The first thing you'll notice about the VTech KidiZoom Digital Camera, other than the vibrant orange color, is that it feels sturdy. With rubberized handles and viewfinder, you're not going to be afraid to hand this to you preschooler, or even your toddler. It has plenty of built-in features, including special effects and games, as well as some playful sound effects. The Kidizoom camera takes 640X480 pictures as well as short videos. It comes with a USB cable and a cable for connecting it to a TV. It requires 4 AA batteries, which are not included.
What Kids Love about the Kidizoom Digital Camera
Other than the obvious joy of having a camera of their own, the instant gratification of a digital camera with an LCD screen will top the list of favorite kid-features. The Kidizoom's double-eye traditional viewfinder makes it easier to line up shots (although the viewfinder isn't terribly accurate). In addition to the photos, kids can record short videos with sound.
The buttons on the Kidizoom Digital Camera are large and kid-friendly, and there are two options for taking a photo. One button sits at the top of the camera in a traditional spot, the other is on the back of the camera and is well-positioned for using your thumb. A joystick-type device allows you to scroll through previously taken photos.
The Kidizoom digital camera has built-in frames and clip art (hats, funny noses, etc.) which you can add as you take a shot, or later using the built-in editor. The kids we tested with loved adding silly features to their pictures and found it easy to do. On a side note, it's easier to add the clip art after the picture is taken than trying to line up the shot with it already there. One of the built-in features allows kids to record sound clips to go with their photos. Since they don't download with the pictures, they aren't terribly useful, but it's fun to do anyway.
The Kidizoom Digital Camera also comes with simple editing software. The software doesn't actually allow you to edit the photos to remove red-eye, etc., but it replicates the editing features available on the camera. Kids can add frames, clip art and other special effects such as fish-eye. It's fun to play with and allows you to load other digital photos, so kids can alter your family pictures as well. It's a nice little addition to the camera.
The other major feature of the Kidizoom Digital Camera is the ability to plug it into the TV for a movie viewing or slide show. We never used this feature, but it's sure to be a hit for those who do.
What's Not to Love about the Kidizoom Digital Camera
The Kidizoom Digital Camera is a great little device for the intended age group, but I should mention that there are some flaws.
- Mediocre Photo Quality. Once again, your kids probably aren't going to care, but the Kidizoom camera is not a good choice for a child who is going to want to capture the perfect photo.
- Inaccurate Viewfinder. The traditional viewfinder skews up and to the left (so that your picture will end up of objects down and to the right of where you were aiming). Since there is an LCD viewfinder, this may seem like a minor complaint. However, the kids that tested the camera preferred the traditional viewfinder by about 5-to-1.
- Poor LCD Quality. This is probably a trade-off to keep costs down and battery usage to a minimum, but you'll find that by the time the viewfinder focuses on your subject, they've moved away. This is an unfortunate combination with the inaccurate traditional viewfinder. It won't bother younger kids in the slightest, but will drive you and older siblings crazy.
- Dual Battery Compartments. This is less of a complaint than an early Christmas-morning warning. The Kidizoom camera has two battery compartments, both protected by small screws. Plan ahead on this one and place the batteries in the camera in advance.
The Bottom Line
The basics of the Kidizoom Digital Camera are easy to figure out. My 24-month-old had it on and was taking pictures with no help at all. Some of the features, like editing, viewing old shots and turning on the movie capability, may take some additional guidance. The camera holds about 200 640X480 shots, so kids can go snap-happy without a lot of trips to mom and dad to clear things off.
The VTech Kidizoom Digital Camera is a winner. The reasonable price combined with the sturdy construction make these a great gift for kids who just want to have fun with a camera. Despite the shortcomings, the kid testers loved it and other parents asked where they could get one.
Here are the basic features, as outline by the manufacturer:
- .3 megapixels with 1.8" color screen
- Double viewer or LCD screen for easy photo taking
- Connector cables for TV or PC hook-up
- Photo editing capabilities
- SD card slot for extra memory
- 3 preschool games for added fun
- Large hand bumpers for easy grip
- Changeable faceplates
- 16MB internal memory (stores 200+ photos or up to 5 minutes of video)