Six of the best gadgets and gizmos on a theme. This week: Six of the best gadgets for stylish techies
By Peter Jenkinson
With an ever-increasing number of children now taking ownership of gadgetry such as mobiles, consoles and computers, what can be done by the toy industry to pry their interest away from digital entertainment?
Well, the answer is plenty!
Toy companies have retaliated impressively over the past couple of years, but this Christmas is perhaps the year where they will regain the upper hand.
Here's our pick of the hottest high-tech toys for 2012 - suitable for kidults too, of course.
Motor Head - Lego Technic 4x4 Crawler - £129 from www.pixmania.co.uk
We're almost certain that there isn't a person on the planet who doesn't love Lego, and anyone who isn't induced into a grin by a remote control plaything could be an equally rare discovery. So this infrared-controlled build should be near the top of any Christmas list. You can rebuild the 4x4 crawler, which features extreme suspension, into a tough off-road truck - so that's two toys for the price of one.
Hello Again - Furby - £57.99 from www.smythstoys.com
In the Nineties, these creatures caused chaos as parents struggled to find them on retailers' Christmas shelves, and this updated version looks set to top plenty of wishlists again, so the same scramble cannot be ruled out this year. This interactive companion develops its moods in tune with how it is treated. Starting with its own "Furbish" chatter, it learns your language over time. To understand more, you can download an app which will translate its chatter in real time, plus you can customise your Furby's favourite meal - clever stuff, but it's only available on iOS devices.
Robot Wars - Combat Creature Attacknid - £62.99 from www.smythstoys.com
This remote control robot kit is from a new range called Combat Creatures - and they look like they're about to lead an invasion of wallets across the nation. This six-legged machine has a turret on top with dissector discs that you fire upon other Attacknids, causing their leg armour to fall off. Alternatively, you can strike the battle brain of your opposition three times and it'll shut down all its systems. You can have up to 40 of these in action at any one time - you'll be able to hear the melee from miles around!
Sticky Fingers - Kurio 7 Tablet - £149.99 from www.smythstoys.com
There is a plethora of kid-focused tablets on the market this year, but the Kurio is one of the best around. Packed with the biggest app gaming titles, it has a selection of parental controls - time management and web filtering - as well as Wi-Fi for access to a range of educational content that'll persuade parents to take the plunge. It comes complete with front- and rear-facing cameras and a decent seven-inch display too.
Extra Dimension - AppBlaster v2.0 - £24.95 from www.red5.co.uk
Working in harmony with Android and iOS devices, the AppBlaster is part of a new wave of gaming that's sure to enhance you app experiences. Download the Alien Attack app, stick your smartphone in the cradle, and wander around your room to take out the creatures that appear to invade your real-world space. Other apps include Skeet Shooter, Duck Hunter and Overkill.
Aerial Excitement - Air Hogs Battle Tracker - £99.99 from www.tesco.com/direct
Remote control choppers can now come with built-in water pistols, working winches and cameras - and they're easier than ever to fly. But this set-up from Spin Master takes in-flight play to another level. Set the base unit in battle mode and it'll track you while you fly, trying to knock you out of the air as you attempt to shut down the system with direct hits on its turret.
App of the week - Crackalacka Boom - free on iTunes and Google Play
From Nando's, the purveyor of fine chicken, this Yuletide app is a riot.
Pull a virtual on-screen cracker with a swipe of your finger and it'll offer up plenty of fun and gags.
You can also use the interactive photo booth to dress up pictures of you and your mates with lots of seasonal accessories - then, of course, share your snap on Facebook and Twitter.