Hudson the Puppy by Bluebee Pals is a plush toy which brings your iPad to life. Hudson is a huggable plush learning tool with a moving mouth that talks, sings and reads to your child using content from your Bluetooth enabled device ranging from a iPhone or iPad, Android or bluetooth enabled laptop. The puppy includes lip synchronization which allows the puppy’s mouth to move in time to the words or music, read a story or work with a learning app like an Alternative Augmentative Communication device (AAC). Hudson the Puppy has velcro on his back, which you open to access a box used to turn him on/off, charge and a light which indicates if it is charging.. There is an on/off switch in the back as well as a mini-USB charging port for when the device needs a charge. You can press on the right “ear” to access the phone and answer it or disconnect from a call. To connect Hudson, you go into settings, Bluetooth and from there you can connect under “other devices” to Bluebee Pals. You can also sit your device on Hudson’s lap or simply have the device nearby and hold Hudson.
Hudson is a soft and cuddly toy which my two year old loved. I can’t tell you how many times he has asked me to read his favorite story books, and now Hudson can help read them to him, by speaking the words and allowing him to look at the images on our iPad. It was also great with other apps we were playing with because my son is too young to read, Hudson would read aloud the text on the screen when we were playing with a Trucks storybook which let him “read” independently. My son enjoys listening to music and I loved that I could connect Hudson to act as a speaker for music without actually having to give him my device, this meant I could stream Pandora easily without worrying about him swiping and using my iPad. I also liked that I could pair Hudson to both my iPhone and iPad, so that it didn’t matter which device I was using with my son. You can also use your Bluebee Pro to answer phone calls – the calls were clear and my two year old enjoyed hearing his puppy “speak” using another’s voice. On the other end, at times the caller heard a slight echo or a muffling, I’m not 100% sure why as it was clear on our end with my iPhone 6. I loved the “voice” that Hudson gave to my son when we used it. The battery life was quite good and I’ve only had to recharge it once despite many uses. The music option is great too or you can use it in “read to me mode” which means that the stories will be read to your child without them having to use your device and having it act more like an audiobook. I wiped down Hudson Puppy a few times when my son sneezed on him and it cleaned up very nicely which is very important for a toy.
In terms of improvements, my son saw me open the velcro in the back and then it became a “game” for him to open it. I almost wish there was a zipper or something instead that wasn’t as easy for kids to open.
Overall, we loved using Hudson and my son kept asking for the story over and over again. I loved how easy it was to set up and use, and when I tested it with some friends who had kids with special needs and an AAC app, they loved how it gave their son a voice.
BlueBee Pals are available online from the BlueBee Pals website and from Toys R Us, Walmart and other retailers RRP $64.99
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