Pros: A cool and functional spy toy for the chicas!
Cons: Password must be recorded in a quiet place, can easily be reset allowing others access.
My oldest son wanted to get his sweetheart something special before Christmas rolled around. Since the boys are into spy related things like the Wild Planet Night Vision Goggles and Spy Code Launcher he wanted to get her something so she wouldnt feel left out. Wild Planet doesnt have a lot of girl themed items so he started looking for other options and came across the Radica Girl Tech series. As soon as he saw the Girl Tech Journal he knew that Aimee would love it but encountered a problem when he started to look for prices since the first generation of this journal was no longer being sold. When he saw the newer version purple and gray he was in heaven since purple is Aimees favorite color. After looking on line and at the local toy stores he finally found this for $9.99 at KB Toys it was marked down because the box was opened but it was in perfect condition, worked perfectly and had all the contents.
Radica Girl Tech Journal 2
If youve never seen these units they are a lot like a regular diary but a little more high tech than the ones we had when we were younger. This allows you to select a verbal command [a password] to open the case. Instead of having a tiny lock that can easily be picked, you have to say the password clearly in order for it to open. Have someone that wants to know your secrets? Let them try to get into this! There is supposed to be a way to keep track of the number of attempts that have been made to open it unsuccessfully but Aimee has never been able to get this feature to work correctly. She had this set up and running in about ten minutes and had a smile on her face a mile wide when she asked me if Id try to guess her password. Knowing full and well that she would pick my sons name as her password I played along and guessed some different words before I gave up.
Inside the unit there is a small panel that you can use to store a little bit of money, secret notes or anything thats less than two inches high. There is a small light arm that swings out so you can use it at night and if you forget to turn it off, it automatically shuts off when the door of the journal is closed. This helps to save the batteries and eliminates the need of having to open it again to shut it off. The notepad that comes with it has about thirty or forty pages to it so be on the lookout for other small notebooks to replace this with if your child does a lot of writing. Your best bet is to rip out a page of the notebook and take it with you when you are shopping so you can compare sizes to see which will fit best.
As much as this is touted as a voice recognition type item, it really isnt. It works by matching the word or phrase that is used to open it. We tried this out a few times and came to the conclusion that even if you mess up a small part of the phrase, it will still open so dont plan on storing anything that life threatening inside this because if someone really wants to get in it there are more than a few ways to do so. This is hyped as something that will only open to your voice command but the truth is that as long as someone has the password or phrase, they can get into it. I wouldnt go so far as to call this false advertising but its far from being a 100% safe thing to store those secrets in. Sure, love notes and phone numbers are one thing but if you are looking to protect anything more than that, invest in something else.
Setting It Up
First youll need to have batteries on hand since none are supplied with the unit. This requires the use of three AA sized batteries to power the case, some other models require four AA sized batteries so make sure you read the box when you make a purchase because most do not come with the batteries. The nice ting about the battery compartment is that it is protected by a screw lock, to some people this is a major pain but if you have small kids in the house, it is a godsend. Once you insert the batteries you will want to set up the time and date option easy enough to do but it does require you to scroll through all the numbers until you get to the correct time and date. This can be a little frustrating to do so if you know that this is going to be an ordeal for a smaller child, its best to just do it yourself then hand it over to her. Dont forget to set your birthday too, it will say Happy Birthday on the date that you set it a very nice touch!
Things To Know
• This is recommended for kids ages eight and older but younger kids might be able to make use of this if they know the dangers associated with it [batteries, forgetting password etc].
• When you need to change the batteries you have to do it within a twenty second time frame or you will lose your stored verbal password commend. If this happens you will have to re-record it the same way you did when you started out.
• If you cant access the unit or need to reset it, take a paper clip and press it into the reset button. You will need to set up the unit again and assign another password to it. To me this is a pretty bad feature since it allows anyone that knows this tidbit of information the ability to get into it. The worst case scenario is that someone will get into it and change the password! But again, if that happens, all you need to do is reset it and start over.
The Bottom Line
So far Aimee has been having a blast with this and brings it to the house almost every time she visits. My son thinks that its cool that she has some spy gear of her own and she doesnt feel as left out as she did in the past. Personally I think this is a great little gadget but could benefit from a little more attention to the way the unit can be reset and the light arm. As much as I hate to say it, this isnt worth the suggested retail price of $30.00 - $40.00 that my son saw it for but for $9.99 it was a great deal.
For more information about other great gear for girls, visit the official Girl Tech website at www.girltech.com. Can find these products locally? You can call Radica directly at  803-9611 or look for them online at Amazon.com, Walmart.com or KBtoys.com.
As always, thanks for the read!
~^V^~ Freak ~^V^~
© 2003 Freak369
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