Tonies Toniebox Review: Child-friendly fun at a high price
These German-invented clever bits of tech are aimed at children and built for use by young kids, while still being controlled overall by their parents.
The premise is simple – a robust, appealing soft-padded speaker that combines with stick-on characters to tell audio stories at bedtime.
It’s ideal for hardworking parents who are still at work when their kids are ready for bed but want to be involved in the bedtime routine.
Using the easy-to-navigate Tonie app, mums and dads can pre-record themselves reading a favourite kids story on their phone.
They can then effectively send it to the toy character via wi-fi so that when their child at home pops the Tonie figurine on top of the box they can hear their parents reading to them.
You can also buy a series of different ‘Tonies’ that tell famous kids tales like Room on the Broom, Stick Man, The Gruffalo and The Little Prince.
Overall, I’m a fan of the Tonie box.
It’s really appealing to kids and offers a new take on audiobooks and verbal storytelling thanks to clever technology.
It’s got a great quality build, looks good and has an ever-growing library of Tonie characters to choose from.
However, dive deep and I do start to question the longevity of the box once it’s gimmick wears off.
After all, it really is just a decent speaker at the end of the day that plays clips based on interaction with NFC-style magnetic plastic characters.
It’s never going to replace a parent reading a bedtime story to their child. And nor should it.
The speaker is good but there are better ones out there for a similar price. It’s comparable to the quality of Amazon’s bigger Alexa devices.
At £70-odd for the box, it's a fair whack of cash. And with the characters coming in at £15, often for less than half an hour of storytelling, I’d conclude it’s quite an expensive bit of kit for what it is.
I’d like to see the firm drop costs on the characters as their cast list grows.
THE VERDICT – 3/5
- Smart bit of child-friendly tech
- Easy to use for both kids and adults
- Robustly built
- Decent sound
- Costly for what it does
- There are better speakers out there if you’re looking for sound quality
- A bit gimmicky
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