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294 of 306 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon February 12, 2011
We tested 20 different "laptop" toys this Christmas, including several of the Discovery Kids laptops. They all have slightly different games, but they are all essentially the same. In fact, most of them get their LCD screens & game chips from the same manufacturers, so just the packaging is different.

But, we discovered something that surprised us even: Many of these games are recycled from 30 years ago! We have what's called a "V-Tech Smart Start Advantage" (1980, bought it at a garage sale for 25¢), and it has some of the exact same games!

So, two things every consumer needs to know about these laptop toys:

#1) Despite the packaging (whether the toy looks like a laptop, an iPhone, etc), these LCD screen toys are old technologies that don't change, but are being repackaged to look more modern. I predict they will soon repackage the same thing to look like a Kindle, e-book reader, iPad, etc. But it's the same toy from the 1980's.

Which leads to #2: This product is recommended for 6 years+. HOWEVER, if your child has ever seen a REAL laptop, Wii, iPhone, etc., they will get bored with this in 30 seconds. In other words, by the time they're old enough to use the educational games, they will have outgrown the technology. Let me be perfectly clear: If your 4, 5, or 6 year old is tech savvy, they WILL get bored with this. My 5-year-old nephew spent exactly FIVE SECONDS with this, then went back to his train set.

I actually recommend this product for 9-36 months (and give it 3½ stars for that age range). Here's why:

I've already said our 30-year-old V-tech does essentially the same thing. But we were drawn to the Discovery laptop anyway because it looks like a realistic laptop. We have a 12-month-old, and when mommy & daddy are working on laptops, she wants one too!

So please FORGET about this toy for the intended audience (6+), and I will continue with the review assuming it's for a toddler:
========

PROS:
- The Discovery laptop has a real keyboard, with the tactile "stroke" of hitting real keys, which most other toys (including our 1980's V-Tech) do not have. And it has a fake mouse, a fake touchpad, etc., which make it look and feel like a real laptop. Perfect for our 12-month old.

- Also, we like the black/white LCD screen (instead of a real computer screen) because there's no radiation, and full color computer screens mess with brain chemistry levels in children. So it's a healthier/safer option for kids. And they can run on very low energy (just 2 AA batteries).

- It has 64 games, which is nice, even though our daughter will outgrow it before she will understand most of the games. One of the games is musical instruments, so each key represents a different instrument - bagpipes, steel drum, french horn, oboe, etc.

- The screen pivots, which is a neat feature but I can already tell the hinge will wear out fast. And the speakers/sound level is great - impressive, actually.

CONS:
- No AC adapter (2 AA batteries).

- Does not turn off automatically when closed. It does, however, time-out after 5 minutes.

- The LCD screen is temperature sensitive - you cannot see it in cold weather. The screen is dim to start with, and if the batteries are low it will fade quickly. And it's small (2" x 4.25"). Please be aware of this, as some of the product photos are a bit misleading - 2x4" is just barely larger than a credit card.

BOTTOM LINE:
We ended up buying the Discovery Kids Laptop at Bed Bath & Beyond on clearance ($9.99 + $5.00 off coupon + $5.00 gift card = our final cost of 4¢). The price was right for us! I realize that the current price point on Amazon for these kids laptops (regardless of brand) is $30-$60, but I personally believe the price point should be $10-$20.

It's chinsy, but our 12-month-old is happy with it.
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66 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2011
Update! Over a year later (11/11/2012) and this laptop still works just fine! I've only replaced the batteries once or twice (occasional use, not daily). I think my son will still enjoy this a year from now. :)

It seems my son's goal in life is to destroy my laptop at any means possible lol, so I purchased this laptop (used) in the hopes it would distract him from mine. It does exactly what I purchased it for, distract him, and now my laptop can sit here without fear of being crushed, thrown, hit, all those great things that rowdy little boys love to do. I'm not sure how it would work for older kids who want to actually play the games on it. My son is 19 months old. I was thinking of attaching shiny mirrors and/or stickers to the area without a screen so it would look even more like a laptop, but I haven't had the need to. The keyboard is just like a real one. The mouse can be unplugged and is great for swinging around lol. There is a music button that plays a song over and over, and you can change the songs by pressing it again. It turns itself off after a few minutes of not being used. Only slight downfall when using it this way is that it's hard for a baby to open. You have to pull down on a button on top to open it. I put brand new batteries in the day I got it and it hasn't died or slowed down at all. I'm very happy with this and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to give their toddlers a real looking laptop to play on.
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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon February 12, 2011
We tested 20 different "laptop" toys this Christmas, including several of the Discovery Kids laptops. They all have slightly different games, but they are all essentially the same. In fact, most of them get their LCD screens & game chips from the same manufacturers, so just the packaging is different.

But, we discovered something that surprised us even: Many of these games are recycled from 30 years ago! We have what's called a "V-Tech Smart Start Advantage" (1980, bought it at a garage sale for 25¢), and it has some of the exact same games.

So, two things every consumer needs to know about these laptop toys:

#1) Despite the packaging (whether the toy looks like a laptop, an iPhone, etc), these LCD screen toys are old technologies that don't change, but are being repackaged to look more modern. I predict they will soon repackage the same thing to look like a Kindle, e-book reader, iPad, etc. But it's the same toy from the 1980's.

Which leads to #2: This product is recommended for 6 years+. HOWEVER, if your child has ever seen a REAL laptop, Wii, iPhone, etc., they will get bored with this in 30 seconds. In other words, by the time they're old enough to use the educational games, they will have outgrown the technology. Let me be perfectly clear: If your 4, 5, or 6 year old is tech savvy, they WILL get bored with this. My 5-year-old nephew spent exactly FIVE SECONDS with this, then went back to his train set.

I actually recommend this product for 9-36 months (and give it 3½ stars for that age range). Here's why:

I've already said our 30-year-old V-tech does essentially the same thing. But we were drawn to the Discovery laptop anyway because it looks like a realistic laptop. We have a 12-month-old, and when mommy & daddy are working on laptops, she wants one too!

So please FORGET about this toy for the intended audience (6+), and I will continue with the review assuming it's for a toddler:
========

PROS:
- The Discovery laptop has a real keyboard, with the tactile "stroke" of hitting real keys, which most other toys (including our 1980's V-Tech) do not have. And it has a fake mouse, a fake touchpad, etc., which make it look and feel like a real laptop. Perfect for our 12-month old.

- Also, we like the black/white LCD screen (instead of a real computer screen) because there's no radiation, and full color computer screens mess with brain chemistry levels in children. So it's a healthier/safer option for kids. And they can run on very low energy (just 2 AA batteries).

- It has 64 games, which is nice, even though our daughter will outgrow it before she will understand most of the games. One of the games is musical instruments, so each key represents a different instrument - bagpipes, steel drum, french horn, oboe, etc.

- The screen pivots, which is a neat feature but I can already tell the hinge will wear out fast. And the speakers/sound level is great - impressive, actually.

CONS:
- No AC adapter (2 AA batteries).

- Does not turn off automatically when closed. It does, however, time-out after 5 minutes.

- The LCD screen is temperature sensitive - you cannot see it in cold weather. The screen is dim to start with, and if the batteries are low it will fade quickly. And it's small (2" x 4.25"). Please be aware of this, as some of the product photos are a bit misleading - 2x4" is just barely larger than a credit card.

BOTTOM LINE:
We ended up buying the Discovery Kids Laptop at Bed Bath & Beyond on clearance ($9.99 + $5.00 off coupon + $5.00 gift card = our final cost of 4¢). The price was right for us! I realize that the current price point on Amazon for these kids laptops (regardless of brand) is $30-$60, but I personally believe the price point should be $10-$20.

It's chinsy, but our 12-month-old is happy with it.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2011
This thing and all Discovery Kids stuff is so cheaply made, it will break quickly, even with proper non-abusive use. And, if you don't buy directly from their store, they will not honor the warranty.

Save you money and look for something better quality to buy your kid.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2013
My son got this toy for his 7th birthday last night and I already want to throw it out the window. There is no way to turn the sound off, and the lowest volume setting is too loud! I can hear the annoying, repetitive music all over the house.

On the bright side, my son LOVES this laptop and is memorizing the multiplication tables as we speak.

The screen is only a small LCD, a fraction of the size it would be on a normal laptop, but that does not bother my son at all.

If I can convince him that the device needs a speaker-ectomy, I may be able to live with this toy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2013
simply the best toy i have bought for my 5yr old daughter; she carries it with her everywhere its definitely the best. its helped her recognize letters and sounds its made a very good impact in her grades~~~~~~~~~~~~ thank you, thank you, thank you~~~~~~~
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2011
I bought this computer for my 7 year old daughter and she likes it though it is a little dry and repetitive. For the price it suits her needs to play some education games on a 'real looking' laptop.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2013
My 6yo son received this as a very late Christmas gift from my aunt and uncle. He was very excited about it at first and played with it quite a bit. He can read really well (3rd grade level) and is learning to type, but even for him it was difficult to understand what to do. Most of the games are spelling and word games or cheesy 1980's type LCD games where you move a block around the screen. The word games are extremely difficult for a kid that can't spell too well and is just in first grade, despite his advanced reading ability. They are things like, flash a black and white outline of a country (e.g. Mexico) on the screen for a second and then ask the kid to spell it's name (M E _ _ C O - fill in the missing letters). He barely understands geography, let along being able to identify a country from an image flashed on the screen for a second. It doesn't even stay on the screen while he has to spell the word. Other games were slightly science related (which planet is farther from the sun). All of the games required a pretty advanced ability to read. And the screen is tiny, about the size of a business card, and antiquated black on gray LCD that is very difficult to see even under good lighting conditions. And the screen barely stays in an upright position; it keeps falling flat.

Despite all of that my son did enjoy it immensely (after being out for a while he'd come running to it to 'see what updates happened' while he was away - yes his parents are a little too addicted to social networking =) and he really enjoyed the games he was able to figure out and play. But I think it would be of limited interest to younger kids (4-7) because of the need to be able to read and spell and not really interesting to older kids (7-10) because of the antiquated technology used - it's 2013, kids expect larger screens, color displays, and better than 4bit b/w graphics!

But it's all a moot point now. Less than a week after he got it and it does absolutely nothing now. We opened it on Sunday evening and by Thursday morning it was kaput. He's disappointed, but I think he'll get over it. I just wish it didn't break before the novelty of it wore off. =(
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2011
Grand Daughter has been dragging this thing around for months now. It seems to be standing up to the attention. I was skeptical of the quality when I installed the batteries and started it up but my concerns were unfounded. I have spent more money for less satisfaction so I have no complaints.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2013
I had seen an ad for this product and thought that it might be a fun thing for the great grands. While in a store saw it for $19.99, and bought it, brought it home, opened it, put in the batteries, turned it on. What a disappointment!

The screen is tiny, but what is worse is that you can't see what is on the screen that is black and white.

The sound was good, but the product is useless and is going back to the store.

The product would be OK for a 9 - 12 month old who wants to "use" a computer, but for anyone older, forget about it as it is a piece of junk!
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