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VTech InnoTab

New E-Book, Gaming Device and Touch Screen Tablet for Kids!

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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VTech InnoTab

©VTech

Are you looking for an educational toy for your child that's similar to an iPad but much more cost-effective? The VTech InnoTab by VTech Toys is an e-book, gaming device and touch screen tablet for kids ages 4-9. This educational toy is a cost-effective tablet and iPad alternative, where kids will enjoy using the integrated features and the touch screen applications to not only play games, but to build vocabulary and enhance skills for reading.

Features of the InnoTab Include:

- Suggested MSRP is $79.99

- 5" brilliant color touch screen LCD

- A tilt-sensor for motion game control

- A stylus

- USB interface to allow for downloading educational apps from VTech Learning Lodge Navigator

- PC or MAC compatible

- 64 MB of onboard memory

- An SD card slot for additional memory

- Headphone Jack

- 9V DC adapter

- The VTech InnoTab can be purchased in either blue or pink

- A kickstand on the back allows the device to be propped up in an almost vertical position for better viewing

- When the device is moved from a horizontal to vertical position, or vice versa, the screen automatically re-orients

- More than 100 titles will be available for download through the Learning Lodge Navigator

- Compatible with the VTech Kidizoom Camera (sold separately)where children can download photos directly to the tablet

- Additional software cartridges entitled Disney/ Pixar's Cars 2, Disney Fairies, Disney Princess, Dora the Explorer, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, The Penguins of Madagascar, Scooby-Doo, SpongeBob Squarepants and Disney/Pixar's Toy Story can be purchased for $25.99

On-Screen Applications for the InnoTab

©VTech

Using the touch of their finger or the stylus housed on the back of the device, kids can access many different on-screen applications.

-The E-Reader allows kids to chose a downloaded book from the bookshelf. Kids can use the flick of their finger or the stylus to turn the pages in the book. The vocabulary is highlighted as the book is read out loud. Different vocabulary words can be tapped, and their meaning and a picture will appear. The e-book is interactive and when children touch pictures on each page, different sound effects may occur. The E-Books include vocabulary building opportunities

-Games can be downloaded and include two different levels, both easy and difficult, where children use the tilt sensor and stylus to participate in a variety of educational games

-Music from a child's computer can be downloaded to the device and played on the integrated MP3 player

-Videos can be seen on the video viewer if uploaded from the VTech Kidizoom camera

-Photos can be uploaded to the device from a USB cord through the VTech Kidizoom camera or another computer. Photos can be stored on the device using an SD Card and using the Art Studio, kids can draw on their pictures to add silly details.

-The Notes section uses an on-screen keyboard for kids to use their finger or a stylus to add notes to the device

-The Art Studio allows children to draw their own pictures with either a finger or the stylus and the tap of one of several different tools such as colored pencils or a paintbrush. Other pictures can be "air brushed" onto the real image

Additional On-Screen Applications Include:

-Color & Pop provides 8 different coloring templates and is a virtual coloring book where children tap a color on the right then tap the space in the picture to fill in the color

-A Calendar allows specific information to be inputed to individual days of the month

-A Clock with a stopwatch and alarm clock feature

-A Calculator is a great homework helper

-The Friends Address Book is a place to store all their friends addresses and home phone numbers

My Personal Impressions

Overall, I believe Vtech has done an outstanding job with the technology included in this tablet for kids. For those of you who might be used to using tablets, such as an iPad, I found the touch sensors to be extremely accurate, using either my finger or the stylus. There is about a 5 second delay that occurs when transitioning from one application to the next on the device, but this delay did not impact my user experience. The VTech Learning Lodge Navigator will help parents to understand additional ways that their child is learning, and his also provides parents and children with many new apps to download for free. I used 4 regular "AA" batteries in the device, which did not appear to last longer than about a few hours, so I would definitely invest in rechargeable batteries for this tablet for future use. Even though this device is missing the ability to take pictures or videos with an onboard camera, using the Vtech Kidizoom, kids can download their photos and videos directly to the device. In general, I found the educational skills included in the apps to be very appropriate and I think this is a really exciting piece of technology for kids. Not only will they have educational game experiences, but with the addition of the calendar and notes feature, it could be a great strategy to help kids become more independent at home with remembering their homework, hockey practice, or family member birthdays. This is definitely a new product to consider purchasing as a gift for your kids this holiday season and is one of the best educational toys for kids!

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

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