Top positive review
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Try it before you buy it, currently available ONLY for iPad 2
on October 13, 2011
I downloaded the app, tested it out, and bought the cars. It is October of 2011. At this point, you may be thinking "Wait! Tested it out before buying the cars?" Yes, that is possible....up to a point. You can choose what the app instructions list as a " paper" car sample and follow the instructions. You'll be able to explore the app in depth, including racing games and various tasks which earn prizes. Want to know the pros and cons with the actual cars? Skip to the pros and cons section of this review.
I had a couple of kids test out the app since I knew they were likely to be tech savvy...and they were. This provided enough info to decide to purchase the actual cars. Of course, a simulation doesn't compare to holding and using the actual cars. But it is still a valuable way to know if your kids will remain interested in the Disney AppMates technology.
So before investing more money, I strongly suggest you download the app. And then there is the elephant in the room" question - what damage could a kid pressing on an actual toy car do to a very expensive iPad ? Hmmmmm....?
But if you can get beyond that, you might want to see if your kid can follow the directions and enjoy playing with this. Here are the pros and cons that helped us make our decision to purchase the cars:
1. The kids, ages 4 and 6, had plenty of fun playing with this very innovative app with the cars. They caught on to it more quickly than I did so I'm glad I didn't just go on my own experience. This truly takes the iPad 2 to a new level, great for taking on trips since most hotels and/or other locations are iPad friendly.
2. There are a variety of options and tasks. For example, follow instructions and you could "earn" a horn which is fun to honk. Or you could get some hub caps. Do they want to race against other cars in the app? That is possible, too.
3. The app caters to various skill levels and the graphics, road, and landscape are appealing. Other cars come along and talk to your car. Very cool. Plus, the app is free so that you'll only invest in the cars, etc.
4. Beginning "drivers" can have the cars move slowly. But they speed up when placed in the center of the screen.
5. There is a map where kids can choose spots to go and find out what possibilities and games exist there. Until they have tested out every area, there are plenty of options. Our kids didn't go through the options yet and they spent a long time with the cars and app.
6. Buy it now and if it is a hot holiday gift you'll luck out. Having watched popular toys disappear from stores -and not return till after Christmas - I know how prices can soar as parents scour other sites and pay big bucks to get the "perfect" and most desired gift for their kids. If you are one of those parents, consider getting the cars early.
1. Depending on a particular child's motor skills, keeping the car in the center of the screen could be hard. But it worked fine with the kids I knew, at least most of the time. But they did get frustrated. It is easy to keep ending up at the same places, hear the same animated sounds, etc. Yes, there is a map but even with that a kid can veer off the road and end up back at the same place as before.
2. Maybe obvious, but if you get this you'll have to share the iPad 2 with your kids and keep an eye on them. This is great if you're looking to interact with your kids in a fun way. And the cars are supposed to be safe for the iPad 2, at least when it comes to screen scratchies. But that doesn't mean your iPad may be out of all danger, not without vigilance while the kids are using it.
3. Risk to the iPad: True, the cars (so far) haven't scratched the screen but if kids run around the house with the iPad 2, there is a definite risk that they'll trip and drop the iPad. This could result in a shattered screen, even with a strong case around the iPad. So you need to have clear rules about when and how to use the app and cars. I also wonder what could happen if the kids get excited and press down hard on the screen or (gulp) hit it in frustration.
4. Although the current description at various sites describes this as available for the "iPad " the only app currently available-at least, that I could find- was for the iPad 2. This could change quickly but keep an eye on the apps before buying. You can easily find them.
Again, I suggest you check out the app, see what you think, watch your kids test it out and go from there. You'll be able to see and hear the sights and sounds and features better than can be described in this review. No substitute for as close to hands- on experience as you can get.
Then decide whether to invest money in the actual cars. We did buy them - but knowing the pros and cons ahead of time...and then after purchase. I hope this helps you make up your mind.