Parents' Guide to

Thomas & Friends Talk to You

By Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Delightful story listens and puts kids in the action.

App iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad Free to try Education
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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this app.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 18+
age 18+

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Easy to play/use

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (2):

Kids will be excited to talk to Thomas and and get responses, despite the overall lack of features and actual impact their specific responses have. The character voices aren't a match with what kids may expect from the show -- only the narrator has the beloved British accent -- but kids will love the feeling that they're affecting the story directly. The voice recognition seems inconsistent: Pressing the button but not speaking at all sometimes gets the same response as talking gibberish or responding to an actual question, but there also are times when his response varies, based on what you say. For instance, there's no obvious way to pause the story, but kids can tell Thomas they'll be right back or they need to go to the bathroom, and he responds that he'll wait for them. An option for subtitles so kids could read along would be nice in terms of early readers.

Because many parents have privacy concerns with Hello Barbie, which uses the same technology, it's a good idea to read the privacy policy carefully and ask questions via the app's email address. Though it isn't always recording -- as is often a concern with toys that record and respond -- your kid's responses aren't really private. Also, though making characters, apps, and toys able to respond via artificial intelligence can be fun, there's a potential creepy factor some parents won't like. But since Thomas' responses are a part of a story and not completely open-ended, there's context to cut the creepiness.

App Details

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