Top critical review
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Not up to the advertised claims
on January 7, 2015
As a kid (more years ago than I care to admit) I played with the Phillips electronics set; it came with multiple values of resistors, capacitors, inductors, a few transistors, switches, and wires, instructions to make about 30 different circuits and a booklet which explained how and why things worked. That set has been off-the-market for ages, so reading that this set allows a child to build 100 circuits made me curious. I bought it for my kids and after opening the box had to realize that it is just advertising hoopla.
Your reaction to this set will depend on what you expect. If you are pleasantly surprised at connecting a few terminals and having something that works, this is the toy for your child. If you hope it will teach at least elementary electronics, you (like me) will be disappointed
I will list first the positives:
1) my 9-years-old child took to it like fire to straw; in the first 24 hours since opening the box (including one full day of school) he has blazed without help through about 2/3 of the projects, and shows no sign of getting bored. The 6 years old one, instead, shows no interest.
2) all components worked
3) the molded-plastic box liner helps keep the pieces neatly organized and identify what might have been dropped on the floor and risks being forgotten at the end of the play session.
And for the negatives:
1) There are maybe 15 basic circuits here, and multiple variations on each one. Example: a circuit will allow you to turn on a light by clapping your hands, and another circuit will allow you to start a siren by clapping your hands. The manufacturer counts those as two different circuits, even though the only (minuscule difference) is using as output the light bulb vs. the speaker component. Do not expect anywhere near the level of fun that "over 100 exciting projects" could provide.
2) Most of the elements provided are (really) just a glorified piece of copper wire of various lengths. There is two IC, a couple switches, an input and output unit each for sound and light, a DC motor, a battery holder; the rest could be replaced with unbent paperclips, and nobody would be the wiser. For over $20 I would have hoped to get more than a couple dollars' worth of components.
3) The instructions are erector-set-like: you are vaguely told what the circuit is supposed to do and given a picture representation of what it should look like. There is no discussion/explanation of why it should work as planned, or what each component does. The one control IC is provided in a sealed opaque box with unlabeled terminals and no description of what other circuitry might be embedded inside the plastic case.
4) The microphone is extremely insensitive. On circuits which are triggered by sound you get better/faster/repeatible response by hitting the IC component that by making noise near the sensor (microphone).
Summary: out-of-the box this seems a construction set (think Lego City) with electricity. If left alone with the toy a child will learn how to connect the pieces and follow instructions, and little more. A child left with the toy will not understand electricity and electronic any better than a child without the toy unless he/she has also access to a DMM or (preferably) an oscilloscope and a relative showing what happens to the voltages and waveforms when different terminals are connected on the ICs .
I would definitely recommend this toy before a playstation, but want to believe there are better products out there.