Most helpful critical review
294 of 306 people found the following review helpful
We've tested all the Discovery Kids Laptops. Essentially a 30-year old game, repackaged. *NOT* for ages 6+
on 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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.