Girltech’s Video Journal ($24.99) for girls (ages 6 and Up), is a modern day electronic version of the by-gone era of the ink pen diary; That’s were the similarities end because the video journal enables one to capture, customize and create a video or take still pictures using the video camera. All images are transferred via USB cable to your Windows 2000, XP or Vista computer (sorry Mac users). Operating the camera was a cinch, and the included software comes with an electronic as well as a hard copy installation and a “how to” operation manual that’s pretty straight forward for parents to follow. The video camera itself weights less than 1 ounce and includes a USB cable, a docking station, a lanyard and takes one AAA battery (not included). The design is elemental and basic at best (a brushed metallic paint on purple theme). The overall operation of the camera is very simplistic and easy at best; using the view finder to locate your source, and then pressing a button located on the right side of the camera for videos and another button located on top of the camera is used to snap conventional still pictures.
I found the included video journal software to be fun and loaded with so many cool templates. Also, I like the simplistic concept of dragging and dropping video and still pictures, and entering text is pretty straight forward with the ability to change the color and style of the font. I can see where this feature alone will provide kids a creative as well as a personal outlet in letting their personality and individuality shine through! Hence, the Video Journal is so much more because kids can write poetry, short stories, print cards, plan events in addition to making videos or taking pictures. Admittedly, I found myself spending a great deal of time playing with the video and print journal functionality (perhaps, that’s the child in me).
Also, other key features include the ability to print a hard copy of your journal, download photos and live videos right into your journal entries and using the “child safe” and friendly GirlTech site to interact with fellow Video Journal users.
Parents will enjoy the GirlTech site because no personal information is ever collected or exchanged with other users and all of the interaction between users is in the form of pre-selected questions and answers. GirlTech did an outstanding job with their FAQ (frequently asked questions) section, and their on-line tutorials are very informative and fun to watch!
I found the picture and video quality to be fairly clear for a camera of this low-end price point and the fact that it took a screw driver to unloosen the battery compartment for battery installation, is definitely a good safety feature of this device.
The GirlTech Video Journal will provide hours of fun and is affordable and will make an excellent holiday or birthday gift for any aspiring young shutterbug or writer!
The Good: Very affordable and it won’t break your budget, easy to operate, great software content that includes a myriad of templates and an excellent and safe site for children as well as feature rich interactive features that enables elemental drag and drop features of video and still pictures.
The Bad: No AAA battery is included and does not work with Macs.