Introducing the Yoto player.
Inspired by Montessori principles the increasingly popular award-winning Yoto player (RRP £89.99*) is a creative screen-free audio device primarily marketed towards children aged 3 – 12 years. The Yoto plays fun and educational audio content using either Yoto cards (RRP £5.99-£9.99) or the Yoto phone app (free to download). You can buy the cards from Yoto directly and on Amazon etc. The app also allows you to control the player, select content, and adjust volume, along with parental settings for limiting time (and much, MUCH more). The Yoto is ingeniously designed to be child controlled and the opportunities for listening, learning, and play are endless!
Unlike other smart devices, the Yoto does not use a camera, or microphone, or have any annoying adverts.
*There is free UK delivery on orders over £40, or £2.99 under. Yoto offers a product guarantee which covers the repair or replacement (at Yoto’s discretion) of your Yoto product if it has been used in the manner intended and is found to be defective due to faulty materials or workmanship within 24 months from the date of original purchase. (See website for full details).
What’s in the box?
Simply yet stylishly packaged with the trademark Yoto orange branding, the box opens to include the Yoto Player, Welcome Card (it’s also a Make Your Own Card), Magnetic Charging Dock with UK and EU pins (5.4 foot/ 1.65 m cable length) and Quick Start Guide/Safety Information leaflet – so you’re ready to go without additional purchases. There is no complex unpacking, no drowning in wire or bubble wrap and no need for 300 batteries.
How do you set up the Yoto?
The player requires minimum initial set up (about 5 minutes) and the instructions are simple to follow. An adult will need to do this. There is both a start guide and set up section on the website if you need it. You need internet connection for this first setup and the first download of each card.
In brief, you will need to download the Yoto app (available on IOS/Android). Turn on your player and make sure that it is plugged in and on the charging dock. The Yoto boasts approx. 10 hours of play per charge.
Connect to your Wifi (have your password handy). Enter a code from the player to the app. When successful the player turns green. Insert the ‘Welcome card’ into the card slot which will explain all of Yoto’s features.
Tip: If you have bought the player with a few cards, I would suggest straight away inserting each in turn into the player until the audio starts playing. This tells your player to start downloading that audio onto its in-built storage.
The Yoto has space for up to 350 hours/16GB of audio storage – once a card is downloaded you do not need to be online and there is a headphone jack (3.5mm) so it can be used on the go!
The Yoto Cards.
The Card Store has 1,000+ titles available including music, stories, languages, jokes, recipes and learning cards from phonics to biology. They are available in singles or sets that are suitable for young preschool children to older primary age children. We found it useful to have a card holder folder to keep cards in which retails for £24.99.
Yoto Cards are bank card sized and are almost indestructible, I like that the Yoto is simply operated by slotting the card into the top of the player. My four-year-old operates it happily herself. Take the card out and the player remembers the chapter and where you finished. A cool feature is that you can tap any Yoto card against any phone with NFC and hey presto, it adds the card to your library and starts playing it from the app
One of my favourite features is the ability to buy a ‘Make Your Own ‘card. Why don’t you encourage grandparents to record bedtime stories for something extra special. The limitations are an impressive 100 tracks per card, 100MB file size per track and 500MB total size per any one card. You can rewrite over old content.
Cards come at all different price points, and we felt that they’re reasonably priced for what you get. If you are unsure which cards to pick or want to save a little bit of money, you can sign up for the Yoto Club where you get sent 2 new cards per month (£9.99). It is a VIP membership and a monthly subscription rolled into one. Club members also get free shipping on all Yoto products with no minimum spend and 10%. You also earn rewards in the form of tokens. 100 tokens equate to £1.
There are also a variety of regularly updated free resources including Yoto daily (press the right-hand knob once) – a children’s radio and podcast, but you must be connected to the internet for this feature to work.
The Yoto player and its FEATURES.
Built to withstand a few knocks the player is white with simple to operate on/off button and two orange control knobs (turn to adjust the volume and move between chapters. Push to adjust operational features.) The Yoto Player itself is compact, made from hard plastic with a rubber bottom sized 11x11x10.5 cm. It is big enough to be sturdy but still light and portable for a child to carry. Tip: The Yoto is NOT waterproof.
You can customise the Yoto with a protective silicone Adventure Jacket (soft case) retailing for £24.99 and available in a range of colours.
The front face shows a pixelated display. It is rudimentary but designed this way, so the screen element is not the main focus. The pixelated colour display shows content based on what your child is listening too (or a handy clock which shows a sun or moon, depending on the time of the day).
The back of the player is triangular, not flat, allowing you to stand the player upright or tilt it back. Or you can turn the device onto its front, where it will illuminate with a changeable colour to act as a nightlight. The light colour can be controlled by an adult from your smartphone. Or turn the right-hand knob on the Yoto (in this mode) to control the brightness.
In the app, set the time you want for wake up and bedtime, so the Player shows the sun during the day and the moon at night which is useful for Sleep Training. Tip: during the ‘night mode’ selected hours, you can tap the right-hand knob twice and it will into a ‘sleep sounds’ selection which will run all night.
The Yoto Player can be used as a Bluetooth speaker to play music from a streaming service such as Spotify. This feature is activated by changing the settings in the Yoto Player app to allow Bluetooth pairing.
The Yoto app.
The app is simple to navigate with decent functionality and from it, you can access your player – where parents can adjust the volume and display settings (view the battery/day and night modes etc), visit the card store, read Yoto news, and troubleshoot. Your library is stored in your app so you can easily access the content.
Take some time to familiarise yourself with it, you can easily miss features such as the toothbrush timer, and new developments such as Yoto testing digital-only cards at a discounted price that you can turn into physical cards with a Make Your Own card at a later date if you want. It is evident that Yoto is constantly developing and adding to its audio content and the Yoto features which gives me a lot of reassurance as a buyer that I am buying a product with longevity.
What did we think of the Yoto player?
As my daughter loves stories, we had been considering getting an audio player for a while. I was wondering if buying a separate unit was necessary since you can listen to audiobooks on a mobile. Audible is an expensive option as you have to pay a monthly subscription and the books the children wanted to listen to might not have been included. YouTube is free but has adverts and would involve looking at the screen. Cd players don’t offer the same amount of new content given that they are considered outdated. This was my rationale. The Tonie box is likely Yoto’s contender in the market, content is on physical story ‘characters’ instead of cards, it is also a soft speaker with no nightlight. What would be considered a drawback to one family might be seen as an advantage and vice versa. For us, having a four and eleven-year-old I wanted a device that could meet the requirements of both, so the Yoto was the perfect fit.
The stories in the card store are categorised into ages: 0-5, 5-8 and 8-12+ to easier find suitable content. Norah tried out the The Gruffalo and Friends Collection (RRP £47.94). From bestselling picture book author Julia Donaldson, the pack includes – The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, The Snail and the Whale, Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book, Monkey Puzzle and The Smartest Giant in Town. Also, the Disney Classics: Volume 1 (RRP £47.94) which includes 101 Dalmatians, Frozen, The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Dumbo and Pinocchio. She loved the character pictures on the cards and the clear narration of her favourite stories. Leo loved Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (£14.99).
I was considering getting a Yoto Mini for Leo if they wanted to listen at the same time. With his ASD he finds listening to audiobooks really soothing when he gets back from school.
All in all, myself and the kids were really impressed with the Yoto, do you have an audio player? What do you think of it and what are the features you like best? Can you recommend your fav books?
#AD. We were kindly gifted the Yoto player for review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.