UPDATE: See comments for Zoomer's Customer Service Helpline # if you need it and see how they resolved our problems with our Zoomers!
OUR ZOOMER STORY
My son absolutely had to have this for his birthday this year after seeing it here on Amazon. For weeks he would beg me to come to Amazon and let him watch the video commercial! He started adding it to our evening prayers, haha. That's when I knew despite the foreboding reviews that warn of battery issues, spontaneous death, and other issues seemingly plaguing this new "hot toy" by Spinmaster, it was something we simply had to get. Kids!
His birthday came and right out of the box it had an issue, luckily not one that was a deal breaker at first. The charging indicator in the dog's eyes failed to light up, ever. You are supposed to plug him in turned on, and push down on his head to see the charge level. For us, this was a bummer but nothing we couldn't live without. We were aware it had issues, and were happy it was even working LOL. Not three days later Zoomer had a leg that didn't work anymore, so back he went for an exchange.
The second dog we had higher hopes for. It was a pleasant surprise to find as we plugged this one in that after about two tries plugging and re-plugging the indicator would work. Twice was the magic number, each time. Ok, still not perfect but hey, it worked. My son was in love, but thats about the time everything went downhill fast. Suddenly he started clicking about two or three days in, sounding like a glitch in the voice program with eyes that flashed solid slightly faded squares aka every light in the eye panel lit up in error. It has only gotten worse, where his eyes wouldn't work at all as he ran around clicking and barking like a possessed toy *snicker* so much so that I made a youtube video (Jemoiselle, channel name) of it for others to see after calling spinmaster and having them tell me it was supposed to be a chicken sound, despite my insistence that it didn't sound like a trick at all but an error sound. They were exceptionally kind when we spoke, but it took 30 minutes on hold waiting to get a human! All that even, to get off the phone, give the command for the chicken (they said my son discovered an easter egg and told us the command) to find the chicken was completely different and I had been right. They wouldn't entertain my youtube video of the glitch for diagnosis, either. Now I need to call back and wait another 30 minutes, and gosh, I really wish they had let me test it out with them on the phone. They also let me know they warrant it for 3 months post purchase date. But wait, it got worse!
Enter, yesterday. I took the glitch video in the afternoon. Not long after uploading, Zoomer flat out died! His clicking got much worse, the eyes errored out and flashed all sorts of weird displays that didn't match, sometimes only one eye would work, then the eyes flashed solid faded squares, and he just died. Poof! He wouldn't charge the rest of the day. No indicator light could be produced unplugging and replugging. I tried the wall. I tried doing it on and off. I tried just waiting for hours, nada. Dead as a doornail! So, this morning I was prepared to call Spinmaster and get a replacement hopefully. Part of me wanted to just return it and get a refund. Three months in, when the warranty expires, I can almost guarantee something will be messed up! Do I really want to throw away $80 on this thing that easily? Hmm. Well, I went to unplug it and check one more time to see if by some miracle it resurrected itself, and that is exactly what happened! So, today it works. I don't know what to do, probably just take it one day at a time and watch the warranty period closely.
If the toy worked properly AND didn't have so many serious production issues, if the company was easy to get in touch with, I'd easily give it 5 stars. It's AWESOME! My son loves it! I just cannot do that though, given my experience echoes the experiences of so many. Something is seriously wrong with this expensive toy and it's not just a few rare duds but the whole lot of them I think, in fact I'd go so far as to say the ones that work well will be the exception and not the rule. Until they get it fixed, I wouldn't buy it again even if he begged. Sad to say. For what this toy is going for right now, I'd expect more than a 3 month warranty especially given that they are having issues that are clearly their fault for rushing it through the development phase to make it for the lucrative holiday buying season.
Purchase with caution, and if you do it anyway like I did, be prepared to handle multiple returns, save all receipts and original packaging.
UPDATE 12/26/13: After this review I waited it out for a couple weeks before attempting the call of doom and braving a sitcom's length in elevator music. I managed to get through in about 15 minutes the second time, when compared to the first attempt, was a significant improvement especially being in closer proximity to the big holiday coming up! This time, I had my youtube video cued up on the worst part of what my Zoomer did, clicking wise, and played it for the agent by holding my phone up to the computer. They cringed and stopped insisting it was a chicken, and were kind enough to send me a new Zoomer after requiring me to massacre the old Zoomer and take victory photos to prove it! So, the new Zoomer arrived before Christmas thankfully, and guess what? It is completely different! It has a different personality it seems, it's sensors work nicely (no more banging into things like a mental patient in need of a doggie straight jacket!) and it doesn't click. Yay! It still does not indicate it's charge level when plugged into the USB unless i unplug it and replug it after the initial plug in, but hey, compared to where we just were in this whole process, I consider that small beans. As of right now, Zoomer has been working wonderfully, and has finally made the ordeal seem worth it. Moral of this story stands. If your kiddo simply must have one of these, be prepared for some work. However, the company is helpful if you are persistent, and always remember to get the malfunction on video if it is audible, so you can have it cued up for the call since they won't allow you to send in a vid or file. Best of luck to everyone! Thanks for reading!