Customer Review

317 of 330 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just a few additional comments for clarification, September 14, 2011
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: FIJIT Friends Willa Interactive Toy (Toy)
First off, many reviews said the toy FIJIT Friends Willa Interactive Toy didn't respond properly until the batteries were replaced. It's hard to see, but this is written on one side of the box about the 5 installed AA batteries that come in the toy: "for safety purposes [the installed batteries] are for demonstration use only". I take that to mean they are not regular batteries and will, by design, discharge rapidly. This is to prevent the batteries leaking and damaging the battery box in the toy if it sits on the shelf for a time. That would also serve to prevent getting toxic stuff on little (or big) fingers. The toy did start malfunctioning after less than an hour of use with the original batteries. Replacing them made everything work perfectly again. With the original batteries, some of the actions like the dancing, didn't work and even though I knew the battery situation beforehand, I thought they'd last a bit longer than what they did so I initially thought the toy was defective.

Expect to change the batteries right off. Since it takes 5 batteries, a couple big AA battery 10 packs may well be worth adding to the toy when you purchase it. I haven't had it long enough to see how long battery life is. For the eco-aware, maybe rechargeables and a charger would be the way to go. Just get enough so one group can be charging while the others are installed. Expensive, yes, but probably the right thing to do.

I didn't find the toy excessively loud as some complaints about a lack of volume control implied. It may be distracting if you were watching TV and someone was sitting right next to you playing with it. But, in another room or any distance away and you aren't going to hear it unless you you are trying to listen for it and are just looking for nit-picks to dislike the toy. There are regulations in place that govern audio levels for most consumer products. Well, except for the double volume TV commercials far too many networks play even though that is against FCC rules.

Some things the toy says are very hard to understand at first. It speaks in a voice that mimics an auto-recorder- that device that adds an electronic almost robotic effect to voices that is popular among some recording artists. It took some time to figure out everything Willa was saying. The difficult to understand become clearer after careful listening. After you know what it says it gets easier to understand.

This was requested by an 11 year old girl for a birthdat present so I'll see how long it keeps the "cute and cool" factor going. I'll post back on any other developments.

FOLLOW-UP

After the toy was in use for a month it now sits on a shelf collecting dust. After all the jokes have been heard several dozen times, after all the other responses, comments, dances, and everything else the toy does was had been repeated so much there were no more surprises, the girl lost interest in this toy. It took slightly less than two weeks. It was a lot of fun when she first got it and she probably saw and heard everything it could do or say within the first couple days. Then there were a couple days of showing it off. Then it wasn't as much fun and I dare say she was even getting annoyed with it. Because it has a rubbery skin and you can feel the hard parts underneath it, it isn't a cuddly kind of toy where it's something a kid would carry around to snuggle with. It reminds me of the type of rubber skin that would be prone to dirt and grime from dirty fingers sticking ot. Instructions say it can be washed with a detergent-free moist cloth. The curly things pull off and there is an optional set of things that can replace them. They must be purchased and ordered spearately, of course. FIJIT Friends Willa Accessory Pack

When I told her that there are supposed to be downloads available at some point with new material, the girl sighed and said it would only end up being boring again after a short time. On that note, I haven't looked too closely but I don't know if there is a port or any connection point for a cable. Right now just how this update process works is still a mystery. There is nothing in any of the instructions or 'how to' sheets that shows much about it. The planned updates are mentioned, but that's the extent of it.

So far, I haven't been able to locate any update site but that doesn't mean there isn't one. I just haven't found it yet.

There was no problem with the toy responding as long as it was commanded with a normal, clear voice. Shreiking or yelling at it didn't cause any response or an incorrect one. As an adult, I did find some of its actions amusing and I did laugh out loud over some antics. I still never found it too loud. Again, it was a gift for an 11 year old girl. In terms of the content of the jokes and much of its other interaction I think from 9 up would be the appropriate ages for kids to 'get' the jokes. I think they may be a bit much for younger kids to understand but the rest of the actions are fairly younger kid safe. The dancing and rest would definitely be amusing to younger ones and probably the younger the recipient is, the longer before boredom with it sets in.

I asked the girl if after she had it for a month and had grown tired of it if knowing what it said and did if she would still want it again or gotten something else of equal monetary value. Without hesitation, she said "Something else."

Addition again: One person commented then deleted it but had a valid point. I did rate Willa with 4 stars, but because it was a neat concept and it certainly was amusing. But, the luster wore off very quickly. Despite having asked a dozen or more times for the recipient to bring it back so i could test the extras as i outlined in my follow up, but she's so disinterested in it that it's a forgotten item in her life all together. If she still does show up with it, I will follow through. Right now, her not even wanting to do that speaks volumes.
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Comments

Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 28, 2011 11:32:51 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2011 1:29:43 AM PST
J. Hand says:
Just in case anybody was following my review of Fijit Willa, I added a follow-up at the end of my original review. The comments are my thoughts and observations after about a month after the toy was given. When stuff is added to the original review, notices don't get sent out to subscribers. Only additional comments as separate responses get notices sent out. So that's why I wrote this additional comment to let any subscribers know I added some additional information to the original review and another set of follow-up comments here. I hope my write-up helps.

I also did finally locate the Willa update page. Here's the link that you'll have to copy and paste in a web browser: http://www.fijitfriends.com/products.aspx On the right side is a button that changes from 'Have a Fijit friend?' to 'Secret Extras' to 'Videos'. Click the button and it will take you to the page that unlocks other things the Fijit will do.

You'll see some buttons shaped like flowers on the right. Last time i looked there were 2 groups of 4, 4 for jokes and 4 for dances. You put Willa in the 'program' mode by pushing a button or something- it's in the instruction book and everything is described and explained on the web page you opened. How it works is when you click on the flower your computer will produce a high pitched tone that Willa 'hears' and it unlocks new jokes and routines already programmed inside her.

She has to be within 20 feet of your computer and your computer's volume must be turned up loud enough for it to be picked up by her 'hearing'. It may take a few tries until you get placement and volume figures out. The unlocks appear to be free and new ones are going to be periodically added.

So far I haven't done it because the girl who got it doesn't show any interest in the upgrades. So, I don't know if the extra jokes, etc. stay unlocked and are added to Willa's abilities or if they are only temporary and go away after turning her off. It may be that they need activated every time which I really can't see. Common sense would say once on, they stay on. I also don't know if the new material adds onto the old material or replaces it. If it means that the new material only works after being enabled by a computer generated tone and goes away after turning the toy off, that is a big down-side for this toy. I have to believe it permanently enables extra actions which may prolong the interest in the toy.

When and if I finally try it, I will post back with the results.

Other than that, the toy still works fine. I still don't think it is too loud. Battery life isn't too bad but lots of dancing wears them down faster as can be expected.

Stay tuned!

Posted on Nov 13, 2011 11:06:13 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 23, 2012 4:23:27 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2011 7:45:17 PM PST
Sharon Nagel says:
Thank you for all the time you spent on the research, I will look for another toy for my 6 year old Grandaughter.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2011 3:47:38 PM PST
pta student says:
reaffirms my stance to not purchase this toy! thanks for the great and insightful review.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2011 9:07:17 AM PST
Charlotte says:
Thank you so much for your review. I would have bought two of these. I priced them online and found a price range of $39 to over $70 but thanks to your very informative review, I will not purchase them just yet. I definitely would not pay over $39 for this toy.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2011 5:58:54 AM PST
K. Hopper says:
Thank you so much for this review. I have a 9 yr old daughter who has this on her wish list and I had visions of this toy doing the exact same thing "sitting on the shelf collecting dust!" Now I can focus on something that she can enjoy for years to come, like a new bicycle. Once again, thanks for taking the time to keep the post updated and us parents informed on one of this year's "hot toys"!

Posted on Dec 2, 2011 11:06:04 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 2, 2011 11:06:33 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2011 11:17:18 AM PST
J. Hand says:
I saw the price went up to over $70.00 as of a day or so ago.

Posted on Dec 4, 2011 9:13:02 PM PST
J. Riley says:
I appreciate the thorough review. I think I have referred to it several times as this item is one of my 9 year old daughter's top 3 things she wants for Christmas. I am spinning the wheel of chance by purchasing Willa. I was able to find it on sale for under $40 which definitely helps alleviate some of my hesitation in buying it in the first place. AND Sometimes the true joy and delight on her face outweighs the fact that it may become a long forgotten toy in a few short months. My saving grace is that I can hand it down to her little sister or cousin eventually. Thanks again for the link to the update page. I hope it adds to the longevity of the toy.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2011 8:51:02 AM PST
MustangBon says:
Hi, I wanted to say what a comprehensive and helpful review you left for this toy! It was wonderful of you to do so to help others to know what to expect. Thank you!
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