When I think of Brio - I think of wood. Brio has a longstanding reputation for quality wooden toys. This little engine however - is completely made of metal and plastic and I have to admit - it is lacking the lovely feel of a real wood toy. However - as much as we love the real wooden trains which my sons would push around and around the track - there are times they like to just sit and watch as the trains chug around and around the track. We happen to have a very large track with bridges, tunnels and various accessories on a permanent train table built out of an old door ( it looks better than it sounds - it is painted green with roads and a pond) and they can't even reach the whole track without climbing onto the table.
When my youngest was quite little, his very favourite toy was a battery powered train from Lidl from this track. He carried it about and really loved it - but sadly it wasn't well made and their rubber wheels did not last long. This doesn't sound so bad - but without the rubber wheels - it will not grip the track so the engine will run and wheels will spin - and the train will sit still. I looked everywhere to replace it and eventually found a second engine on ebay - paying as much for this one piece as I had for the whole train track originally, but again, even with very careful handling - the rubber rings split. Looking carefully at the picture of this train - I could see it had even thinner rubber wheel treads - but being from Brio - I felt the odds of it lasting would be pretty high - Brio may not be cheap - but their toys are well known for quality and trains are their speciality. I can not remember the exact price I paid for this - but it currently sells for £ 12.46 from Amazon and I do no remember my husband complaining about the price so I expect it was fairly close to this amount. I also remember him insisting this one would not last either as the rubber was even thinner. You know the old saying "even a broken clock is right twice a day". My poor husband has nowhere near the track record of a broken clock. We've had this at least 2 years now and it is still in perfect condition!
I've read several complaints on this train on Amazon. Many reviewers have said that it is very slow, lacks power, and the batteries die quickly. I have not found this to be the case at all - but it does need decent batteries. I've found a AAA Duracell battery will last about a good 6 months in this with regular use --- IF you remember to turn it off when not in use. We did burn one battery out quite quickly when this was left in an engine shed while turned on. This will never get the speed of a Hornby train - nor will any battery operated train to my knowledge. Of course if it did I think it would jump the tracks - you have no way to slow a train like this down on the curves. But it is fast little engine with a Duracell or high quality rechargeable battery and can pull 8 cars at a time, so I feel this is more than adequate. It also has a very small light, but this does not put out a great deal of light. If using pound shop batteries though, I have found the train slows down considerably and struggles to pull more than a few cars. I have also found the pound shop batteries die very quickly and I honestly do not feel that they are suitable for this toy.
While this will never have the speed of a Hornby set - it does mean that very young children can have the fun of watching their trains chug along the tracks and pick them up and carry them about as well. Hornby is incredibly delicate and a drop of even 18" is often enough to break small parts. This train has crashed off the train table more than once, been carried about, dropped, pushed along a track - which it really isn't meant to be and accidentally lost in the ball pit with jumping children. It did get an ugly black mark when my husband stepped on it from his boots once, but this washed off easily. I am renovating the track at the moment and this train is just as good as the day it was bought.
This train does not have a control. It only has two functions, forwards and backwards. You change between these - or turn the train off by using a small plastic switch at the top of the train. This is very easy to use, although occasionally with a very young child they will end up with reverse when they meant the train to go forward. It is - like everything on this train -built to last. It will tolerate children switching it on and off frequently or even roughly. I don't think you could break this short of taking a hammer to it.
Despite being a wonderful train - my son did say he wished it was all red like his old train when we bought it. I can't rate down on this as another child might just as easily prefer yellow - but a choice of colours would have been grand. He did eventually get used to the colour and this toy has had quite a lot of use since. I do prefer wood, but I don't see how you could shape a wooden train to hold the battery and electrics. I know that pushing the wooden trains along a track is meant to be good for a child's development of motor skills, and I don't feel that this could replace wooden engines on this type of train track. But I do feel that this a lovely addition to a wooden train set, and adds another dimension to the play value of our set.
This train is listed as ages 3+, but my son did have this well before he was age 3. I believe the reasons for this listing are that while it would be very difficult - I do think there is a slight possibility that a child could open the yellow plastic section that holds the battery, and this does have a magnet. There has been some argument about the safety of magnets in children's toys, and if a child were to get two magnets loose and swallow them, or one and another bit of magnetic material there could be very serious consequences. I feel that parents should be aware of these issues, but every child is different and my own children were extremely verbal at a very young age, so yo could explain issues to them. They also were not prone to putting small objects in their mouths after the first year and they were very closely supervised. I did check these toys regularly - and even had my husband deliberately try to break a magnet off and again - I think he would need a large hammer to do this. The magnet attachments on trains do vary from one company to the next - but Brio does attach these in a rock solid manner and I can't imagine one coming loose - much less two. all the same - parental supervision is in order with this toy if given to a a very young child, and if your child still puts things in their mouths at all - I would inspect all magnets on a regular basis.
I can't see giving this lovely engine anything less than five stars. my sons do really enjoy it -- and so do I - I love trains :) It is more expensive than some cheaper makes, but it never needs replacing so it may work out less in the long run.
This item is BRIO 33225 Wooden Railway System: Battery Powered Engine by Brio. Brio Battery Powered Engine - This will be a fun engine to play with it's very unusual it can actually face one way to move but actually go the opposite it isn't a problem either if it starts getting dark and you still want to play with it let it's headlamp light light up the way.