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VTech KidiPhoto Art Studio

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PRODUCT: VTech KidiPhoto Art Studio ( KidiPhoto Art Studio

DESCRIPTION: A creative package for use with a television and PC, similar in function to a PC tablet with a digital camera attachment to enable photos to be taken and edited using a number of activities. Includes a stylus (art pen tool), software cartridge, and component and USB leads for connection to a television and PC respectively. Suitable for children aged 4 years upwards.

GOOD POINTS: This is a really original and well-designed electronic toy with enough activities to ensure long-lasting entertainment for a number of years.

It consists of a touch-sensitive plastic pad (similar to a PC tablet) with a colourful surround, anart pen which has its own storage clip on the edge of the pad, and a positional arm which holds the camera, which in turn can be rotated. The arm has a horizontal resting position behind a raised lip which protects the camera lens. On the back of the camera is the slot for the software cartridge to lock into place (this will allow for future software programmes).

There are three buttons on the front of the pad, one of which powers the system on and off, while the other two buttons aid navigation through the various activities. On the top of the pad are connection sockets for connecting to a TV or PC, the leads for which are included. The battery case is located on the rear, along with a handy back-up battery compartment.

On turning on the power button, your child can choose from a 'Camera Category', 'Drawing Category' or 'My Gallery' tab. Navigation around the programme is easy to master using the pad and is controlled by touching the art pen down gently on the activity to select it.

The 'Camera Category' consists of six activites to choose from:

  • 'My Camera' allows your child to take photos with the rotating camera, either by pressing a camera button on the side of the pen tool, or using a useful timer button to enable your child to take pictures of themselves.
  • 'People Painter' enables them to edit photos of themselves or other people, where they can use the editing tools to add drawing, writing and painting to the photos, as well as stamps, frames, funny masks, and morphing effects. The function icons are useful for undoing actions and saving finished pitcures.
  • 'Picture Painter' allows photos to be taken of objects or pictures placed on the drawing pad, and then edited using a set of creative tools.
  • 'My Stop Motion Movies' is a clever function that allows a series of four photos to be taken to create a mini motion movie. Each of the 'frames' can be edited separately with animation, sound effects and stamps.
  • 'My Movie Maker' enables your child to take photos of their face and edit them with different surrounds, sound effects and stamps to make a movie.
  • 'Show Time' can be used to take photos of faces and add them to made-up characters where they can choose from a fun choice of outfits and hair styles.

In the 'Drawing Category' there are five activities to choose from:

  • 'Free painter' is for practising creative painting either on a blank canvas or using a selected background.
  • 'Arts & Crafts Maker' is a clever function which enables your child to choose a template character to edit, add a photo of their face to the character, and then print out their creation to construct (instructions for construction are included on the template).
  • 'My E-Card' is an activity for designing and creating e-cards which your child can them send out to friends or family.
  • 'Building Blocks' allows different shaped coloured blocks to be dragged across the screen to build different pictures against a choice of backgrounds.
  • 'Photo Puzzle' selects a photo or background which is divided up into a number of pieces (dependant on the 'easy' or 'hard' option) which are jumbled up for your child to try and rebuild.

The 'My Gallery' allows your child to view and manage their artwork.

Other good features include an automatic shut-off function if the art studio remains inactive for several minutes, the option to turn music on or off, and a carry handle on the top for easy transportation.

In our opinion the KidiPhoto Art Studio is a wonderfully designed package which is very unique, great fun, and allows children to expand on their drawing and art skills. With the depth of manipulation available with this product it should keep every age group entertained by catering for a broad spectrum of creative ability. A fantastic gift for any budding artist!

BAD POINTS: No batteries are included with the product, and battery consumption is likely to be high with heavy use (although rechargeable batteries can be used). A power adapter is available to use instead of batteries although this must be purchased separately.

PRICE: £54.99

Alternative products available from Amazon: VTech toys

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