By Contributor Jen Shragge
Like most children these days, my son is in love with my iPhone and my iPad. He doesn’t get to use them very often, but we do allow certain learning games and a few fun apps that he can use now and then. We also purchased him a children’s gaming tablet a couple of years ago and he uses it a lot when we travel and sometimes when he just needs some down time.
We received the new VTech InnoTab Max recently and you would have thought that it was Christmas morning by the way he jumped around and very impatiently waited for it to charge up. The InnoTab Max is different from many children’s tablets in that you are able to connect to WiFi and with that comes a number of cool features.
A parent can download the VTech Kid Connect App, which allows them to send instant messages to their child’s device. This is less useful for us right now, but I can see the value if an older child is using the system (since they need to be able to read it of course) and gives the child the feeling that they are actually using an adult-style tablet. I downloaded the App, but have yet to get it to work unfortunately. Hopefully the folks over at VTech customer support are able to sort it out for me as I do think I would use this App in the next 6 months or so when my kid can actually read properly.
There is also access to the VTech Learning Lodge, where parents can upload various games, books, music and videos. The prices of the Apps range anywhere from $1.49 for a basic learning App to $24.99 for a Disney branded cartridge game. This saves a great deal of time and energy as you no longer have to go to the local toy store to purchase game cartridges and includes much more affordable options. Currently there are over 650 options available in the Learning Lodge to choose from.
The system comes with two free downloads which are pretty limited in my opinion, but allow your child to get started. My son selected two games that are okay as they are not branded or very challenging like the full games and cartridges are and I can see that he really wants access to more than what he currently has. He played with the video maker App and took a ton of photos on our recent vacation to Mexico. He loved carrying it around and taking photos near the beach and pool. I think for the first time since he was a toddler he spent the vast majority of the flight playing on the InnoTab rather than watching a movie. Every morning he has woken up and asked to use his “iPad”. Also, as an environmentalist, I very much appreciate that this system is rechargeable rather than requiring batteries.
If this product had been available a few years ago I think we probably would have skipped the tablet we do have and would have opted for this one. I think the WiFi capability as well as the camera and video functions make it a superior product.
Geared for ages 3-9, the VTech InnoTab Max would make a fabulous gift this holiday season. At a MSRP of $109.99 (USD or $119.99 CDN) the InnoTab Max is an affordable alternative to a traditional tablet and is built to withstand the rugged play and accidents of children.
Disclosure: I received a sample of a product to facilitate this post. All views and opinions stated on this post are 100% my own.