If you’re a parent who never seems to have any spare cash come payday, we might have identified one of the reasons why. A recent survey by price comparison site Kelkoo revealed that parents spend up to £500 a year on technology for their children.
The survey also revealed that 91% of UK children between five and 16 own gadgets including games, mobiles and laptops.
To try to keep the bills down, we’ve rounded up a few more affordable gadgets that your children might just be putting on their Christmas list his year.
Rather than a pricey laptop, how about the just-launched tablet Binatone HomeSurf, with prices starting at £129.99 – less than the cost of a lot of smartphones.
Binatone has developed the HomeSurf range to put the tablet into the hands of everyone – no matter what age, experience or technological prowess. Running Google’s Android operating system, the HomeSurf comes in two sizes – the entry level model has a 7in TFT LCD resistive touch screen that auto-rotates, and 2GB of built-in storage that can store more than 250 photos or around 500 songs, and video playback.
The HomeSurf 8 comes with a larger screen and longer video playback time, while both products feature a MicroSD card slot (SD/SDHC), built-microphone and stereo speakers, as well as a rechargeable Li-Ion battery and 3.5 mm stereo audio jack with headphones.
Budding videographers, meanwhile, can have some fun with the Kodak Mini – dubbed a perfect little camcorder for kids. It is priced at £49.99 and is waterproof up to 3m, easily transferable by USB and the size of a credit card!
There are no cables to get tangled up or lost as the Mini features a pop-out USB arm, which makes it simple to share the high-quality VGA video at 30 fps on Facebook and YouTube™ sites. You can view your videos straight away on the 4.6 cm (1.8″) LCD.
Orange, meanwhile, is aiming to bring Android to the mass market at an affordable price with the San Francisco, that comes in at £99. The stylish touchscreen Android mobile phone, priced at only £99, offers thousands of apps, the Android 2.1 operating system, an MP3 player (so no need to splash out on a separate music player) and built-in FM radio. With a 3 megapixel camera that’s also going to save you buying a separate snapper for the kids. They can share photos with friends on the go, and with WiFi, Bluetooth as well as a 3G+ connection – they should be able to upload with ease.
Top up by £10 on pay as you go Dolphin for inclusive internet, plus 300 free texts and £10 credit to spend however you want. The San Francisco supports a data capacity of up to 32GB, and comes with a 2GB microSD card inbox and in-built memory of 150MB. www.orange.co.uk.
If you can bear to share your iPhone with the kids, it makes a great alternative games console – particularly for smaller children – and a fantastic way to keep them entertained if you’re on the move in the car, train or waiting at the doctors or dentists.
And for little ones aged two to five, the new Peppa Pig app Happy Mrs Chicken, is a bargain at £1.79, and has been enormously popular – shooting straight to number one in the Top Paid Kids Games chart in the iTunes store in a few hours.
The first game lets the player make Happy Mrs Chicken lay eggs, see the eggs hatch into chicks and scurry to either side of the screen, while Chicken Coop involves sending different coloured chicks to their correctly coloured homes and includes a mode against the clock.
Visit www.playwithpeppa.com for more information, and to download head here.
Finally for a bit of fun at a not-too-pocket-busting price, how about the mini Revell Hornet helicopter? Due for release in November, it has Gyros for added stability, and easy to operate controls, ideal for the first-time pilot, and can be used inside and out.
Priced at around £35. See www.revell.eu for more details.
And with another nod to Christmas, we also like Chatimals – a hamster that repeats anything you say in a range of different voices and pitches. A nice novelty for the festive season at £19.99 – and look out for the meerkat, due out in November. Available at www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk