Last-minute kids’ Christmas gadgets

Is Santa still looking for a few treats for the children/teens in your family?

Here are a few neat ideas that should put you in the favourite uncle/auntie category well into the New Year (which means you get first dibs on their Christmas sweet stash!)

ruckjack

If you’re buying for children aged around five to seven, and they have access to a computer, it’s very likely they will be Moshi Monster fans. In which case, this Ruckjack could be right up their street. Is it a rucksack, is it a jacket? It’s both – and they can even go online and create their own design, choosing colours and finishes. You don’t have to have the Moshi Monster lining of course, but what little Monster fan would deny themselves?  And if you have a child who hates wearing a coat, they can slip it off, turn it into a rucksack, and pop it onto their back while they scoot/cycle home.

The Ruckjack comes in sizes 3-12, costs £29.99 and can be ordered from www.miioon.com

Blue-Bird-Mini

Angry Birds fans can bring their favourite furious feathered friends from the screen to real life with one of these Angry Birds Speakers from Gear4.

The ever-raging Red Bird Space, Blue Bird, Black Bomber Bird, Red Bird and explosive Lazer Bird all work with any smartphone, music player, or tablet and have a 3.5mm headphone jack. The speakers feature expandable bass twist function for stronger audio quality and are able to link with multiple speakers, so you could have a string of your favourite birds blasting out your top tunes.

The lithium battery can be charged for two hours to give eight hours of playback.

Priced between £29.99 and £34.99 from www.gear4.com

Penguin-Speaker

More avian-themed speakers are available from Kitsound – this time in the shape of a less angry-looking penguin or cute owl speaker. These speakers will plug into a smartphone, MP3 player or tablet and come in a bundle of three products – headphone, phone sock and speaker for £14.95 from www.phones4u.co.uk

Need to make that homework more appealing? How about treating them to a fun coloured wireless mouse – just for them? Might be just the incentive they need to get down to work. The Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 comes in red, pink or blue as well as glossy black or white and the makers claim it will work on any surface – so the bedroom carpet should be fine! It is designed to be used by left- and right-handers and has rubber side grips for better handling. The mouse costs £29.99, for more details log on to www.microsoft.com/hardware.

Finally, we all know dogs are not just for Christmas, but here’s one pet that won’t need walking, feeding or taking to the vets.

Tech-Pet-Kids

Just put your iPhone or iPod touch into the TechPet body and watch it transform into a friendly pet dog robot! It will move just by hearing your voice or seeing your hand waving, you can play games and music on it and it will even play with other TechPets.

In sitting mode, the TechPet can be used as a music player; put it in trick mode to teach it new tricks, and you can even customize its face – use your own pictures as TechPet’s face via ‘Face Morph’ if you want!

The TechPet is £59.99 from Toys R Us, John Lewis, Argos, Amazon, and The Entertainer. For more details head to www.facebook.com/BandaiUK

Angry Birds Space cases and headphones are out of this world

Whoever came up with the idea of firing birds loaded in a catapult onto egg-stealing green pigs must be a genius. And a very rich genius at that. On paper, it sounds all a bit daft idea, but Angry Birds has proven itself to be one of the most addictive games ever, and the 700 million of units it has sold since 2009 stand testament to that fact.

Angry-Birds-Space

Angry Birds Space is the latest chapter in the game, and features a host of new features and levels, including the introduction of new birds and piggies to battle. This time around you will have to contend with various degrees of gravity as all the action takes place, yes you guessed it, in space itself. It’ll be a bit like Battlestar Galactica, but with more beaks.

To commemorate the games launch, Gear4 have come up with a set of cases and headphones for your iPhone, iPod and iPad. The accessories feature images of the new Angry Birds Space characters, which include Laser Bird, Ice Bird, Bomb Bird, super Red Bird and the evil King Pig.

There are five different iPhone and iPod cases, and four cases for the iPad, along with the trademark Super Red bird to chose between. Prices start at £24.99 each. There are also four different headphones with Angry Bird images on the ear-bud to wear whilst you play the game or listen to music, these are each available for £19.99. Wear your Angry Birds colours with pride!

For more information on the cases and headphones visit www.gear4.com. To download your own copy of the finger-flicking physics game, visit spaced.angrybirds.com. Angry Birds Space is available on iOS, Android, Mac, and PC.

Angry Birds BlackBird dock review

Not content with taking your phone, Angry Birds are taking over cartoons, plush toys, clothes, films and a soon-to be theme park attraction in Finland. Last year Gear4 released a set of three speaker docks based on Angry Birds that made me squeal with delight. I am a huge Angry Birds and can’t stop playing it to this day. So I saw the big bad Black Bird speaker dock and I had to get my mitts on it.

The Black Bird Speaker Dock is the only one in the range that can dock an iPad. The dock is standalone from the speaker. It is a fun, entry level iPad dock for fans of the Angry Birds series. It is easy to setup and I had it up and running in minutes. The 2.1 speakers and 30W amplifiers provide a decent sound for a casual listener. I found it was clear and I enjoyed the clarity. The sound is good for small rooms, however at higher volumes, you may hear some distortion.

The volume and bass buttons are at the back which are not convenient however the included remote makes it easy to control so no complaints here. I think a button integrated into his face would have been great. I would not suggest this is a portable dock or one to take on your holiday. This is a great addition to a kid’s room and will definitely be a talking point in any living room. If you do not have an iPhone, have no fear, you can connect your smartphone using a 3.5mm Aux jack at the back, cable included. It is available from Gear4 for £69.99 and Currys and PC World who currently have a good price, £34.97 but keep it our little secret. Back to getting some golden eggs on my iPhone.