My two little testers (and I've no doubt their little brother will follow suit as soon as he's old enough !) haven't stopped playing with this - oh sorry, "testing" it, they take their new role very seriously ! - ever since it arrived. While Mum and Dad fussed about reading the box (does it need a memory card ? what do you have to do to get the photos on to the TV or computer ? how many photos can you take ?), they just picked it up and immediately started taking photos, as simple as that. So it passes the first test - it really is very easy to use, even for small children.
As an adult - particularly as a mum, who invariably has to find space for it in my bag, it seems a bit too heavy and chunky but it does seem totally comfortable for little hands. It's shock-resistant and has in fact been dropped several times and come through unscathed, thanks to the protective rubber edging.
The photos are not of a brilliant quality, unless you decide to purchase an additional memory card so that you can use the high resolution option. But to be honest, even when they use our grown-up digital camera, the photos are a bit blurred because they don't take the time to get them properly in focus or they invariably wobble a bit, so the quality is comparable. The in built memory can hold about 200 photos or 5 minutes of video, which is plenty.
Sophie (aged 8) absolutely loves the added features. You can edit photos to add special effects, like putting a pig's nose, devil's horns, a pirate hat, fox ears or big cartoon eyes on people, which has provided hours of hysterical giggling on the floor ! She also loves the little games (memory game, photo puzzle, tic tac toe), even if they seem incredibly basic to me !
Juliette (aged 4) enjoys snapping anything that moves, as well as most things that don't (the floor, the fruit bowl, daddy's shoes !) so I'm sure it's good for developing creativity and imagination !
The video option and waterproof case for taking photos underwater haven't been tested yet because the main appeal is for taking photos, but I'm sure they'll get round to it eventually. It's good to have some extra features to discover in a few months time when the novelty has worn off too (although it's been a few weeks already and they're still fighting over it !!)
It would make a great gift for budding photographers. It is quite pricey but provides hours of fun for all the family (yes, I guarantee even mum and dad will end up taking silly photos of people with pigs' noses and Viking helmets ! ) and it is solid enough to give a few year's good service.
star rating : 10/10 (Sophie said 5/5 wasn't enough !)
for more information, see http://www.amazon.co.uk/VTech-Kidizoom-Multimedia-Digital-Camera/dp/B000SQI5T4/ for the standard model. The Splash version is currently unavailable in the UK but can be found on French amazon : http://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/B001NGP668/ref=s9_simz_gw_s0_p21_i1?pf_rd_m=A1X6FK5RDHNB96&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=0HY3ZM1ZBEFYMWF386JX&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=463375513&pf_rd_i=405320