Kid’s Room
A boy testing Tonies on toniebox

Tonies and Toniebox Starter Kit Review

A new screen-free digital listening experience for kids and parents

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When testing intelligent devices for kids, we always seem to run into STEM products. But recently, we got a chance to test a non-stem device that combines a Bluetooth speaker with audio content to provide a screen-free listening experience for your child. This product is called Tonies, and we recently had our young testers, ages 2-4, put it through our extensive testing process. Here is what they found.

What is Tonies and Toniebox?

a photo of tonies and toniebox unboxedTonies and Toniebox on a counter unboxedGearBrain

Tonies and Toniebox work together to form a digital audio system for children and their parents. Tonies are miniature, collectible figurines that contain digital content, such as stories, songs, audiobooks, and educational games. The Toniebox is a Bluetooth speaker that plays the content on the Tonies when they are on top of it.

Toniebox works by using Bluetooth and NFC (near-field communication) technology. Note: you will need a Wi-Fi connection during the initial setup only and a Bluetooth connection for downloading content from the Tonies app. When a Tonie is placed on the Toniebox, the NFC chip in the Tonie sends a signal to the Toniebox, which then plays the content on the Tonie.

The Toniebox has several features that make it a good choice for children. First, it is straightforward to use. Children can place a Tonie on the Toniebox to start playing the content. There are no buttons or screens to press, so children can easily operate the Toniebox independently. They can squeeze the ears on the Toniebox to increase or decrease the sound. They can tap the sides of the Toniebox to change chapters or tile the speaker to fast forward or rewind the songs.

Second, the Toniebox is very safe. There are no screens or flashing lights, and the volume is limited to a safe level. It's also made of a snuggle and durable fabric in six colors.

Third, the Toniebox is very versatile. A wide variety of Tonies are available, so children can find Tonies that they are interested in and play them on the Toniebox. Some Tonies play stories, songs, audiobooks, educational games, and more.

How to set up your Tonies and Toniebox

a photo of Toniebox and charging stationToniebox and charging stationGearBrain

Setup for the Toniebox is quick and easy. First, download the Tonie app from the App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android). Then follow the instructions in the app. Make sure you have your Wi-Fi password handy. You will need it to connect to your Toniebox and when adding content to a Creative-Tonie for the first time. Also, make sure your Toniebox is in the charging station during setup.

Once your Toniebox is on the charging station and you have opened an account, follow these steps There are these steps to complete the initial setup using your home Wi-Fi:

  1. Turn on your Toniebox.
  2. Pinch both ears of the Toniebox for about 5 seconds until you hear an audio chime, and the LED flashes blue.
  3. Open the mytonies app on your smartphone or tablet.
  4. Tap on the Collection tab.
  5. Tap on the Toniebox icon in the top right corner of the screen.
  6. Tap on the Wi-Fi button.
  7. Enter your Wi-Fi network name and password.
  8. Tap on the Connect button.

Once your Toniebox is connected to Wi-Fi, you can connect Tonies by placing them on the Toniebox. The Toniebox will then scan the NFC chip in the Tonie and connect it to your Wi-Fi network.

Once you are up and running and want to connect your smartphone to your new Toniebox, follow these steps to connect Tonies over Bluetooth:

  1. Turn on your Toniebox.
  2. Press and hold the + button on the Toniebox for about 5 seconds until you hear an audio chime and the LED flashes blue.
  3. Turn on Bluetooth on your device.
  4. Select the Toniebox from the list of available devices.

Cost - How much does Tonie and Toniebox cost?

Tonie comes in a starter kit which has an MSRP of $99.99. The Starter kits come in six colors: red, light blue, pink, purple, green, and gray. It includes a speaker, instruction manual, charging station, and a select Tonie. Individu Tonies are sold for $17.99 through the company site and on Amazon.

Performance by GearBrain Kid Testers

our GB kid testers using Tonies and TonieboxOur kid testers loved playing with Toniex and tonieboxGearBrain

Our young testers loved playing with the Toniebox and Tonies. They would dance to the songs and were mesmerized when Tonie spoke back. We know Tonies are made for three years and up, but our 2-year-old tester operated the Toniebox, including lowering and increasing the sound using the ears on the box. It was a hit with them, and every time they come over to our house, they go directly to the box where we store Toniebox, take it out, and start playing.

We also liked how Tonies are made of durable plastic material, and the speaker was durable with a soft exterior. We also liked the size of the Toniebox speaker (about the size of a small lunchbox) and the battery life it provided via the built-in battery that can last up to 7 hours. Another nice feature was the ease of use for kids. All they had to do to play a Tonie was simply place it on top of the Toniebox. The Toniebox will then start playing the content on the Tonie.

Lastly, we liked how easy it was to create a playlist of Tonies. We only had to drag and drop the Tonies onto the Toniebox screen. And the bonus features include a sleep timer, a volume limiter, and parental control.

There is one health alert to be aware of when playing with Tonies. Tonies and Toniebox use magnets to make story time come alive. However, these magnets can cause problems for individuals who use medical devices like defibrillators or pacemakers.

a photo of three tonies and Tonies Starter kitOur test kit: Tonies Starter KitGearBrain


Overall, Tonies and Toniebox are great for children of all ages and provide a healthy way for children to enjoy digital audio content. There are no screens, flashing lights, or any other distracting features to harm your child's development. They are easy to use, safe, and versatile. If you are looking for a digital audio system for your child that can keep them busy for hours, Tonies and Toniebox are great options to buy. Ensure adults with defibrillators or pacemakers know about the magnets and how Tonies work.


  • Ease of use
  • snuggle and durable speaker
  • wide selection of tonies that are durable


  • Issues with reconnecting the smartphone to the speaker
  • Keep away from adults with Defibuators and pacemakers
  • Price (both speaker and figures)

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