Product Type: VTech toys
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Smile - You're on Kidizoom Camera!
Vtech Kidizoom Video Camera
Member Name: jo1976
Vtech Kidizoom Video Camera
Date: 18/12/11, updated on 30/08/13 (121 review reads)
Advantages: Very robust and resilient, fun features, images can be transferred, internal memory
Disadvantages: Menu system can be confusing, takes batteries, expensive RRP, picture quality not brilliant
The camera has been very well designed by Vtech to meet the demands of your average clumsy pre-schooler. Available in either blue or pink, this is recommended for children over the age of four and comes with a completely rubberised protective coating which surrounds everything from the handle to the camera section itself. My son has tested this to its limits and dropped this on numerous occasions. Fortunately, the camera has proven to be totally resilient and has not even resulted in any marks or noticeable scuffs or damage of any kind whatsoever, even when dropped on the pavement outside. The camera itself feels sturdy and comfortable to hold and manages to balance being robust enough to withstand drops and rough play whilst being light enough for a young child to carry about comfortably. This is helped by the clever shape of the camera itself which has a chunky shaped handle to keep a firm grip of, as well as the inclusion of a wrist strap.
Using the camera itself is both relatively straightforward, as well as being pretty confusing at times! With the target age range in mind, Vtech have kept the number of buttons and controls to a minimum. This is great in terms of being able to turn the camera on and off and take simple photographs, as this works as both a fully functioning standard digital camera as well as a working video camera. Trying to use some of the many other features can prove a little complicated, however, as the basic layout means that a child (or a confused adult) has to navigate around the menu system to access the different picture add-ons and other settings.
This does come supplied with a fairly easy to understand user manual, but it can be a little frustrating for a youngster when Mummy needs to refer back to the instructions when he wants to do something! My son was slightly under the recommended age when he first received this, however. My oldest son (at eight) was able to navigate his way around the camera and its menu system without any difficulties whatsoever although the obvious 'kiddy' design would put me off purchasing one of these for a child of his age. I'd say this would be best suited for a child between four and six years of age and they should be delighted to receive one.
Like an adult's digital camera, this comes with a clear if small LCD display giving the child a view of the images that they are taking. Once the camera 'shutter' has been pressed, the picture is shown briefly which is my son's favourite bit. The camera comes complete with a built in memory which is actually pretty generous for a 'toy' camera and can store well over 100 pictures at any one time (or a combination of photos and video clips.) To make this even better, it also has its own memory slot which can hold an SD memory card. In all honesty, we've never needed to do this as my son takes most of his pleasure from the actual process of taking the pictures and viewing them immediately afterwards and, surprisingly, shows little interest in going back to look at the pictures he's already taken.
On a similar note, this versatile and well designed camera comes complete with leads so that any images can be either viewed on a TV screen or even uploaded on to a computer and printed out. I have only bothered to do that the once as, again, my son was not overly interested in viewing the results of his photographic endeavours! This may be a feature that would be more appealing to slightly older children. It is certainly a useful feature with gives the user the potential to get hard (or digital) copies of their handiwork, so could be a fun memento of holidays or days out.
One of the other reasons why I've been less diligent about transferring my son's snaps over to my own laptop is, to be brutally blunt, they aren't particularly good! That may be partly down to the camera quality which boasts a fairly modest 2.0 mega pixel resolution alongside a 2x zoom. The main culprit is my son's impatience as he often moves his hand at the same time as taking a photo, meaning that the end result is slightly blurry. The camera does not cope particularly well with moving subjects, either, as there is a slight delay in capturing the image once the button is pressed, so my little one's attempts to capture his siblings on camera are generally pretty poor quality. The pictures do also come out very dark, especially when used indoors.
Again, my son is certainly not put off by the quality of his pictures. His favourite feature is the ability to add images, frames and other little extras to the photographs he has taken, similar to some of the features included on a DSi console. His ultimate favourite is the 'pie in your face' feature which adds the image of a custard pie being splatted in the unfortunate subject's face. This is the main thing that we spend ages navigating the menu system for as neither he nor I can readily remember how to get on to that particular setting. The images also include silly sound effects too, in this particular case the sound of laughing.
Despite being marketed as a kids' video camera, my little boy rarely uses the video recording function on this toy. I think he lacks the patience to wait for a video to be recorded and prefers the immediacy of a simple 'point and click' approach. With the video recording, it is again operated by a simple press of a button but my son tends to press it again seconds later resulting in pointless video clips that are barely more than a few seconds long. The playback quality of the videos he does take is relatively good although, again, they do tend to be a little blurry and distorted as he moves around during filming.Sound quality is surprisingly good with the results being quite clear if a little on the quiet side.
The final feature that ensure my kids prefer playing with this to stealing Mummy's boring 'real' camera is the inclusion of a few fun but simple games. The 'Crazy Kitchen' game involves capturing the image of the player's face which is then incorporated into the image of a chef which is silly enough to entertain my little one. He is less interested in the matching game which jumbles up one of the stored images on the camera, ready for the player to rearrange them correctly. One of the main disadvantages of this game is that it uses the pictures that the child themself has taken. In my son's case, most of his snaps are so dark and blurry and of pretty random miscellaneous objects that it is pretty much impossible to try and rearrange the sections back into their 'correct' place. For that reason, he tends to ignore that game and prefers a pretty basic but entertaining game involving spotting a little rabbit that keeps disappearing and reappearing. All of the games have a range of difficulty levels, helping the toy grow with the child and ensuring that even very young children can play without getting frustrated.
One of the few drawbacks to the camera is that it takes four AA batteries (although a demonstration set are included) and it can get through them fairly quickly, certainly if your little one is pretty enthusiastic with it.
The other disadvantage is the relatively high RRP of around £60, which is pretty much the current selling price of this camera on Amazon. As always, I would recommend shopping around for this kind of toy. A quick online search reveals that this is available at Argos for a more reasonable £49.99 and at Toys R Us for just £39.99. I did get a very good deal with the £29.99 that I paid, especially considering the ongoing play value and the fact that this is virtually indestructable!
Summary: A fun kid-proof purchase