Ethan is 5 and can obviously handle the iPad and other tablets. However, if you read my post about Aeryn downloading an app in error on my phone, you will understand my need to have him use a device that is meant for children.
We received the Innotab 3s to review and both Ethan and Jadyn were quite thrilled to use it.
I did not have to set it up as it came pre loaded with some games. While I started going through the manual, I noticed that I was wasting my time as the children had already set up their profiles and begun playing on it.
Let’s look at its features in detail
The innotab3s at one look can be identified as being a children’s tablet. It may be mistaken to be a toy, but it can assure you that it does work effectively as a child specific device. It has a 5 inch screen and this could have been a bit bigger to compete with adult devices. It has a border around the screen which makes it easy for children to hold and play without smudging the screen, something that they are constantly bring told off for when they use my kindle.
It is available in pink and blue and is perfect for children to hold and play.
There is a pen/stylus provided to navigate the touch screen and there is also an extra one in the box. (Great idea VTech)
The Innotab 3S has a rotating barrel camera which can act as a front or rear facing camera. For a decent picture you do need good light on the subject but after one has taken the photo, there is much fun to be had with the wonder Cam app.
Apps can be downloaded via the learning Lodge and this is pretty easy to set up. There are over 350 apps to choose from and many of these are educational. Of course there are some that are of popular characters such as Disney so the children do not get bored with only learning.
The Learning Lodge also allows you to track a child’s progress and has apps targeted to age and interest.
The children love the My Magic Beanstalk app and remember to water the plant everyday.
The children have access to suitable websites via wifi like Time for Kids, Google Translate (which I love), Met Office Education and The Road to Reading (VTech selected) Parents are also able to add websites to the children’s collection for safe browsing. This is password protected so the children cannot add websites without your password.
The Kid Connect app allows children to send and receive texts and stickers to and from iPhones and android smart phones. This is with the basic version which is included with the device.
To send voice messages, photos and drawings, one needs to purchase the Premium app which you can buy via the Learning Lodge.
This is a feature that I love about the Innotab 3S – it is rechargeable. If you have multiple children using a device, you are going to run out of batteries pretty quickly. The Innotab 3S makes this light work as you can use the rechargeable battery pack. You can also use the device by connecting it to a power supply via the provided AC adaptor.
The device comes with some great parental controls like the web browser control I mentioned. In addition to this there is also a content lock control that ensures that apps or books are not deleted by children in error.
It has a clock and a calendar to record important dates. There is an option to create one’s own MP3 playlist from the internet or the Learning Lodge. The Friends List helps one keep track of all your friends’ information.
There is also a Wish List feature that allows the child to list which apps they would like next. (Good hints for Christmas and birthdays)
There are also accessories available for the device like a case, headphones or car adaptor kit which you can purchase separately.
The only slight con with the Innotab 3S is that it is slightly slow in loading up an app. I would not say this is a major problem as it does not take ages but there is a slight delay. There is however no delay when playing games so it really does not make much of a difference.
The Innotab 3S is perfect for children aged 3 – 9 as there is much to keep them entertained. Although many would say that at 9 they would be well able to handle adult devices, I like the thought that my child is safe while being connected to the internet. Jadyn has turned 9 and she finds much to interest her on the Innotab 3S.
I think that it is a great device and would make a perfect Christmas gift. Since it grows with the child it will definitely be value for money.
The Innotab 3S is priced at £99.99 and is available from the VTech website
The Innotab 3S was also a winner in the Independent Toy Awards 2013.