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VTech My Laptop

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PRODUCT: VTech My Laptop ( My Laptop

DESCRIPTION: An electronic laptop for children, complete with learning activities, music and games. Includes Work Book and user manual. Requires 3 x AA batteries (included). Suitable for children aged 3 years upwards.

GOOD POINTS: The VTech My Laptop is a fantastic little learning system for children, with an attractive colour scheme that will appeal to either boys of girls.

The product is very realistically designed to resemble a real laptop, with flip-up lid and a clickable wired mouse which has pads on the bottom to stop it slipping. The laptop is very chunky in appearance and a perfect size for little hands. It is made from good quality plastic that will withstand rough usage, and it has a useful carry handle at the top for easy transportation. The mouse has its own storage compartment on the underside of the laptop to prevent it from trailing on the floor or getting damaged when not in use.

On opening the laptop, there is a small LCD screen with a surround describing the different genres of activity available, with a breakdown of the individual activities under each. On the left of the screen is an on/off switch, and on the right is a volume button which, once pressed, is controlled up or down using the mouse. The main keyboard of the laptop has numbers 1 to 9 (plus 0) along the top, underneath which are the letters of the alphabet laid out in order (as opposed to a standard keyboard layout), with pictures of animals on each that start with the same letter as the key.

There are four genres of activity: Letters (comprising 8 activities), Numbers (comprising 8 activities), Logic (comprising 7 activities), and Games (comprising 7 activities). The activity type can be chosen by pressing one of the four large corresponding coloured buttons on the front of the laptop. Following this, the specific activity can be selected using the mouse to scroll through left and right. The 'Enter' button is used to confirm the selected activity, or alternatively, by clicking down on the mouse. Each activity has simple on-screen animations and the laptop provides clear oral instructions for each so that your child fully understands what they must do (instructions on each activity are also described in the user manual).

There is a 'Repeat' button on the keyboard if your child needs to have the instruction or question repeated, and also an 'Answer' button which provides the solution to the question. In addition, there is a 'Matchbook' button which has a picture of a book on the front, and is for use in conjunction with the accompanying Work Book 'Shades and JB On Safari'. On pressing the 'Matchbook' button, your child will be asked to enter the chapter from the work book they wish to tackle, and then to provide the correct colour-coded answer to each multiple choice question they follow in that chapter (the work book comes with solutions in the back). At the end of each chapter your child is given a score.

This is a very educationsal learning system from VTech, which teaches your child about basic concepts of phonics and vocabulary, numbers and maths, logical thinking, and also simple computing skills. There is plenty of music between and during games, and an automatic shut-off function after several minutes of inactivity to save on battery life. The product is very reasonably priced and you get a lot for your money.

BAD POINTS: No serious points, other than the laptop is still quite loud even in quiet mode, and also it is battery operated, therefore batteries may need to be changed frequently with heavy use. Rechargeable batteries can however be used to save on cost.

PRICE: Approx. £17

Available from AmazonBoots and Argos 

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