The Yoto Player is a wireless speaker that plays audio content using cards, just like inserting a CD into an old boombox. The best part? No screens in sight! Instead, you get a charming pixel art display that also works as a clock.
We have many Yotos in our house. Each of my kids has had 2nd Gen Yoto Players and Yoto Minis for a few years now. They have been invaluable for screen-free time and are just in general a pleasure to give my kids control over their own audio content.
The thing that I love most about Yoto is how much they listen to their customers. With the release of the newest 3rd generation of the Yoto Player, they have continued to improve their product based on customer feedback from their community.
In this in-depth review, we’ll thoroughly explore the exciting new features and enhancements of the latest Yoto Player 3rd Generation and compare it to the previous model.
The Yoto Player (3rd gen) was generously provided by Yoto for this review. However, the content in this review is our own honest opinions and personal experiences with the product. They have also shared an exclusive affiliate code with us (see FAQ below). This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.
What is a Yoto Player?
If you are new to Yoto, it might also be helpful to learn about all of its capabilities and features in my original Yoto player review.
The Yoto Player is a cube-shaped audio player that stands out from other connected devices like Alexa and Google Home since it’s made especially for kids. It prioritizes children’s safety with no ads, cameras, or microphones, ensuring privacy and age-appropriate content.
Its large pixel screen shows fun icons and its clock allow kids to enjoy stories, radio, podcasts, and sleep sounds easily. And with only two buttons on the Yoto, it’s so intuitive and easy for kids to use independently.
Audio content is played through credit-card-sized cards called Yoto Cards. With over 1,000 cards available for purchase in the Yoto store and the option to create your own cards (Make Your Own), the Yoto provides endless screen-free entertainment for kids.
What Age is the Yoto player for?
The Yoto Player is tailored to suit children between the ages of 3 and 12 years but we’ve found that it’s great for any age! Yoto has carefully curated content and features to cater to the varying needs and interests of children within these age groups. You can find my Yoto card recommendations for various age groups here.
For the younger end of the spectrum (3-6 years old), the Yoto Player offers a selection of interactive and engaging content, such as bedtime stories, nursery rhymes, and calming sleep sounds. These help create a soothing and entertaining environment, perfect for young children’s bedtime routines or moments of relaxation during the day.
As children grow older (6-12 years old), the Yoto Player expands its offerings to include a broader range of content, including audiobooks, educational podcasts, and child-friendly radio stations. This opens up opportunities for learning, imaginative play, and independent exploration of stories and knowledge.
Yoto Player 3rd Generation Design and Features
The Yoto Player (3rd Generation) retains the charm and familiarity of its predecessors while introducing several noteworthy improvements. Visually, it closely resembles the original design, with its pixelated screen and two large control buttons.
What comes in the box?
When you open up the box of the Yoto Player (3rd Generation), you’ll find some cool stuff waiting for you inside. First up, you’ll discover a welcome card, giving you a friendly introduction to the world of Yoto and all the fun it has in store for you. This also becomes your first Make-Your-Own card that you can use immediately.
There is also safety information and a quick start card on the back of this.
Next, you’ve got the star of the show, the Yoto Player itself. It’s kid-friendly, modern, and ready to bring you hours of entertainment.
Finally, you’ll also find a handy 1.5m (USB-A > USB-C) charging cable to keep your Yoto Player powered up and ready to go. Note that you will need your own wall adapter to pull this into an outlet. Yoto also sells a wireless charging dock separately if you don’t want to fiddle with plugging in the USB-C charging cable (more on this later).
The cable is tucked under the Yoto under a tab in case you have trouble finding it in the box.
Yoto Player Screen
The main display on the Yoto is the large square screen.
This screen serves as both a display for pixelated pictures and as a clock, showing the current time and the day/night setting.
By default, when your Yoto is active, it automatically transitions between day and night scenery based on the time of day you set in the Yoto app.
When the Yoto Player is not connected to the charger, it will enter sleep mode after a period of inactivity, and the screen will go blank to conserve power. You can also adjust these settings in the Yoto app.
The best feature of the pixel screen though is that it showcases engaging icons whenever you insert Yoto cards. For instance, if you play a Yoto card featuring Skye from Paw Patrol, a Skye icon will appear on the screen. You also have the creative freedom to personalize icons for any “make-your-own” cards, making the experience even more enjoyable and personalized.
The Yoto player is so easy to use. It has three buttons in total:
- The power button on the right side turns the player on and off. Pressing the power button when there is a card in it will also pause the Yoto.
- Turning the right button will go through chapters and pressing it down will confirm your selection. If you also press it down one time without any cards in it, it will play Yoto daily. Pressing it down twice will go to Yoto Radio/Sleep Radio depending on the time of day.
- The left button of the Yoto adjusts the volume. Pressing it will not do anything without a card. Pressing it twice when a card is in it will go back a chapter.
You can also change what these buttons do in the Yoto app and add things like timers, Yoto radio, etc.
Yoto LED Ring Light
On the back of the Yoto, you’ll find a square ring light that can light up in various colours. This activates as soon as you rotate the Yoto (and turns off when you have it sitting up right).
You can change these colours in the Yoto app.
The LED light IS slightly different on the 3rd Gen Yoto Player. There is no effect to overall use or brightness but the LED ring is smaller on the 3rd Gen.
Yoto Offline Mode
When your Yoto is offline, it can still play your audio content. However you need to make sure you allow enough time for your Yoto to download the content.
Placing a card into your Yoto will prompt it to start downloading later. Your Yoto needs to be online, and on its charger without any cards in to download content.
You can check the status and manage the downloads in the Yoto app.
Note that this will not work with podcasts since those are streamed online. You could get around this though by download the podcasts ahead of time and placing it on a Make-Your-Own card.
One of the biggest upgrades on the 3rd Gen Yoto Player is it’s bluetooth capabilities.
This allows you to not only use the Yoto as a speaker to send content from your phone but to also connect it to wireless headphones for a hands-free listening experience.
The 3rd generation Yoto Player maintains its seamless integration with Yoto cards, ensuring that your existing card library remains compatible with the new device.
Cards are placed in the card slot at the top and can be purchased in the Yoto store (or other retailers that carry the cards).
For card recommendations, check out my list of the best Yoto cards.
You can also make your own cards by purchasing Yoto’s blank Make Your Own cards, adding your own mp3 audio files, and linking them to the card. You can customize these with Yoto card stickers as well.
Looking for different Yoto card storage ideas? There are all different options available including ideas for wall shelves and desktops that you can use to display your various Yoto card libraries.
Yoto Player 3rd Gen vs 2nd Gen
If you recently purchased the Yoto 2nd generation player, you might be a bit worried about the new model coming out.
But don’t sweat it! The original Yoto Player is still an awesome product and Yoto plans to keep supporting it. Yoto continues to adapt and improve, but owning the latest model does not diminish the enjoyment and functionality of the previous version.
The new 3rd gen Yoto player DOES have some great enhancements though, that include improved battery life, increased storage capacity, and compatibility with wireless headphones. Let’s take a look at all of the new features.
Compared to other Bluetooth speakers, the Yoto already had pretty great sound quality. The Yoto Player (3rd gen) comes with special acoustic engineering, which takes the audio experience to new heights, delivering an amazing bass response that will make you want to rock out to your favourite Yoto music cards.
For those of you, that (like me) aren’t audiophiles, we found the 3rd gen Yoto player to have a less “fuzzy” sound at higher volumes. The overall upper volume or loudness level sounded similar.
Improved Battery Life
The Yoto 3rd gen has up to 24 hours of play per charge. This is over double the Yoto 2nd Gen’s 10 hour continuous battery life.
The Yoto Player (3rd Generation) comes equipped with USB-C charging, making it easy to charge the device with a standard USB-C cable. The cable that comes in the box is a USB-C to USB-A cable. We found this pretty inconvenient since all of our USB power adapters at home are USB-C. We ended up not using the cable in the box and charging our Yoto with existing USB-C cables in our house.
A separate wireless dock is available for purchase, allowing you to charge the Yoto Player without the need for a physical connection.
This gives a similar experience to the Yoto 2nd gen and it is our preferred method of charging. The magnetic charger makes it easier for little kids to charge it as it doesn’t require them to plug a small cable into the Yoto.
The magnetic charger is magnetic dock to USB-C. Our only gripe with the magnetic charger is that the cable can’t be disconnected from the magnetic base (it’s completely attached) so if the wire gets bent, you would have to buy a completely new charger.
The Yoto Player 3rd Gen comes with 32GB of built in storage which allows you to store over 600 hours of audio.
The previous 2nd Gen Yoto Player had half of that at 16GB (though we never hit this limit even though we have hundreds of cards in our library).
This increase in storage means you’ll be able to play more cards offline on your travels!
A new feature on the Yoto Player 3rd Gen is a built in room temperature sensor, giving you the ability to check in on your children’s room.
Yoto has also said that they plan to add alerts in the future for the temperature changes too much.
As mentioned earlier, the new Yoto Player has enhanced Bluetooth support, allowing for the use of wireless headphones just like on the Yoto mini.
Previously you could still add this using a 3rd-party Bluetooth adapter you would attach to the Yoto Player but it’s great that it’s now a built in feature.
When we tried to set up wireless headphones at home, I personally found it a frustrating experience. Unlike connecting to other Bluetooth devices, there was no way to “find” the headphones on a list of Bluetooth devices, the Yoto simply connects to whatever is “close”. This made it very difficult to connect our headphones and we had to try multiple times to get it to work.
Improved Wi-Fi Connection
In our experience, the new Yoto Player had a much better Wi-Fi connection.
When we were setting up our 2nd Gen Yoto Player, I had issues setting up the Yoto with my Android phone (Google Pixel). I had to use my husband’s Android phone (Samsung) to get the Yoto to connect to our Wi-fi.
With the new 3rd Gen Yoto Player, I had no issues setting up the Yoto on my phone.
Is the Yoto 3rd Generation Player Worth the Upgrade?
If you already own the Yoto Player 2nd Gen, I don’t personally see the need to upgrade right away.
With the adventure jackets on, you can’t even tell the difference visually from the front. (Can you tell which one is which from the picture above? The 2nd Gen is on the left, 3rd Gen on the right.)
However, if you are looking for more storage, battery life and the addition of the wireless headphone compatibility and have use for the tempearture sensor, the Yoto Player 3rd Gen does not disappoint.
The new 3rd Gen Yoto Player was easier to set-up and has a clearer sound and we are excited to see what Yoto has in store for us for future upgrades and features.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What accessories are available for the Yoto Player 3rd Gen?
Yoto has some awesome accessories for the Yoto Player 3rd Gen.
We highly recommend grabbing the Adventure Jacket. It makes it easier for kids to carry around with them and offers some protection from drops and overall damage.
You’ll also need some sort of card storage and we love Yoto’s card case, though other similar options can be found on Amazon. Note: We found it easier to take cards in and out of Yoto’s card case vs Amazon options.
Does the 2nd Gen Adventure Jacket fit on the 3rd Gen Yoto Player?
The short answer is yes.
The long answer is not perfectly.
The power button was moved in the 3rd Gen model of the Yoto Player so placing the older adventure jacket on the new Yoto covers this button up. You can still stick your finger underneath to turn the Yoto on and off but since it’s covered, it makes more difficult to access this button.
The charging cable hole is in the same position as the 2nd Gen’s power button so it CAN be used, but the hole is not flush so it is difficult to plug in and take out the cable.
Can I use the magnetic chargers interchangeably?
The Yoto Player magnetic chargers will not work interchangeably. The magnetic charging disc on the 3rd Gen is slighly larger and will not fit in the Yoto Player 2nd Gen.
The 2nd Gen Yoto Player charger is also designed completely differently and will not work with the Yoto Player 3rd Gen.
Where can I get a discount for the Yoto Player?
One of the benefits of joining Yoto’s monthly subscription card service, the Yoto Club, is getting 10% off everything in the Yoto store.
This is a great way to get your collection started and allows you to purchase the Yoto at any time of the year without having to worry about promos.
Yoto DOES do some promotions throughout the year. Specifically there is usually a summer sale and one for Black Friday and Boxing Day.
Where can I find content for my Yoto Player?
Here are some things that might interest you:
- Our List of the Best Yoto Cards for any age
- How to Make Your Own Yoto Cards
- How to Make Your Own Yoto Card Stickers using Cricut (and without)
- Our Ultimate List of Free Content for your Yoto
Should I buy the Yoto Player or Yoto Mini?
As I mentioned, we have multiples of both in our house. They serve different purposes for us as one is used for travel while the other is used in our kids bedrooms on their nightstands.
You can read our in-depth review of the Yoto Player vs the Yoto mini here.
- Yoto Player Review: In-depth and Honest First Thoughts
- Yoto Player vs Yoto Mini: Comparison and Review
- The Best Yoto Cards
- How to Make Your Own Yoto Cards
- How to Make Your Own Yoto Card Cover Stickers Using Cricut
- Ultimate List of Free Content for your Yoto Player