There is a new audio player for kids in town. After a successful campaign on Kickstarter the brand-new Storybutton started selling in August of 2023 and has been proven popular within a few weeks. It is clear why. The no-nonsense design in combination with the large variety of free content is a clear winner for kids and parents alike. We have been lucky enough to test the Storybutton and here is what we think!
Storybutton: Idea, Concept & Design
The idea of the Storybutton is not new. In fact, it is probably the driving factor behind any audio player created for children: Reduce screen time. In this case, the man behind the idea is popular podcast host Jim Jacob – from the podcast Mr. Jim – who wanted to make podcasts accessible for children, without the need for a tablet or mobile phone. The Storybutton was born!
With the same principle of an internet radio, the player gives easy access to over 10,000 podcasts that are suitable for kids from 5 to 12. Apart from the player itself, there is no need to buy any cards or figures or anything really. Once the Storybutton has been set up, it can be used as long as you are in the range of your WiFi. The look of the player mirrors the simple yet timeless concept with a sleek and modern design, that comes in three colours (green/black, purple, and white). It features nine small self-explanatory buttons as well as two prominent dials and a small colour display.
Storybutton Review: Set up & First Impressions
What had intrigued me about the Storybutton from the get-go, was the fact that it didn’t require any additional purchases in order to be used. I know that the fact it can just be set up and used will appeal to many. And the set-up process couldn’t be easier. Instead of having to involve your phone, like you have to do with other players, you simply connect the player to your WiFi network. This can be done via the buttons and the small colour display on the unit itself.
As soon as the Storybutton is connected to the internet, you will have access to all available podcasts. In order to find what you are in the mood for, they are separated in different categories, like Adventury, Musicy or Bedtimey. You also have the option to save your favourite podcasts in a separate category for easy access. Even though there are quite a few buttons and dials, the controls are very intuitive. The sound quality is great for such a small portable speaker and the volume has a wide adjustable range. There is also a headphone socket, for quiet listening (always a bonus). Storybutton is currently not compatible with Bluetooth headphones, though that is planned for the future. The unit has a rechargeable battery that is charged with the included power chord and adaptor. One full charge lasts about a day if the player is used a lot, which is not a biggie as Storybutton can be used while charging.
Despite the light and portable design, the Storybutton is not portable as such, it can be carried around within your house and used wherever you can be connected to your WiFi. Although I have not tried, I presume it can be connected to different WiFi routers so it could also be used in the house of other family members, friends, holiday homes and hotels. However, content can not be downloaded to play offline.
What’s the story: Podcast Galore
I have to admit, that I was a little bit dubious when I heard that there are no additional costs and that all the content is for free. However, it is true. There are no hidden costs, no subscription fees and no additional features as optional purchases. What you see is truly what you get with the Storybutton. The only thing to note here is that there are ads in some of the podcasts. These are not like radio ads though, but generally, the podcast hosts advertising something. So far I have not come across any ad that I would deem inappropriate for children.
There is already a really good selection of different podcasts available, but according to the company’s CEO it is only going to get back. As Storybutton had big plans for the future. They will continue to expand their range of podcasts that are also available on other platforms and are also working on some exclusive to Storybutton content.
Currently, all the podcasts are geared toward children between 5 and 12 years old. Whether or not this will change in the future, I am not sure. However, due to the many buttons, I wouldn’t recommend Storybutton for children younger than that.
Storybutton Review: Customisations & Parental Control
While Storybutton only offers content that is suitable and age-appropriate for children from the age of 5, it is important to note, that there is currently no option to have any control over the exact selection your child has access to. However, the company is already working on an app that will give parents full control over what their children can listen to. Furthermore, the Storybutten App will also allow for voice recordings, and uploads of your own audio files and in combination with the planned Bluetooth connectivity this will be a fantastic addition. While the Storybutton is a great product already, this app will really elevate it and make it amazing.
Way further down in the Storybutton-pipeline may also lay some cool interactive features like “choose your own ending”-stories and whatever else the obviously creative team behind the audio player can dream up. By adding a little interaction with their content, they’ll make up for the lack in play-value like the Toniebox has with its figurines or the Yoto Player has with the very interactive Yoto Daily.
The Verdict: Details & Storybutton Price
So to sum this up, the Storybutton audio player is a child-friendly connected device. It is easy to use and lets kids access age-appropriate podcasts safely. The biggest advantage Storybutton has over many of its competitors is its affordability. With an initial unit price of just under $100 and no other costs for content cards or figures, this will make child-friendly audio players accessible to many more families.
Right now Storybutton is only available in the US and Canada and only directly on their website. In 2024 the company plans to expand to other markets and is also in the process of talking to a number of different retailers. So we will definitely hear and see more about it in the coming years. If you are looking for a no-nonsense, easy-to-use and affordable audio player for your children, the Storybutton is definitely worth looking into.
Once we had a chance to thoroughly test Storybutton and experience how its performance holds up over time, I will publish a detailed comparison of the Yoto Player, Toniebox and Storybutton. However, if you have any specific questions, feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email.
Yes, the Storybutton audio player needs to be connected to WiFi in order to access the free content library.
Storybutton is suitable for children from the age of five, because of its design and the expanding podcast library it will grow with children right into their teenage years.
Storybutton is a portable device as long as you are in range of a connected WiFi. The battery lasts approximately a day.