Equipped with a 1.6in LCD viewfinder, an auto-flash, 8MB of built-in memory and an SD card slot, it's got all the basic features that an ankle-biting photographer needs. Best of all, it's waterproof to a depth of one metre and can take some serious punishment. (In other words, you don't have to safeguard it from overzealous offspring - just hand it over and turn 'em loose!)
Unfortunately, like most cameras aimed at tots, the Fisher-Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera suffers from a low-grade sensor that cannot hope to compete with a fully fledged camera (in fact, it struggles to match most mobile phone cameras). It also suffers from some curious design glitches and is perhaps slightly overpriced for what it offers. On the other hand, it's one of the few products on the market that allows children to take ownership of their very own camera; the delight they'll inevitably get from this arguably outweighs the product's substantial shortcomings.
Presumably to tie in with its waterproof status, the Fisher-Price Kid-Tough has a vaguely nautical design, complete with a seaweed inspired finish and periscope-style 'viewfinder' (it's actually just a pair of glass-framed holes that bear no correlation to the lens' placement). Most children will stick with the LCD screen, which can also be used for image playback.
The plus-sized arrow keys make it easy for kids to cycle through their photos, although we're not sure we agree with the big fat delete button - surely that's just asking for trouble. We also dislike the shutter release button, which is small, unwieldy and inexplicably hidden from the photographer's view. Younger kids are really going to have to give their motor skills a workout, which isn't much fun.
Measuring 94x123x63mm, Fisher-Price Kid-Tough is a curiously clunky camera, which we found a bit perplexing (aren't children supposed to be smaller than adults?) It's also surprisingly heavy and has some alarmingly sharp corners. A well-aimed throw from a testy sibling could result in a trip to casualty, so parents with more than one child will need to remain on high alert.
The Kid-Tough Digital Camera runs on disposable AAA batteries (x4), which Fisher-Price has neglected to include in the sales package. We would've preferred it if the company had charged a slightly higher premium for a rechargeable Li-Ion battery. As it stands, you're going to have to stock up on spare batteries for when the camera runs out of juice - otherwise you could have a monster revolt (or a revolting monster) on your hands.
(And according to the user reviews posted on Fisher-Price's own website, battery drain is an issue.)
With a resolution of just 0.3Mp, there's zero chance of a child prodigy winning awards with this thing. Our test shots were grainy even in optimum lighting and often suffered from blurry focus. While the shoddy resolution is bound to frustrate parents, the average kid will remain blithely delighted by the fuzzy photos of their cats, cots and toys. Just don't expect to turn their handiwork into poster-sized prints or anything.
Priced at around £60, the Fisher-Price Kid-Tough isn't much cheaper than an entry-level compact camera. However, unlike a 'real' camera, it won't break the moment your toddler decides they'd rather be watching Bob the Builder than taking photos (a decision that usually results in a carefree toss over the shoulder). There's also that coveted waterproofing which is great for bathtub adventures and the like.
All in all, the Fisher-Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera is best viewed as a toy that can take photos, rather than a fully fledged camera for kids — a distinction that’s at odds with its exorbitant price tag. Nevertheless, the undiscerning Play School set are bound to love it.