ReadAskChat by ReadAskChat, Ltd. – Review



Art for “Light of Mine” (c) 2012 by Christopher Lyles

What we love…

fantastic app that encourages parents and caregivers to read with children featuring a library of curated stories, conversation starters and bright colorful artwork.  I loved that we were able to carry over and do activities after learning about them during our daily lives like stomping, slipping, sliding and being more observant

What we’d love to see…

parental lock of some sort on the cog wheel – there are no external links but my son liked to tap on it.  I would also like to see a bigger parent’s resource section included – there are a number of resources on the web but not integrated within the app.

Summary

Beautifully illustrated app that encourages active reading via the story by asking questions, making observations and learning.  Kids can also tie it to real life and role play the stories.

Our Rating

ReadAskChat is a curated library of stories designed for children from six months to age 4.  The stories feature bright artwork, text and parental cues to help parents read with their children.  I still remember the first time I sat in the rocker with my then infant son and held a black and white board book to read with him.  I felt unprepared, because I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to read with him or help him learn.   You can read our interview with co-founders Alice and Carolyn to learn more about the reasons on why ReadAskChat was created.  You can also read a paper about the science behind ReadAskChat.  This app takes it beyond your device or tablet and encourages interactive reading using conversation starters to help kids engage and learn.  Key concepts in the app include rhyming, patterning, early academics like colors, shapes, early sight words along with math and science concepts.

As I have gotten to be a mom of two – reading with my kids has gotten easier.  They both know when it’s bedtime – we have 15-30 minutes depending on the day that we sit, snuggle and look at books.  We practice things like how to hold the book, turning pages from front to back as well as moving with the text via songs, pointing to objects and just handling a book.  In this digital age, it’s also important to consider that books are available on tablets, smartphones and other devices meaning that downtime doesn’t just have to mean that your child “plays” on your phone — you can turn it into educational time.

Here’s a snippet from Carolyn about the idea behind ReadAskChat

 The inspiration for ReadAskChat comes from personal experience. My husband and I are adoptive parents, and when our daughter Jiji came home at 9 months, she was clinically failure to thrive. She couldn’t hold her little head up or babble, or reach for shiny objects—things that 9-month-olds should be doing. But after only one month of reading picture books, singing songs, playing and snuggling, and “chatting” about anything and everything, Jiji was a fully caught up and happy 10-month-old.

When we read using my tablet or smartphone – one of the first things I do is to turn on the “night shift mode” which changes colors to be more easy on your eyes and less stimulating for children.  I also love that the app can change depending on which child I am reading with – meaning I can choose prompts for my toddler or my older son while reading the same story.  When you open the app, there are three free stories that are included in the library.  Additional stories are available for purchase.  Each story includes “conversation starters” – these are based on the developmental level of your child and can range from suggesting you bounce your baby in time with the rhythm of the story or music to questions you can ask your kids to prompt them to engage more with the story.

iPad Screenshot 1

Using your device, you login to the app to access the library.  For purposes of the review I was given access to the full library of stories.  When you use the app for the first time on your device or a new device you are prompted to download the stories.  The Starter Pack includes, “Light of Mine”, “Animal Tails” and “The Old Man in the Tree”.  In the subscription based version other stories are categorized by Big Ideas, Special Friends, Indoor Mischief, On The Move, Action Rhymes, Math Stories, Science Stories.  You also choose the developmental level for the conversation starters.  They range from baby (six to 18 months);  toddler (12-24 months); preschooler (2 -4 years).  As we have gotten more familiar with the stories we have recently changed from toddler to preschooler level to help him continue to follow along and be engaged.

“Mario’s Trucks” illustrated by Hyewon Yum

My toddler aged son loves anything to do with cars and trucks and things that go.  We typically let him pick a story and then I choose one.  One of his favorites is Mario’s Trucks – which includes descriptive text like “Raise that Shovel!  Dig that hole”.  I typically read to him and then we talk about what we see in the photo – things like a yellow dump truck, a hard hat that Mario is wearing, a yellow digger and blocks and a crane.  The conversation starters also encourage parents to add the sounds to the story and then the “ask” which encourages kids to think about what the truck does – my toddler answered carries and dumps.    You are also prompted as you read to chat about what Mario might be building – my son said “tower”.  We talked about it being a construction site on the first page.  I also loved using the app to guide off-device play where we re-enacted specific stories that my son identified with.  The illustrations in the app are beautiful and encourage kids to look and pay attention to details.  The stories appeal to children and are not too overwhelming in terms of new information that is shared on a page.  They also gently encourage sleep or relaxation at the end.  At the end of the story you can either slide to the next story or close out of the app.

I loved the wide variety of content that was included in the app and that my son was engaged and learning from stories – which we could look at no matter where we were at a point in time.  I actually found myself reading more with my son because I could pull out my iPhone or tablet while we were waiting for appointments or had short periods of downtime.  He loved tapping on the screen to show me what he was seeing – and I liked hearing what he saw in the photos and engaged.  Both of us became more engaged with stories – rather than him sitting in my lap passively to hear a story.  In addition, I recently read to my son’s classroom  and used ReadAskChat along with a software which was able to reflect my screen onto a whiteboard so that the group of kids could participate.  Although the app is designed for more 1:1 or 1:2 use it was fun to use in a class because it encouraged open ended conversations and allowed kids to really engage with the story.  As kids get bigger you can encourage them to help swipe and actively pick out sight words, look at the images within the stories and pick out specific details or even find an object or color within the image.  With my son as we read the stories and he’s become more familiar – we now sometimes play “I spy” to see the details that we might have previously missed.  One of the other things that I really enjoyed was the conversation starters to help me encourage my son to better engage with the story.  Another feature I liked was the “swipe lock” which made it so my son couldn’t accidentally move forward beyond pages that I wanted him to be on.   The app also lets you favorite stories using a heart at the bottom – my son quickly learned about this and we picked out his favorites and then we were able to scan for the hearts when picking a bedtime story.  I also really liked the descriptive words used within the app to tell a story which tied to the picture.  Words like  “slip and glide” for my son were new – so we actually practiced them by sliding our feet on the rug.

In terms of enhancements – I would love to see a section for parents to understand more about reading with their children as well as the importance. I found a number of resources on the website for Readaskchat – but they were not referenced when we used the app.  It would also be nice if the cog wheel at the top were parental gated – there are no external links but my son recognized this from other apps and wanted to touch it.

Overall, this is an app that is unique in that it actively encourages parents to teach their children while reading.  My son loved sitting on my lap and engaging – rather than passively listening to a story.  Since then I’ve noticed that when we read board books or bedtime stories he looks at the picture and we read and talk about them more – for example, find the green wall or white bunny rather than just reading the text as a more rote method of learning.

Pricing: Launch sale through December 25, 2017: Only $14.99 for the full library for one year.

LAUNCH SALE through December 25, 2017
$1.99/month
$14.99/year (which comes to $1.25/month)

AFTER DECEMBER 25
$2.99/month
$29.99/year (which comes to $2.50/month)

**Subscribers receive a new story pack (3 selections) bimonthly in 2018.

Note: Bulk rates are available for institutions.

NOTE: This app has in-app purchases

ReadAskChat for Children 0-4 ReadAskChat for Children 0-4 by Read, Ask, Chat, Ltd.

Price: $FREE

This beautifully illustrated library includes on-demand guidance for parents in reading interactively—the tried-and-true way to foster school readiness and love of learning. Subscribers receive new .

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Want to win a copy? Simply enter using our Rafflecopter widget below. Must have an iTunes account and download a free copy of ReadAskChat. Open worldwide to everyone.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

Review of My First Lab WOW Scope – A 3D microscope for Kids

 

What we love…

Binocular microscope, good quality lenses, allows user to look at 3D objects as well as slides

What we’d love to see…

Additional higher powered lenses, a petri dish included

Summary

The WOW Scope is a binocular microscope with interchangeable 10X and 25X eyepieces, giving a total magnification of 20X and 50X. It is well made and allows the user to examine 3D objects as well as glass slides.

recommended-by-the-imums

The World of Wonder (WOW) Scope from My First Lab is a microscope designed for children. The WOW Scope is different than most children’s microscopes on the market in 3 major ways

  1. it is a binocular microscope i.e. it has 2 eyepieces, most children’s microscopes are monocular (1 eyepiece.)
  2. It is designed not only for viewing microscope slides but also for viewing 3D objects and so has both upper and lower illumination
  3. It is made by a company (C & A Scientific) who make scientific and educational microscopes for laboratory use.

 

What’s in the Box

The WOW Scope includes: a binocular microscope, 2 interchangeable sets of eyepieces (10x and 25x), a slide case and 2 prepared slides.

One slide is traditionally prepared samples of a mosquito mouth and fly wing – these are thin sections mounted on a glass slide, under a coverslip . The other slide is white card and has 3 samples glued on – sand, a small feather and an insect leg, these are 3D objects and have not been cut into thin sections or mounted under a cover slip.

Set Up

Set up is very quick and easy, and requires 2 AA batteries. The batteries are inserted into the battery compartment in the base of the microscope. Then the slide is placed on the stage (base of the microscope) and held in place by 2 metal clips. The light switch has 2 on positions, for glass slides light I is switched on, this illuminated the slide from under the stage. For 3D objects light II is switched on – this illuminates the object from on top.

The 10x eyepieces are put in place and the large black knob on the side is turned to move the microscope head down and up until the object is in focus. For higher magnification the 25x eyepieces replace the 10x and the focus is then readjusted. The total magnification is 20x or 50x depending on which eyepieces are used.

Construction

The WOW scope is very solidly made, it does have some plastic parts e.g. the base  but it is mostly made of metal and has glass optics. It feels well made and the focussing knob moves the microscope very smoothly up and down.  I have several other kids’ microscopes at home and the quality of the optics is noticeably better on the WOW scope than the others I have.

In Use

The Wow Scope is used in a different way than a traditional microscope, usually the eyepiece lens stays the same and you rotate through different objective lenses (the ones closest to the slide) for different magnification levels. Instead with the WOW scope the objective lens is fixed and it is the eyepiece lens that you change by sliding it in and out of the eyepiece barrel. It is easy to change the lenses but you do need to make sure you have a safe place to put down the ones you are not using.

I love how the WOW scope is designed to encourage kids to examine closely any object they find. Unlike most microscopes the WOW scope is designed to let you examine 3D objects rather than just prepared slides. This makes it much easier to just pick something from the environment such as a leaf or feather. My kids and I looked at moss, sugar, feathers, coins, rocks and leaves as well as looking at microscope slides with prepared specimens. It worked well except when we tried to examine objects that were “too 3D” e.g. a pine cone. This was too hard to focus as the parts of the cone were at many different distances, a somewhat flat object works better. I was a little nervous about placing rough objects, such as rocks, directly on the glass stage, as I was worried it would get scratched. It would be nice to see a petri dish or other container for holding the 3D objects included.

As well as being able to examine 3D objects the WOW scopes optical set up makes objects appear more 3 dimensional. It has 2 eyepiece lenses each with their own objective lens, so you can use both eyes at once and they each see the specimen from slightly different angles.

Moss through WOW Scope

 

The levels of magnification are 20x and 50x, most kids microscopes will have magnification levels higher than this (this is similar to their low level magnification.) Because of this, if you want to look at a lot of slides at cellular level, then a microscope with higher magnification e.g My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope may be a better choice. However, because you can spontaneously examine objects you find in nature, this scope is a great way to get kids engaged in STEM, as they can explore whatever they find, instead of needing to have prepared slides to examine. It is still useful for examining slides if you are looking at larger scale objects such as the parts of an insect, rather than looking at the cellular level

Price and Availability

Available from myfirstlab.com for US$69.99 Recommended for Ages 7+ , other microscopes from my first lab are available on Amazon

Summary

The World of Wonder (WOW) Scope from My First Lab is a great STEM gift to get kids interested in exploring science and nature. It is a binocular microscope with interchangeable 10X and 25X eyepieces, giving a total magnification of 20X and 50X. The WOW scope can be used with traditional glass microscope slides but also allows viewing of 3-D objects such as feathers, rocks and leaves. This lets kids view objects they find when out exploring in nature, without needing to do any slide preparation. The WOW scope is well made, My First Lab is a division of C & A Scientific who make scientific and educational microscopes so they use good quality glass optics for clearer viewing.

The WOW scope is featured in our Kids Holiday Gift Guide – 11 Tech Toys For Kids of All Ages

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

11 Tech Toys for Kids of All Ages

11 Tech Toys for Kids of All Ages

Pixl Play Camera

The Pixlplay Camera from Pixl Toys is a  case and app that turns your (old) smartphone into a fun camera for kids.

JBuddies Studio Headphones

JBuddies Studio Headphones from JLab are great headphones for from 6- teen.

Smartphone Detector From My First Lab

The Smartphone Detector aka Smartphone Microscope Science Kit from My First Lab is a miniature microscope and LED light you attach to a Smartphone.

Garmin Vivofit Junior 2 Activity Tracker

The Garmin Vivofit Junior 2 is a great way to encourage kids to get up and active.

My First Lab Wow Scope

The World of Wonder (WOW) Scope from My First Lab is a great STEM gift to get kids interested in exploring science and nature.

Dr. Panda Plus: Home Designer

Dr. Panda Plus: Home Designer is a physical toy which includes cards as well as the ability to take a photograph of them and display them on your device.

Bluebee Pals

Bluebee Pals are a cuddly companion which integrates with your smartphone or tablet and gives your child a voice., reads them a story and provides narration for your device

ProLOCK Mini from Rug-Ed case

Protect your kids devices using the ProLOCK Mini: iPad Mini 4 is a case designed by Rug-Ed which includes a tempered-glass screen protector, removable stand and locking fasteners with a tool which ensures that your iPad is not removed from it’s case accidentally.

KidiZoom Smartwatch by VTech

The VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX is a durable smartwatch that lets kids take pictures, videos, play games and more

Jimu Robot - Astrobot Kit

Jimu Robot Astrobot Kit from UBTECH is a great STEM gift. It is a robotic building system that allows a child to build one of 3 included robot designs

Cubelets® Robot Blocks by Modular Robots

The Cubelets TWELVE introduces kids to robotics, coding and design all in one toy.  Cubelets are a expandable system of robot blocks which can be paired with Bluetooth® for more fun.

 

 

 

 

Holiday gift shopping for kids can be so hard!  Tech is changing rapidly and kids always want to have the latest and greatest toys.  Below are some of our top picks for top kids tech that will have kids learning as well as being active. If you are looking for the latest, must have kid tech for gifts any time of year this guide contains some great ideas for the best tech gifts for kids.

 

For more great ideas check out our previous gift guides including our #STEM guide.  Be sure to also check out our other great gift guides.

 

 

 

Gifts Under $30

 

 

 

Pixl Play Camera

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pixlplay Camera from Pixl Toys is a  case and app that turns your (old) smartphone into a fun camera for kids. It is designed to look like an old 35mm camera but chunky enough for little hands to hold it securely. The tough plastic case has a screen protector and provides protection against drops and dirt. The pixlplay connects to your smartphone via the headphone jack, allowing kids to use a shutter button to take their pictures. It comes with a free companion app that encourages your child to explore and take pictures whilst learning about colors, numbers and shapes. Compatible with  iPHONE 4, 5, 6,  and similar sized Android phones, can be used with iPhone 7, 8 with lightning  adapter (as no headphone jack.)

Available from Amazon for  US$29.99 Recommended for Ages 3-9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JBuddies Studio Headphones

 

 

 

 

JBuddies Studio Headphones from JLab are great headphones for from 6- teen. They are volume limited (to 85db) to prevent hearing damage and are adjustable to fit different head sizes from age 6-16. Older kids will appreciate the fact they ae styled to look like adult headphones and come in a range of color options. They have in-line controls, a built-in microphone and tangle-free braided cable. The headband and ear cushions are padded and comfortable for extended wear.The JBuddies Studio Headphones fold when not in use for easier storage and transportation.

 

Available from Amazon and Target  for US$19.99 . Recommended for Ages 6-16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smartphone Detector From My First Lab

 

 

 

The Smartphone Detector aka Smartphone Microscope Science Kit from My First Lab is a miniature microscope and LED light you attach to a Smartphone. It has a strong plastic spring clip which is used to hold the microscope in place over the smartphone camera lens.To use simply switch on the smartphone camera and place the Smartphone Detector over the item you wish to magnify. If extra illumination is required the small but bright LED lamp can be switched on simply by turning its top. The light is powered by 3 watch batteries which can be easily replaced if required. It is a fun way for kids to examine small objects such as coins and stamps and can also be used for close ups of shells, leaves and other items. The Smartphone Inspector features 60X magnification, giving you great clarity on the items you inspect and it’s easy to take pictures too using your smartphone camera.

 Available from Amazon for US$12.99 . Recommended for Ages 12+ (but can easily be used by younger kids with supervision)

 

 

 

 

Gifts Under $100

 

 

Garmin Vívofit Junior 2 Activity Tracker

 

 

 

The Garmin Vivofit Junior 2 is a great way to encourage kids to get up and active. It is available with bands featuring characters from Star Wars, Marvel and Disney. The Vivofit Junior 2 has a color screen that can be customized with different character step icons. It not only tracks steps, sleep and active minutes but also tells the time, reminds kids to do chores and has built-in timers. Each character band has a corresponding app where by logging 60 active minutes a day the child can unlock new levels encouraging kids to keep active. Each character theme has 2 band options- a stretchy band designed for smaller wrists, and an adjustable band for older kids. The vivofit Jr. 2 is waterproof, has a 1 year battery life and can be worn 24/7. To encourage friendly competition kids can compete in a leaderboard with other family members with Garmin devices and can compete in Toe-to-ToeTM step challenges with friends with also have a vívofit jr. 2 device.

Available from Garmin.com Best Buy, Amazon and other retailers for US$99. Recommended for Ages 4+

CYBER WEEK SALE only $79.99 at Garmin.com !!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My First Lab Wow Scope

 

 

 

 

The World of Wonder (WOW) Scope from My First Lab is a great STEM gift to get kids interested in exploring science and nature. It is a binocular microscope with interchangeable 10X and 25X eyepieces, giving a total magnification of 20X and 50X. The WOW scope can be used with traditional glass microscope slides but also allows viewing of 3-D objects such as feathers, rocks and leaves. This lets kids view objects they find when out exploring in nature, without needing to do any slide preparation. My First Lab is a division of C & A Scientific who make scientific and educational microscopes so they use good quality glass optics for clearer viewing.  Read our full review.

Available from myfirstlab.com for US$69.99 Recommended for Ages 7+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Panda Plus: Home Designer

 

 

 

Dr. Panda Plus: Home Designer is a physical toy which includes cards as well as the ability to take a photograph of them and display them on your device. Inside the box are 51 flashcards, 12 non-toxic erasable markers and a QR code which activates the app. Cards inside the box include everything you would find in a home ranging from bathroom items (sink, tub, toilet, towel rack); bedroom (crib, loft bed, bunk beds, lights, flooring, characters, clothing for the characters,rocking chair, bookshelf, ); kitchen (table, counters, plant, laundry basket, stove, cabinets and living room (couch, stereo system, chair.) Note these are not all of the items – they are selected ones that I picked out. Read our full review.

Available from Amazon and Apple for US$39.99  Recommended for Ages 4+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluebee Pals

 

 

 

Sammy the Bear pro -Talking Educational Learning Tool

Bluebee Pals are a cuddly companion which integrates with your smartphone or tablet and gives your child a voice.  My son loves Sammy the Bear which we pair with our iPad Mini.  He enjoys having Sammy read him stories, helping him interact with apps and even speaking with his Grandmother.  My son also listens to Pandora while we drive or sometimes I will stream video’s without giving him a tablet so he can listen to the storyline without having #screentime..

 Available from Bluebee Pals or Amazon for US$64.99 Recommended for ages 2+  and special needs families.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ProLOCK Mini from Rug-Ed case

 

 

 

Protect your kids devices using the ProLOCK Mini: iPad Mini 4 is a case designed by Rug-Ed which includes a tempered-glass screen protector, removable stand and locking fasteners with a tool which ensures that your iPad is not removed from it’s case accidentally.  The case features a handle at the top which allows for easy carrying; is thin and lightweight but protective of your device.  It also includes corner bumpers for drop protection.  The case can be used in a portrait or landscape mode on your device.  The case is tamper-proof and requires the use of a tool (which reminded me of an allen wrench) to lock in your tablet so that kids can not remove it.  Rug-Ed was started in 2012 and originally started by designing iPad cases for the educational environment.  They recently started offering the ProLOCK case for individual consumers to purchase. Rug-Ed plans to offer an iPhone case in the future as well.

Read our full review. RRP $39 USD and the case is available from Rug-Ed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KidiZoom Smartwatch by V Tech

 

 

 

Do your kids always ask what time it is?  Do they want to track activity but you are afraid to give them a more expensive device?  Enter the VTech® Kidizoom® Smartwatch DX, this durable smartwatch lets kids take pictures, videos, play games and more.  The watch also includes a calendar and calculator, eight games using the touch screen and a motion sensor for action.

 Available from Amazon for US$58.00 Recommended for ages 4+

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gifts Under $200

 

 

Jimu Robot – Astrobot Kit

 

Jimu Robot Astrobot Kit from UBTECH is a great STEM gift. It is a robotic building system that allows a child to build one of 3 included robot designs -Astrobot, Rover or Astron or they can create their own. The kit is designed for ages 8+ and includes  371 snap together parts that are similar in style to Lego Technics, 5 robotoc servo motors, a speaker, 2 16 color LED light, an infrared sensor, ciontrol biox, rechareable battery and the JIMU robot app. When they are ready to build the app has step by step 3D 360°animated building instructions. Once they have finishing building the robot the STEM fun and learning continues as the child learns to program it using Blocky drag and drop programming. They can also use their imagination to program new moves with pose, record, playback system. The Jimu Robot Astrobot Kit is a really great STEM gift as it allow the child to both build and program a robot. The 3D building app is a great way to make the building part easier and Blocky programming is a great way to allow novice programmers to quickly feel comfortable coding.

The Jimu Robot Astrobot Kit from UBTECH is available from Amazon, Apple Stores for US$199.99. Other kits available from $99.99.  Recommended for Ages 8+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gifts Under $300

 

Cubelets® Robot Blocks  by Modular Robots

 

 

 

The Cubelets TWELVE introduces kids to robotics, coding and design all in one toy.  Cubelets are a expandable system of robot blocks which can be paired with Bluetooth® for more fun.  Kids of all ages will love putting the blocks together using magnets, and making them move.  My older son and his friends also built a creation using Lego® which they used in conjunction with their Cublet creation.  Cublets are expandable as well and you can buy additional blocks as needed including the adapter for Lego.  Cubelets TWELVE includes 12 robot blocks and two Brick Adapters.  They also have apps for iOS and Android which allow you to code, control

Note: if you purchase directly from Modular Robotics and enter promo code “iMumFreebie” you get free Brick Adapters.  You must add the item to the cart prior to checkout.

Available from Amazon and Modular Robotics for US$269 Recommended for Ages 4+

 

For additional gift ideas check out all our previous gift guides and  Christmas Gift Guides . 

 

This post contains affiliate links, if you click on these The iMums may receive a small commission which helps to pay to run this site. Thank you for supporting us by using these links. Some items on this list have been received free of charge for review purposes.

 

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

SanDisk iXpand Base: Easy iPhone Back Up and Charging- Review

 

What we love…

Foolproof backup that happens without having to think of it, easy to download backed up items to computer or restore onto phone or iPad

What we’d love to see…

Option to choose to remove select pictures/ videos after backup instead of just having option to remove all or none.

Summary

The iXpand Base from SanDisk is an easy way to keep your iPhone and iPad photos, videos and contacts backed up. It is very easy to set up and after the initial set up if you use it as your charging station it will back your phone up every time you charge without you needing to do anything except plug your phone in

recommended-by-the-imums

If you are looking for a fast, easy, foolproof way to back up your iPhone, the SanDisk iXpand Base is the perfect solution. It can hold up to 256GB of data and is a charging station and back up solution all in one.

Set Up

Set up is a breeze:

  • install the free iXpand Base app on your iPhone.
  • Plug the SanDisk iXpand Base into an outlet with the included (6ft) power cord, then connect your iPhone charging cable to the SanDisk iXpand Base (a lightning cable is not included you do need to supply your own). The cable can be left long or wrapped around the cord manager in the bottom of the iXpand Base.
  • Open the app and connect your phone via the cable and it will automatically start scanning your phone and backing up your photos and contacts.
  • The first time you use it you need to give permission to access your photos, videos and contacts, after that everything is automatic

In Use

SanDisk iXpand Base iPhone Back Up and Charging

 

The iXpand Base has a slightly angled, rubberized surface that works well to hold the iPhone whilst it charges. I keep the SanDisk iXpand Base on my desk and use it every time I want to charge my iPhone or iPad during the day. I never even have to think about backing up my iPhone and iPad photos, videos and contacts – it happens automatically every time I charge it.  The first time I used it the SanDisk iXpand Base it took about an hour to fully back up my photos, videos and contacts, but now as I back it up daily it only takes a couple of minutes to update each time. After the first time whenever you plug your phone in to the iXpand Base it will start charging and simultaneously scan your phone. It will then automatically back up any new items it finds.

Once it has successfully backed up for device your are given the option to delete the backed up items from your iPhone or iPad to create space. This is an “all or nothing” option – you touch one button to remove all the backed up files. If you just want to remove select photos or videos you do this in the usual way from within your photo library.

 

Accessing Backups and Restoring Photos, Videos and Contacts

It is simple to access your backed up files on your iPhone, iPad or computer.

When your iOS device is connected to the iXpand base you can view any of the photos, videos or contacts you have previously backed up from this or any other iOS device. In “Settings” you can see all your backups listed, and choose which one you wish to restore from. Once you have selected a backup file you can “select all” or individually choose which images or contacts you wish to restore onto your device. Once you have selected the items to restore simply tap “restore” and they will be downloaded into your device’s photos or contacts.

Transferring Backed up Items to Computer
The simplest way to move items from the iXpand to your computer is via the iXpand’s SD card. The iXpand has an SD card slot at the back of the unit, pressing on the SD card will eject it. The SD card can then be placed into the SD card slot on your computer where you can simply drag and drop files to download them. The files are in folders labelled by the device name each backup came from with sub-folders for photos and contacts.  If you need more storage you can also remove the full SD card from your iXpand Base and replace it with a new SD card.

If you don’t have an SD card reader on your computer you can also access the files by connecting the iXpand Base to your computer using a data transfer Micro USB – USB  cable (not included.)
 

Setting up a new iPhone
 

If you lose or damage your iPhone and need to get a new one, it is very simple to restore all your old contacts, photos and videos on to your device phone. Simply download the iXpand App onto the new phone, plug it into the iXpand Base, select your old phone’s back up and tap restore.
 

Summary
 

The iXpand Base from SanDisk is an easy way to keep your iPhone and iPad photos, videos and contacts backed up. It is very easy to set up and after the initial set up if you use it as your charging station it will back your phone up every time you charge without you needing to do anything except plug your phone in !
 

Price and Availability
 

The iXpand Base from SanDisk is available in 64GB, 128 GB or 256 GB versions, from AmazonSanDisk.com or other retailers from US$69.99
 
 
 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

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