3 November 2014

REVIEW: VTech InnoTab 3S


As gadget users are getting younger and younger these days, we might as well get them started off right. If you've ever been annoyed by your kids stealing your iPad to play games on, get ready for a future where they'll have their own tablet. Our youngest tester (she's fours... and formidable) got to grips with the kids' tablet from VTech, the InnoTab 3S.

When we say tablet, we have to be clear here that this device aimed at kids does not run Android or iOS. Instead you get VTech's own operating system which, with chunky buttons and friendly voiceover, is easy to use and a breeze to master. Although there is a touchscreen, the InnoTab 3S also features nice big physical buttons such as a gaming-friendly D-Pad, and also a stylus which thankfully slots safely away into the back. There is a MicroSD card slot to add media, as well as a removable, rechargeable battery. And yes, there is a camera; a rotating 2MP one in fact.

Although not Apple or Android, the main home screen on the InnoTab 3S will be pretty familiar to any tech-savvy kid, presenting as it does a grid of included apps. There are 19 preinstalled on the device, with the opportunity to download others from the VTech online store. The apps are as you might expect on a children's tablet, with creativity taking centre stage over games. There is an art studio, movie maker, eReader, camera app with various filters and frames, and also a media centre for photos and videos.

And of course, games. The InnoTab 3S comes loaded with one already on there, but signing up for VTech online gave us a free download for another. One thing to note is that most of the other available software on the site must be bought, and although a game might only set you back a couple of quid, it's worth remembering that this isn't the Google Play store where most things are free.

Still, there's a lot on there for your kids to be getting on with, and our pint-sized reviewer delved straight in. Top of the favourites list had to be the art studio, where kids can use the stylus to draw, scribble, colour-in and create shapes. That touchscreen is fairly responsive, but a some options - especially where the buttons are small - required a few repeated jabs of a little finger. At the end of the day though there were certainly no complaints.

So, this is a pretty decent gadget for kids and sits comfortably in the 'not a pretend toy-not a full sized tablet' market. The physical buttons are the key thing here, and although the InnoTab 3S lets children practice with a touchscreen (something most adults now use every day), there is a still a lot of button-smashing fun to be had.


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