Monday, January 25, 2016

Review - VTech Inno Tab 3S

This review is 100% my own opinion and is not sponsored by Vtech or anyone but myself.

I first started seeing the Inno Tab when I was really into entering blog giveaways sometime around Thanksgiving of 2014.  I think that the VTech Company must have been working hard to promote it before Christmas because there were a ton of different blogs with reviews and giveaways going on at about that time.

The more I looked at the reviews and read about the product the more interested I became.  I knew that my family would be spending half the day flying home to our extended families over Christmas and the though of flying with a nearly two year old lap child was daunting.  I needed something new that would keep him entertained for at least some of the trip.





The more reviews I saw and the more I looked at this tablet (it had had kid safe WiFi, kid friendly games, ebooks, videos, a camera, and video camera) the more interested I became.  This toy looked awesome.

I weighed the pros and cons of a VTech vs. a regular tablet, but the kid friendliness was just so appealing to me.  When I didn't win any of the giveaways I entered I eventually decided it would be worth my traveling sanity to buy one.

I bought one and before we flew out I tried to get it set up to maximize its usefulness. The first thing I wanted on it were videos.  We have a bunch of family videos my son was mesmerized by and I wanted a few of those on the Inno Tab.  I plugged it in and attempted to move over some of the videos, but it didn't seem to matter what format I had them in (I have Bachelor Degree in Digital Media, converting video formats is 100% within my scope of knowledge) I could not get the videos to load or be recognized.  I ended up spending way to much time and reading forum after forum to try to find a way to get personal videos on this thing and the task seemed akin to climbing Mount Everest.  I ended up feeling super disappointed and giving up, video play had been one of my main reasons for buying the thing.

Next I got onto their Learning Lodge to start adding some of the Kid Friendly games to the Tab.  There were a handful that came preloaded, such as a magic bean stock game, an art pad, a type pad etc., and with purchase of the device you were given a few credits to download additional games.  It looked like they had a number of great games sorted by both topic and relevant ages and they cost between $3-5 to download per/game.  They also had a ton of character driven games (popular disney and TV characters) and these were a lot more expensive, $7-15/game.  

I downloaded my free three and we set off on our adventure.

Now the real fun started.  The VTech was fairly slow to load up, but my toddler didn't really care.  It came with a stylus which was a little hard for my two year old to use but he did a decent job.  He enjoyed moving through the different icons and used the Vtech Inno Tab similar to how he uses my smart phone.  Then we got to playing the games.  I had downloaded a Tracing ABC Game (Letter Pooch), a puzzle Game, and a Grab the Letter type game.

My son had played lots of tracing ABC games on my phone and I was excited about this one because it was lower case letters.  We opened it and he started playing it, but for the life of him he could not complete the letter.  The Inno Tab or maybe the game, was completely unforgiving, you either tracked the letter 100% completely correct, with a not very sensitive stylus, or you started over.  He got frustrated with it after a few tries and asked me to help.   I leaned over to comply and was honestly amazed that as an adult with adult like understanding and coordination I struggled to complete the different letters.  It was really annoying to me and made me wonder if the people who created this game had ever user tested it, since it worked so incredibly poorly.

In the end I felt fairly dissatisfied with most of the games.  There wasn't much to them, they went fast or slow or ended after five rounds.  And the only games the Inno Tab can have on them are game created specifically for the Inno Tab.  I guess I had gotten used to and comfortable with getting on the Goggle Play or Apple stores and downloading great Apps for free.  Such was not going to be the case with this device.

With all that said my son still likes playing with it.  He likes the handful of games I've put on it, and being able to use it without mom's supervision.  The video camera and camera are fun, though really low resolution. If you have multiple children there are up to four different accounts you can set up on the device so they can each have their own stuff.  The Inno Tab can be set up to track their play results and report back to mom and dad which may be a nice thing for older children who are using for education (?).

My feelings are that this was overpriced (about $65) and disappointing.   I wish I had spent that money on getting my son a cheap tablet instead.  One where there are thousands of toddler friendly games available to download for free, one that can play any video I choose, and one that is sensitive enough that it will respond to a toddlers chubby fingers.   For now I turn off the WiFi on my tablet and let him use it when we're in a pinch.

VTech Inno Tab 3S

Pros: 
  • Multiple User Accounts 
  • Sturdy Plastic Casing 
  • Worry Free WiFi

Cons: 
  • Slow
  • Expensive
  • Hard to Use
  • Touch Screen Not Very Responsive 
  • Only Supports VTech Apps Which Are $$
  • Cannot Have Personal Videos or Ripped DVD's Added to It


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