This is a fun toy and it is perfect for its target audience of 6-12. An adult or older child will need to help with initial setup, at least for younger kids, but once the setup is done (about 5-10 minutes), it is simple enough for a child to use.
What's In The Box:
* Electronic Journal holder (password activation and built in light)
* Small spiral notebook.
* 1 "invisible ink" pen.
* Instruction pamphlet.
The journal itself it not electronic. All your writing goes on a small journal which is a spiral notebook. This "journal" sits inside case. It is this case that runs on batteries and can be opened/locked electronically with a password.
The case is cute, it is pink with gray trim, and measures 11.25" high by 10" wide by 2" thick. It is made of plastic.
Out of the box, you need to remove a small plastic cover on the back of the case. For this you need a small Phillips head screwdriver. This reveals the battery compartment. Install three AA batteries (not included).
Once you put the battery compartment cover back on, you are ready to "program" the journal. There is one large button on the outside of the journal case. This opens the journal.
Inside the case you will the invisible ink pen and the spiral journal. Above these are a movable light arm and four buttons.
The four buttons control:
* Menu Button: Used to navigate through options, which are to record a greeting, record a password, record an alert, and record a sign-off message.
* Record Button: After you use the Menu button to reach your desired option, press `Record' when you are ready to record and a green light comes on to let you know it is recording.
* Light Button: Turns the light on and changes the light color. First the blue light comes on (to read what you write with the invisible ink pen). If you press the button again, the plain "white light" comes on for reading in the dark. The light is on a movable arm so you can rotate it over the journal and back again.
* Lock Button: This button sets your security level (password off, low and high).
How to use:
Open the journal and press the Menu button to create your recordings. You can record the greeting, alert, and sign off in any voice. For the password, you must use the voice of the little girl who will be using the journal. Once you set up the password, any time you want to open the journal you press the gray button on the outside. You will be prompted to speak your password. If you provide the correct password, in the right voice, the case will open
You can record a variety of ways. For example, I recorded my voice for my daughter's journal, with a greeting of "Hello Kyleigh", and a sign off of "Goodbye, your journal has been secured." The alert plays when someone tries and fails on two attempts to access the journal password. For this my daughter recorded "Hey mind your own beeswax!"
As far as password options, you can choose `Off' which means that anyone can open the journal case by pressing the gray button on the case. If you choose `Low' the password can sometimes be used by other people (I had my older daughter try to mimic my 10 year olds voice and she was able to access the password, as their voices are close enough. If you select `High' the password is a bit more secure, but your child has to remember to say the password as close to the same as possible each time, or the journal may not open.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you choose the Low option and decide to change to High, you MUST re-record your message BEFORE you close the journal. Otherwise it is very unlikely that your password (recorded under low option) will be recognized. It's not the end of the world, you can always reset the device with the button on the back, but then you need to re-record all your greetings.
Once open, you can open the journal notebook, remove it from the case, etc. The invisible ink pen works well. You write on a page and don't see what you wrote at all, but using the blue light reveals your writing in white text. The regular light is bright enough for reading at night. The journal pages are white and unlined. I would have preferred lines on the pages.
There is also a "secret compartment", which is a recessed part of the case which you will see if you remove the journal notebook. The recess is large enough for a girl to put a few small keepsakes in it.
I have had no problems with the passwords working and the device opens and shuts as expected. I think any young girl who is at an age to have her own "private diary" is going to love this, and the ability to feel she has her password on it, etc.
My lone knock on this is that the journal (the spiral notebook) has 50 pages in it (25 sheets of paper front/back), so if your daughter does any writing at all, you'll need a replacement in no time. Plus you really can't use the left-hand side of the pages unless you take the notebook out of the case, as there's no good writing surface beneath the left pages when the journal is open. As younger kids write large and like to doodle, you may need a replacement in short order. The notebook is about 6" tall x 4" wide.
Overall, a decent toy. I think just about any girl interested in a little journal would like it.