A couple of weeks ago we were invited to try out the Tonies Audio system and let you guys know what we thought.
We received a Tonies starter kit which came with a creative Tonie (more on that later). The Tonie is a soft lightweight box with fun ears and is a complete audio system. The audio runs through creative or character Tonies that are placed on the top.
To use the Tonie you have to create an account using an app and set your box up using your WiFi. Now, this is where I had some difficulty.
I can generally work most technical things and the set up at first looks easy. There are several videos online to refer to and you follow the process using the set up pages online. However, it took me several days and emails to get fully connected online. I think some of the difficulties stemmed from the company being German so many of the emails or help pages were initially in German. The set up pages also assume that each stage worked without problem and a troubleshooting section during set up would have been helpful. That said, we did eventually get it working and from what I understand, problems are fairly rare.
Now, once we got going we did have some fun. The starter kit comes with a creative Tonie. You use this figure to upload up to 90 minutes of content which can be played through the system. You get a free audio book and we downloaded my girls favourite songs. The files you can upload are quite restrictive as you can’t use MP4s, I Tunes or streaming. I had to upload MP3 files which I haven’t used for some time. Again, I found this a bit different to figure out as the advice pages here are not that helpful. Once I had figured it out and got all the music uploaded via WiFi, the girls can play their music as much as they like by simply putting the Tonie on the box (not sure that’s a good thing after listening to Barbie Girl 20 times in a row).
We were lucky enough to be give some character Tonies to try. One was the Julia Donaldson story, Zog and a music one. These are available to purchase separately and once initial download via the WiFi you can use them without the internet.
To get the Tonies working you simply place the Tonie on the top of the box. The volume is easy to use via the ears and tracks can be skipped by tapping the side of the box. It’s so easy my 2 year old mastered it quickly.
The beauty of the Tonies being character figures is it is very easy for my little ones to decide for themselves what to listen to. Once I got the Tonie set up, the girls needed no further help from me to enjoy it.
The battery life has so far been great. We have used this everyday for a week and the battery has not yet run out. I would have liked some battery monitor, maybe via the app to see how much battery is remaining.
There are a few things I feel are missing on the Tonie which I think would improve it. I think Bluetooth or the ability to stream music would be really useful. I also struggled to find content to upload to my creative Tonie and a library of content to upload to it would be a great addition.
On the whole, my girls love the Tonie and find it so easy to use (easier than the Fisher Price cassette player I grew up with ?). It’s retails at £79.99 and to be honest I am not sure I would have purchased this over an echo spot or similar. I like that it’s soft, easy to use and portable but I think there are some extras I would like to see before I would have purchased this. That said, the girls do use it a lot and are already choosing the next creative Tonie to purchase so my choice would have probably been wrong.
You can buy your Tonie on Amazon.