get one of the games consoles for my son.Vsmile is the name of the range that they do and they have produces three main models which consist of the standard vsmile console which plugs into your standard TV,vsmile pro which is a more powerful version of the standard console aimed at older kids 8+ and finally the Vsmile pocket which is a handheld version sort of like a psp for toddlers.
Well after a bit of careful thought i opted for the vsmile pocket purely because if i got the standard console it would soon just begin to gather dust in the bedroom and the pocket version is mobile so can be taken to places where you would need to occupy the little darlings so that was the model for me(or should i say my son
A bit of product info!!
The Vsmile pocket as i stated before is a handheld gaming system that utilise the same game cartridges as the vsmile standard console it is a lot larger than a psp but this makes it easy to handle and the weight is not to heavy for my four year old son.I opted for the boys model that came with the scooby doo game free,but there is an impressive range of games available like cars,spongebob and many other popular kids characters.games are seperated into age ranges like 3-5 , 5-7 and 7+ and are all themed around educational tasks like spelling,maths,singing and general problem solving all mixed with a fun experience of course.Prices for cartridges range from £11.99 upwards and they are widely available from all main toy retailers like argos,toysrus and tesco.
The handset is well designed in orange and silver and is very robust which will make it well resistant to the bangs and knocks of general usage.It has a control pad format similar to a xbox controller and the controls are reversable for both left and right handed children.The screen is bright and clear and the sound is excellent with both sound and brightness controls,you are also supplied with a audio/video lead which allows you to plug it into your TV set(in essence making this the same as the standard console wow two products in one).It is powered by 4 x AA batteries,i opted to purchase rechargeable ones to cut the costs and my son gets many hours of play from a single charge.You can also purchase a carry case to hold both the vsmile pocket and some games.
An excellent product with a massive range of fantastic games that are both fun and very educationational.Great design make for easy use and an excellent display makes this a must have product.In the words of my son this is COOL !!
Available from www.argos.co.uk and many other retailers from around £40
Further information from www.vtech.com
Happy reading and thankyou for your time i hope this review is of use.
I am reviewing the V Smile Pocket Orange, rather than the pink version, but have taken the liberty of doing so here as dooyoo often groups very similar items together. The only difference whatsoever in this model and ours is that where this is pink, our one is orange, or on the very bottom buttons purple. In all other ways they are identical so this review would apply equally to either coloured version.
I got a good bargain on this £19, new in box and so had it put away for our holiday later this year, assuming that since my oldest will be getting his Nintendo DS soon, the youngest would like a hand held console to play with as well. There are a few hand held consoles available for very young children. I chose this because we already own several v smile games for the big console, which we rarely go through the effort to hook up.
Although I had intended to save this for a few months, I ended up breaking it out a couple of days ago to keep the children occupied on a rather lengthy visit to casualty. My youngest has managed to break a bone in his foot with a flying leap from the top of the stair case. He had been insisting he can fly - sadly not for very long before hitting ground.
The console itself is about 8 inches across and seems to very sturdy and shock resistant. It has already had a few good falls. It requires 4 AA batteries and these have lasted for approximately 10 hours of play so far with no idea how long they will last in total. This can also be used with an ac adaptor, sold separately from v tech for £10, but will work just as well with a much cheaper adaptor from Argos or maplin. It takes the same games as V Smile's main console, but not the same as the newer V Smile Motion. The game cartridge simply slots into the back, and is played on the small well lit colour screen ( I am guessing about 3" as my son has lost the measuring tape again), or you can buy cables and attach this to the telly. On and off buttons and volume control (right and left) are small and located discreetly at the top of the console. The main buttons are very easy to use. My youngest is 2 years and 4 months and has very little difficulty. There is a cross shaped directional control on the left, a large enter button, which also serves for functions such as jump or collect. There are also four smaller coloured buttons which children use to select the correct item. These are actually used a good bit in the games, making this very easy for the youngest player. Finally there are 3 buttons to the bottom, the first of which is a "?" which will repeat the rules for whatever game you are playing, next a door which is fairly obvious means exit, and finally a large purple button with "Learning Zone ABC" written on it, which we have never used but in the interest of the review I have tried. At times it seems to function as an enter button, at other times as an exit button. The purpose of including it is beyond me, it is more a nuisance then anything else as my youngest does bump it at times, sending him to an exit screen.
One game "Zayzoo My Alien classmate is included, which I consider helpful and educational for my older son (age 5) but is not really something that captivates his interest for long.
This console seems quite well made and able to take the bumps and drops of being played with by a toddler far better than a DS would. The games are educational to some extent, and the controls are easy enough for a very young child to use this. My son is far below the recommended age of three, but really does have a great time with this. He especially loves just driving Thomas about in one of the Thomas games, but is also able to use the coloured buttons to select the right objects in other games. He would not complete a game without help, but he does have fun. There are games which are more educational that an older child can play, and my five year old has spent some time with this too, but it can not compete with a Gameboy or DS for an older child's favour. Still, for a younger child, who can not yet master DS, and is quite likely to break one, this is a very nice toy.
I bought this because I got a great price on it, and I already had a decent selection of games. I find the recommended purchase price new for this of £60 a bit ridiculous, and I also find the game prices excessive with many exceeding £17 new, and some as high as £24.95. The overall selection of games is limited and there do not seem to be any new ones being developed for this product, with V Smile Motion being the new thing. To the best of my knowledge, the V Smile motion games are not compatible with this. Most of the games I would most like to buy have not been available new here, and can be very dear £15 + for used.
A younger child 2-3 will not be able to complete most games alone, but the older ones seem to lose interest as soon as they discover "real" video games. By the time the children are old enough for the very educational titles they tend to want move on too Wii, Playstation and DS. I think this is brilliant for very young children, but quickly outgrown and considering the price of the console and games probably not worth the investment for the amount of play time unless you already own the main console and games. The price and availability ( or lack of availability) of games costs this product 2 stars in my opinion, but that said, my two year really does love this.
I have decided to add to this review after a couple of months of use. While I still find this overpriced, I am increasing my rating by 1 star. I am changing my rating based on the amount of use my son has had from this toy. I had expected him to tire of it once his foot healed enough that he could be running about again, but this still gets a pretty fair amount of play. My oldest son gave my youngest his old game boy, as he got a new DSI for his birthday, but at 2 1/2 my youngest can not really play the game boy. He is able to play at least some of the games on this, specifically Thomas the Tank Engine and Winnie the Pooh. He really loves this game, and I have been able to watch many an episode of Criminal Minds in peace while he quietly plays away. It is also great for car trips, Doctors visits etc... As an added bonus the games are somewhat educational and I think have helped him learn his colours, shapes, and numbers.
After purchasing the vsmile computer for my daughters two years ago and them absolutley loving it i decided to buy them one of these each last christmas, they are available in pink/grey or orange/grey, i brought one of each so that there was no fighting over whos was whos.
What you get
This hand held computer game has been created for young children aged 3 plus, in the box with the computer you get a wrist strap for them to be able to carry it around by which is a bit tricky to get it through the little hole but we got there eventually.
There is a battery compartment on the back of the computer which takes 4 AA batteries which are supplied and last quite a while, about 30 hours of play. You get an adaptor lead with the computer to conect it to the tv if you want to play it on the tv but we never have as it seems pointless as we already have the tv version. You get a free game with each computer, we got a cinderella game with the pink computer and a scooby doo game with the orange computer.
About the computer
On the top of the computer you have got the game cartridge slot wher you push your game in or pull it out which is realy easy for young children to use, there is an on button and an off button labeled on/off unlike the sun and moon on the large version.
You also have contrast and volume control buttons on the top which allow you to alter the volume and contrast on the screen.
It has a square lcd screen in the center of the computer where you see the game being played, there is a headphone socket so that you dont have to listen to the game wholst your child is playing but you dont get any headphones with it.
You have 4 colour buttons underneith the screen which can be used in game play, a learning zone button at the bottom for going to the learning zone wholst playing a game, an exit button to exit the game play mode you are in and a help button to give you help if you get stuck on parts of the games.
There is an enter button on one side of the screen and a direction pad on the other side, these can be changed around by flipping a switch on the back of the computer to give right or left handed play.
What we thought
I thought these were a brilliant idea as my daughter had been hasstling me for a nintendo ds which i think she is too young for so she had this instead, all the games are educational so they are learning wholst having fun, they have different learning things in different games which are counting, maths, letters, spelling, shapes etc depending on the age of the game, games come in ages from 3 up to 9 years of age.
My daughters love this as they can take it anywhere with them as we brought the little carry bag that goes with it to keep all there games in, they take it in the garden, in the car and to nans with them, They will take quite a bump, my youngest droped hers down the stairs and it is still working fine plus another added bonus for anyone who already owns the original v smile tv version is that all the games from the old computer are compatible.
I payed £79.99 each for the game consoles from argos in november.
The carry bag for the games is £9.99 each and the games range in price from £15 to £35 brand new but you can get them from £7 on amazon.
Stimulate children's hands and minds with this cool portable educational gaming system. Superb quality, large, high-resolution colour LCD screen for enhanced game play. Also connects up to your TV for larger screen play. Compatible with the vast library of V.Smile Learning Games (sold separately) featuring age-appropriate curriculum and popular characters in fun adventure style game play. Controls uniquely adapt for left or right-handed users. Includes earphone jack and apaptor port. Learn maths, spelling, music, vocabulary, measuring skills and creativity with the help of Cinderella!