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VTech InnoTab2 Review

Touch Tablet E-Reader and Learning Tablet for Kids Ages 4-9

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

By

InnoTab2 VTech
©VTech

When considering purchasing a tablet toy for your children, there are several available in the 3-9 year old age range. The VTech InnoTab2 and the InnoTab2S are the latest updates to the original InnoTab device which made it's debut in 2011. Using touch screen technology or a stylus, kids can play games, type notes, take pictures, and read e-books with content geared specifically for their developmental level. This is a very popular toy for kids in their preschool and early elementary years.

Features

-5" color touch screen and tilt sensor, 400 MHz processor

-Built-in, rotatable camera, that takes pictures and video (1.3 megapixels)

-2GB onboard memory, with an expandable SD card slot (not included), that provides up to 32GB of memory

-4 different logins can be personalized on each device for various children with different abilities and ages with their name and customized wallpaper, plus an additional login for a guest

-Children can use their finger to touch the screen, or use the included stylus that is stored on the back of the device

-Apps that are included allow children to view photos, read e-books, play games, draw pictures in the art studio

-The device includes an MP3 player to play music

-Additional game cartridges that retail for $24.99 can be purchased separately that include e-books and educational game content that feature children's favorite characters such as Disney Princesses, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, etc.

-Recommended for kids ages 3-9

-Once connected to the computer via the included USB cable, parents can purchase additional apps that can be downloaded from the Learning Lodge Navigator, while also learning about the skills that each game promotes (reading, math, science, etc.)

-Hundreds of apps that include e-books and games are available in the app store

-Device operates on 4AA batteries

-Additional accessories such as a car charger and power adapter can be purchased to operate the device without batteries

-Out of the box the InnoTab2 includes 17 ready to use apps, plus 2 free apps from the Learning Lodge Navigator

-The InnoTab2S (compare prices) , provides the same features of the InnoTab2, only with 15 read-to-use apps, but the addition of the ability to connect to the Learning Lodge Navigator, through a safe wifi connection

-Available in blue or pink, with protective rubber corners

-Photo frame stand that opens from the back of the device

-Ability to access the camera app from a button on the outside of the device, as well as through the camera touch-screen app

-InnoTab2 retails for $79.99, while the InnoTab2S retails for $99.99

Apps included on the Devices Include

-Camera with ability to rotate 180 degrees so kids can photograph themselves or others

-Video Recorder

-MP3 player

-Photo Viewer with Slideshow

-Video player with 1 demo video included

-"Face Race" motion sensor game where children use the tilt feature to walk their person across a tight rope. Their character can be customized with their picture, or computer graphics can be utilized

-Friends photo address book

-Notepad with pop-up onscreen QWERTY keyboard

-Clock with stopwatch

-Calendar with stickers

-Calculator

-Ability to download 2 additional apps in the Learning Lodge Navigator online

-Read, Play and Create cartridge includes an e-book, alien rescue motion sensor game and color & pop activity

-Art Studio app allows kids to draw over their own photos, use "stickers," or add graphics to their own pictures

Difference Between the InnoTab1 and the InnoTab2/InnoTab2S

Last year the InnoTab1 made it's debut, and with the first generation it brought a fun and unique way for kids to use a touch screen device, that was durable, which also provided their ability to access content that was monitored by their parents and safe for viewing. You can read my review of the InnoTab1 here.

This year, with the release of the second generation, the InnoTab2 and InnoTab2s, parents will notice some differences. Though the screen size is the same, the actual size of the InnoTab2 is smaller than the InnoTab1. It still has the durable, rounded, rubber corners that make it easy for young children to hold. The InnoTab2/InnoTab2S both include the ability to now take videos and pictures with the integrated camera that rotates 180 degrees. The home button to return to the main menu is positioned at the bottom of the device, similar to an adult tablet, such as an iPad. Given that the newer model has the camera, there is a button on the front of the device that allows kids to quickly enter the camera app without having to go to the main screen. On both devices, the directions can be repeated via the "?" button, and screen brightness and volume is controlled by push buttons on the exterior of the device. Both devices also include a stand that slides out from the back of the device so the device can be propped up for viewing.

The content between the 2 devices, is similar, with the basic functions such as the calculator, stopwatch, clock, etc. However, the InnoTab2S provides a feature that is not often included with a kid's learning tablet, which is the ability to download via a wifi connection, which just makes accessibility that much easier.

Once turning the device on, it took the InnoTab2 about 20 seconds to get to the login screen, then 8 seconds to access the main menu. It generally took about 8-10 seconds for the app to be ready for use, depending on the app (cartridge vs. camera vs. app). It took about 6 seconds to return to the main menu from an app.

My Review

Given that for a job I work with children in the school system as an occupational therapist, these devices have been invaluable as reward systems for kids. Once children complete their work, I often allow them a few minutes to play with the InnoTab1 or InnoTab2, accessing the various apps, taking pictures, and utilizing the content on the game cartridges.

I do tend to find the InnoTab2 fairly slow, not only between transitions, but as well as during gameplay on the cartridges. The cartridge games are geared for young children to have access to simple games and e-books. In the cartridges I utilized, there was a lot of wait time in between questions and activities. Younger children have not noticed it, but older children, above the ages of 6, who may be used to their parents iPad or smartphone, may quickly move onto a different app or activity. The touch screen sensors have been great, and though the transitions between apps can be slow, there is never an issue with having to repeatedly touch the screen for the sensors to respond.

Out of the box, there is enough content to keep children entertained for a brief period of time using the camera, the e-book, included cartridge and the art studio. However, you will need to consider purchasing additional cartridges when you make your initial purchase, or set aside time to connect the device to the Learning Lodge Navigator to access the additional 2 free apps that come with the original purchase. However, premium content is not included with these 2 free apps, consider adding few extra dollars to your budget to purchase additional content. All of the kids love taking videos and pictures. They also really enjoyed being able to accessorize various photos by adding silly clown hair and scenes to photos they took. In general, it is only a 1 Megapixel camera, so it's not ideal in low light situations, but none of the kids have been phased by the photos being a little darker.

Before purchasing a tablet device for your child, always consider their developmental level and future growth. I find this tablet perfect as a preschool toy, for kids ages 3-5, who are just becoming exposed to technology toys, as the content is appropriate for their developmental, using an interface they can easily navigate.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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