Technology is just so cool. Isn’t it? What’s even cooler is to see kids navigate technology without hesitation and without realizing that they are learning valuable skills at the same time. When kids can learn and have fun at the same time — that’s a win-win!
My daughter got her first “gaming system” a few months before her second birthday from a friend for Christmas. To be frank, I thought my friend was a bit nuts. There was no way she was old enough for that yet. I was wrong. The new toy was an instant hit, and has served her well to this day. That’s a nearly 3 year shelf life on a toy, pretty good if you ask me. But she has long since mastered the games on her old device, so when I was invited to have her test out the VTech MobiGo 2 (ages 3-8) I was thrilled to upgrade her tech. (Soon her baby sister will be old enough to pass down the old device – sniff sniff.)
As usual K nearly burst with excitement when I told her I had something new for her. Here is where it gets comical. After handing over the VTech MobiGo 2, she ran to get her camera, sat on the floor and proceeded to take pictures of the new toy. “What are you doing?” I asked.
“I am taking pictures for my blog, Mommy,” she replied.
Yep. That’s my daughter.
Straight out of the box all we had to do was add four AA batteries and the MobiGo 2 was ready play. (Hint use rechargeable batteries!) I LOVE that it comes with pre-installed games. Have you ever had to tell your kiddo they couldn’t play with something yet right after opening it because it had to be set up first? Not fun! So that’s a big plus in my book.
It came with two games pre-installed (Hamster Highway & Shooting Gallery) plus download credit for three more games. Of course, the fanciest games have to be purchased, but it is great that it comes ready to use. The MobiGo also includes a drawing application and picture viewer, which are also ready to use out of the box. In addition to the downloadable content (games and ebooks), you can also purchase cartridge games. The cartridge options include licensed characters from Disney, Nickelodeon, etc. We’ve yet to get any of the cartridge games, but I have a feeling we will see a request for some on her Christmas wish list. Target sells the cartridge games for $19.99 each, but Amazon has the same games from $12.99 – $19.99.
VTech also offers a carrying case for $12.99 that comes in blue or pink, which seems like a good idea to me. (Adding to my mental list…)
When I checked out the cartridge options I was disappointed that the MobiGo 2 takes different cartridges than the InnoTab. So if you have both, you still have to have games for each. But I quickly discovered why. What makes the MobiGo 2 so different is the variety of options for play. In addition to buttons and a touch screen, there is also a slide-out keyboard, motion control and sound activation. Yes, you can interact with the MobiGo 2 by motion and sound. (K loves the motion option with the Hamster Highway game.) So while I still wish games could be shared across devices, activating different features perhaps, I get that they are different systems with different ways to play.
I mentioned loving the learning aspect of technology. With K in Pre-K this year, letter games are very important. An added benefit of the MobiGo 2 is the slide-out keyboard. Because it is a QWERTY-style keyboard K is also learning the placement of keys without even realizing it — a necessary skill. (This “old lady” over here remembers my mom and dad sending me to computer school to learn to type when I was in middle school. K is learning before she even hits elementary school. Pretty neat.)
Another really neat feature of the MobiGo 2 is the online progress log for parents. I don’t have to guess how K is doing with her learning games, I can go online and see for myself. A pretty neat feature for parents.
The only complaint I have about the MobiGo 2 is the stylus. I like the idea, but let’s be real — even with a place to keep it in the back, it is going to get lost. There is a small hole in the top of it that a string could attach it to the MobiGo, but it doesn’t come with a string to do so. I think it should come with a string to attach it. But at least it has a hole so I can get my own string to attach it.
The MobiGo 2 is available in Orange/Blue or Pink. (Please do not tell K it is available in pink because we have orange/blue.) It retails for $59.99, a reasonable price for a game unit with 5 games to get you started. (Note, Target has it on sale right now for $49.99 – blue and pink.)
Whether you are looking for some learning/entertainment for traveling or thinking ahead to Christmas/birthdays the VTech MobiGo 2 is a great option.
Disclosure – I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for VTech. I received product samples to facilitate my review.