The device itself consists of a battery-powered handheld cassette player/recorder with an integrated monophonic speaker, a grip handle, and an extendable microphone. The main controls are like other portable cassette devices, with play, stop, fast-forward, rewind, and record buttons. The device's main selling-point was a switch which toggles between normal and slow speed settings for playback and recording. This feature enables users to manipulate the recording and playback speed, and in turn the pitch of the recorded sound, acting as a simple voice changer. This functionality emulates Kevin McCallister's use of the Talkboy in scenes from Home Alone 2. The standard model has a slowed-down speed of 76% and a sped-up speed of 130%.
Several spinoff versions of the device were produced, including:
Deluxe Talkboy, nearly identical to the original model, differing only in the placement of the name "Talkboy" (now with "Deluxe") on the front, and the placement of the headphone jack (to make operation more convenient). The Deluxe model also includes a cassette tape: one side is initially blank for recording, and the other write-protected side has various lines and sound effects from Home Alone 2.
Talkgirl, a pink-colored Talkboy.
Talkboy FX Plus, a writing pen with a built-in recorder and six buttons that play sound effects.
Talkgirl FX Plus, a pink version of the FX Plus.
Talkboy Jr., a pocket-sized version of the Talkboy which uses internal memory rather than cassette tapes.