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Addresses Previous Version's Shortcomings ...,
= Durability: = Fun: = Educational:
This review is from: VTech InnoTab 2 Kids Tablet, Pink (Toy)
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I was impressed with the VTech's original Innotab because its common sense factor offset any shortcomings (when compared to its competitor, the LeapPad). The INNOTAB2 adequately addresses most all of the issues associated with its predecessor and presents itself as a more refined product with some "outside the box" add-ons that really make it shine.
For the second straight year, VTech and LeapFrog will present families with choice of a children's tablet computer for the holidays: the INNOTAB2 and the LeapPad2. Honestly, they are both great products and I feel they complement rather than rival one another. But, if given the choice between the second generation of these tablets, I would choose the INNOTAB2 because LeapFrog seems geared towards creating an iPad for kids whereas VTech's approach is to simply offer a kid's tablet ... the design between the two sets them apart more than anything. The INNOTAB2 is a fully functional tablet device that is designed to appeal to kids and more importantly, handle all the toy abuse a typical kid delivers.
Structurally, the INNOTAB2 is more refined and rugged than the original. By trimming the sides a little and making it somewhat thicker; the tablet grips more solidly, like a book rather than a magazine. The contoured rubber-bumper corners also feel more protective than those on the Innotab. The tablet comes with a stylus that again slides and snaps into the side. The stylus has been changed so that it is thicker with no pointed tip (like a crayon) and a backup stylus is included. A bar on the tablet offers a stylus tether option, but oddly, no tether was included. The INNOTAB2 includes an add-on cartridge that snaps to a slot on the side of the tablet. I liked the way the add-on cartridge is designed to snap flush with the side of the tablet and not protrude in any manner (another kid-proof feature). Other design aspects include a battery compartment with a smaller slide bar for access, rubber knobs underneath to prevent any scratching when placed flat on a table and, like the original, a solid plastic stand is integrated into the back of the case.
The "guts' of the INNOTAB2 include 2GB of on-board memory (something that was missing in the original Innotab) with the capability of accommodating an external memory card of up to 32 GB ... more than enough. The processing speed at start-up is a little sluggish/slow, but the applications run smoothly. The lack of a camera on the original has also been addressed as the INNOTAB2 has a camera at the top with a lens that can be uniquely "rolled" to face the front or back for pictures and video. Button controls on the surface include: "on/off", "home", volume control and the camera. A "?" button triggers a quick and convenient "help" function. Software and a USB cable are included to allow computer/internet access. I found VTech's website a little cumbersome to navigate but eventually managed to download some programs to the tablet (the INNOTAB2 can accommodate any programs downloaded for the original Innotab, as well). VTech's Learning Lodge Navigator offers considerably more options now and the add-on cartridges include Dora, Hello Kitty, Disney, etc. The graphics, especially for a kid's toy, are surprisingly good.
Overall, I like the INNOTAB2 and all the improvements it includes. My only issue is that VTech will soon be rolling out a Wi-Fi version of this product, called the Innotab2S ...