Wednesday, 29 July 2015

A Hands-On (and Off!) Review of the VTech KidiZoom Action Cam for Kids

The VTech KidiZoom Action Cam is a video and photo camera designed for active kids aged around 4 to 9. My 7 year old got one for his birthday and it has proved a real success. To my mind it's not perfect, but he absolutely loves it and it has proved to be a fantastic purchase.

I considered a few different cameras but this was very much my son's choice, he loved the look of it with the yellow and black colouring (there's also a purple and pink version available) and kid-friendly design.

I've included photos and videos taken by my son in this review. These were just photos that he has taken himself, not ones taken specially for the review.


The Action Cam is sports camera for children that takes photos and records videos. It comes with a variety of attachments so they can use it on a bike, skateboard or helmet. It even includes a waterproof case so kids can take photos and videos in the pool or on a rainy day (rain does not stop my son going out on his bike!)

The Action Cam has a colour screen so kids can view their photos and videos. The buttons are easy to press and have icons on so kids can easily see what they do. My son didn't need any instructions, he just started using the camera immediately and discovered the features over time.

Buddha 3D Printing - Taken with VTech KidiZoom Action Cam
Buddha 3D Printing 
There are some fun kid-friendly features such as photo frame effects and games that can be played on the camera.

The camera is rechargeable and comes with a USB cable for recharging and transferring photos.

Photos and Videos

Flower: Taken with VTech KidiZoom Action Cam
The action cam can take regular photos, a series of photos at regular intervals, or videos including audio. My son has made loads of use of both features, he loves taking wildlife photographs as well as photos of his toys, science experiments and crafts. He also attaches the camera to his bike every time he goes out for a bike ride and we've got some lovely stream of consciousness videos where he narrates his bike ride - these are very shaky but fun!

Here's a short video that he took of a slow worm that he found:

My son asked if he could turn the camera round to take a selfie (as he can on his VTech InnoTab), when I say you couldn't he just turned the camera round and pointed it at himself and quickly worked out where to hold it. You can also set the camera up to have a time delay before taking a photo so kids can set up action selfies.

The video with audio is useful for my son to record his voice. He finds it much easier to talk than write and he can easily tell a story to the camera and then play it back on the camera as he transcribes it, pausing when he needs to.

Photo Quality

If I was choosing an adult camera then photo quality would be one of the most important features. The KidiZoom Action Cam is not a high resolution camera by any stretch and this did concern me. It hasn't bothered my son in the slightest. The photos are plenty good enough for him and it means they don't take up as much storage space as higher resolution photos would. This is important as it turns out that to a 7 year old quantity is far more important than quality!

Here's an example photo taken at the camera's highest resolution of 640x480. It's clearly a low resolution image. But the colours are bright and it does the job of recording a science experiment perfectly well.

Science Experiment: Taken with VTech KidiZoom Action Cam
Science Experiment 

Stop Motion Videos

You can also take stop motion videos. This stop motion of a 3D printing buddha was taken using the action cam mounted on a standard camera tripod and set to take photos every 10 seconds.

You can't decide when to take individual photos which would have been nice (though you could use external software to turn a sequence of photos into a video.)

Kids can use this feature in a set and forget manner to automatically take photos of a process that happens over time such as 3D printing or a chemical reaction. You can choose intervals from 0.5 seconds up to 10 seconds. We found that a video could have a maximum of 120 photos.

Or children can use the feature to make stop motion animations with toys by making a change to the scene and then getting out of the way. This is a bit trickier than using software that allows kids to choose when the photos are taken.

Kids can also add music, from a small selection, to their stop motion right from the camera.


The camera has a small amount of built-in storage, this is really only useful as a demo. You can't enable the highest resolution when using built-in storage and you really will want this. 

Fortunately the camera has a slot for a microSD card and supports cards with up to 32GB capacity. You can use the higher resolution once an SD card is installed (the settings can easily be changed via the on-camera menu.)

You will want to use the camera with an SD card so include the cost of this in your budget.


The camera has a 3.5cm (1.4") screen, the screen is square and the measurement is across the diagonal. It's not a touch screen, it's controlled using physical buttons. The screen is small but clear and bright. 

Photos are previewed on the screen after being taken. You can view photos and watch videos on the screen complete with sound. This is really useful when you are out and about with the camera. 

Photo Effects

Framed Portrait - Taken with VTech KidiZoom Action Cam
Framed Portrait 
There are photo effects and fun photo frames hat can be selected before taking a photo. I thought this was a bit of a gimmick but it has turned out to be one of my son's favourite features. He really likes the negative effect and showing people the framed photos he has taken of them.

When I was looked for photos for this review I found that he had taken loads of pictures using the special effects and picture frames. 

Dimensions and Weight

The VTech Action Cam is really small. I hadn't appreciated this before we got it. It measures around 5.5 cm square and 2.5 cm deep at the lens part. Kids cameras are often much bigger and bulkier than their adult counterparts which I've always found inconvenient. Not this one, it's tiny.

It's also really light, it weighs 50 grams on my kitchen scales (including the built in battery.) This makes all the difference.

The small size and low weight mean that my son can just pop the camera in his pocket or wear it on a safety lanyard (not included, but there is an attachment point) when he's out and about. It stops him putting the camera down and walking off without it and makes sure it's always to hand when he wants it. When he uses a bigger adult camera he's always handing it back to an adult to hold so he doesn't have it with him when he spots something cool like a bird or insect.

The dimensions also make it suitable for attaching to a remote control vehical where you can use the video or interval photo features. My son had fun attaching his camera to a Star Wars R6 droid replica (thanks James.)

Power and Charging

The camera has a built-in rechargeable battery. It comes with a USB cable that can be used to charge the camera from a computer or a USB hub or wall adapter.

Battery life seems good so far, VTech claim 2.5 hours of active photo and video taking. We took the camera out to the park and then came back and had the camera take stop motion photos every 10 seconds for 2 hours (multiple videos) and it was still claiming to have almost half the battery charge remaining.

We've got into a routine of transferring the photos and videos off the camera after a trip and leaving the camera connected to charge. Then it's always ready to go on the next adventure.  

Transferring Photos

You don't need any special software on your computer, the camera will just be recognised and you'll get the option to transfer the photos, just as you would with an adult camera. 

Ease of Use

This is an area where the VTech Action Cam wins over more complicated adult cameras. It's really easy to use with icons on the buttons and easy to understand menus on the screen. My son has just got on with using the camera and has discovered all the features for himself. 

The camera makes a noise when a photo is taken so you can tell kids to hold the camera still until they hear the noise. 

Younger kids will need help connecting the USB cable, but my son manages this just fine and can put the camera on to charge and transfer the photos himself. 


The camera has a rubber bumper and seems pretty rugged. Ours has been dropped onto a wooden floor a few times and has been flung from it's position on the head of a Star Wars R6 droid and it's fine. It definitely seems more likely to survive an active kid than a cheap regular camera. 

The SD card slot and USB port are protected by rubberised covers attached by stretchy cables. The cables look a bit fragile but seem to be coping with regular use in the case of the USB cover. 


The Action Cam comes with loads of accessories. This is a real strength and should be taken into account when comparing prices. The accessories use a standard camera tripod thread so some can be used with other cameras too.

You get:
  • A bike mount
  • A sticky pad mount for a helmet or skateboard
  • A wrist strap
  • A waterproof case
  • A clip on attachment with a camera tripod thread
  • A USB cable for file transfer and charging
There's a plastic attachment with a camera tripod thread in it. This allows the camera to be attached to the included mounts or other standard mounts such as a tripod, self-stick or rolling dolly (not included.)

For most situations it would be more convenient to have the mounting thread actually on the camera rather than having another piece of plastic to keep track of. I'm nervous of breaking this piece, but it has stood up well so far. We have managed to leave it at home though and been out with the camera and the mount but not the crucial bit that joins them together. And we've left it attached to the bike and then wanted it indoors to use with a tripod. Having said that it is convenient to be able to quickly remove the camera from the bike mount to take some photos and then pop it back in to shoot more video.

The bike mount is removable so it can be moved between bikes, scooters and other places - it fits on lots of play equipment and also on the 3D printer for taking interval photos.

We found that it was tricky to attach the bike mount to my son's bike in the recommended position, there's nowhere for the camera to go. It is a small bike (he's waiting for his big brother to grow out of the next size up!) You can attach the camera to the handlebars, but then you have to reposition the mount to change the camera angle. We were able to attach the camera in a different position. Depending on how you position the camera your child can record what they see or their own reaction to it. Either way they can provide a voice over for their bike ride.

There are lots of different designs for kids bikes and I think you'd find some way of attaching the action cam to most of them, but it's worth watching the bike mount attachment video to check that you can see how it will work with your child's bike.

You also get a sticky pad mount that can be used to mount the camera on a helmet or skateboard, or a remote control car or robot - we're using ours with strong velcro to allow for more options in the future. 

You also get an underwater protective case. This has a camera thread on it too so it can also be used with the mounts, e.g. for cycling in the rain.

Carry Case (Optional Extra)

You're likely to use all of the accessories over time, but some won't be used all the time. You'll definitely want a way to keep all the accessories up together. 

There's an official case with a place for each of the accessories which makes it easier to prevent things from going missing and easier to make sure you remember to take everything with you.


Don't buy the VTech Action Camera for a teenager or an aspiring tween photographer who really appreciates high-res photos. Do buy it for a younger child who wants to have fun documenting their adventures, messing with special effects and taking cool videos on their bike or skateboard or in the pool. 

This camera is great fun for young kids. It has just the right features for kids and compromises on photo quality to keep the cost down. The range of included accessories is impressive and means the camera is likely to get used in lots of different situations. 

Don't forget to get an SD Card to go with the camera and consider the Carry Case to keep all the bits in one place. 

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