Last Years Christmas Sell-Out Refreshed
In the run up to Christmas 2011, Santa Claus had so many requests for the VTech InnoTab kids tablet that stores sold out everywhere. During the summer InnoTab released the new InnoTab 2 and this year it is going to be a big hit on every children's Christmas card list. If you are looking for a children's Christmas gadget to give, then this might be for you.
It is not going to be easy for VTech though, it is up against last years rival LeapFrog LeapPad 2 as well as many others. Let's take a look at the InnoTab 2 and see if it has what it takes to make the Christmas list light up.
Credit: Amazon UKThere are a great number of features on the Vtech Innotab 2 that will make it feel just like a grown up tablet for the children and that is important because it will let a child feel all grown up with one of the latest pc tablets and just like mum and dad... it's all about the psychology!
- Camera It's mounted on the top, but you can rotate it like it has one front and rear. The camera is 1.3MP which is actually on a par with some of the budget grey-import tablets on the market!
- G-Sensor Just like daddy tilts his tablet computer to steer a racing car, child will be able to do exactly the same.
- Video With a little fiddling (and a SD Card - sold separately) you can play video on the InnoTab 2.
- Wi-Fi The latest incarnation of the InnoTab 2S also offers wireless connectivity. This is Only Available In The US which is disappointing because features like a childrens wish list and parents being able to upload remotely to the childs tablet pc.
Sure, the VTech InnoTab 2 will never perform like an adult tablet computer or have the power of a big device, but if you think about it, we are looking at computer tablets for kids, not iPads for techno geeks!
The InnoTab 2 comes with a pair of stylus pointers which is what you need to navigate and work on the 5 inch LCD screen; along with a free cartridge that provides an e-book and a game to start your children off.
Power to the InnoTab 2 can be using AA batteries or mains. There is no mains cable included in the box but you can buy a VTech power supply as well as other accessories such as a carry case in all the usual places.
Playing and Learning
The InnoTab 2 has a some ways that you can play games, learn using educational programs and other great apps. Firstly there is a SD card slot which increases your storage and the big plus with this is that it allows you to download new games and applications to your InnoTab device.
This is all packaged in a neat little program for your PC or Mac called the VTech Learning Lodge. When you install that and connect the InnoTab using the USB cable then you can download new software via your desktop computer to your VTech InnoTab kids tablet and expand its capabilities. The online apps usually cost no more than £3 but at the same time you should always make sure that the game is good for the money you spend.
Software packages are also available on cartridges which you can use with the VTech InnoTab systems. These are themed such as ones which feature Thomas and Friends (or for us oldies Thomas The Tank Engine) and come with a range of e-books, activities and games for different ages of learner.
The VTech developers have enlisted the rights to a large number of well-known children's characters and programs to make their cartridges popular. Along with Thomas we have offerings from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Scooby Doo and Toy Story; offering a wide range to appeal to children of all ages. These expansion packs cost up to £20 so buyers should always be shopping around for the best deal on the on-line and high street retailers.
If you already have lots of installed items on an InnoTab one then the increased features might want you to upgrade your original device. That is easy because you can transfer any downloads on your VTech Learning Centre account to your new InnoTab 2 and enjoy the great new features.
Limited Age Range
Credit: Amazon UKThe age range given by vtech for the InnoTab is for the ages 3 to 9 years old. I don't think that this is really that accurate because when a child is nearing 9 I think they are already too old for this tablet and will be wanting something a little bit more. The computer is still very child like in it's appearance and design and in the world of "cool" I do not think that this will be well received in the older child social circles.
Reviews from parents of the younger children give the tablet glowing praise but also warn of the same thing. If you are buying for a child who is 8 or 9 years old then you should consider whether a budget 7 inch Android tablet will be more effective. Remeber though that the Android tablets let unhindered access to the Internet, unlike the VTech InnoTab kids tablet.
Alternatives to InnoTab
There are many PC tablets for kids now on the market so there is some choice for you. The LeapFrog LeapPad 2 has been a strong rival to the VTech InnoTab 2 just like both of their predecessors did in 2011. They are a similar price and similar specs as well.
The Oregon Scientific MEEP! tablet is another alternative. It has a larger screen (7 inches) and is more mainstream with it's Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS. You will find that the development from Oregon Scientific means double the price of the InnoTab 2.
The Vtech Innotab 2 is a great tablet for young children to start learning while being just like mum and dad and is great if you are thinking for Christmas to get computer tablets for kids. You might find that children towards the older end of the recommended age will become bored very quickly, but younger children will love the VTech InnoTab 2.