Screen addiction among kids and its likely ill effect on young minds has perhaps been debated for as long as smartphones and tablet devices have hit the limelight. No wonder manufacturers have turned to produce something else that can keep the kids just as entertained without them having to stare at a display for long hours. Case in point, the new Yoto speaker that lacks a display as such, featuring instead just a translucent panel showing pixelated content.
At its heart, the Yoto speaker is all about letting the kids listen to audiobooks and podcasts that they’d really care about. Any smart speaker system would have done the job just as good though those aren’t specifically kid-friendly in the truest sense of the term. Parents might be loath to leave one of those in their kids’ room as those can do a lot of things, which includes placing orders for various stuff.
All of that makes the Yoto a wiser option given how it is designed from the ground up entirely for the kids in mind. There isn’t anything too special about the way it looks. It is just a block of plastic with rounded edges and two buttons on the two top corners. There is a slot on the top as well which serves as the placeholder for cards to be inserted (more on the functionality later). The speaker vents are on the sides while the front is translucent to show highly pixelated images.
The bottom of the speaker again has a wedge-like shape to it with an LED light strip running all along its edge. While that makes the speaker appeal to its young audience, the unique shape enables the speaker to be placed at an angle, which makes it seem the speaker is staring right at the kids wherever it is placed.
Placing it face down on a surface will make the Yoto serve as a nightlight, with the LED strips along the bottom edge coming into effect. Also, when not in use, it shows the time and some weather info. Accompanying the device is the charger which thoughtfully is a round disc that attaches to the speaker via magnetic action.
Setting up the device is easy with all the instructions provided in the Yoto app itself. The company also provides a card in the packaging that serves as the instruction manual as well. In any case, an active internet connection is needed for downloading content. Plus, there is the Yoto Daily podcast that is streamed daily for 10 mins and is dedicated only to the kids. The podcast can be availed of by clicking on that big orange knob on the right while tapping on it again will bring up the Yoto Radio. The other knob serves as the volume control button.
To get back to cards, those are required to be procured separately and need to be pushed in tight in the slot provided on the top. Now, the slot is really a bit tight and needs some getting used to. Some kids might even need the help of adults if they find it too tight for their comfort. As for their availability, those can be sourced from the Yoto store or Amazon and will playback the content that the card provides for. Those again range from children’s stories to educational stuff.
Coming to the price, it stands at $100 apiece, which is quite affordable given the wholesome entertainment the Yoto speaker can provide your kids and keep them off of smartphones or tablets. Plus, they are quite handy too and can easily fit into a bag while traveling.
With a keen interest in tech, I make it a point to keep myself updated on the latest developments in the world of technology and gadgets. That includes smartphones or tablet devices but stretches to even AI and self-driven automobiles as well, the latter being my latest fad. Besides writing, I like watching videos, reading, listening to music, or experimenting with different recipes. Motion picture is another aspect that interests me a lot and maybe I’ll make a film sometime in the future.