Christmas is always popular with the children, with the endless streams of Christmas goodies and presents. For those who feel like splurging on your little ones this Christmas, check out our list of techie toys.
Where: Toys R Us
Who: Boys, girls, and Star Wars fans of all ages
The Star Wars craze is back and ready to win a whole new generation of fans. Just in time for Christmas, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will open in cinemas worldwide on December 18. Win over your young ones with a Star Wars-inspired gift.
Furbies are furry robots that look like a cross between a hamster and an owl, and they have been on Christmas wish-lists since the late '90s. The latest Furby in town is the Furbacca, a Furby version of Star Wars’ Wookie, Chewbacca. Like a regular Furby, it mimics real pets in several ways – by responding to touch, showing varied facial expressions, and interacting virtually with the user through its accompanying app that is compatible with iOS and Android devices.
What makes it a Star Wars collectible is the fact that Furbacca speaks Wookie instead of Furbish language, hums Star War tunes, and has LCD displays on its eyes that show images of Imperial Star Destroyers and X-Wing Fighters depending on how you interact with it. Pet it or scratch between its ears and X-Wing Fighters appear. Yank its tail, and Imperial Star Destroyers emerge. The accompanying app lets you feed, bathe and play games with it using your mobile device. You can even hatch and collect Star Wars Furblings with the app!
2. Star Wars Sphero BB-8
Where: Toys R Us
Who: Boys and the Star Wars fan in every man
You may not be able to get your own R2-D2 but you can have a Star Wars robot this Christmas. The BB-8 is an astromech droid that appears in the latest installment of the Star Wars series. Ball-shaped and dome-headed, the BB-8 also fits into the X-Wing Starfighter.
Sphero has launched a Sphero BB-8 that looks, moves, and sounds like the real thing, albeit in miniature version. For example, no matter how its body rolls, its internal self-righting system makes sure its head is always upright. Plus, it emits expressive droid beeps and squeaks. But what makes this a real cool toy for a child and quite a few adults is the app it works with.
Through your mobile device, you can send the BB-8 out on independent patrols. It does not have an onboard sensor. But through trial and error, the accompanying app learns the layout of the space so the next time you set your droid loose in the same space, it will not bump into the same obstacles. You can also drive the BB-8 yourself and programme it to do certain movements.
As with all droids, this one has a personality which evolves as you play with it. It responds to voice commands, expresses a range of emotions, recognises your voice and perks up when you speak to it.
Just like R2-D2, BB-8 has holographic recording capabilities, or a simulation of it. Record a video on your mobile device, point it at the droid and your message will appear to be projected from its body when you look through your device’s screen.
For Star Wars fans, the app has realistic Star Wars graphics and animation that makes you feel you are part of the Star War galaxy.
3. LEGO Mindstorms EV3
Where: Bricks Empire
Who: Kids who like to take charge
If your child likes to take charge, he might enjoy making a robot that he can control. The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 is a flexible robotics kit with sensors (colour, touch, and infrared), three interactive servo motors, and an electronic brain that lets you try your hand at robotics. The set comes with 550 bricks which lets you build a robot about the size of a shoebox. But you can use your standard LEGO bricks or LEGO Technic components to supplement your design.
With the sensors, motor and electronic brain included, you can command your robot to walk, talk, and think with a remote control. Download the app and you can control your robot with your smart device. The EV3 Brick which is the electronic heart and brain of the LEGO Mindstorms also features an ARM9 processor, a USB port for Wi-Fi and internet connectivity, a MicroSD card reader, backlit buttons and four motor ports – more than enough to keep your tech-savvy child happy for a long time.
4. LEGO Sensors and Motors
Where: Bricks World
Who: kids who like to let their imagination take flight
For the child who wants to build remote-controlled toys beyond robots, consider a variety of sensors and motors from LEGO for him to build his own remote-controlled creations. The sensors can be attached to vehicles and tracks so he can recreate his own F1 experience.
5. LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra Learning Tablet
Where: Toys R Us
Who: kids who enjoy mimicking mum and dad working on the tablet
Notice how Junior cannot keep his hands off your tablet? Get him one of his own. The LeapPad Ultra is a child-safe seven-inch tablet that comes with Wi-Fi capabilities linked to a kid-safe Web. It also has two cameras – a two-megapixel camera at the back and a matching one above the screen. With a Photo Fun app, you can edit images from the camera, adding props and items in the background. It is also stocked with more than 800 apps, games, e-books, videos and music, so Junior will never covet your tablet again.
6. VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch
Where: Toys R Us
Who: the kid on the move
Pair a smart tablet with a smart watch. The VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch has both analog and digital options so your child can learn to tell time. Just the 50 clock face designs, timer and alarm function with a variety of animations alone will keep him busy for a while.
When he is done deciding on the look, there is a photo and video function with effects so he can play with the images recorded. The voice recorder has a variety of effects too, so he can warp the recording to hilarious effect. With a USB cable, you can upload his productions into your computer. Four built-in games will help to keep your child entertained.
With these tech toys available for your consideration this Christmas, your kid may never want to borrow your digital devices any more. In fact, you might want to play with his toys instead.
Where to shop:Bricks Empire
Toys R Us