This year, we had a few electronics thrown in the gift pile. We got the boys some inexpensive starter tablets, got my older son a remote controlled monster truck, and my younger son a Zoomer robot puppy. Here are the reviews on those items.
Review of RCA 7" Android Tablet
Never again will I get an RCA computer-type anything. DVD players, TVs... fine, but when it came to these tablets, we had problems almost from the moment the kids turned them on.
Tablet #1 - My older son had only been playing Angry Birds on it less than two hours when the screen froze on some line-streaked garbled image. We set it aside for a while and when the screen went off, I plugged it into the charger. There had been no indication that the battery had been running low but according to the indicator, it was completely drained. It took almost the entire rest of the day to get it to charge. He played it less than two hours again and suddenly the battery was drained again. We did that dance for two days thinking maybe it was a fluke. Eventually, I got tired of dancing and gave up on it.
Tablet #2 - This one performed much better than the first one, at least at first. My younger son was able to play it normally for a day and a half. We plugged it up to charge it and when it was indicating fully charged, we took it to the store with us so he could play it while we shopped. Then it just refused to come on. It had not been dropped or flung around or handled in any manner that would cause such a thing. I plugged it up again later and it still refused to come on or even indicate that it was plugged in.
Review of 4x4 Mega Blast New Bright RC
But Santa felt that my eldest child was old enough this year for something... uh, bigger? (Mr. Claus's idea, not Mrs. Claus's.) And this thing was big and NOT cheap. To have some kind of reference, my six-year-old child was able to climb into the box and shut it when the truck was removed from it. In any case, it looked pretty awesome and my almost eight-year-old was very excited about it. However, he never got to play with it. When we placed the battery in the charger and plugged it up, the status light never came on and within seconds, an electrical burning smell filled the air. We tried it on three different outlets with the same results each time.
And now for their customer service: I tried multiple times since Christmas to call. I either got a busy signal or a "we're closed" message during the open hours stated in their booklet. (And yes, I accounted for the time difference.) So, without any other option, I sent an email to their customer service, which I have yet to hear from and I sent that message several days ago. I checked their Facebook page for any other reports of problems and I ran into a post about another RC toy problem, which I responded with mine. Yesterday, the admin to the page posted, telling the other guy to email them.
Granted, I have since been able to take the truck back to Walmart but New Bright customer service doesn't know that, and yet *I still haven't gotten a reply to my email. Upon getting my son another RC toy, I was certain to avoid New Bright toy products for this reason.
*If New Bright ever responds to my email, I will update this. If not, you'll see no update here. (Update 1-3-14: Several days after sending an email to customer service, I finally got a reply. Not happy with the time it took to get back to me considering I couldn't reach them on the phone. The time delay could mean the difference between a warranty being honored and being rejected. I will be keeping this in mind when I consider future purchases.)
Review of Zoomer, the robot dog
Zoomer has been a good toy thus far. It works like it should, though the kids do get frustrated with it because it doesn't automatically follow the commands they speak. It's very excitable, too, and mimics the movements of a real puppy, even to the point of sticking its butt in the air and twerking. The kids are happy with it but it doesn't keep their attention for too long and the cat wants to attack it. Still, though, it has fared much better than some of the other electronics this Christmas and overall, we're happy with it.
Thanks to Walmart
Lucky for us, Walmart refunded us for our defective products, which is something I wasn't aware they would do until after I'd been trying to call the manufacturers. It could have been a lot more hassle, especially with the tablets, but they were great about it and I thank them.
This has been the worst Christmas for defunct products. I think I want to have an anit-electronic Christmas next year.
Peace, love, and season's greetings,