Ben has been trying out the new VTech DigiGo – billed as “the hand held smart device for kids”. Now Ben has his own android tablet which he got for his birthday and I wasn’t convinced he’d be all that bothered by the DigiGo if I’m honest but hey, a screen’s a screen when you’re six and, much like his daddy, Ben loves all things tech.
The VTech DigiGo setup is a little bit of a faff if I’m honest. These days we’re all used to tech which is just ready to go fresh from the box and having to mess about plugging the DigiGo into my laptop surprised and frustrated me. Luckily Ben was feeling pretty patient and wandered off to do something else whilst I downloaded software, set up an account on the VTech website and waited for firmware updates to be carried out.
The Learning Lodge should have opened automatically when I plugged the device in but for some reason that didn’t quite happen however it only took me a second to go to the website and go through the set up options from there.
I should have timed the set up but I didn’t think it would take quite as long as it did – I would estimate it probably took me about half an hour from getting the DigiGo out of the box and into Ben’s eager hands. If you’re looking to buy this as a Christmas or birthday gift I would suggest you get the set up out of the way in advance of the big day.
Although I was irritated by the need to plug the DigiGo into my laptop and follow the process to set it up, I should point out that it was all very easy and straight forward. Once you’ve set up a parent account with VTech you will be able to manage other VTech devices in your family from the same place.
I handed Ben the DigiGo and left him to it, he was more than happy to just investigate and explore the device without my help. I asked him to let me know if there was anything he didn’t like about it or if he found anything tricky but I didn’t hear another peep from him until I took it away because we had visitors! He picked it up again as soon as they had left so he was clearly keen to play!
What we love about it:
* The DigiGo is a good weight – it feels sturdy and substantial with it’s “protective anti-shock construction”
* The curved size are perfect for little fingers to get a good grip on the device
* You can add your own photo to the face of character of your choice to create your profile image- Ben spent ages playing around with this feature alone
* The VTech website is easy to navigate and full of features
* The DigiGo comes with two free apps and there’s plenty more to choose from on the website so you can keep the content fresh and exciting (though this does come at a price)
* The website specifies what age the apps are appropriate for
* App downloads require a password so no accidental or inappropriate purchases
* The touch screen is resistive so not as responsive as your average tablet screen (which is capacitive) but this is over come with the use of a stylus which Ben loved (I loved that you get a spare in the box!)
* Free messaging from the DigiGo to approved iPhone, iPod Touch and Android smartphones is a massive appeal to Ben – though we might not feel the same once he starts sending us reams of nonsense!
What we’re not so keen on:
* Set up takes a little while
* The DigiGo requires internet access and a PC / MAC to set it up
* Taking your photo is tricky, you have to get your face in the right position and Ben needed a little help with that
* The DigiGo claims to be pocket sized but I’m not convinced, it would be better in Mum’s bag
* You could easily spend a pure fortune on apps though there are a number of free ones to download and plenty for just a few pounds.
* The screen isn’t as sharp as your average phone or tablet but it’s certainly clear enough for Ben to be happy using it
Overall the VTech DigiGo is an expensive bit of kit but if it keeps your smartphone out of little hands then I think it might well be a worthwhile investment! Aimed at children aged 3 to 7 I think it sits well as a “first screen” for little ones, it certainly won’t take the place of Ben’s android tablet but it’s a great little extra and something which he’s more than happy to play with and I know his sisters will be keen if he gives them half a chance!
*Disclaimer – We were provided with the VTech DigiGo free of charge for the purposes of writing this review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*