Innotab 2 by Vtech – Review


Upon opening the box containing the Innotab 2 by Vtech which we reviewed for the Izziwizzi Kids Play Fest,  Miss M couldn’t wait to get her fingers on the children’s tablet and get started.  The chunky, sturdy casing immediately grabbed her attention and she couldn’t wait to see what happened when she switched the unit on.  The first thing you are asked to do is set up a profile under which it saves all your own gameplay.  Then we were required to attach the Innotab 2 to a PC via the USB lead in order to register the product and set it up within the Innotab Learning Lodge Navigator which is the download centre in which you can download further apps, see your child’s progress and download/upload photos and videos between the Innotab 2 and your home PC.

This did take around half an hour to set up during which time Miss M did grow a little impatient but when I finally gave her control of the Innotab 2 her face lit up and she couldn’t wait to get stuck in.  It comes with 15 apps:

Camera – Rotating twistable lense – fun at all angles!
Video Camera – Miss M loved capturing us unaware and then playing it back to us
MP3 player – easy to transfer music from PC – perfect for littles ones to play and dance to or use in the car
E-book Reader – interactive books which highlight words and provide facts and animation
Art Studio – fabulous choice of tools/colours – kept Miss M occupied for hours
Photo Editing – lots of fun scenes, accesories and fun effects – we had lots of fun with this
Game: Face Race – motion sensor game although we found it didn’t hold interest for long

The final 3 apps come on the included cartridge: E-book ‘What’s that noise?’, camera game Alien Rescue and Colour & Pop

Two further apps can be downloaded of your choice from the £2.99 selection in the Learning Lodge Navigator.  Although we did find these games fun, they were short and we reached the end within 20 minutes.  It would have nicer to see more depth to them to help maintain interest as the levels we played were entertaining and fun.

Cartridge games are also available which although retail at anything up to £20, I believe they would probably have a lot better games, with more depth to them and a wider variety of activities – Miss M would definitely like to try some of these in the future so I suggested she add them to her list for Santa!!

Miss M thoroughly enjoyed the Art Studio and spent a lot of time using the wide choice of coloured pencils, paints, stickers etc. but the thing that caught her eye most was the special effects – tubes of stars/hearts, rainbow effects etc.  Another app that really appealed to Miss M was the Colour & Pop app which is basically just black and white pictures and you select different coloured paint to colour them in.  I did notice in this particular app the screen did sometimes require a couple of taps from the stylus when selecting an art tool rather than an immediate response which although I would have found frustrating, it didn’t bother Miss M in the slightest.

The camera is also great fun, with a rotating twistable lense Miss M found it fun to take pictures of not only her family but herself.  And what she found highly amusing was making our faces look silly with the special effects.  Although not the best the quality, the photos are perfectly acceptable for a child.  They are able to use them within the games to give faces to characters which is a nice touch.

Another highlight for Miss M was the MP3 player.  I downloaded some music that she likes from my PC to the Innotab 2 and it was a simple, straightforward process.  She was then able to play her own music and dance around the front room with little brother Mister B copying her every move.  This would be ideal with headphones for long car journeys.  You can also upload videos and  films for them watch – great for keeping little ones entertained!

We have had lots of fun trying out the Innotab 2 and definitely think it will be a hit this Christmas, it’s lots of fun for little ones in more ways than one although you do need to bear in mind the costs over and above initial purchase.  To get longevity out of this for your child and  to make it last a few years I do feel you would need to purchase a number of games and apps to keep them interested and occupied.

All in all the Innotab 2 has proved to be a great multi-tasking product giving little ones an introduction to technology thats full of learning opportunities!!

Please watch our video review to find out more:

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

LeapPad 2 – Review

Reviewing the Leappad 2 by Leapfrog for the Izziwizzi kids Play Fest was met by 4yr old Miss M with a “Wow – that’s one of those computer things I really wanted”.  And so she was very excited and couldn’t wait to see what activities lay ahead.  We did have to spend around 30-40 minutes setting up the device by connecting it to the Leapfrog download centre , to receive updates etc. to the unit so bear this in mind if you have a little one who will be excited to open this on Xmas day.  Then it was time to play – yay!!

The Leappad 2 loads up quickly on pressing the start button to reveal an attractive touch screen menu.  This is very easy to navigate and select which app or function you require.  With eye catching pictures it is easy for a young child to recognise what each icon is and Miss M was soon able to find her way around unaided.

Miss M loved the Pet Pad app (1 of the 5 included apps) where you can personalise a pet and then feed, treat and bath it.  A rather fun interactivde aspect of this required you to blow down the microphone in order to dry your pet and there also a section where you can draw along the dotted lines of letters of the alphabet to get your pet to perform a little trick. This is just one example of the educational elements we have found throughout the games on the Leappad 2.  It is totally geared towards fun, but carefully incorporates a learning aspect into each game – a great way for kids to learn without realising it.

Also within the Leappad 2 is a front and rear facing camera along with a video camera which proved lots of fun especially when using the editing suite to add lots of fun special effects.  The quality of the pictures is ok and certainly adequate for young children. There is also an E-book reader with a wide selection of interactive books available to download – great for helping your child to learn to read or if they already can then progress their reading skills further.

The Leappad 2 comes with 4GB of memory giving you plenty of space to download your choice of over 225 apps that are currently available. The Leappad 2 also comes with a cartridge slot which opens up the choice for games even further.  These games cost up to £20 but I would imagine the variety and depth of play on these would be considerably more than the downloadable apps.  And you can use cartridges from the previous Leappad Explorer console – they work on both.

Durability was a big question I had with this.  With it’s sleek grown up design it did look and feel fairly sturdy but I still consider that it essential to purchase a case for the Leappad 2 particularly if being used out and about.  We did have little incident in which Miss M left the Leappad 2 on the kitchen worktop and later when she reached to get it, it slipped out of her hands and fell straight onto the hard tiled kitchen floor!!  I think my heart stopped pumping for about 5 seconds while I took a deep breath and turned the unit over to see if the screen was still intact. And thankfully it was – therefore passing the durability test 100% for me!!

One thing I will comment on is battery life – it is poor therefore if used heavily across a day, would need replacing.  I therefore highly recommend rechargeable batteries, although an AC adaptor is available to purchase but I feel part of the appeal and fun with this is for it to be portable allowing a child to sit wherever they wanted. I particularly think the Leappad 2 will be very successful in entertaining children on long car journeys and great to take on holidays etc.

We have really enjoyed reviewing the Leappad 2 and Miss M has really taken to it.  At her age of 4 (soon to be 5) I feel this is the perfect age for a child to get to grips with using the device and gaining the most value from it in terms of the types of activities available and the longevity of her wanting to use the Leappad 2 before growing out of it.  At the moment our downloadable game of choice – Roly Poly Picnic – has proved a huge hit with Miss M, by far the most time spent playing it – I love the innovative way in which the game is played operated through motion, slanting the Leappad 2 around and shaking it accordingly. Also as the Roly Poly bug rolls down a hole, a spelling or number question appears which you need to get correct in order to get the next item of food for the picnic. Great educational fun and we definitely recommend this game.

Overall I would definitely recommend the Leappad 2 as a great introduction to technology for little ones and I feel it has the perfect learning curve for Miss M now that she has started school to give her the best of educational fun along with an introduction to photography and editing. It will provide great company for her in the car on the long 5 hour journeys we make to visit grandparents and be a toy she can occupy herself with when mummy is busy doing the housework!!

Please watch our video review below:

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.