Before I went hunting for a digital dictionary for my kid, in the market, the features I'd like to have in it are:
* meaning of words in English explained in Chinese
* meaning of words in Chinese explained in Chinese, English and Bahasa Malaysia
* a speaker so that words in Chinese can be pronounced and learnt by my kids
* inclusion of words (in all the 3 languages) found in dictionaries with the highest number of words
I'd done a simple verbal research on the type of dictionary available and their pricing.
Games is the last thing I want but as the promoter was showing me the features of the gadget, I was told that those in the dictionary are actually 'educational' Math games which stimulate the mind. I'm left with no choice as those games are indeletable from the gadget.
The short demo of the gadget is an eye-opener for me. Apart from the fundamental explanation of words in the 3 main languages, little did I know that digital dictionaries nowadays are equipped with so many additional features:
* meaning of words for 24 other foreign languages
* translation (of phrases) from English to Chinese and vice versa
* proverbs (English)
* idioms (Chinese)
* antonyms and synonyms (Chinese and English)
* English phrasal verbs (with explanation in both English and Chinese)
* picture dictionary (of certain words only). There are also pictures of particular items such as market, city, school, occupations, parts of body etc identified by the 3 main languages with pronounciation
* scientific and technology as well as mathematical terms
* learning modules where academic questions in the 3 languages are also loaded together. So far, I've discovered that there are the language papers but yet to explore further to discover more.
I was pleasantly surprised that one can even watch a movie and play songs using this educational device.
All the above functionalities are available at the price of below RM800 (USD258) for an Apple Tree's Xplain. I have no regrets buying this. I told my other half not to let both the kids know about the device's multi-media capabilities. Though sooner or later they will discover, I prefer to keep this a secret for as long as possible to avoid headaches.