Back in February we got a hands on with the VTech Flip which has since been renamed the VTech V.Reader. Basically a Kindle for kids! Aesthetically the device hasn’t changed at all, but it’s name. The same animated e-reading system is still intact and recently it was finally launched in stores. I’m sure many of you have seen the commercials for it.
Well when we saw it originally, we anticipated VTech having a hit on their hands but with the iPad making its debut momentarily we were concerned that maybe it would hinder the success of the VReader, but alas it hasn’t and kids really do love it! Instead of testing it out myself I handed it over to my resident kid reviewer ‘Billy’ to review the device along with his cousins who range in ages from 3 years to 7 years old – under Mom’s supervision of course. VTech VReader is lightweight, user-friendly and educational. The kids enjoyed using it and didn’t get frustrated. The VTech Reader is designed well and has a screen that displays a good quality picture and the size of the words make it easy reading as well. The speed of the stories, games and other activities is at an appropriate pace for this age group. It is durable, easy for them to maneuver and to set up on their own. Our 3 yr old reviewer needed extra guidance but understood the concept once she got the hang of it.
Both the touchscreen and pen were easy for them to use and worked very well. Just one slight touch and they were good to go. The narrator for each of the stories, activities and instructions also spoke clearly and at a consistent pace for the kids to follow along. This is important for keeping kids interested, so it makes it easy for them to work the reader on their own.
Another nice touch of the VReader is the ability to connect to the internet via your computer, you can download and save items to the ‘backpack,’ which is a feature on your VReader that lets you download stories from the internet via the VTech website. You can also print out achievement certificates which is a wonderful tool for parents to do for kids. Kids love to be rewarded.
Each one of the kids had their own opinions. Jacinta, our youngest of the reviewers at 3 1/2 years old and is just learning her letters and sounds liked listening to the stories, it captivated her. She also enjoyed the games with some assistance, it got her thinking.
Darby who is 7 years old, loved to challenge herself, with the hardest level games in addition to reading along with the stories. Being that she was older and loved to read already on her own, we thought she may be to advanced for this type of device but she was very engaged in it and enjoyed using it.
Lastly Billy, who is 7 years old and doesn’t like to do school related work, thought the games were the best part but also enjoyed all the activities while not realizing he was learning. Ah educational trickery at its best! Also Billy plays around on a laptop already as well as builds fortresses out of LEGO’s and yet he too was able to be blindsided by a fun reading device. Billy and Darby loved the idea of connecting to the computer to download items. They also liked the dictionary section that gave the meaning of the words in the story.
The VTech VReader is a great device ( kid tested) that is educational, durable, and makes a great travel companion. There are lots of fun things to do with it and with the ability to connect it to the computer and download additional stories – not just the store bought ones, it makes it a device that has some longevity within this age group. Billy’s mom found it to be engaging and educational and helped encourage Billy to do more reading, when he may not have wanted too. She also found it more educationally valuable and easier to use than other learning toys/tools that she purchased in the past.
Now certainly it doesn’t have the level of interactivity that the iPad has and as far as longevity once you get past 7 years old – you are pretty much pushing its lifespan. But for the price, you are getting an interactive E-Book reader for your children that is colorful, smart, and will engage little kids till they are ready to take that next step. My one issue is that the cartridges could be a little cheaper. Currently they retail for $19.99 and many of them are of well known Disney characters. However, if you buy three, it’s the same price of the V.Reader! The VTech V.Reader retails for only $59.99, so if your child drops it or gets it wet, it won’t be as painful as if it where your Kindle or iPad that just got ruined.
The Good: Good display. Educational, engaging, and durable. Just advanced enough technologically to hold a child’s interest. Introduces kids to a QWERTY touchscreen ( which I’m sure many have seen already). Large Library of E-Book cartridges to choose from. Priced right.
The Bad: E-Book Cartridges could be a bit cheaper. V.Reader doesn’t have much longevity once your child hits 7 or older.