Product Review: V-Smile

If you want to get your child a video game, but also want them to learn while they play, then a learning game is a great choice for you! There are a wide array of learning game options to choose from these days. I have purchased several of these for my children including the V-Tech versions of this type of toy.

V-Tech’s versions of the learning game toys are called V-Smile and V-Smile Pocket. The V-Smile is the unit that plugs in to your television, and the V-Smile Pocket is the handheld game. There are a wide variety of games for these units, any of the games can be played on both units. This is a great benefit so you don’t have to have separate games for each unit. The games come in all of children’s favorite characters and are very educational. Each game is clearly labeled with what age group will benefit the most from that game. These games teach letters, colors, shapes, numbers, and even phonics and math! The concept of these games is wonderful, but does the product hold up to the hype?

We purchased the V-Smile unit the first Christmas it was on the market. My son wanted a learning game so badly and this one seemed to be the best fit for him. It was used on the home television and had lots of character games he likes. The games were right in his age range for him to have the best opportunity to learn, plus with him being at home with me during the day the stay at home version was fine for him. At first my son was in love with his new toy! He had a blast playing the different games and learning so much from them! Then came the first draw back. This product does not come with an AC adaptor, and it goes through batteries like they are going out of style! I could not keep batteries in the house for this thing! I was never able to find the AC adaptor available in the store. They always seemed to be sold out. And when I tried to order it on-line shipping was almost as much as the adaptor itself, so I wasn’t going to go that route. Then it seemed I was all of the sudden having to checng the batteries a lot more often. Once every few days. Then the unit stopped working all together. I contacted customer service to see if there was a problem with the unit since we had only had this for 3 months. The customer service representative walked me through different things to check for a problem. I was told to reset the unit and then it seemed to be working properly again. My son was so happy to have his game back! Then a few weeks later it happened again. The game would not come on at all. I tried changing the batteries, still would not come on at all.

My son and I were getting very frustrated at this point. I called customer service back and this time no matter how many times we reset it, it still would not work. So they suggested I send the unit back in since it was evidently a faulty one and they would send me a new one right out. I sent it back in and waited for the new unit to arrive. After a few weeks the new unit still had not arrived, my son was getting very impatient waiting for this. So I called customer service to check on the status. I was informed that they had received my unit and that the new one would be arriving in only a few days and they gave me a tracking number. I tracked the package and just as they said it would be arriving in just a few days. The day came and went for the package to arrive. I called customer service back because my sn had waited all day for his package and he was very upset that it had not come as it was scheduled. This time the customer service representative showed no record of them receiveing my faulty unit. However, my replacement unit came the next day, some how it got left behind on the dock instead of being put on to the truck for delivery, just my luck. This second unit worked much better, however my son was really disgusted with it not working and didn’t play it nearly as much since it had been such a hassle the first time around.

Since the new unit we were sent appeared to have no issues, we decided to purchase the handheld version of the V-Smile, the V-Smile Pocket, as soon as it came out. That way my son could use all the games he already had. After purchasing this, we ran into the exact same issues as with the standarad V-Smile. We returned it and got a new one. My son was so disgusted with the whole thing, he didn’t even want them anymore. I took them and sold them on ebay. Both of the new units appeared to work fine, but my son didn’t want to take the risk of them breaking again. So we sold his and bought him a different learning game instead with the money he made from selling the V-Smile units.

I am sure that other people have had better experiences with this product, however our personal experience was a nightmare. It was very hard for a 3-5 year old child to understand why his toy had to be sent back to the company because they made a bad product. The patience of a child that age is very thing and making them wait forever for a new toy just is not feasible. A child’s product should stand up to the test of time. In my opinion the V-Smile does not do that!! My advice if you choose to purchase the V-Smile, be cautious. Keep your receipt, and also all handbooks to all games, and to the unit and any accessories you purchase. Make sure that you contact customer service for any issues. If there are buigs in your unit get them taken care of as quickly as possible, if you wait over a year they will not replace your product. Another suggestion, if any sort of warranty is offered, BUY IT! With this product I have a feeling, you just may need it.


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