Disclosure: we were sent a Jooki for the purpose of this review, but all thoughts, words and opinions are my own
When I think back to my childhood and my teenage years, a lot of the memories are built around music.
I remember lying in bed falling asleep to the sound of my dad’s Bob Dylan records playing in the lounge. I remember long car journeys to the south of France listening to John Denver on my walkman. I remember recording songs from the top 40 on my stereo, waiting for the songs I wanted and hoping the dj woudn’t ruin them by talking over them.
So it makes me really happy that my children love listening to music too. I hope there are already some songs that will bring back memories for them when they’re older.
The thing is, we don’t actually have a stereo in our house, we don’t even have a simple radio. We play music in the car and they listen to the songs the love via YouTube when we’re at home.
So we were all really excited when we were sent a Jooki smart player to try out.
The Jooki is a screen-free smart player that lets the children play the music they love, without needing any help from us. It’s a really simple but clever device that we have already fallen in love with.
When the Jooki arrived I was immediately impressed by the quality of the packaging. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but everything from the feel of the box to the images and fonts that they used gave me the impression that this would be a great quality piece of kit.
Inside the box you get:
- The Jooki smart player
- 5 character figurines that you load with playlists
- A USB charger cable
- A quick start up guide
The pieces are all really nice and secure in the box, but there aren’t any annoying cable ties or anything to undo to get everything out, which is great when you have excited children around who just want to get the Jooki out and start playing music on it!
The Jooki itself is basically a speaker with simple controls and a chunky rubber handle that is perfect for little hands to grab hold of.
It’s designed for children aged 3 and over, so it’s good and solid, and also splashproof which is good to know if you want to use it at bathtime or in the kitchen.
The blue and orange colour scheme is bright and fun, without being too childish, and would look good in a child’s bedroom and not completely out of place in the lounge.
The controls on the Jooki are really simple. There’s the power button, left and right skip track buttons and a volume control button.
So, how does it actually work?
The hard part is done by the grown ups, and actually isn’t all that hard. The quick startup guide that comes with the Jooki walks you through connecting your device to your home wifi and then you can use spotify or deezer to create playlists.
You then assign each playlist to a different character.
The recommendation seems to be that you use a premium/paid for subscription from Spotify or Deezer but you can actually use it just fine with a free account.
We have a free account with Spotify and have had no problems using that with our Jooki. You are just a bit more limited in the songs you have access to and the fact that Spotify will play them on the ‘shuffle’ setting rather than you getting to pick the order that they play in.
What’s great is that there are clear instructions for all of these set up questions on the Jooki website. The FAQ page gives concise answers to most of the questions you might have about using the Jooki.
There are 5 different characters that come with the Jooki which is great for saving arguments if you have more than one child.
You could assign them a character each and set up a playlist for each one. Or you could use one character for an upbeat, morning playlist, another for a more calming, evening playlist and so on.
Once the playlists are set up and assigned to characters then you can let your children take over.
All they have to do to listen to their music is turn the Jooki on, pick a character and pop it on the circle on the top of the Jooki.
The songs will then start to play straight away.
The one limitation with the Jooki using Spotify and Deezer is that you need to be connected to your home wifi to be able to stream your music. To get around this you can add your songs to a micro SD card and pop that in the back of the Jooki, then you can take it out and about with you.
And if you want some peace and quiet from your children’s music you can also plug headphones into it which also makes it great for car journeys.
The Jooki isn’t just for music either, it’s also a great way for children to listen to audiobooks.
We bought Rhys an mp3 player a while ago so he could listen to music at bedtime to help him relax, and my husband had the brilliant idea of downloading some audiobooks for him to listen to as he lay in bed. He has been really loving them, and Nerys would love to be able to listen too.
So the next job for me is to get a few books like ‘the owl who was afraid of the dark’ added to the Jooki so that both the children can listen to it after having a story with me or Steve at bedtime.
We’ve been using our Jooki for about a month now and we all absolutely love it.
It looks great, and feels nice and robust too. The character figurines are really cute and a fun way for the children to pick out what music they want to listen to. I’m also really impressed with the sound quality and love the fact that it can be used normally as a speaker but you can also plug headphones in if not everyone in the house wants to listen to it.
If you’re looking for a fun, screen-free way for your children to enjoy music and audiobooks then the Jooki is a great option. I can see it being something that we get a lot of use out of for years to come.