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VTech Kids MobiGo Touch Screen Learning System Review: I’ve Used Better

MobiGo This week I got to try out the cool new handheld device for kids called the MobiGo Touch Learning System from VTech.  In case you’re considering buying one of these new touch screen portables for your child, I’ll tell you the pros and cons below.

What is a MobiGo?

MobiGo has become THE word around my house this past weekend!  First of all, it’s just a fun word to say (we pronounce it mo-bee-go).  Second, this game system is captivating enough to keep your child dead silent for long periods of time.  Trust me- we had to take it away from both of our children at about the 30 minute mark.

The VTech MobiGo (pictured at left) is a handheld game system with a touch screen and a full Qwerty keyboard built in.  Not all the games use the keyboard, however; some games only use the touch screen for activities. You insert a game cartridge in the top of the device and the system speaks to you to give directions for what to do next.

The MobiGo is very easy for even young children to use without help.  We tested the MobiGo with my almost 3 year old son, Truett, and my 10 year old daughter, Hannah.  The product is recommended for ages 3-8.

My Impression of the VTech MobiGo

With regard to the educational games, the MobiGo is not at all what I thought it was going to be.  I hoped to be able to endorse this product as a learning tool for homeschool families.  I envisioned flashcard drills for math practice, hangman, spelling and vocabulary words for reading and English.  I haven’t seen the additional game cartridges (which must be purchased separately for $19.99 each), but going on the basic Touch & Learn game pack, I can’t issue a recommendation for homeschoolers. Here’s why:

The game cartridge that comes with the MobiGo has 6 games on it.  It seems that although some of the games may incorporate letters and math, they’re not really learning programs at all.

My daughter was observant enough to remark that the games don’t teach you anything.  If you don’t know how to do the skill being used (like filling in number patterns), the game doesn’t provide any teaching as to how you complete number patterns or a tutorial to go with the game.  If you know the skill, you can play the game.  If you don’t know the skill, you have to play a different game.

The learning games are more educational than say, Super Mario Brothers for Nintendo DS, that much is true.  While they do encourage use of skills like observation, hand-eye coordination and problem solving, so does Mario.  So does World of Warcraft, for that matter.  But that doesn’t mean I let my 3 year old play it!

I actually played all of the MobiGo included games myself before writing this review.

  • Space Challenge: This is the number pattern game, which is useful as long as your child already knows how to make number patterns.  Its problems are fill in the blank style, such as 1,2,__, and 2,4,___, and 5,4,___.  If my 3 year old had the skills to play it (which he doesn’t), the game moves far too fast to keep up with.  If you get the answer wrong, nothing happens.  There is no feedback that would let a child know if they’re playing it right or wrong.
  • Shooting Gallery: This game uses the keyboard.  When you see a duck with a letter on it, press the same letter on the keyboard to shoot down the duck.  The game speeds up and gets more difficult as you play.  Again, it doesn’t offer enough time for my 3 year old to see the letter on the screen and try to match it up with the same letter on the keyboard.
  • Fantastic Forest: In this game you trace lines on the touch screen to make objects.  I don’t see much educational value in this game.  Purely as a game, it didn’t seem fun either.  After you draw the appropriate lines, it describes the shape you just made without even saying the name of the shape (instead of “You drew a square” it says “You made an elevator).  I think this game is just to show off the touch screen capability of the MobiGo.
  • Wild Fun: Find the animal that looks different.  This is a fun game and forces some critical observation.
  • Ice Escape: A touch screen maze with a cute penguin – not much to it.
  • Music Maestro: Touch the correct spot on the screen when a music note falls down.  Is this their version of Guitar Hero for handheld?  Fun for kids, but they’re not learning anything on this one either.

Some Good Points of the MobiGo

  • Adjustable backlight can make the screen brighter or darker.
  • Adjustable volume can keep the noise down.
  • Accepts headphones for silent play (however, see the downside of the headphones below in the bad points).
  • You can download games and prizes from the VTech website by connecting MobiGo to your computer.
  • Portable and nice setup with the pop-up screen.
  • Low price point (compared to other devices) at only $59.99.
  • Great hardware for a small price.

Some Bad Points of the MobiGo

Although the MobiGo has many great features, VTech makes you pay extra to buy the necessary items to use some of these great features.

  • No headphones: Although it accepts headphones to offer silent play, the MobiGo doesn’t come with headphones.
  • No plug-in: The MobiGo is supposed to be able to plug into the wall so you don’t have to use AA batteries.  Unfortunately, the plug in AC/DC adaptor doesn’t come with MobiGo – it’s sold separately!
  • Doesn’t come with batteries: Requires 4 AA batteries to get started, and they are not included.
  • No wrist strap: The instructions show where the wrist strap fastener is, but then remind us that the wrist strap is also sold separately.
  • Short play time on batteries. Using name brand fresh AA batteries, our MobiGo only lasted 2 hours before flashing the low battery indicator.  And with no plug in provided, that doesn’t make for a very good value.
  • No pause option on the touch screen. The pause button is a hard button next to the touch screen, but it doesn’t even use the universal symbol for “Pause”, so I had a hard time finding how to pause the gameplay.
  • Keyboard. It was very hard to figure out how to get the keyboard to come out.

Recommendation

Both of my kids loved the MobiGo, but kids will love any mindless game as long as it keeps them entertained!  The onlyVTech Logo other video game system our kids have is the VTech Leapster, a handheld which is fine as long as you keep in mind that its just another video game system.  If you’re buying this product with the consolation that your kids will be glued to an electronic device that’s at least educational and teaching them something, I feel you’d be fooling yourself.

Now that our testing period for the product review is over, my kids won’t get more than 15 minutes at a time on this device, if they remember it and ask to play.  I prefer not to have my children “occupied” and “out of my hair” at the expense of them being glued to video games for long amounts of time.  In the car, Hannah was completely focused on the MobiGo and completely checked out of the family conversation that took place.  I like my kids present in the moment and engaged in the real world around them.

The MobiGo is a handheld game system, pure and simple.  The hardware is great and the setup is very cool and convenient.  Now, I’d just like to see the real educational software that makes the MobiGo into the “Touch Learning System” they package and advertise it to be.  That would make me treat it differently than just another video game system.

Where to Buy The VTech MobiGo

Click here to buy MobiGo at Amazon for about $59.99 + free super saver shipping.  For more information on MobiGo, check out VTech’s website.

Disclaimer: In compliance with the FTC Guides, updated 10/5/09, this article has material connections.  IS World Media (ISWM) received no fees for the writing or publication.  This article is a product review conducted by Danelle Ice and is her honest opinion.  The VTech MobiGo was provided to ISWM at no cost by VTech to facilitate the review process. MobiGo graphic and VTech logo used with permission by VTech Electronics North America, LLC. This post contains affiliate links and readers may assume that HomeEverAfter.com receives compensation when affiliate links are used.

Danelle Ice is an entrepreneur in Los Angeles and mom of 3. She is the creator of HomeEverAfter.com and SimDanelle.com. Danelle is also known as internet personality SimDanelle, the first virtual person. Danelle is a beauty guru on YouTube, vlogger, blogger, and new media darling. She is a current brand ambassador for for Keurig and previous AMD Tech Mom, Kraft Foods Delicious Byte brand ambassador, and Purex Insider.

23 Comments

  1. Tweets that mention VTech Kids MobiGo Touch Screen Learning System Review - Home Ever After -- Topsy.com
    Jun 01, 2010 @ 00:13:01

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Family Moms, Danelle Ice. Danelle Ice said: HomeEverAfter.com: VTech Kids MobiGo Touch Screen Learning System Review #home #moms [...]

  2. Melissa Multitasking Mama
    Jun 01, 2010 @ 02:58:10

    Looks like a fun toy for little guys! Appreciate your thorough review!

  3. Debra
    Sep 07, 2010 @ 09:10:20

    Your review is the first one that popped up on google.

    While I appreciate your thorough review, I would like to add that this Mobigo IS educational, but not in the ABC and 123 type of education.

    Hand eye coordination is VERY important tool to have. I certainly would not use this as a homeschool lesson, but this is great for my twins who are lacking in hand eye coordination and visual tracking skills.

  4. Kim Downing
    Nov 17, 2010 @ 11:16:41

    I’m curious to know what you think of the Mobigo compaired to the Hand Held Leapster. My 4.5yr old son currently has the Leapster and loves it. He plays it all the time. I’m looking for something that is a little more challenging then the Leapster but not quit to a DS level. Do you think this is the system for us?

    • Danelle Ice - Home Ever After
      Nov 19, 2010 @ 20:31:43

      I’m not sure since we have the leapster but only a couple of the games. The games seem to be about equal as far as difficulty level, but again, I have only tested the game cartridge that comes standard with the MobiGo. My kids showed about the same interest in the MobiGo as the Leapster. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help!

      Danelle

  5. Consumer Mike
    Nov 29, 2010 @ 17:47:40

    I was thinking about getting the pink Mobigo for my 3 year old daughter for Christmas, but I am still not sure after reading your review I am still against the fence. I am going to have my wife read this article and see what she decides then if we do decide to get it I will write a review on my web site. Thanks for your feedback on the Mobigo.

    P.S. Awesome site

    • homeeverafter
      Nov 29, 2010 @ 19:09:11

      @Consumer Mike: The pink ones are really cute for gifts. Good luck with your decision. Either way I’m sure it won’t hurt; it’s just a matter of me not thinking it was educational enough to spend the money on. The systems are relatively cheap, especially now for holiday shopping, but the game cartridges really add up on something that might not be the best system that’s out there. Good luck!

      Danelle

  6. Krystle
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 08:29:54

    Just as a reminder though, it is a very useful teaching device. I noticed you mentioned you haven’t tried the games but that is the most important part. Each of the games have their own lessons to provide including math, reading, spelling, etc. All of the essentials. Getting the games are very useful…you can’t just buy the system and expect a full blown learning experience. After researching the different games I realized this. Also I bought my son a leapfrog system and it was the same way, what it started with wasn’t much, but the games had many lessons and opportunities for him to learn many different things…

    • homeeverafter
      Dec 06, 2010 @ 10:11:00

      @Krystle: Yes, I agree that trying the games would be helpful. When I did this review, the MobiGo wasn’t available for sale yet and there were no other games sent to me to try except the one that came with the starter pack. Now that some time has passed, I’ll bet they’ve come out with some good game choices, including some better than others for learning. Thanks for the input!

      Danelle

  7. Palmer
    Dec 15, 2010 @ 11:04:45

    Does anyone know if you can use the games from the v smile pocket?

    • homeeverafter
      Dec 15, 2010 @ 11:53:45

      @Palmer: I’m not sure if they are compatible or not. It would be a good idea to email Vtech from the contact form on their site to ask.

      Danelle

  8. Kelly M
    Dec 17, 2010 @ 04:46:30

    I had my eye on the FP iXl learning system for Christmas until my daughter went right over to the MobiGo and started playing with it easily. I understand that the screen is larger, but I’m trying to figure out which would grow with her and which would be the best educational tool. The iXl has a letter drawing feature which I really like. Any thoughts?

  9. homeeverafter
    Dec 19, 2010 @ 21:24:52

    @Kelly: I’m sorry, but I haven’t tried the FP system yet. If you decide to buy that one, please let me know what you think about it.

    Danelle

  10. Donna
    Dec 26, 2010 @ 06:33:28

    OK SO I BOUGHT PINK AND PURPLE MOBIGO FOR MY 3YR OLD DAUGHTER BACK IN NOVEMBER OF THIS YEAR FOR CHRISTMAS, AND AFTER I PLACED BRAND NEW BATTERIES IN IT, IT CAME ON BUUUT NO TOUCH SCREEN. WHICH IS THE MOST ESSENTIAL PART. SO OF COURSE IT DOESNT GO PAST THE MAIN MENU SCREEN. WHAT SHOULD I DO? DOES ANYONE THINK IT COULD BE THE BATTERY?

  11. Leanne
    Dec 28, 2010 @ 11:54:28

    My son (3) received the Mobigo system for Christmas from Grandma. They give you a one year free game download offer on their website. We picked out a few games and put them on the machine. They erase as soon as you power off! I was a little annoyed with this. Even if you purchased them they dont stay on the machine. The leapster has games on the system that you can play without any cartridges. It is a nice feature. It also would be nice if they made all their games for vtech compatible for each system. I know that is reaching a bit but the games are the same format for each machine. Toy Story is the same on Mobigo as on our vsmile. All in all we just need a fun tool for my son to play with on a long flight. Hopefully, this will keep him occupied for a while.

  12. Pete
    Dec 28, 2010 @ 13:00:17

    Mobigo is an interesting device.
    However, the iTouch has MANY more games either free or $.99 which is better than $19.00 per game.

  13. Angi
    Jan 25, 2011 @ 18:54:00

    I bought the MobiGo for my 3 1/2 yr old daughter and we both love it. I like that she is learning. I really like the fact that at age 3 she is learning how to use a keyboard and recognize where each letter is. I would not recommend the Tangled game. one game is super simple, the paint one. and one is even hard for me to figure out, let alone a 3 yr old.
    The downside is the games they offer to download from their website only stay on the handheld till you turn it off or the batteries run out. then you have to transfer them from your computer to your mobiGo again. Although, this week I did buy the VTech MobiGo storage cartridge where you can download those games to the cartridge and always have them with you.
    I would recommend the MobiGo. I just wish they had a rechargable battery where you can just plug it in and charge it every night.

    • Danelle Ice - Home Ever After
      Feb 03, 2011 @ 11:18:33

      @Angi: I have heard a lot of bad feedback about the downloaded games disappearing off the mobiGo units. I also would like a rechargable battery.

      Danelle

  14. Erica
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 15:00:12

    Well I as well agree..I have a 3 yr old son and his grandmother bought him one this past Christmas and he loves it. I like it as well because it is helping him recognize his numbers and letters. It on Shrek game..it helps him how to spell a word. The only problem I seem to be having..is I just downloaded the Vtech site to download games to the MobiGo with a cord from my camera..and it tells me that there is no device connected on my computer..but on the device it says USB connected. So I have no idea what is going on.
    But I do recommend all Vtech products. We haven’t purchased them all..but we have a couple and have no problem with any of their products so far!

  15. Amanda
    Mar 04, 2011 @ 20:54:28

    I just bought the mobigo. If you read the website (vtechkids.com), it tells you off the bat that once you power down your mobigo system or remove the batteries, the downloaded games will be lost and need to be downloaded again. Because of this, I purchased the mobigo storage cartridge from the vtech website which states that you can download 30+ games to the cartridge and it will store them so you wont have to keep re-downloading them to the system. 30+ games for the price of one cartridge is a good deal in my opinion. I haven’t tried the cartridge out yet, but I’ll be sure to leave feedback as soon as we recieve it and give it a whirl. I would deff. recommend this toy for any parent whose looking for a kid tough handheld game system for their toddler or youngster. I also have purchased, in the past, two leapster systems which have seemed to have continous problems. In comparison, the mobigo’s screen quality is much better, the leapsters screen image is very grainy. Unfortunately I recently returned one of our leapsters because of all the grief it was causing me and my daughter by not working but we kept the other one and found that the leapster website give’s some helpful advice to anyone that is having problems. For example: the screen keeps flashing, stylus wont work. There is one issue that concerned me that parents kept stating on the site, it has to do with an sd card in the leapster itself that causes the system to mess up and parents have to remove it. Hope this info helps anyone whose considering getting either one of these systems!

  16. mrs.johnson
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 20:27:19

    I think anyone who post negative thought have not sat down and veiwed ths game. First off my daughter is two very hard age to teach a child how to even remember shapes, abc, 123 etc. Let alone recognize them. I have all of this posted on my wall so we can go over it everday I even sing to try to make it interesting. It worked but it still seem not to help with memory or recognition. After getting the mobigo and only two days of play she walks up and points out alphabets and actually gets them right. I think the creators of vtech are brilliant first off using not just a keypad an actual computer keyboard teaches your child how to type before their years. NO it will not happen but over time it will. You also have to teach along with the game if u do that it makes your child think outside the box which is the purpose of the penguin game. The squirrel game teach them and they get older they will understand it teaches lines and basic shapes are all around us. Its a concept if your child doesn’t understand it its the child its the parent. I sit with my child as she plays and I talk her through not to get her out of my hair but to make learning fun which is the concept.

  17. Myers
    Aug 27, 2011 @ 04:40:13

    I recently(8/25/2011) purchased the Mobi go for my almost three year old daughter, and I believe that it is very educational. However i do agree that some of the preloaded games are not really for her age group , but that is understandable, because they are demo games and the system needs to appeal to all the ages in the age range {3-8}. Also with the preloaded games I have to remember that if there are not any instructions I am still the parent and can help or explain it to her. I will say that I have purchased another game for her (Dora : twins day) and it is amazing and gives instructions and if she is taking a little time to answer they give little reminders. Also there is a pattern game and if the child is having problems then it gives hints or suggestions to help the child as well. I have only used AA batteries and They have lasted two days and so far there are no problems and no sign of a low battery. I don’t know if this is any help , but I have turned the system off multiple times and my downloaded games are still there. I don’t know if it is because I just bought the system , but I have not had any problems with that. My daughter loves her Mobi go and I can see she is learning from it. Also @ Danelle thank you for taking your time to review the product. I really think its too bad you weren’t able to test any of the games beside the preloaded ones.

  18. Kre
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 17:32:44

    My son will be 3 in a few weeks and his great-grandmother purchased the Mobigo for him last month. I was against it at first, being that he’s had his own iPod Touch since he was 18 months, and most of the learning games are free or 99 cent, as someone mentioned, and plus you have so much to chose from in the world of iTunes that will grow with him, without having to outgrow the device. But great-grandma insisted, so I agreed. I love the QWERTY keyboard, which is preparing him for computer skills, something the iPod can’t do at this young age, since it’s touch screen only. We started with the Toy Story 3 game, and he is learning how to put words together, match patterns and numbers. As some one stated above, it’s really great with hand eye coordination. We received virtual coins to download 3 games, and I am not having any issues with them staying on the device after it’s powered off. The only downfall to the game system is the battery life. After 4 days, fresh Duracell batteries were already dead. So I do recommend the AC adapter or rechargeable batteries. But at the same time, putting time limits on the length of time your child can play will also save battery power and/or money. I have to agree with the blogger, at first my son was so engaged with this new device, while playing in the car and he would tune out to family discussions. That’s a no-no for me. So he has a limit, and when the batteries die, then I take my time replacing them and/or recharging them.