Why It's Hot: It's a video game system for preschoolers that is played, in part, by riding on a stationary bike that is hooked up to a TV.
Kids sit on the bike and pedal to move around a virtual world presented to them on the television screen. As they pedal, educational activities appear.
Buzzworthy?: Yes and no. Kids sit on the stationary bike and pedal to move around a virtual world presented to them on the television screen. As they pedal, educational activities appear as off ramps to the road. Unfortunately, those educational activities, while good, don't require any pedaling. Rather, they use a joystick housed on the frame of the bike. Only two of the seven activities that come with the system require you to pedal: in one you pedal and move the handlebars to run over letters, numbers, and shapes; and in the other, you pedal like crazy to win a race. So while Smart Cycle will gets children moving for some of its activities, others are just video games you play while sitting on the bike. However, kids can always pedal even when the system is turned off.
Parents, if you are giving this as a present, it takes about 30-45 minutes to assemble, so you might want to do it beforehand. And have plenty of batteries on hand since it uses up size D batteries quickly. Six add-on software titles are available at $20 each and include such childhood favorites as Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, Barbie, and Hot Wheels.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.