Sometimes it can be challenging to keep your child entertained. Whether it’s the laborious food shop, eye-watering long car journeys, or just waiting for the clock to strike bedtime. Unlike Cinderella, you need to leave the chores and take a minute for yourself to rest. So, what do you offer your tot when you are all out of entertainment ideas? Well, the Yoto Mini, of course. The Yoto Mini Player is a small portable device that your child can take out wherever they go. They can listen to a selection of their favourite stories via Yoto cards, and most impressively, the battery will last almost a full day. In this Yoto Mini player review, I will look at all the benefits and downsides of a Yoto Mini. I spent two weeks testing the product with my four-year-old son.
Yoto Mini Player
The Yoto Mini review:
What is a Yoto Mini Player?
A Yoto is a cube audio device. It comes in two sizes. As you may suspect, the Yoto Mini is smaller in size. It looks very sweet, and when you turn it on using the button at the right top hand corner and on pops the signature Yoto pixelated face. Obviously, this means that my child now thinks it is a robot. The purpose of the Yoto Player is to act as a storyteller for your child. The Yoto has a slot where your child can easily insert a story card to listen to it.
The audio device is aimed at children aged three and over. However, their product cards are suitable for children from birth to 12-years-old. It is easy to find age-appropriate stories on their website via their filter settings.
The Yoto story library is a vast selection of stories. You can buy the cards from Yoto directly and on Amazon. Unlike other smart devices, the Yoto does not use a camera, a microphone or any annoying adverts. Yoto cards work in both an original Yoto and the Yoto Mini, which is fantastic if you already have the larger device.
So, how does the Yoto Mini Player work?
The Yoto Mini player works just like the original Yoto player. Your child can slot in the credit-card-sized story they want to listen to, and the audio device will begin to tell the story. Just like the original pixelated picture will appear on the screen. However, as you may expect, the Mini has a significantly smaller screen, which is no bigger than a 50 pence piece.
If your child wants to stop listening to the story, they can pull out the physical card, and the story will stop. To continue listening, reinsert the card, and it will continue exactly you left off.
When you remove the card, the Yoto will display the time.
The Yoto app
The Yoto app can be controlled via your smart device. It gives parents the ability to change the controls and settings. Plus, it provides the option to check the charge of the mini device.
Most importantly, the app allows you to play and pause stories you have previously purchased. It means that you do not need to carry around your whole card collection if you are out and about. This for me is a huge win. As a parent, the number of things I need to remember and subsequently try not to lose is massive. Having all of my son’s favourite stories stored on the app is fantastic. You will need a Wi-Fi connection for this to work, however.
You can have multiple devices on the same app, which is fantastic as you can combine the libraries under one parent account.
The Yoto Club
The Yoto Club is a subscription-based service which I can get behind. It not only saves you time but money. Each month the Yoto club chooses the best new age-appropriate stories and sends them straight to your front door. If you aren’t a fan of the stories, they have picked you can change them for one of eight other choices. This club also entitles you to ten per cent off each future purchase and delivery. For only £9.99, I think it’s very reasonable.
• No adverts – When you are trying to relax or concentrate, adverts are your worst enemy. Most other devices have them, and toddlers hate them. Waiting 30 seconds until you can close the advert window feels like a life sentence when your tot is screaming and shouting. The Yoto Mini is completely adverting free – hallelujah
• Size – I like the size of the Yoto Mini, it's compact and light enough for your child to carry it by themselves.
• Story selection. With more than 400 titles under its belt, the Yoto has something for everyone. The genres span from fiction to nonfiction, science to superheroes. I also love that there is a selection of books from different backgrounds, religions, and cultures.
• The Yoto Club - it's great value for money.
• Battery Life – I was very impressed with how long the Yoto Mini worked before I needed to pop it back on charge. The charger is conveniently the same USB-C charging cable used for most smart devices and telephones.
• There's up to 20 hours of play per charge.
• User friendly – This product is designed for children. It's so evident in its well-thought-out construction. The buttons are large enough for little fingers. A child can understand how to insert the story card, and the cards are robust and not flimsy.
• Day trips – My son loved taking this device out and about. It gave them purpose in the car and distracted him from distracting me – which is always a huge win for any mum-driver.
• Engageability at home – For my four-year-old, unfortunately, this did not hold his attention at the home. In the car, it worked as a perfect distraction but in the house, not a chance. There are so many other things to do which are more interactive.
• Expensive – Some of the Yoto story cards are priced considerably higher than a traditional book would cost.
At just under £50, I would say there’s very little to dislike. Yes, the cards can be a little expensive, but for the actual product itself it’s money well spent. The device is made to last, is robust and child friendly. The sound quality is good and does not reach an ear-offensive volume.
•Size – The Yoto Mini is 40 x 70 x 70 millimetres. It’s just about small enough to fit into an adult-sized pocket but not small enough that you wouldn’t notice if you didn’t have it. Good to note: it’s lightweight and can be carried by a child. On a day out with a heavy bag, this is amazing. It’s not another heavy thing that you have to lug around.
•The Yoto experience – The Yoto allows your child to enter an immersive audio experience. Storytelling is a fantastic way to enhance children’s vocabulary, confidence and understanding of things.
•Audio – For such a small device, the audio is good. It is loud enough for your child to listen comfortably. Your child can also use both plugged in and Bluetooth headphones with the device. When it is connected to other devices, you can also use the mini as a Bluetooth speaker.
Physical cards – The physical cards are robust enough to be managed by little hands. They are easily slotted into the Yoto and come with a lovely design on each. I love that the cards can be used in both the Yoto and the Yoto Mini.
Battery Life – The battery on a Yoto Mini states that the battery lasts 16 hours. However, I was able to use the product for 20 hours without needing to charge it.
How does the Yoto Mini compare to the Yoto?
The Yoto Mini review and the Yoto review are very similar. Essentially, it’s the same device. Most of the elements you love about the Yoto are in the Yoto Mini. Features like the Yoto Daily, Yoto Radio, sleep sounds, pixel display, and day-and-night clock are also in the Yoto Mini. The main difference between the products is the size. The Yoto Mini is significantly smaller and lighter than the original. The Yoto Mini also uses a USB-C charging cable, meaning that it charges quicker than the other model. There is no night-light element to the Yoto Mini, but I can’t say it was missed.
An overview of Yoto Mini review:
Would you recommend this to other mums?
The answer is a resounding yes - especially if they are already fans of Yoto. My child enjoyed taking the Yoto Mini out with him. It kept him entertained when he would have otherwise been bored. For the cost, I think it’s a very sound purchase.
How did this product make your life easier?
As previously mentioned, this made my life easier because it kept my tot distracted. Usually, I have to listen to the complaints about how long the car journey is. This device distracted him completely, which meant I could focus on the road.
What changes would you make to the Yoto Player?
My issue with the Yoto Mini is the same as my issue with Yoto as a whole, everything comes at an extra cost. So, although the device is reasonable, all of the cards and accessories make this a lifestyle choice rather than a one-off purchase.
For a four-year-old, this could be more engaging. What makes Yoto so fantastic is also a slight flaw for me. I love that it stops my pre-schooler from staring aimlessly at a screen; however, he does not share this enthusiasm. He will always opt for a tablet rather than the Yoto because it is more interactive.
Yoto Mini review: My Overall thoughts
I am a big fan of Yoto - as you can probably tell from this Yoto Mini review. My overall thoughts are that the Yoto Mini player is fantastic for being out and about. It is well priced, amazingly designed and has brilliant battery life. I would be hard-pressed to find another device which doesn’t require Wi-Fi but is as user friendly as the Yoto Mini. I would recommend this to parents who want their children to have a passion for literature. The stories on offer may be more expensive than a traditional book, but it’s much lighter to carry the Yoto and doesn’t require you to join in.