This is a follow-up to my original and brief hands-on with the VTech InnoTab, an entertaining, engaging, teaching and learning tablet for children ages 4-9.

I first reviewed this worthy and customarily excellent VTech product this past August. Now, having lived with it since that time, I am pleased to report that others have taken notice and InnoTab is quite popular with moms everywhere, but not every mom . . . yet!

It’s an $80 tablet with many technologies similar to those in mom and dad’s expensive tablet- tilt and touch sensors, apps, and much more.  Its fun factor cannot be overstated.

Let me insert here that while I have not found InnoTab at a discount, I see that it is currently selling for $79, with free shipping (and depending upon where you live, no tax) from Amazon, also available in pink.

Watching children of the target age shows that VTech knows what they are doing.  Their little faces light up.  It is as if they are born with the knowledge of how to use one of these.  They seem to intuitively know to swipe a finger, to click around, tilt as needed and to use the stylus to select objects and cause actions.

For example, using the Pinball Letters game, young’uns (or parents) select the level of difficulty and proceed to use the tilt sensors to move though a maze toward the “hole” to add letters and complete a word.

Using Color & Pop, little users choose colors from the right of the screen, and then touch an area of outline drawings filling in the area contained within the borders of each portion of the cartoon-like image.  Once as many or as few areas are completed, as per the user’s intent, a click of an icon animates the completed cartoon. I’ve watched how children smile at completion of this activity.  Then, like reading a book to your child who says at the end, “Again!” the little scholar repeats and delights and amuses him or herself all over again.

Used to its most robust built-in capabilities, children can take notes, use the calendar by adding built-in stickers or making notes about dates. There is a useful calculator, clock and so much more.

Inserting an SD card in its slot allows video and photo viewing, to the delight of the audience!  Photos may also be used as wallpaper. Pictures and video, properly formatted as per instructions, are placed on the card through computer connection, then removed and inserted into InnoTab.

Interactive reading is another favorite activity observed.  One E-Book is included, with more available as part of optional multi-activity cartridges costing $25 each.

Music and children is always a good combination.  InnoTab can also play music from an inserted SD card, the music transferred by parents from a computer,  Controls are built-in for play, pause, etc.

InnoTab has proven to be so much more than what can be observed initially.  What I saw told me that the product is even more of a bargain than I first thought.  There are so many capabilities built in and additional opportunities through optional software that it becomes clear how InnoTab grows with the child.

I could not help but smile broadly as I observed children interacting with InnoTab.

I see InnoTab as a perfect anytime gift.  Relatives in search of gifts for InnoTab owners can purchase cartridges to expand and extend usefulness throughout InnoTab’s useful life with that child.

With so much to love about this product, the ONLY thing worthy of additional note is battery life.  Figure about 10 hours on a set of four AA alkaline batteries.  You might be changing batteries quite regularly for a while.  As with any new toy, InnoTab is bound to see heavy use initially, during the “honeymoon” period.  Unlike most toys, however, InnoTab’s relationship with your child promises to be long and fruitful because it is so useful, just like a grown-up tablet.  Oh, yes, batteries.  Were I you, I would purchase them in bulk – I get Costco’s Kirkland AA batteries, about $11 for 48 of them.  See, another bargain for you!  If you are not a member, I hope you know one who will accommodate you and pick up a bulk pack for you.  If not, shop for the least expensive bunch that can be found. The name brands are just fine, but better deals on other brands are usually available with careful shopping.  In all my testing, all alkaline AA and AAA batteries are about the same, with little to distinguish one from another.  I know some folks are partial to a name brand, and that’s OK, too.

VTech continues to innovate and provide total fun and learning toys and games for children.

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