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Review: The Skinny on the Vtech’s Innotab Just in Time for the Holidays

Vtech Innotab

I was so excited when my children received their Innotab. I could not wait for them to use their own tablets because I was ready to get my iPad back. If you are considering an Innotab for your child, I want to share with you how it works and what we think of it. As of today, we have had the Innotab for about 2 1/2 months. Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments section of this review.

WHAT I LIKE

1. 5″ Screen. At first the size sounded small, but it is the perfect size for children.

2. Rubber sides. Definitely discourage your child form dropping the unit, but my child have and the rubber sides help absorbs shock when the unit is dropped. So far the Innotab is still working well without any problems.

3. Tilt screen. Works in numerous directions, which is similar to the iPAD.

4. Stylus. Comes with a stylus, but it is not necessary for use. The stylus is not attached with a string so keep an eye out for it.

5. Headphones/earphone slot. Some parents hate noisy toys, but Vtech has given two solutions to remedy this problem. One remedy is volume control and the other is a built- in earphone slot so you can purchase headphones/earphones and let your children enjoy their toy without disturbing you.

6. SD card slot for memory expansion – I wanted the Innotab because it allowed children to download their own pictures, movies, and songs (.mp3) via an SD card. This feature is great; especially, if you don’t want to go out and purchase apps and games right away. Also, make sure that you insert your card into your innotab first and them move them into the folders that the Innotab creates otherwise your songs, videos, and photos will not be viewable on your Innotab. The SD card is inserted through the battery compartment on the back of the Innotab.

7. One year manufactures warranty. Just remember to keep your receipt and proof of purchase.

8. Easy Learning Path Set-up – If you are getting this for your child’s Christmas present, I recommend that you set it up before you wrap it and place it under your Christmas tree. Set up is simple as long as you follow Vtech’s prompts. I use a Mac and I didn’t have any compatibility issues.

9. Free V-coins – When I downloaded and registered my Innotab, I did not get any V.Coins. After further research I have found out that V.coins are a one-time gift that VTech provides when you register. You cannot earn V-coins for playing games.

10. Comes with built-in activities.

  • E-Reader – So far we have one book : “What’s That Noise.” The e-reader is wonderful because the books are interactive. Words are highlighted as they are read. Pages turn with a touch, similar to a tangible book. Touching objects in the picture makes the pages/objects come alive. There is also a built-in story dictionary, which helps children learn new words.
  • Games – We have two games: Pinball letters, and Ice Escape. Pinball letters helps children learn spelling, coordination, and strengthens their fine motor skills. The Ice Escape game teaches problem solving skills and is a fun game for younger children to play.
  • Art Studio – There are many fun tools children can use to change and create. Some of the tools are cars to make tire tracks, Picture stickers, rainbow swirls, a tube of butterflies, etc. This app is fun and amazing. So far it is one of my favorites. Your child will enhance his or her imagination and their creativity when playing this game.
  • Music and Video- The Innotab has only one song built-in, but you can add your own mp3 songs with your SD card (remember the songs have to be placed into a folder created by the Innotab). While the song is playing, the song’s name, remaining time, and a variety of geometric shapes and designs appear. Videos will need to be converted to .AVI format and then you can use the “File Manager” to upload it onto your card into a folder that was created by the Innotab.
  • Calculator – Typical calendar, but is useful to have around. Shake the tablet and the calculator’s numbers shake as well.
  • Notes – Perfect for older children, and for parents who would like to leave notes on it for their children. This is perfect for to-do list, reminders, and encouraging messages.
  • Color & Pop – Very similar to the coloring apps on other tablets. Works like an electronic coloring book.

Room For Improvement

1. Battery Usage. I first started using rechargeable batteries and I have to recharge them every day. With my rechargeable batteries I only get about 2/3 hours (at the most) of continual use out of the Innotab.

2. The back of the battery compartment is flimsy. After a week of use my children dropped the tablet and we have to tape the back close. I recommend that Vtech make the back screw driver accessible only or coin accessible so that children will have a harder time opening it and breaking it because they are constantly needing to insert new batteries when they get frustrated with the poor battery usage problems.

These are just a few of the activities and tools that the Innotab offers. The Innotab is perfect for long car rides, fun at home, and enjoyable activities while on vacation.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. However the Amazon links on my website are affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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49 Comments

  1. Jill

    December 21, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    You mention above the the music must be saved in an Innotab folder. Are you referring to a folder on your computer and then transfer music to there from an IPOD? I have tried several different things but can’t figure it out. I was successful with pictures but no luck with music. Thanks in advance for your input.

    Reply

    • elle

      December 26, 2011 at 7:04 am

      Hi Jill, I apology for the delay in responding. I took a blogging break for the holidays. If you still need to know how to put music on your child’s Innotab, I wrote the detailed instructions on this post http://cleverlychanging.com/2011/12/set-music-videos-childs-vtech-innotab/

      Please let me know if you find it useful. Happy holidays to you and your family and thank you for visiting my site.

      Reply

      • Jill

        December 28, 2011 at 10:23 am

        Thanks for the steps. I have done those things but when I browse it doesn’t pull anything up for me. I have done pictures, that works. I will keep trying some different options.

        Reply

        • elle

          December 30, 2011 at 12:18 am

          Your music files must be in MP3 format. I have updated my instructions above and will post a new visual tutorial tomorrow. Thanks for commenting!

          Reply

  2. kate

    December 25, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Its a pain in the ass!

    Reply

  3. Brandi

    December 26, 2011 at 9:30 am

    I have been having an issue w/ my child’s InnoTab freezing and in some cases will give an error message to check SD card and restart eventhough the SD card is already inserted. I seem to really only get that error msg when a game is inserted and have to remove the game and batteries and restart for normal start up. Is this normal or is there a work around or should I contact the manufacturer?

    Reply

    • elle

      December 27, 2011 at 6:59 am

      I have not experienced any problems with the Innotab we have. I recommend calling Vtech because it is possible that your memory is maxed out or your Innotab may be defective, but I have not heard of this particular problem. Vtech’s customer service number in the US is: 1.800.521.2010

      Reply

    • Jeff Cossey

      December 29, 2011 at 10:10 pm

      You might also try another brand of SD Card. I bought a cheap Sansa 8 gig card for under 20 and I have yet to have a issue.

      Reply

  4. ANDREW

    December 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Is there a way to create new folders on the sd and place songs into them. when mp3′s are transferred through the lodge the albums show up in a list format all together, no separate albums. i have tried creating new folders with the card direct in a laptop and transferring the mp3 folders in the same way but neither show up. i don’t want lists and lists of songs as this is confusing for my child, i want her to be able to choose her albums. please help if you can or if indeed this is possible. thank you

    Reply

    • Jeff Cossey

      December 29, 2011 at 10:11 pm

      I don’t think you can change the order or make albums for the MP3′. Maybe if enough people suggest this to VTECH then they can incoporate this in a firmware update?

      Reply

      • elle

        December 29, 2011 at 11:44 pm

        You can change the order, but you can’t make albums. I just tried. I have a follow-up youtube video coming up. Hopefully I can edit it and upload it by tomorrow. Thanks again for visiting!

        Reply

  5. Wendy

    December 27, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    My daughter loves this. She is five and got it for christmas and has been playing with it almost non stop since. She has even done a pretty good job of taking care of it, keeping track of the pen that goes with it and really enjoys the coloring and art studio app.

    Reply

    • elle

      December 27, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      That is great news! My girls love it too. It also sounds like you have a responsible daughter, which is excellent. Thank you for stopping by my site.

      Reply

  6. ANDREW

    December 28, 2011 at 9:57 am

    hello again, do you have any ideas elle. i have googled and googled

    Reply

    • elle

      December 29, 2011 at 10:05 pm

      I just checked and the Innotab is not capable of reading things in separate organized folders.

      Reply

    • elle

      December 30, 2011 at 12:21 am

      Tomorrow, I will post a visual. I have a MAC and I used Tune Converter to change my iTunes files into MP3 files. In the meantime, here are the Tune Clone instructions i used: http://mac.tuneclone.com/convert-itunes-to-mp3-on-mac.php. Thanks so much for your comment.

      Reply

  7. Jeff Cossey

    December 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    My Daughter has spent a lot of time with the innotab since Santa delivered it!
    On a good set of rechargeable batteries (not all are created equal) she can get at 4-7 hours out of them.
    I have put all of her MP3′s and converted all of her favorite youtube videos and converted a few of her shows, and it plays them all very well.

    We do not keep the screen set to the brightest, the 2nd or 3rd from the lowest seems to be just fine, this will help your battery life, as well as using some headphones.

    I do need to replace the backup battery as you have to set the time each time you change out batteries, and I assume this is the issue. The manual really doesn’t cover this at all.

    Overall it is a sturdy little tablet. The art studio is about the best you can find in this class of childrens tablet, much much faster than they leap pad, with many more options.

    Reply

    • elle

      December 29, 2011 at 9:05 pm

      Thanks for your comment Jeff, I agree with you 100% about the art studio. Thanks again for visiting my site!

      Reply

  8. tiffany

    December 28, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    My 6 yr old just got the innotab for christmas 3 days ago and already we are having issues with certain apps freezing up and when she tries to type in letters it enters the letter below the one she actually is clicking on. And not to mention we have changed batteries 3 times already ugh! For what this little toy costed i am very upset with it so far! And i am also having issues with getting music from my computer on the innotab. Any suggestions would be much appreciated! Thanks

    Reply

    • elle

      December 30, 2011 at 12:06 am

      Thanks so much for your comment. I haven’t had any freezing problems, but I did update my steps above, which I hope will help you add music. I plan to post a video tutorial tomorrow.

      Reply

    • The_Patriot

      January 8, 2012 at 10:06 am

      pull the Sd card out of the innotab tablet.
      put the SD card into your computer (the one where you keep MP3 files)
      browse to an MP3 file – right click and copy
      browse to the SD card.
      Open the folder you find there (LLN or something)
      if you DO NOT see a folder called “MUSIC”, create one.
      Paste your MP3′s into the music folder.
      when you re-start, make sure you don’t cancel the “build icons” startup routine.
      your mp3 files appear when you click the “Music” icon

      Reply

      • elle

        January 12, 2012 at 5:43 am

        Hi, thanks for sharing this. I had added this method in the comment section when someone shared that their learning lodge navigator wasn’t working correctly. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I hope you stop by again :-)

        Reply

  9. courtney

    December 31, 2011 at 5:25 am

    I just purchased an innotab for my daughter for christmas. Are there any free apps or games that you can download to it or exactly how do the vcoins work? we already used the 3 you get when you register it, can she earn more? And thanks for all the input on it, it helps to know things before hand.

    Reply

  10. Keisha

    January 1, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    My daughter is 4 and she got the innotab for christmas. She loves it the only problem I have is the battery issue. I am looking to purchase the tech recharaheable batteries it said they last about 8 hrs. I didn’t know if there were a better brand that you recommend getting.

    Reply

    • elle

      January 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      Hi, thanks for visiting my site. I mainly use rechargeable batteries for most of my children’s toys. I have not found a brand that I would rave over. Thus if there is a brand that says 8 hours, that is very impressive, because the rechargeable ones I currently use only maintain their charge for about 3-4 hours max. I just have several sets that I rotate and keep ready until they are needed again. What I have found though, is name brand batteries make a huge difference. The better the name, usually the better the performance. I hope this helps, if you buy them, please let us know if they work out well for you and the Innotab. I also would check to see if the batteries have a guarantee or manufacturers warranty attached to them. If so, they are probably great to try out.

      Reply

  11. Edugator

    January 3, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    This is an awesome toy! My 4 yr old daughter will not put it down and is amazing me at what she is able to navigate through and discover how to work. First I will share some of the things I have discovered and then at the bottom I have a question so hopefully someone can help me out as well!

    I don’t know if it has been mentioned but if you are using Itunes to import your music you can change the default setting to MP3. Just go to edit, preferences, import settings and change the default from AAC to MP3. Now when you import songs from a disc they will automatically be in MP3 format. It is a little more cumbersome if you purchased the desired songs from Itunes (or no longer have them on disc.) In that case, you would have to burn the AAC songs onto disc and then import them back into Itunes from that disc so that Itunes will convert them on the reimport. Strange, but it works and its easy with no need to download any additional programs.

    Converting the video files to AVI is a little trickier, mostly due to the fact my daughter’s movies on DVD are all copywrite protected. I have been able to do so using MACX DVD Ripper, but am not sure where to find this program as I got it from a friend. Its basically pirating software and there are similar ones out there for PCs. Otherwise you’re stuck with home movies and youtube vids. My daughter would rather watch Disney movies…For some unknown reason I have not been able to load these using the LLN, but I can navigate to the SD card and add them manually, which works just fine.

    In my experience with “rechargeable” batteries, very expensive and they too become consumed over time (much like your laptop or cellphone batteries.) For this reason I purchased the AC adapter for $10 at Toys R Us and it was well worth it. You can also get a car charger or power converter for your car and you should be good to go at home or on the road. My daughter hardly ever runs it off the batteries anymore!

    One important question I am trying to find the answer to is regarding earning more V. Coins. I have read that you can earn them by playing the games. My daughter has worked her way through the 2 games that were preloaded and two games we bought and she has yet to earn any additional coins. Can you indeed earn more coins or is this just a false rumor? If you can, does anyone know how to go about doing so or in which game you were able to do so? I do plug the Innotab in to visit the LLN once in awhile just to update progress but still no coins have appeared.

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply

    • elle

      January 5, 2012 at 9:01 am

      Thanks so much for all of the advice and wisdom you shared in your comment. As you mentioned, the adapter works great and is the most cost effective. My kiddos share their Innotab and don’t like to stay put, so for now the rechargeable ones are working well for us. As far as your question about V-Coins, I was told this is how it works, but after you raised the question I did a little more research and was told by VTech’s customer service department that you cannot earn V.coins so I will be correcting that information on my site. I did not get any V.coins when I registered so, I believed the other information I originally received.

      Vtech’s ans. “The V.Coins you get when registering your VTech toy are a special, one-time gift from VTech to help you build your content library. Once your V.Coin balance has been fully redeemed, you can still obtain more e-books, games, and learning apps using the cash payment option at check-out. You cannot purchase more V.Coins.”

      Reply

  12. christine

    January 4, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Hi All,

    We were going through batteries like crazy (about a set a day) and found the ac adapter at the store. I love it. I can just plug it in and the boys can play all they want. It was only $9.99 and works with all vtech toys

    Reply

    • elle

      January 5, 2012 at 8:50 am

      Thanks for sharing your comment. The adapter is a real money saver and easy to use too. Vtech also has a battery kit and car charger, because this tech device is not non-rechargeable battery friendly. Thanks for visiting my site, have you checked out my post about saving my for your child’s college tuition? If not, please do and tell me what you think about it. “How to Save For Your Child’s College Tuition Practically” – http://goo.gl/kneqC

      Reply

  13. keilla gandy

    January 4, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Can someone please help with any advice, this is my second Innotab that I have returned again for my 6 yr old son. I have had problems with the screen not being set correctly,eg, when he tries to click on an icon its will click a diffent i con, the batteries are not lasting I have Energizer max. Today I went a bought a 9 volt charger..to my surprise just a few mins ago, my son brought the tablet to me and it was making a very loud noise and will not stay on even with the charger..HELP!!!!

    Reply

    • elle

      January 5, 2012 at 8:46 am

      I have not experienced any of these issues and I am sorry that you are having a poor experience with the Innotab. I only have two suggestions, one is two consult the manual to see if their are any troubleshooting suggestion related to the problems that you are experiencing. Lastly, talk to customer service to see if they can provide any advice. Was the charger a Vtech brand one? Also, I do not recommend using regular batteries, I was told by customer service that their Vtech brand batteries provide about 6.5 hours of playing time. Sorry that I could not be of more help, but thanks for visiting my blog.

      Reply

      • tiffany

        January 5, 2012 at 8:54 am

        i would definetely NOT bother wasting an hour or more of your time calling customer service. My daughter’s innotab was doing all of the same things as your child’s so i called customer service and sat and waited for someone to answer for an hour and 10 mins and then it was a foreign guy that didn’t speak any english and all he said was ok i will take your number and have someone else call you to help you with your problem within 24 hours and that’s been well over a week ago and still haven’t gotten a call. I also emailed them and told them about the screen problems and it locking up and the reply email (which took a week) said please try rechargeable batteries…..duh! So they are by no means helpful!

        Reply

        • elle

          January 5, 2012 at 9:13 am

          Really, I am shocked they you were told someone would call you back. I sent a message to them via twitter when I could not get through to customer service by phone. I was then directed to send an email and I did get a response. I recommend emailing them. I will have to update my post with information they provided. #1 This is what they said about the batteries “The InnoTab is a high power consumption product. In general, non-rechargeable alkaline batteries should last approximately 4 to 5 hours. Please note that we also offer a power adapter that can be used in place of batteries and also a VTech rechargeable battery kit for use with the InnoTab. The rechargeable batteries should last about 6.5 hours. Both of these options are available to purchase on our website at http://www.vtechkids.com.” They also have FAQ page on their Facebook page, which answered a lot of my questions. http://dld.bz/aCaVt

          Reply

    • Kelli

      June 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      Keilla,

      Your InnoTab fried.

      This is because you used a 9 volt charger. The InnoTab requires a 7.5 volt ac adapter. Anything higher will pump too much power into your InnoTab, and it will basically do what you just described.

      This also breaks the warranty. I’m so sorry.

      Reply

  14. Taka

    January 14, 2012 at 6:19 am

    I have two children and I cannot seem to get the second innotab set up on learning lodge. Please help! I have uninstalled Learning Lodge and reinstalled. It just doesn’t seem to want to work.

    Reply

    • elle

      January 15, 2012 at 11:56 am

      Hi, thanks for visiting my site. I haven’t heard about this problem or experienced it, so I am not sure what the problem is. My first thought is maybe you have a newer version of Flash on your computer, but this game only supports the older versions. Is the other Innotab working correctly? There are some LLN (Learning Lodge Navigator) tips on Vtech’s Facebook page that may be able to help you with the problem you are having. https://www.facebook.com/notes/vtech-toys/learning-lodge-navigator-technical-issues-faqs/10150427099238414

      Reply

  15. Marie

    January 21, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Is it true that you should only use the VTech rechargable batteries in the Innotab? I am having a hard time finding the VTech rechargables and was wondering what kind of damage could be done if you use others?

    Reply

    • elle

      January 22, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      I have used other brands and I have not had any problems: the rechargeable batteries we have used are Duracell and CVS brands. The Duracell ones seem to last a little longer than the CVS ones. Thanks for visiting my site. Right now, I have a giveaway going on to win Funbites food cutters, I would love for you to enter for a chance to win. http://cleverlychanging.com/2012/01/funbites-review-and-giveaway/

      Reply

  16. Lisa

    January 26, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    My son has fine motor delays and I was looking at purchaing the vtech innotab. Do you know if there are apps for tracing letters either with the stylus or by touch?

    Reply

    • elle

      January 27, 2012 at 10:43 am

      Hi, No there are not any tracing apps that I saw. There might be some in the actual games they produce, but when I read the descriptions they don’t mention letter tracing. I have looked on Vtech’s site: http://www.vtechkids.com/brands/device_info/innotab but i didn’t find anything similar to what you are looking for. However, Vtech does have a tracing game for their V-smile cyber pocket, and their V.smile Pocket Learning Systems. The we game we have is called Alphabet Park Adventure.

      I also have one of their “Follow Me Writers”, I will try to do a review on it. That is solely a letter tracing game. It isn’t high tech but I have 3 year olds who are learning to write letters from using it. I think the best value would be the cyber pocket because it can even hook up to your TV for a bigger view.

      Reply

    • Melissa

      February 6, 2012 at 8:43 am

      There’s an app called Letter Pooch under Other. I haven’t tried it, but it says that it’s for tracing the letters.

      Reply

      • elle

        February 6, 2012 at 8:49 am

        Thanks Melissa, I didn’t see that one.

        Reply

    • elle

      February 6, 2012 at 8:48 am

      Hi, Melissa, one of our readers, says that their is one app called “Letter Pooch” that says it is for tracing letters.

      Reply

  17. Brian

    February 28, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    hi. I saw a few of you mention the freezing issue with the Innotab. I had the exact same issue with ours that we bought as an X mas present for our son. I found it happened most when he was playing a game cartridge and the battery was low. You wouldn’t be able to back up to the menu or shut off the unit. We would have to remove the batteries completely. We finally replaced it since we had a protection plan. The new one hasn’t done this once. Also, rechargeable batteries a must. But i’d like to find out a way to get FREE V coins? Anybody?

    thx

    Reply

    • elle

      February 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm

      Thanks for your comment and for visiting my site. Also thanks for sharing the info. to help people get their Innotab to stop freezing. As far as FREE V coins are concerned they are a 1 time offer that Vtech gives when the Learning Lodge Navigator is downloaded. I never received any and I contacted Customer Service about it 3 times, but in the end they still did credit me with any V coins.

      Reply

  18. Tia

    March 10, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Hello
    I plan on getting an innotab for my sons 4th birthday this month. How long does it take to set it up,and do you need an internet connection to do so? Also what games and/or apps do you recommend for a 4yo boy? Thanks!

    Reply

    • elle

      March 20, 2012 at 1:25 am

      Sorry that it has taken me so long to respond. I think the Innotab will provide you child lots of fun. Set up takes about 10 minutes for the initial setup which includes downloading the Learning Lodge Navigator, but it takes longer if you want to add movies and videos to it. I finally wrote a post about the apps. I think children will enjoy the animated ones the best. Here is a link to my review of 4 Innotab apps. http://cleverlychanging.com/2012/03/review-4-vtech-innotab-apps/

      Reply

  19. CRIS

    November 10, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    IM NEW TO THE INNOTAB 2 GADGET…I WAS WONDERING HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN THE INNOTAB IS COMPLETELY CHARGE WITH THE AC ADAPTER?

    Reply

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