Review: Totoya Creatures YetYet for iPad
Totoya Designs' YetYet ($80) is the not the first stuffed animal accessory designed to complement iOS devices -- that distinction belongs to Griffin's Woogie, and the idea of an anthropomorphic body for an iPod goes all the way back to Speck Product's original iGuy. YetYet is, however, the first plush toy we've come across that supports all three generations of the iPad, as well as the iPod touch, and although it doesn't list iPhones, they can fit inside too. However, YetYet is specifically designed to limit the use of the device to one app, Totoya's free and universal Totoya Creatures. An iPhone version of the case called YetX is also available, as are Robotto and RobX, which have more robotic designs. While YetYet is a pretty neat toy for toddlers, there are some real issues that bring down the overall value.
YetYet is a cute, monster-like creature that measures roughly 15.5” long and 10” wide. Its body is covered in white fluffy fur, with stuffed orange horns, hands, feet, and a tail sticking out. A blue strap wraps around the back of the head, making it easy to carry with one hand, while a zipper runs along the top for insertion and removal of your iOS device. There are two holes on the front: a large oval for the face, and a smaller circle oriented at the left of YetYet’s chest. When there’s no iPad in there, embroidered eyes show through the top hole. Behind the chest opening is a small pocket that can hold an iPhone or iPod touch. We found our review unit to be a little off center; one of the eyes was partially covered by the big blue goggle, and part of the pocket’s frame showed through the circular hole. Other than that, it’s well-constructed.
When your iPad’s encased, you have no access to any of the ports, buttons, or a majority of the screen. Therefore, it’s important to launch the Totoya Creatures app before inserting the tablet into the stuffed animal. On the iPad, the app gives you the option of using either YetYet or Robotto themes—both fit YetYet’s body. Choosing YetYet gives you manipulable hair, eyes, and a swappable chest piece that plays noises, changes the background color, speaks your words back to you at a higher pitch, and more. It also responds to being shaken and turned upside down. If you’re using an iPhone or iPod touch, those devices give you the same chest options and slide right in to the inside pocket. Neither is going to keep an adult occupied for too long, but a young child could certainly be amused for some time with this.
YetYet is pretty neat, and nicely evolves the app/stuffed animal combo that Griffin started with Woogie. It also strikes us as one of the easiest ways to hand an iPad to a young child, with plenty of protective padding as a safety feature. Unfortunately, there are a few non-trivial issues. First, for an accessory with such limited functionality, it’s important to get all the details right. While the off-center holes didn’t make the app totally unusable, they certainly took away from the overall experience. The second issue is just how severely YetYet limits how the iPad can be used. Kids can do a lot with iPads, but with YetYet installed, the tablets become useless for most purposes; it would have been smarter to provide access to the whole screen for other apps. Finally, there’s the price: at $80, YetYet is way too expensive—$25 would have been fine, with $30 as a stretch, but at two or three times that, Totoya Creatures is totally missing its target demographic, kids who can get big stuffed animals for $15 and fully animatronic toys for $35. So while we really like the concept behind YetYet, and would like to see it succeed, there are just too many issues with this first version for us to offer our recommendation; should the price drop significantly, it’ll be worth considering.