Most of you will remember the fun my kids, grandkids and I had with VTech’s Innotab 2, last year. I love it when a company wants to know what you really thought of their product and then takes that to heart as they design updates and new technology. VTech has done exactly that! The Innotab 2 was a tremendous hit in our home with only one minor snag. IT ATE batteries like crazy! OR, you could purchase a separate AC adapter, but need to remain tethered to the wall outlet. The kids loved all the games and we loved how much they learned while they were playing them, so naturally they logged many hours of rigorous “testing” with the fun technology. The problem was we couldn’t keep up with the batteries required and we asked that Innotab include an AC Adaptor/charger and rechargeable batteries that would allow longer battery life and more cost effective use. That’s exactly what they did. The new Innotab 3S uses rechargeable batteries and comes with the charger included in the package! Score!
Another, item we put onthe Innotab 2 “wish list” was to be able to have multiple user accounts, so each child could have their own and save their individual progress data. The Innotab 3S accommodates 4 separate user accounts, PLUS a guest account. No more, “He played over my saved game!” Love this feature, too! Thanks, VTech for caring what consumers have to say!
This latest version of the Innotab from VTech can also utilize wireless Internet services wherever you and your children happen to be. You wouldn’t think this would be such a hot feature, but here’s the thing. The kid-safe web browser only has access to carefully vetted children’s websites. There are password protected parental controls onboard that would allow parents to add a trusted website, but prevents kids from doing so, without the password. Kids can safely go online, utilize sites you have preapproved and do it on their OWN device, instead of asking for yours. Yay!
Plus, now the kids can send and receive texts between their Innotab and a smartphone or their Innotab and another Innotab. If you, like us, don’t feel that young children need a cell phone, you are going to enjoy this feature, more than you realize. My daughter can text me, tablet-to-mobile or vice versa. We don’t let her have a cell phone, but she does occasionally get to use MY cell phone to send texts to a friend or two. With the Innotab 3S, her friends with smartphones are now on her Innotab “contacts” list and she can communicate with them from there. Little kids feel like part of the “big crowd” and you can feel confident that they are safe.
The Innotab 3S is designed for ages 3-9, however, I feel like the new wifi capabilities are a real game changer. Our 11-almost-12-year-old daughter is not allowed to have a cell phone and she latched onto this device immediately, setting up texting with her older sister in California and her best friend from school.
The only disappointment with the device is the 2 MP camera/video recorder. It is way beyond cool that it is included and available, but with no built-in flash, most pictures and video leave the kids staring at a black screen. The only time the camera takes a visible picture is if the kids are outside in the bright sun or standing in direct sunlight near a window. It does a good job in those instances and the ability to rotate the camera a full 180 degrees to take shots on both sides of the camera is a cool feature. Sadly, it can’t be utilized to its full potential unless the child is standing in perfect lighting conditions. I hope as VTech makes updates and changes, they will consider adding an onboard flash, so kids can make the most effective use of this awesome little tablet!
Games range from just for fun, to learning without realizing it, to full-on educational. Kids need to use memory, strategy and thinking skills, not to mention fine-tuning their small motor skills as well. The Innotab 3S comes with 4 GB of onboard memory and it’s expandable up to 32 GB by adding a micro SD card. That will help your kids make use of great features like the built-in MP3 player, photo album or 20 free apps included with the tablet. It has a 5-inch color touch-screen and comes with a stylus. The 3-D Art Studio is still one of the favorite apps with our family, but they all have favorite games, as well. When registering the 3S, I received a free download, too, so I added another game to the menu. The Read, Play and Create cartridge was also included and expands our activity and game library. The possibilities are pretty much limitless when the Learning Lodge (online tablet managing controls for parents) contains 350 titles that will soon be expanding to over 600! It’s easy to download new apps through Learning Lodge and to keep track of how your kids are using the device. You’ll find titles that teach reading, math, social studies, handwriting, science, problem solving, geography and more. Parents can even track their child’s learning progress online. Featured throughout the downloads and software cartridges are popular characters such as Team Umizoomi™, Dora the Explorer™, Thomas & Friends®, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles®, Jake & the Never Land Pirates™ and Sesame Street®. New titles for 2013 on the Learning Lodge include Monsters University®, Turbo®, Planes®, Doc McStuffins®, Sofia the First® and more.
This child-safe tablet gets very little down-time in our home and I’m guessing it would be a hit at your house, too. I would definitely be watching the VTech Facebook page and website, plus your local ads to get the latest news on sales and specials for the holidays, because this would be an awesome way to cross one item off your Christmas shopping list! (I happen to know that Amazon has it on sale for only $89.95, right now, so that would be a good way to save $10!)
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY: In the meantime, use the Rafflecopter form below to enter the giveaway and have a chance to win an Innotab 3S for your own family! To enter just leave a comment on this post, telling me your favorite kid-friendly feature of the Innotab 3S. (Click this link to see the entire list.) That’s it! Register your comment on the Rafflecopter form, below. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway