Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Merry Christmas! Our staff's top 5 tech toy picks are finally here!

The biggest trends this year are robotics, toys that come to life with apps, and toys that get you to do something - including go play outside. So don't worry, our handy list will help you pick out a perfect present! The best part? We've actually played with every single one of the toys on our list. While some look and sound good in commercials and online, there are a few that will drive you, dear parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles - absolutely nuts. Oh, and don't forget the batteries!

Razor electric scooter, $150
Topping out at around 12 miles per hour, Razor's electric scooters are a great choice for tweens and teens. They're stylish, reasonably affordable, and extremely durable. This encourages kids to get up off the couch and go outside, even if it's just for a spin around the block.

RoboMe, $100
This futuristic robot can run around on it's own, or use an iPhone as its face and brain, allowing it to perform a ton of cool tricks and tasks. It can act as a remote video camera, remote-control explorer, and kids can even reprogram it to say whatever they want. Fun and educational at the same time.

Lego Mindstorms EV3, $350
This isn't the same Lego set you grew up with. It's a hands-down standout for harnessing creative and thought-provoking programming potential. With infrared sensors and motion detectors, kids can quickly create complex models that blast, grab, strike, slither, roll, and shoot, in as little as 20 minutes, right out of the box.

Of course, almost every kid will want an iPad and iPhone. Our advice is to go for the iPhone 5C and iPad mini or Samsung Galaxy tablet (a cheaper alternative). Set up basic parental controls, and make them responsible should their new shiny gadget get lost, stolen or broken. We don't recommend these devices for kids, but rather for teens.

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