Kano - Simple DIY Computer

Brand: Kano
Model: 1000D-01
EAN: 5060402800627
Category: Gadgets & Tools
Price: $144.95  (127 customer reviews)
Dimension: 2.56 x 14.37 x 8.07 inches
Shipping Wt: 0.06 pounds. FREE Shipping (Details)
Availability: In Stock.
Average Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

Kano is a computer anyone can make. It’s the simplest way for all ages to build a computer, learn to code, and create with technology. The kit comes with everything you need, including a Raspberry Pi 3, plug-and-play components, a step-by-step storybook, and dozens of hours of coding challenges. The most awarded beginners coding product ever and trusted by thousands of educators and innovators worldwide.

Features

  • A computer anyone can make. With simple steps and a storybook, build your own computer and bring it to life. For ages 6+ (no technical skills required)
  • With playful projects and challenges you'll learn to code art, music, apps, games and more
  • Trusted by thousands of educators worldwide. Winners of the Family Choice Award, Webby Award, Red Dot Award, Cannes Gold Lions and more
  • Includes everything you need. Raspberry Pi 3, case, speaker, wireless keyboard, memory, HDMI and power cables, coding challenges, stickers and lots of apps
  • Connect to any HDMI screen, or buy the Kano Screen Kit; the brain of your computer is a Raspberry Pi 3

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Top Reviews

Great product, applications and service!
by Daniel S (5 out of 5 stars)
August 11, 2017

I bought the Kano Computer Kit for my then 5 year old son in November 2015. I am a systems engineer by trade and have been building computers/servers for 20 years. I could have easily put together all the Raspberry Pi parts needed to do this (or even built a full computer), and loaded the Kano OS on it, for less money. However, you have to understand that this isn't what the Kano is all about. The whole idea behind Kano is for your child to be a part of the process, and feel like they can do it all. The packaging is very well laid out, and they have a great little book that tells you how to put it all together, while explaining in terms that a young child can understand, what all this stuff does. Once it's built and powered up, it doesn't just dump you into a dashboard and expect you to read and figure things out. It comes up with a Matrix inspired shell and asks you a few questions. This is how it starts. Without even knowing that they are doing it, your kids are telling the computer what to do.

The apps are very well written. Lot's of helpers along the way so that your child doesn't get frustrated and lose interest. My son loved the code quest app, and is more proficient on the shell than a lot of sysadmins I know! They regularly update the apps, and there's always new stuff in Kano World.

The keyboard is also something that people overlook when they talk about building their own kit rather than paying the little more for the Kano. It is very well thought out for how a kid would use it. It's small enough for the little hands, but not awkward for an adult (aside from some keys not being where you expect them to be). The integrated mouse makes it a lot easier for kids to be able to do things since moving a mouse around and clicking and holding mouse buttons can be very challenging for the little ones. You can enable "tap to click" on the trackpad as well which also enables 2 finger scrolling. Very similar to what you'd find on a macbook trackpad.

We loved the Computer kit so much that I jumped at the chance to get in on the kickstarter for the Pixel, Speaker & Camera kits. While I didn't need to utilize customer service for the Computer kit, I did have a problem with the Pixel when it arrived damaged. They responded promptly, and told me they would send me a new one, and I could keep the old one which worked, but without wifi which is required to be able to program it.

Overall, I highly recommend this kit to anyone looking to get their kids into coding and as an alternative to a full desktop computer. This is made with kids in mind and minimizes the distractions that a computer running Windows or OSX or even a full blown Linux distribution would have. So instead of going to the computer to play mindless video games, they are at least playing games that are teaching them skills that they can use elsewhere.
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Frustrating At Times, But Still Great for Learning (4- Stars)
by Debbie Lee Wesselmann (4 out of 5 stars)
October 20, 2017

I'm at a loss on how many stars to give the Kano Computer Kit -- sometimes I hate it and sometimes I love it, but three stars seems too low for something that can teach young and old alike how to code. The kit comes with a Raspberry Pi 3, a clear plastic case, a memory card, a power button, an HDMI cable, a power pack, a wireless keyboard in a kid-friendly size, and instructions on how to assemble the computer. "Assembling" is a better description than "making your own" because it's basically snapping a few parts together without needing to understand the components of a computer. It takes about five minutes to put together. The real power of this kit is the building-block coding challenges. Note: This review is for the 2017 version, not the 2016 one; the reviews share the same product page.

I'd rather talk about my frustrations first so I can end on a positive note. I first tried to hook up Kano to an HDTV set, but the set kept saying that the computer was an incompatible component. Kano's website is barebones in terms of support, and it was no help once I followed the instructions to reboot everything and to reconnect in a specific order without success. I finally carried it to another TV where it worked right away. (Apparently, not all HDTVs with HDMI inputs can handle a computer.) Until you set it up, complete with an account, you won't have access to the coding challenges. The story board in the guise of a game will be greeted by any kid over eight with an enormous sigh because it looks like it was created for six-year olds; it prompts the user to discover facts about power and computers by finding people who will give (in writing, so parents may have to help) information. Older kids probably won't want anyone seeing them explore this "baby" section. I wish the graphics were better and it looked less like Candy Land. The coding challenges, under the "Make" categories, are good, but it isn't always obvious how to clear certain levels. If your kids start playing around with values and ordering to see how the code blocks work, they may get stuck not clearing a level without access to the next. Sometimes blocks of code end up hidden on the screen behind the menus, and you can't clear the level with them floating around. The Kano website seems more devoted to selling their products and troubleshooting the hardware. If you can't figure out the software, you won't get help.

The other frustration I find is the keyboard itself with its touchpad. Sometimes, such as in the Storyboard, you have to use the arrows, and other times, such as in the Make sections, you have to drag and drop, a feat that isn't easy with a small pad. You are never told which to use. Kids who don't have great fine motor skills may get impatient with the lack of responsiveness. Older kids should be able to adapt fairly quickly.

But when the Kano works without roadblocks, it's a great tool to learn how to code. It has building blocks of code that you drag and drop in interlocking pieces to create small programs. As you're learning to code, you also learn about computers themselves. From the first steps (levels that you can't clear until you master the code blocks), kids learn about basic syntax and values.The coding is as instructive for adults as it is for children, and it wouldn't be a bad excuse to learn alongside your child. The best part of this kit, however, is the inclusion of a Raspberry Pi, which can be taken completely outside the Kano coding environment once advanced users are proficient with coding. The ability of this kit to address the needs of novice and advanced user alike should not be underestimated. The Pi is WiFi-enabled with a LAN port, two USB ports (one for the wireless keyboard), a HDMI port (used to hook up to a TV or monitor), and an optical cable port.

The Kano portion of the computer does not work unless it is online, either wirelessly or through an Ethernet connection. For most people these days, that's not an issue; however, it bears mentioning.

This computer kit is a great learning tool if you can get past the frustrations. It costs a lot more than a Raspberry Pi 3 does on its own; however, you are paying for the coding challenges that really help understand how to control computers. Older kids, even young teenagers, might balk at the toy-like look of the keyboard and challenges, but, if you can get them past that, they will be well on their way to coding on their own.
-- Debbie Lee Wesselmann
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BEWARE! Zero customer support if your device is defective!!!
by AES (1 out of 5 stars)
November 18, 2018

We purchased this for Christmas gift last year from Santa. Christmas morning, we set up device according to instructions...and nothing happened. Tried researching troubleshooting tips online on Kano website, nothing worked. No customer service phone number- you're supposed to leave a message with your email & phone number & they will call you back. Never got a call back (the company is based in UK, so I imagine they don't want to pay long distance charges), but didn't even get an email back. Tried two more times over the next several weeks with the same process...left message via online form that included email and phone number. Crickets.

That is until this summer, when I received an email notification from Kano that my personal info may have been breached due to a hacker hacking their customer service response form and downloaded the data.

Here I am, a year later. Still haven't gotten any contact from Kano regarding my defective computer, and some hacker has my name, phone number, and email address.

It sounds like Kano computer is great when it works. It's unfortunate that they don't have a system in place to address or fix defective products. Buyer beware.
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10/10 Would Reccomend
by Shelby W (5 out of 5 stars)
May 16, 2017

XMAS present for 10yo coding obsessed nephew. The entire week of Christmas this was the only gift he touched. Does have some glitches, Christmas day (10 minutes in) the keyboard totally froze and he was unable to play with it. Put in a letter to the support team, and they called me within 30 minutes, ON CHRISTMAS! More satisfied with the customer service than anything, great company!
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Marketed at child education, but kind of fails at that
by Terragon (1 out of 5 stars)
July 17, 2018

I bought this for review purposes and to see if it was worth it for education and teaching. I've used Raspberry products for a while now and have bought other kits to see which was best. I've also used these products to teach high school students with some success.

This item is marketed as an education tool for elementary and early middle school kids and to be honest despite overall looking for (at least on paper), it's not worth the purchase.

Main reason is simple: Raspberry is a bit too much for a typical elementary or early middle school student and in most cases will cause more frustration than education. Your mileage may vary and it's certain that there are kids who will really enjoy this, but having taught at several schools, I noticed that it's best not to use any Raspberry products with lower than grade 8 students.

Ok, how about high school then? Well Raspberry itself is great an highly recommended, but Kano was designed with elementary in mind and has too many things that would only appeal to younger kids (e.g. characters, avatars, built in mini games, they are a bit too simple for upper middle school and high school).

On top of that, what you get for the money is a bit disappointing. There are several much better deals out there and so unless you really need an orange mini keyboard or coloured cables, I'd recommend looking at something else.

So in conclusion, if you are thinking of buying this for child education purposes and have never used Raspberry, I'd highly recommend going with something else. If this is for you and you want to explore the OS they've created and/or want to see what has been developed, it's what I got this for as well, although I got this on sale and even then felt a bit ripped off. All in all, it's 2 stars max, simply because of the price tag for the amount of things offered.
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You learn more by breaking it ...
by WolfRhan (5 out of 5 stars)
May 28, 2018

I got this for my seven year old's birthday. The kit was easy to put together and the booklet explains what the elements do. We hooked it up to an old HDMI TV, everything worked right away and looked great. Pretty soon he was learning the text commands with me nagging him to make notes as he goes - remember user name, password, commands etc. I really like that it starts by teaching text commands and builds on that. Just like the 'proper' computers we used back in that day.

Then, we agreed to a firmware upgrade which took longer than expected ... almost done .... blackness. Oh no we lost power right at the critical moment. On power-up the Kano valiantly tried to recover but no luck, we had bricked it. I have to emphasize this is ENTIRELY MY FAULT since I had used a power outlet I knew was unreliable. Lesson 1, dad is an idiot.

Kano gives great instructions on how to fix this, which involves downloading OS from internet and installing this in the

memory card. This does need some extra hardware and technical chops, but easily done. Perhaps less so if you are not a geek, just find one. So Lesson 2, fault finding, leveraging resources and the joy of bringing your computer back from silicon heaven.

Lesson 3, how to replace a faulty electrical socket without killing yourself or annoying your wife excessively.

So from disaster comes the opportunity to pass along several important life skills. Pretty soon we were back to coding in scratch and reading the instructions only as far as absolutely necessary. Currently our cat is flying upside down which is hilarious but not what we had in mind.

In case you hadn't guessed, my point is the best way to learn is to have problems to overcome. The great thing about this little kit is that is isn't a magic black box - it's a computer you can modify, break and repair. That's the only way to really understand what is going on. Toys are made to be broken.
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Nice idea, great hardware, poor software and support
by Dr. Germ (3 out of 5 stars)
October 21, 2015

Bought this as a birthday gift for my 10yo son. It's okay, but not great.

On the positive side, very easy and engaging to put together. Nice comic-like manuals. No problem connecting to 1080p TV via HDMI. And my son mostly loves it.

On the downside, the software is buggy as s***. For example, Minecraft doesn't start properly, but splash screen remains on the desktop and obscures any other windows in the same area. Lots of frustrating little things - like, instructions for block programming say, enter "-1" in this or that field, but field doesn't actually accept negative numbers. Or, instructions say, connect this block there, but when you do, instructions box does not disappear nor move on to the next step.

Unfortunately, there is no good way to report bugs either. The product websites has no bug database, only forums. These are poorly organized and almost impossible to search.

So in summary, a really nice idea, great hardware and out-of-the-box experience, but brought down by poor software execution.

Would still probably buy it again, since it's quite a bit of fun, but it's very sad just how much better this could be if there was just a little more attention to details, testing, support.
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Ordered this as a Christmas gift. Followed directions, ...
by Erin (1 out of 5 stars)
August 25, 2018

Ordered this as a Christmas gift. Followed directions, we got lights, but it never connected to our screen. Contacted company. They claimed it was a known issue and they were working on a patch. That was 8 months ago. It collects dust now.
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Not so fast, Kano. You're not that great
by Amazon Customer (1 out of 5 stars)
December 13, 2016

Buyers beware! I really wanted to like this product, but ultimately felt very unimpressed. For such an expensive toy I honestly expected something more special. The online blogs made the process of "building a computer" sound more eventful than it actually was - it takes about a minute to do, from what I remember, and we didn't learn much in the process. Had it been more complex, maybe my brother (then 10 years old) would have enjoyed it more. I realized I was paying a huge price for a very subpar computer and keyboard, so I was hoping that the coding games would be a stand out. But I can't say that they were really that great. My brother played through the games but wasn't as interested in them as he usually is with other games. Furthermore, I felt that the lessons were a little too simple, and not educational enough. Plus, it sucked having to use the raspberry pi and provided keyboard rather than one of our own computers.

Instead of the Kano, check out codecombat - a website designed to teach coding through gameplay. We enjoyed codecombat and best of all it's free.

I felt compelled to write this review after seeing so many glowing reviews of a product that I quickly regretted buying. Hope this review helps someone out!
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Nothing Works!
by Nick (1 out of 5 stars)
October 15, 2018

So I have waited a year before writing this review. Upon receiving the item my Daughter was so excited. As was I to help her learn basic programming and have fun learning about how computers work. Well that was a short lived dream as upon first boot....NOTHING! After getting ahold of support ( that was a horrible process) they said it was a known bug ... Well here we are 1 year later and still no resolution. I am sure if it worked it would have been great but they never offered to replace it or refund or anything. Buyer Beware!

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