Xmas gadgets you can play with when the kids have gone to bed

Hands up anyone who’s bought their one-year-old son a Scalextric for Christmas – just so you can play with it yourself – yes, we know who you are. And you’re not alone, so we’ve put together a few other treats that the kids will love finding in their stocking in Christmas morning, and which you can play with once they’re tucked up fast asleep on Christmas night.


Let the kids loose with their own tablet. The Kurio is a safe and versatile Android tablet for families. In seven- and 10-inch models it will keep kids and adults entertained with a range of preloaded games such as Angry Birds, Cut The Rope and Fruit Ninja, plus it can be used to watch movies, read books and listen to music. The special bumper ensures it can withstand the odd knock too. The tablet features the KurioGenius Advanced safe web filtering, time control lock and the easy-to-use Parental Area, which can be set for up to eight different profiles ensuring content is appropriate for the whole family.

It appears in the Top Ten Christmas Toys by John Lewis, was voted Best Of Show at this year’s Toy Fair on the recommendation of The Gadget Show, given a 5-star rating by Android magazine and Best Overall Toy by Right Start magazine

The 7in Kurio retails at £149.99 and the 10in Kurio at £199.99.


Battling Robots! Okay they’ve moved on a bit since the Raving Bonkers boxing robots from the 70s.  Attacknids are battling robots that can move 360 degrees and are remote controlled. The legs have been designed to move quickly and spring-loaded battle armour can be attached easily but only falls off when hit by an opponent. A 2GHx chip means you can connect up to 40 Attacknids for multiplayer awesomeness. They’ve already won awards and been named in the Toys R Us Top Twenty Terrific products for 2012. They cost £69.99 from Toys R Us and other retailers. More at www.combatcreatures.com


Find out about space with the National Geographic Space Tablet, a sleek and high tech looking device which offers young explorers an introduction to other worlds. Touch the icons to find fascinating facts, then test your knowledge in the quiz. For ages 4+, the tablet costs £19.99 from John Lewis and Shop Direct.


Scooters have gone electric this year – if you want to pop out to the corner shop early on Boxing Day hop on the kids’ Razor 90. For ages eight and above, this electric scooter has a push button start and foot brake if they need to slow down. £149.99 from Toys R Us.


Get your haul on with the Lego Technic Logging Truck (£99.99). Use the Power Functions control box for some serious lifting action. This massive model also has functioning steering, doors and hood that open, plus a detailed engine bay with working piston engine. Should you want to demolish hours of building joy within seconds, the 1,308 pieces can be rebuilt into a container truck with snow-plough! More at Technic.LEGO.co.uk


If you’ve got teenagers, how about the v929 Turbo Drone RC Quadrocopter from Paramount Zone? This remote control copter is suitable for ages 15+, and has LED lights and boasts the latest in Quad-Rotor technology. Suitable for indoor and outdoor use it’s pretty speedy and with a little practice it’s even possible to completely flip the ‘copter 360 degrees midflight! £49.99 in delivery from ParamountZone.com

Parrot’s AR.Drone: Polly wants a quadricopter

Latest Gadgets were invited to the launch of the Parrot AR.Drone in a swanky Central London location. In case you missed the AR Drones’ debut at CES 2010 the AR Drone is a toy helicopter with a difference. A quadricopter that you can control via Wi-Fi using a smart phone, the AR.Drone screams cool from the rooftops. If you ever watched AirWold as a child and dreamed of being Stringfellow Hawke, then this is the toy for you.


Creator Henri Seydoux spoke of his desire to fuse virtual and physical play – creating video games that you can interact with in the real world and the AR.Drone is pretty successful in this regard. The Quadricopter contains two cameras, one at the front, one at the bottom. The bottom camera connects to an Inertial Measurement Unit which measures horizontal speed for stability and has been adapted from military technology. And judging by how smoothly the AR.Drone flies it is working overtime. Both cameras can stream to your smartphone over WiFi as it creates a local network so you can use it outside. Flying the ‘copter is cool, but it’s hard to describe how cool having the images from both cameras beamed into your hands is.

Upping the cool stakes (sorry my thesaurus has failed me) the AR.Drone comes with some Augmented Reality Apps that overlay the real world with video games – hoops to dive through, enemies to look at, areas to bomb etc. AR.FlyingAce for example enables you to perform World War II battles. You can join the AR.Drone-Pilot Academy and improve your skills or compete against other AR.Drone owners. There is an SDK so expect a range of augmented reality games to appear over various platforms over time. You have to buy the apps from the App Store (on iOS at the moment), which seems a bit much given that the hardware alone is far from cheap.

Available in HMV from August 2010 for £299 the AR.Drone is an expensive toy aimed at rich kids or grow men or women with too much disposable income. But even as a grown man with too little disposable income I have a pretty hard time resisting.