Since adding the VTech InnoTab MAX Android Tablet (sent here for for review) to my 2014 Holiday Wish Guide a few weeks back, I’ve had a number of friends inquire about our personal experiences with it – me being overly cautious, perhaps even being considered a “party pooper” when it comes to letting my girls run wild with the “screens.” What do I think? Quite simply, at $109 (and I’ve seen them on-sale for under $100), it’s a very good tablet. This 7″ high-resolution 1020×600 unit is sturdy, responsive and has some great parental control features, but that does not mean it’s 100% perfect. Here’s some thoughts…
The selection of age-appropriate apps and cartridges in the Learning Lodge is impressive, and we ended up getting one of the carts based on Disney Junior’s DOC McSTUFFINS right away.
Lesson-based goals are helpful in keeping the little ones focused on completing a task in order to proceed to another activity, and the individual user profiles and parental controls are fantastic. We have a daily limit of 25 minutes set for each girl (easily changeable for times like our unexpected flat tire earlier this week), and I’ve already locked-in some Rock Father-approved websites for the built-in browser (kids can only surf parent-approved sites)… and just as a goof I tested some grown-up sites (including my own) just to see how the power of the OS would work. Five-year-old Addie has been using the PBS KIDS website frequently, particularly playing a couple of PEG + CAT math games.
The InnoTab MAX soared.
Specs from VTech:
VTech® InnoTab MAX (Ages 3-9 years, MSRP: $109.99)
- VTech’s 4th generation kids’ learning tablet features its fastest processor yet with up to six times the processing power of previous generation and a 7” high-resolution multi-touch screen display
- InnoTab MAX features an enhanced 2nd generation version of Premium VTech Kid Connect™, at no additional charge, allowing children and parents to exchange voice and text messages, photos, drawings and fun stickers in real time between the tablet and a smartphone
- InnoTab MAX offers the best of both learning worlds with access to more than 650 educator-endorsed, age and stage appropriate learning titles as well as carefully cultivated educational Android apps that can be purchased and downloaded through VTech’s Learning Lodge® app store
- The tablet comes with 15 onboard apps including Premium VTech® Kid Connect, My Magic Beanstalk, Movie Maker, Art Studio, Wonder Cam Max, E-Reader with Story Dictionary and more
- InnoTab MAX also comes with one free Toca Boca app and two additional free apps that can be downloaded from the Learning Lodge
- Other InnoTab MAX features include a built-in rechargeable Lithium battery and kid-safe Wi-Fi so kids can explore appropriate online games, videos and websites that have been pre-selected by VTech
- Parental controls allow parents to manage their child’s apps, web access and tablet time, as well as view a progress log
Notes from THE ROCK FATHER:
While the tablet itself is fast when running (powered by a 1.2GHz processor and Android 4.2.2) boot-up is a tad on the slow side after pressing the power button – I’d assume because there’s some layering of the different profiles and parental functions. We have run into a few instances when resizing certain browser-based games is not possible aside from zooming in, and that means they don’t fit the screen. A rare occurrence, but noted. There is also a bit of a restriction on app purchases since they need to be done through the VTech Learning Lodge. This means that popular apps like the Early Learning Academy from ABC Mouse won’t be available. I even tried a workaround by going to the Google Play store through the browser using my parental account, and while the hardware should be able to run it, it’s blocked and the install fails. That said, there’s more than ample apps available for the VTech InnoTab MAX.
Overall Rock Father Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars