Tuesday, 13 August 2013

VTech Gadget the Robot

Meet Gadget the Robot. The perfect friend to help your children learn all about numbers, letters, objects and music and great fun for them too. Gadget is aimed for children aged 3 - 7 years and any child who loves robots will be instantly attracted to him.

Gadget talks and dances, and also responds to your child clapping. You can twist his ears and nose and he in turn will move his eyes, eyebrows, arms and body in response to different things. There's an LCD screen on his body which shows pictures, letters and numbers to fit in with the activity Gadget is doing at the time.

Gadget's favourite food is "computer chips" and he comes with 30 of these round discs which go in his backpack. 26 of them are for each letter of the alphabet whilst the remaining 4 are special chips - more about these later. Chips can be fed into his forehead and then you need to turn his nose clockwise for each to be accepted by him.

There are six different modes in which children can play with Gadget - selected using the slider switch on his tummy:

  1. Explore it - In this mode if you put in a letter chip Gadget will tell you what the letter is and a word which begins with it. If you instead put in one of the special chips he will either exercise, say something in a foreign language (with an English translation), sing or do a magic "trick".
  2. Charge me up - Gadget asks to be fed a certain number of computer chips and counts as each one is fed to him. A great opportunity for children to practice counting.
  3. Super speller - If Gadget is few a letter chip he will then tell you what letter it is an the word on the chip which begins with that letter. He will then spell out the word, one letter at a time, as you twist his ear.
  4. Follow Along - Gadget gives the child instructions (turn my nose, turn my green ear, turn my purple eye etc) and they have to follow along. If they get it wrong he'll tell them, or they will be congratulated for doing things correctly.
  5. Robot Rock - If you clap your hands when he asks you to Gadget will sing (mainly about the alphabet) and dance for you.
  6. Gadget's Quiz - In this mode Gadget will ask you a question and you have to answer by either putting in the correct computer chip, or by twisting his ear until the correct answer comes on the screen.

There's no doubt that Gadget is adorably cute and children seem to be instantly drawn to him. At first his dancing can be a little scary if they're not expecting it, but before long they were dancing away too.

The letter and counting games that Gadget has are well thought out and have good educational benefits. The only disadvantage with them is that all the letters are in the ayy, bee, see form, rather than the ah, buh, cuh that they learn at school or nursery.

Having the computer chips is a nice touch and they can also be used on their own to help children with letter recognition and spelling. All of the letters on them are lower case which is perfect for this. It is also nice that Gadget has a backpack to store them in, although when the backpack is actually on his back it is impossible to open the lid fully to fit them in. It does slide off easily though when you want it to.

If there was one thing that I would change slightly then it would be that the LCD screen on his tummy lit up as it can be a bit hard to see if you're not in a very well lit room. Only a small suggestion though.

Be warned that as well as eating "computer chips" Gadget is also rather fond of batteries. When he's running low on energy he will tell you that he's feeling sleepy and shut down, but as he takes 4 AA batteries it may well be wroth investing in some rechargable ones which will work out cheaper in the long run! When he's not being played with Gadget will shut down to conserve battery power.

Gadget the Robot makes a wonderful friend for children and being from VTech he's also got the quality that you expect from their toys.

You can buy Gadget the Robot in any of our Cuthberts stores (Hatfield Galleria, St Albans and Letchworth) or he is also available from our online shop.

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