REVIEW – Luvabella Interactive Doll
If you are reading this thinking what or who is Luvabella then where have you been? Every year there is one toy that becomes the MUST have toy at Christmas – the one that every child wants to find under the tree, and the one that sends many parents into a stressful frenzy of trying to get their hands on stock before the big guy arrives. Well this year is no exception. Introducing Luvabella… you will be seeing a LOT of this face! 🙂
Luvabella, an iincredibly smart interactive doll is tipped to be the top of most children’s Christmas wish list for 2017. We were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to put her through her paces with Erin, in order to answer the question that most parents will want to know the answer to? Is Luvabella worth her £100 price tag?
Here’s our verdict.
About the Product
Spinmaster creator of the Hatchimals (last years must have toy) have done it again. This year they have created Luvabella – an interactive doll with a difference.
The Luvabella Doll is incredibly lifelike and responds affectionately to love and play, changing her facial expressions just like a real baby.
Luvabella has true-to-life facial expressions and her very own cheeky personality! She moves, talks and plays just like a real baby and responds to your child through touch and play. Cover her eyes for a game of peek-a-boo, tickle her tummy and toes to make her giggle, or place a hand on her chest to gently listen to her heartbeat. You can even hold her feet to hear her say “mama” and begin to babble!
Like many interactive toys, the more you play with her, the more she’ll talk, so watching her develop is fascinating. Her babble will transform into over 100 clear words and phrases!
Luvabella comes with four fun and interactive accessories. Use her spoon to feed her and she’ll chew with delight as if she is really eating! If she’s not full, she may ask you for more or turn her head away and say no if she has had enough. After her meal, help Luvabella learn new animal names and sounds with her Lamby toy! If she gets fussy, all she needs is her dummy. When it’s time to go to bed after a big day of play, lull her to sleep with her bottle.
Luvabella retails at £99 and whilst it is currently out of stock in most places online – more stock is expected before Christmas (You can sign up to stock alerts here).
I was lucky enough to see Luvabella in the flesh for the first time at BlogOn Xmas in Manchester, where Spinmaster were showcasing the latest additions to their range. There had been some mixed responses initially to Luvabella with some adults cruelly labelling her as creepy; presumably because of her incredibly life like actions. I wasn’t sure if I would feel the same, but instead I totally fell in love with her! She is probably the most realistic interactive doll I have ever seen, and for a slightly broody mother who’s just returned to work following maternity leave, it was quite scary how it felt like I was holding a real baby at times, especially when she looks straight up at you!!
I pretty much knew there and then that Erin was going to love her, so it probably won’t surprise you to learn that Luvabella has been a massive hit.
Erin’s was super excited when Luvabella arrived and couldn’t wait to get her out of the box! If I am honest, that was our first challenge! As with most children’s toys these days, she was packaged incredibly well, and I found it quite hard to get Luvabella’s accessories out of the plastic casing as they were quite firmly held in place! 🙂 Once we did finally release her from her box, Erin couldn’t wait to hold her. The texture of Luvabella is quite different to what you might expect, with her head and skin being almost rubbery to the touch – quite a refreshing change from the usual hard plastic you might be used to from a traditional doll.
Luvabella is available in three different styles with different hair, eye and skin colours and Luvabeau (a boy version) is available as an exclusive product to Toys R Us. We were sent the blonde baby girl with blue eyes. She comes with her very own dress (pink with frilly sleeves, heart patten and a sparkly gold bow) and a pink pair of pants. She also has a large elastic bow headband which can be removed and replaced by your child as desired. Her arms and legs are fully poseable and her eyes are HUGE with long textured eyelashes.
One initial criticism is that the 4 C batteries needed for Luvabella aren’t included. Whilst I know lots of toys don’t come with batteries, I cant help but think many parents wont realise this, and as such, end up making a mad dash to the local Spar or Coop on Christmas morning to try and get hold of some. This is also different to lots of other interactive dolls which come with test batteries, so parents may assume Luvabella is the same. That said, it is clearly labelled on the packaging that they aren’t included, and as such, hopefully parents will remember to pop some C batteries into their baskets when reserving their Luvabella’s online!!
Once we had got our batteries popped in to her back (thanks Daddy!), Luvabella pretty instantly sprung into life, and Erin’s reaction was pretty epic. She immediately sprung into Mum mode, scooping Luvabella up into her arms and cradling her for a cuddle.
There are SO many things you can do with Luvabella, and I’ve tried to capture some footage of her main features in the video below. Luvabella is a VERY intelligent doll and it is easy to take for granted just how much technology has gone into making her. She has light sensing eyes, a tummy, back and feet sensors that respond to touch.
Erin’s absolutely loved the reaction to tickling her feet, with Luvabella bursting out into lots of adorable giggles. She clearly is VERY ticklish. Erin also loved playing peek-a-boo, covering up her eyes for 3 seconds before removing her hand and getting a laugh, raised arms and wide eyes in response.
The accessories are great for helping children interact with Luvabella, and Erin took on the role of a caring mother much better than I expected!
Using the little spoon you can feed Luvabella and she opens and closes her mouth whilst making what I can only describe as ‘yummy noises’. One thing to note is that Erin a few times struggled to resist the temptation to try and shove the spoon in her mouth whilst it was closed, which as per the instructions is not recommended. If you bring the spoon up towards her nose, she does open her mouth wide and say “ahhh” making it much easier to pop the spoon in.
Luvabella also suckles on her dummy, and glugs and drinks from her bottle, with her dummy being a great way to comfort her and settle her to sleep.
It has been amazing watching Luvabella learn, as her intitial babbles have definitely started to become more legible as real words, just like a real baby would learn from its family. So far we have had little exclamations of “excuse me” after she has done a burp, “no thankyou” when she is full and “spooky!!” when you cover her eyes up. Erin finds this hilarious! She also tells you what she has eaten when her spoon is removed saying things like “yummy green beans”. If her batteries get very low she will state “Very very sleepy” giving you some warning that she needs a fresh set.
Overall, Luvabella has been a huge hit, and Erin has really enjoyed playing with her and watching her learn. I think Luvabella is the perfect doll for anyone who is expecting a baby sibling, and in a way I wish she had been around when I was expecting Neve, as this would have been a great way to introduce Erin to the concept of being a big sister.
The one thing a lot of parents will probably want to know is “Can you turn it off”. The answer is a resounding yes – Don’t worry, you are not going to get woken up in the middle of the night by a baby crying, or have her unexpectedly spring into life when the house is otherwise silent. Luvabella can be turned off using a switch on her back, but also goes into inactive mode after a period of not being held, meaning that if you do forget to turn her off she is effectively left in stand by until she her back button is pressed. In order to preserve the batteries however, it is recommended that you turn her off when not in use.
Whilst the price tag isn’t cheap, I do feel that Luvabella is worth every penny, as she does so much more than your average doll. At times she can be a little unpredictable, and doesn’t always perform on demand (again – fairly true to life as most babies don’t either!) but she is a fun and engaging toy that I think would create lots of laughs and giggles if she was found under the tree this Christmas.
- Incredibly lifelike and interactive.
- Encourages affection and creative empathetic play in youngsters.
- Learns with interaction, and develops the more your child plays with her.
- Can be turned off so the noises don’t continue once you have gone to bed! 🙂
- Available in a variety of skin and hair shades.
- Can be programmed to say Mama or Dada according to your preference – a great step my spinmaster to ensure she is targeted at both boys and girls.
- I think it goes without saying that Luvabella is not a budget toy and at £99 it is quite an investment for families at Christmas. However, when I think the average interactive doll costs £40-50, you obviously get SO much more for your money with Luvabella. The features of Luvabella are so intelligent and unique, that you won’t have seen any doll quite like her. Whilst I would definitely have to save it as a main present (and as such there would be limited else under our tree!), I do think she is a very special doll and as such warrents the higher price tag.
- The 4 C Cell Batteries are not included. I think for the price it would be nice if she was ready to use straight out of the box. I would recommend you stock up on the batteries at the point of purchasing to avoid a frustrated child on Christmas morning or an emergency trip to Spar on Christmas Day!!!
- Occasionally due to the soft rubber of her face I did find she got a few pieces of fluff stuck to her skin, particularly if Erin had been playing with other toys around her. This isn’t a major issue, I just found that occasionally she needed a little cleanwith a babywipe – again just like a real baby I guess! 🙂
- She does have a slight mechanical sound when she moves – Erin didn’t really seem to notice this but I feel she would be even more authentic if her movements were a little bit quieter.
*Disclosure – We were provided with Luvabella free of charge in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links*