Thursday, 11 August 2011

Christmas 2011 - Vtech Innotab the kids "ipad" Review

A few weeks ago I blogged about Christmas 2011 must have toys but missing from my list was the Vtech Innotab.  I wasn't aware of this then but my goodness me, this now has to go to the top of our list for must have Christmas toys 2011!

What is this I hear you ask?  It is none other than the very first children's tablet that is being billed as "an ipad for kids".  It is a revolutionary multimedia touch screen tablet that has been designed especially for children aged 4-9 years old and it combines education games, apps, activities and ebooks all on a 5" LCD touch screen that rotates from landscape to portrait as the ipad does.

Have a look at the preview here:

My kids are all obsessed with my ipad.  I am amazed at how Beansey has learnt his times tables and how Pixie (who is just 2 remember) can play an very good educational game about colours, shapes and numbers - it is a GREAT tool when we are on quiet journeys or for when I need them to sit still and be quiet for 10 mins (like when I am in the dentists chair!) However, it is also VERY addictive and at least one of them will say at some stage during the day "mummy, can I go on your ipad please". 

We don't have an xbox and I am the "World's Worst Mum" according to Beansy as I won't let him have a DS or TV in his room - I strongly believe that families should not be shut off in separate rooms of the house - kids on DS's, parents on laptops and no family interaction.  I limit "my" laptop time to when they are in bed, but I do admit that it is very addictive as I am always checking my phone surreptitiously. 

The innotab comes with an e-reader, music, photos, videos games and an art studio - you can link it up to other vtech systems including the Kiddizoom digital camera which is fabulous.
What appeals to me is that the innotab allows children to develop key skills in reading, writing, spelling, maths logic and creativity but in a fun way. 

So, did it meet up to my expectations??

I have to be honest here and say I think the concept is AMAZING but the execution could be better.  The tabs we were testing were rather slow (in comparison to my ipad) although I was told that this was because they were running from SD cards (I think from memory).  Aside from this, the apps were great and educational.  The fact that you can download software onto your home computer and track your child's progress is great. The innotab is going to retail at around £80 with software costing around £25.

I think the innotab is great value for money but I do think the software is expensive.  You could compare the cost to console games but the graphics are nowhere near as good as the consoles.  However, they have great games and activities from Toy Story to the Disney Princesses although I would like to see other less commercial partnerships.

So, that's what I think now over to the kids (because, let's be honest, it's not going to be me playing on it is it, I'll just be paying)

They ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT.  I mean in the presentation my Beansey seriously asked about 10 questions.  His hand never went down and he hasn't stopped talking about it since and has told all his friends.  BoBo at 5 was just as enthralled but in his more subdued kind of way.  As for Pixie, well despite this being aimed at 4-8 year olds, she was away and loving it as well!

Overall we think this is brilliant, your children can learn fun facts and native languages with the World Map app and download their photos from a PC or SD card.  The fact they can have their own MP3 player means they can listen to their own music without hijacking my ipod!  Their is even an app store called the Vtech Learning Lodge Navigator where they can download additional books.

I am going to get my crystal ball out here and say that if you like the sound of the vtech innotab for a Christmas present, then you need to get your name on a waiting list NOW.  This is (in my opinion) going to be the Christmas 2011 best selling toy/gadget and as an Apple obsessed ipad mummy, I for one, can't wait to get rid of those sticky finger prints on my ipad!

Peace and Love

S.A.M  xx

Disclaimer: We were invited to a rather lovely London hotel for the launch of the innotab and treated to a lovely spread which included the most amazing sausage roll.  We were also given a voucher for an innotab which I will be redeeming in the not to distant future.  This has not affected my review of this product and all views are mine and mine alone with a little bit of input from the angels with dirty faces.


  1. I loved that Beansey asked so many questions - he was a true star! Sure he will make a great reporter when he's older xx

  2. I am very disappointed with the InnoTab which, as opposed to the VTech Tote & Go Laptop Plus for younger kids, came with very few free games and/or apps. The product itself had a minimal number of games built into it (though the advertisements make it seem as if there are lots) and we were given only three free downloads. My 5yo was bored with the product after barely a week. If we wanted him to continue using it, we'd have to purchase additional downloads and/or cartridges (as well as lots of batteries, which have needed replacing several times in just a few uses).

  3. Not as funny as when he was interviewed for the Irish Evening Post - he didn't shut up! So, he'll either be a newspaper person like his daddy or a PR lush like his mummy...runs in the blood obviously!

    So lovely to see you yesterday xx

  4. I really enjoyed the review but you didn't say what it retails at? I would love to have been invited. Aaron loves going on my laptop x

  5. Thanks for commenting Liska - I did comment on the retail price in paragraph 8 but this is such a long review you probably missed it!! It is £80 for the innotab and £25 approx for cartridges.

    To be honest with you, A is probably 2 years too young for this - Pixie is nearly 3 and was "just" getting to grips with this.....would be would probably love is the Vtech my first laptop!! Mine all still love that and have had that since about 18m!

    Love S xx

  6. vtech innotab will be 2011's top kids toy and no wonder. educational and fun you can't get better than that

  7. Bought an InnoTab recently for my son and he absolutely LOVES it! I found a useful website for those wanting to get their hands on one, it gives a product overview, price comparison and availability check for various retailers in the UK.

  8. The specs for the Innotab say 4-9 but in actuality 8 year old kids aren't going to find it challenging,and any child younger than 3 would still grapple with it. It's a great learning toy for kids in the age range of 3-7 years..Katie

  9. We purchased the Innotab for our grandkids. We have the SD card, but music etc... downloaded from our computers will not show up on the Innotab. Are we doing something wrong?

  10. As my nephew loves playing with my iPad, I thought what better present than the Innotab. Getting my hands on this was the hardest part. However, the battery life is appalling (I think heavy duty Duracells lasted him a few hours) and there seem to be a lot f hidden extras such as the SD card and additional charger, which I would expect to be included with the product. He has now asked if we can return it for a more 'worthwhile' toy.

    All in all, both my nephew and I are very disappointed with this.

  11. Anybody have any idea of what games are good to use for. A 4 year old? Like games with numbers and abcs shapes etc

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