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Tuesday 20 November 2012

Review - Barbie Photo Fashion Doll

The lovely folks at Mattel were kind enough to send us a Barbie Fashion Doll for review recently. As I have two big Barbie fans in the house, I of course jumped at the chance. It's not the cheapest Barbie in the world (RRP £69.99), but has rather a neat trick up its sleeve - or should I say t-shirt? - namely the fact that as well as being a Barbie doll, it also doubles up as a fully functioning digital camera, which displays the images taken on Barbie's t-shirt. As seen on TV, and "very cool", apparently.

The box duly arrived:

and the kids spent a long time trying it out:

...and generally having a lot of fun. It's biggest plus point is definitely that it is fairly robust, and fairly intuitive for the intended age-range to use (it is recommended for 6+, although my 5 year old seemed happy taking snaps, I think some of the finer points of the effects were a little lost on her, so it's probably a reasonable recommendation).

The next morning we hooked the Barbie up to the computer to take a look at the fruits of their labours. The doll has an accompanying website/programme that makes viewing pictures and adding effects a tad easier than on the doll itself. I have to say that it wasn't necessarily obviously straightforward, as it required a download of Adobe Air, which wasn't mentioned in the instructions.

At this point, if I'm honest, the doubts started to creep in. The photos themselves are very small and not great quality. There is also no flash, so intended for daylight only, or for taking photos of the TV (!):

gratuitous Robin Windsor topless
(actual pictures taken with doll)

So, as cameras go, it's not really great. Fine for a child that doesn't know what to expect from a camera, but kids these days are pretty tech savvy, so a lot of room for improvement in my opinion.

Also, as eldest daughter remarked, "it's not really a proper Barbie either, as you can't even change her clothes". I can't help thinking that for the price of the doll, you'd be better off buying a "standard" Barbie plus a basic digital camera.

Sorry, Barbie.

Disclosure: we were provided with a Barbie Photo Fashion doll, all opinions our own.


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