G. Smith

I pre-ordered two of these (a Dino and a Shark, for my daughter and niece/nephew in the UK to talk to each other) months before release, accepting the risks of being an early-adopter: I’ve crowdfunded/pre-ordered many gadgets in the past, and almost always ended up making allowances based on being in the first run. But when the Talkies finally arrived, I was really impressed with how polished everything felt right out of the box. Everything--from the packaging to the app and the toy itself--felt like a fully realised premium product, well worth the ~$79 each I paid for them. Now they're even cheaper at $59!

One of my concerns was security: how they were going to prevent this becoming yet another vulnerable 'Internet of Things' device that some reprobate might hack and send bad messages to kids. But the implementation of the 'Trusted Circle' seems well-designed and easy to manage, so I feel comfortable now.

Best of all: the automatic firmware updates. While I'm looking forward to seeing what additional Apps Toymail might introduce, the fact they can patch any bugs or security flaws that might emerge in the future is SO important, and a feature not present in a lot of other 'Smart' devices, let alone children's toys.

If I had one criticism it's that the instructions in the app and on the site are a little thin when it comes to additional features (like Apps), but customer service have been really helpful and responsive for me, so hopefully the FAQs will start filling out as more people get the toys. And setup/using the toy are all really self-explanatory so there's no steep learning curve for you or your child.

But that's all tech stuff... They're fun toys, too! Cute, soft, cuddly, bright and funny. Durable, too: the 'voice box' hardware inside feels like it could withstand a good bit of abuse. I'm sure they'll be part of the family for years to come!