What probably need to know if your child is craving one of these is, is it actually any good? Well yes, but there are a few things that could be a little better.
Out of the box the Furby which now has plastic ears and eyes with a liquid crystal display is pretty easy to set up. You have to insert 4 AA batteries into the base of the unit - the Furby comes with a double-sided concise instruction sheet which is about all it needs as its a simple toy. Putting in the batteries is not easy but not impossible for an adult to do with the right sized Phillips screwdriver (not supplied), but care has to be taken as the screw heads aren't, in all honesty the best quality. If your child plays with the toy a lot you are likely to be replacing the batteries fairly often - the first set lasted a little over a day and a half with intensive play. There's no on/off switch, the furby will go to sleep if ignored or placed in the dark, closing its eyelids and making snoring noises. Batteries do last several times longer as play time diminishes, but it's still a bit of a shame the Furby doesn't come with a recharger. Using batteries for a toy requiring movement and sound production just seems a little poor, given the price of the toy.
Quality and design wise the rest of the toy, as in the bits that will be played with is a lot better, the plastic parts are robust and the fur fairly soft to the touch. Because the Furby contains motors to make it move, it's not the most cuddly item, but this doesn't seem to bother my child at all who will frequently cuddle her toy. She's dropped it a fair few times with no ill effect and it seems to have stood up to play well.
The Furby can be interacted with in a number of different ways. This being the modern age there's an app. We have used this on both iPhone and iPad. There is a clear interface which allows you to select food to virtually feed the Furby (he will open and close his mouth and make eating noises when you "throw" a burger or deli item in his direction, and you can also use the app to translate what he says in Furbish. The app, which is free, works well and adds to the fun to be had with the Furby. Should you not have the technology you can still feed the Furby by putting your finger in his mouth.
In play the Furby does make quite a lot of chattering noise, which can be a little annoying for parents but does seem to please my child and is not too loud - lucky as there is no volume control. The more you play with the Furby the more English it uses, and the more the child plays with the Furby the more that they are likely to understand what it is saying - "coco" means "again", and "yada yada yada" is easy to understand, the dictionary in the app can fill in any blanks. Some of the phrases are repeated a fair bit, but there's a good deal of variety. The other interest to the Furby is that it will change character depending on how you play with it. Play it music and small paddles on its base allow it to dance in time to the music, turn it upside down and it will giggle. There also appear to be sensors on its head, side and in its tail allowing it to react to being cuddled, petted or having its tail pulled.
Of all the different characters available it seems to be most easy to get what my child calls an "evil" Furby or a silly one. The timbre of the Furby's voice changes - each time it changes its eyelids flutter and it says "me change", and so does the display on its eyelids. In evil mode the Furby burps and farts, whereas as a popstar it says "oh baby" and its eyes flash music notes. My child's favourite character is when her Furby is a high pitched princess who sings, it's quite cute to hear my daughter singing along with her Furby and interacting with it, she really does buy in to it hearing and replying to her. She did get upset the first time that the Furby went into a less desirable character mode, due we think for some rather overenthusiastic feeding, but has now found out that a few cuddles quickly changes Furby to another character, there's no actual way to reset the Furby and taking out the batteries has no effect at all.
The Furby is, as designed quite characterful and moves quite a bit, nodding its head, moving its ears back and forth and opening its mouth to speak and eat, as well as fluttering its eyelashes. You can slightly hear the motors draining those batteries but not to the extent that it is off-putting for a child. The display on the eyes (something that the first Furby didn't have), adds to the interest a lot and again seems to be quite varied and well designed; it really does look like the Furby is moving its eyeballs around or winking, and it quite cute when the eyes display hearts or, in Princess mode, little singing birds. The Furby will interact with other Furbies - this is one feature we haven't had the opportunity to explore as one Furby in the house is quite enough!
We bought this toy thinking that it might not be played with for that long but knowing that it was much wanted. Actually, over the time that we have had it, though play has dropped off, she still plays with him all the time. I think if you have the type of child who loves playing with cuddly toys and has imagination then this is a winner. My eldest child prefers other kinds of play and so is not interested at all - she never really liked dolls that much, so it really does depend on your child's character I think how long the novelty will last. Certainly even my children's older male cousins who are practically teenagers were quite taken by the Furby. For us the Furby hasn't been a five minute wonder and my daughter who owns it loves it.
This toy is good, but not as good as it could be. I think Hasbro really should have made the Furby rechargeable and also they've missed a huge trick by there not being an accessories you can buy for it - no hats, clothes or interactive objects - my daughter has plugged the void by making her own, so maybe actually this is no bad thing. At the upper range this is on sale for here if I'm honest it's really not worth it, there's no way I would spend near on £100 on this and feel it good value, at the price we paid, similar to that for a computer game it's OK, just. I still feel a bit annoyed by the lack of charger and the fact that the screws aren't the best quality and I think the rrp should probably be a lot less than it is. For my child though the Furby is magical and despite being much awaited - she made it a house and welcome present before it even arrived - it hasn't disappointed her at all and she has enjoyed playing with it. Her Furby has accompanied her on many a real and virtual adventure and promoted imaginative play, and she loves it, so ultimately I suppose that's the most important thing. Recommended - for the right child and at the right price.