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Winkie the Zhu Zhu pet....
Coming up to one years old in our family. I went all out and bought Winkie and 7 others and all the plastic tracks etc. But it was played for for about 1 hour, and then infrequently throughout the year.
Winkie cost me £9 which is the typical price I see the pets for.
Winkie is a black and white hamster with a little pink nose. The nose is actually a button which when pressed, the same for the button on the pet's back, activates it noises. The hamster came with batteries and so far we haven't had to change them.
Winkie makes a multitude of different noises - and frankly I cannot tell the difference between Winkie and the noises of the others I have bought - is it the same toy with just different fabric. The sound is electronic so nothing like a hamster. WE had one of those and they don't make any noise.
Winkie like the rest of the Zhu Zhu pets wheels around up and down and backwards and forwards seemingly in a random fashion. If he hits something on his nose, then the nose acts as a sensor and he goes backwards and scoots off again.
Fortunately, the batteries do not die (though at times you wish the annoying sound would) as Winkie goes into sleep mode though you can get his to get there slightly faster by pressing the button on his back.
For adults, they are sweet to look at but after 5 minutes and the noises, you want to sell it on. There are no real instructions with the toy, like the rest of the pets, so goodness knows if we are getting the most out of him. Not that I expect him to transform into an iPhone with some other hidden button.
For children, well my children got bored fast and as the houses and tracks are really plasticy and in my view super bad quality, I felt ripped off for the time they spent with it/do spend with it. I suspect I will be ebaying it all this next year.
After my daughters birthday she asked if she could spend some of her birthday money and since I had some shopping to do we had a look at the toys in the local Tesco store. After much consideration she finally decided she would like something out of the Zhu Zhu range and she picked a caravan with trailer and this hamster. The hamsters cost around £10 each although I have recently seen that Asda have reduced all of theirs to £7.50.
The hamster comes packed in a little cardboard box mainly blue and yellow in colour with a transparent front to allow you to see the hamster inside and a hole on the end of the box so you can put a finger in and press the hamsters nose to try it out. It states on the box "I chatter, scatter, scoot n' scurry like a real hamster" and also has the information that the hamster requires 2 x AAA batteries which it does come complete with and that the toy is suitable for ages 4 and up although on the back it states not suitable for children under 36months due to choking hazard.
Inside the box which is sealed so as not to be tampered with there is the hamster, an instruction sheet and a sheet showing what is available to buy. The hamster is black and white in colour and made with really soft fur fabric, it has a cute little tail and two little ears, on the face there are two little shiny eye and a pink nose which is also an activation button along with some little whiskers. The hamster is quite heavy and has a battery pack underneath secured with a screw and two wheels to allow the hamster to zoom around. I think the hamster is quite cute for a toy and my daughter sits stroking it and saying ahhh.
There are three modes to the hamster, talk mode, explore mode and sleep mode. For the talk mode where your hamster will stay still and not zoom off you press the button on the hamsters head which makes the hamster make cooing, nibbling and chirping sounds, if you don't press the button for about a minute the hamster will go back to sleep. My daughter enjoys this mode as she likes to sit it on her knee and pretend he is real probably as our gerbils don't stay still long enough for her to really give them a stroke.
Explore mode is where you press the back button which is marked on the hamsters back to show where the button is, the button starts the motor and the hamster whizzes around the floor happily, if the hamster bangs into anything it reverses and tries again. My daughter finds it funny when he reverses and has pointed out this is what our gerbils do when they crash into each other in the tubes of their house. When your hamster is on the floor you have to be careful not to put it on a floor with a lot of little hairs as these get stuck in the wheels and a friend of mine sat for over two hours unravelling her daughters hamster.
The sleep mode is where your pet stops making noises and goes to sleep, this is after about a minute in talk mode and about 3 to 4 minutes in explore mode.
The button on the hamsters nose makes a noise everytime it is pressed anything from weeee to a mooing sound which makes little sense to me since it's a hamster not a cow. The hamsters have a code reader and this allows it to react to different locations within the Zhu Zhu collection although we haven't really seen much of this as there isn't much interaction in the caravan.
It amazes me what ideas people come up with for childrens toys although I must say my daughter is really enjoying playing with the hamsters and has now added a second to her collection. I personally think these toys could get boring if you don't build up the collection, so far she has spent £37 on these which is a lot for a little girl. There are little outfits to buy for the hamsters and not only can you buy hamsters but also babies and dogs, there are also a lot of different settings for the hamsters to play in such as castles and runs. My daughter has had this for about 4 weeks now and hasn't seemed to get bored of it so maybe there is more entertainment value to it than it first seems, I think that these are a great little toy but think that the more you have the more entertaining it will be but of course this costs money.
A drawback of these is that when set in the explore mode the little wheels underneath can nip your fingers if you pick it up in mid run, I have to be really careful with this as I have a 9 months old rolling around the floor and the buttons are very easy to press so she can set it off herself.
Around last christmas time Go GO Hamsters or Zhu Zhu Hamsters as the are also known as were the hot christmas must have toy. They were flying off the shelves so fast that if you blinked you would miss them. Although they are made and sold as childrens toys we had a different use in mind for them. When we first saw them we thought they looked really cute and wondered if they would make a good toy for the cats to play with.
We thought that they seemed like larger souped up versions of the cheap wind up mouse toys for cats that we have previously bought in pet shops, so it seemed a nice idea to get them a hamster each for xmas.
After a lucky visit to Argos one day we managed to pick up Mr Squiggles and Winkie, two cute furry Zhu Zhu Hamsters. As we carried them back neither of our fluffy bundles thought they would end up on the cats dinner tables come christmas day. We paid £9.99 for Winkie and he is still on sale for a similar amount.
Winkie came in a sturdy and well presented blue and yellow box that had a clear plastic viewing window on the front. It was easy for us to see him and for him to see us. He had a section cut out of the plastic where you could touch his nose and the blurb on the box said he was just like a real hamster that could chatter and skoot about. I feel that he was presented nicely and would have made an attractive gift for a younger child.
Winkie came with 3 AAA batteries included and was all ready to play with. Advice on the pack stated that he was only suitable for children from age 4 onwards. I would agree with this as we found that Winkies wheels move so fast that you can catch your skin on them easily. This can and does give you a nasty nip if you are not careful when handling him once switched on. A younger child could easily catch their hand in this way without adult supervision.
Once out of the pack and ready to go, Winkie is a fast little mover. He can skoot around the floor of your home to his hearts content. He goes best on smoother surfaces and shorter pile carpets and would get his wheels tangled in any of the really long shag pile rugs that have been fashionable.
He is rocket powered on tiled and laminate flooring and if he bumps and bangs into something, he can quickly just reverse off and skuttle away in another direction. He makes a variety of squeaky electronic hamster ish noises and although he sounds like no hamster I have ever seen, he is quite vocal.
The cats when they first saw him and his friend Mr Squiggles were a bit shocked and so we just allowed him to sit there without having him run about for a while to gauge their reactions. They found him more interesting when he wasn't moving and were curious enough to give him a quick paw.
Once we allowed Winkie the right to run riot across the floor again, the cats did seem to follow his movements with their eyes. We could see them concentrating on him intensely, but they didn't feel confident enough to chase him. On reflection perhaps they were not the right thing to buy as they are somewhat larger than a wind up mouse toy and are also very nippy.
Winkie has had some fun when friends with younger children have been over for a visit and he has had a chance to do his stuff. Both he and Mr Squiggles seem to have a short span where by they hold a childs attention and I do wonder if the addition of some of the other Zhu Zhu Pets accessories would make for more fun. Sadly we didn't buy the play sets, so this is just an assumption based on the fact that children would find these more fun if they had some of those sets as well.
Without the playsets children do seem to tire of running about after Winkie and enjoying playing with him after around 15 minutes or so, unless an adult is also interacting with them and the hamster toy. All the children have tended to giggle and smile at Winkie when we pretended that he he would run up their arm if they stroked him and wanted that to be repeated several times. But when left to their own devices both child and hamster seemed to have had enough after 15 minutes.
Winkie is quite cute looking with his black and white fur effect, small ears and pink nose. His wheels do catch easily and he is a nippy and noisy little fellow. I feel that if he was bought as a gift with a play set that complemented him, he could offer more fun than just him on his own.
Children have reacted well to him but he isn't as suitable as a cats toy as we had hoped. With all this in mind I feel my rate for him is between 3 and 4 stars if bought with an additional play set which would give a child more variety, but am giving him 3 stars on his own.
Zhu Zhu Pet Winkie...
Winkie has been in our family since Christmas and probably feels slightly rejected now that we have bought a real hamster and named him Hammy (original I know). Winkie was a last minute Christmas present for Jack and to be honest he didn't really need any more gifts but as usual I just couldn't help myself.
Winkie was bought from Woolworth's online and costs a few pence under £10 which I think was about the right price for that time although now I suspect you could find them being sold for cheaper.
Winkie is a black and white hamster and he has a little pink button nose. The button which doubles as his nose activates the sounds that Winkie makes as does a hidden button along his spine. The hamster came with batteries and so far we haven't had to change them.
Winkie makes a multitude of different noises and none of them is particularly hamster like and most of them are rather annoying. Winkie wheels around in a hamster like fashion up and down our hallway and if he bashes into a wall his nose tells him and he is able to scoot backwards and wheel off in the other direction which I find pretty impressive.
He can scoot around for a good while before he goes into sleep mode and even then I can't really work out if he is completely off as from time to time he will continue to make these strange noises. There doesn't appear to be a button which will turn him off entirely and this can be frustrating a lot of the time as even when he is tucked up in his draw I often hear little squeaks.
Jack hasn't really played with him as much as the £10 we paid for him warrants and I feel he was slightly a waste of money. He looks kind of cute and it is quite a cleaver idea but on the whole I don't see that there is much play factor with him as a toy.
The noises are annoying and as there was no real instructions with the toy, we don't feel we know if we are using him to his full ability. I don't think Jack was very impressed with him and for that reason I would only award a 2 out of 5 star rating and not even give him a recommendation.
Perhaps when Jack is a little older he will appreciate him more, but now we have a real hamster I feel we have put Winkie in a corner so to speak!
I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you.
Many thanks for taking the time to read.