Griffin Crayola DigiTools Ultra full review
We've seen touchscreen styluses aimed at kids - indeed Griffin launched the Crayola ColorStudio HD well over a year ago - but the DigiTools Ultra pack takes things to another level. In the box you get three sets of 'tools', each of which works with one or more of the three free iPad apps.
The first is a basic colouring-in app which works with the purple Digital Crayon and Digital Colour Changer. The Crayon is really just a stylus, but it's well designed for kids' hands and works well with the app to allow children to colour in the many pictures in the app. The Colour Changer, which looks like a potato peeler, has two rubber tips and changes a band of colour as you swipe it across areas that are already coloured in.
The round, green Stamper tool can also be used just like an ink stamp. First a picture is chosen from the list, and the Stamper will 'print' this image onto the screen wherever it's pressed down. The images have sound effects and animations, which our 5-year-old tester loved.
The second app uses the red Digital Airbrush and Digital Rainbow Roller. There are more sound effects, and the Airbrush works just like the real thing, spraying digital paint at a series of backgrounds. The Rainbow Roller works like the Colour Changer, but you get to choose three colours from the palette and these form a 'rainbow' as you drag it across the screen. Again, the stamper tool can be used in this app.
Finally, there's the 3D app, which works with the blue Digital 3-D Stylus and Glasses. The stylus has two tips and the child can pick from several colour combinations to draw 3D lines on 3D backgrounds. Move the iPad around and the lines jiggle, giving a better 3D effect.
It's possible to print the creations if you have an Air Print-compatible printer - see Apple's list of printers here http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4356. If you don't have one, it may still be possible to print if your printer manufacturer offers its own solution (check its website) or if you can use one of the many iOS printing apps such as Print n Share Pro.
The three apps are free, but need the Digital Stamper to unlock them. You can't download and buy them without the tools.
It's a shame, because the apps are well designed and fun to use, but tools are really just gimmicks; £40 is a lot to pay for what is effectively as set of styluses. They don't really work differently to each other, as you can interchange most of them and the app is none the wiser - it will still draw a rainbow or paint airbrush effects if you use the Digital Crayon. Or, you can just use your fingers and - in the 3D app - draw more accurately than with the specific tool.
Sure, younger kids will love the set, and it's bound to keep them quiet and absorbed when you need a bit of peace and quiet. However, if you don't want to spend £40, there are plenty of alternative apps which are either free or cost a pound or two, which will keep most kids amused just as effectively. As we mentioned at the start, the Crayola HD Studio includes basically the same colouring app and comes with a stylus for under £20.
If you do decide to buy the DigiTools pack and don't want your iPad's screen getting scratched, Griffin advises installing a screen protector.