Top Tech Products Tested by Houston Family Magazine

kuriowatchKurio Watch. The cool design and accessible price point make Kurio Watch the ideal, and very fun, smartwatch for young techies.  Watch-to-watch messaging via Bluetooth makes it possible for kids to share texts, emojis, drawings, voice recordings and photos, within a safe distance. The watch comes loaded with fun games to play alone or with a friend, plus includes all of the features you would expect from a smartwatch. $59.99. www.kurioworld.com

bb8Sphero BB-8 app enabled Droid. For any kids excited by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, what could be better than a branded BB-8 droid that can be remote controlled with an Android or iOS device? This super-cute robot rolls around in any direction, with his head floating magnetically on top. The companion app is packed with official Star Wars sound effects and a few different activities, such as the ability to record holographic messages, so you and your kids can have more fun with BB-8. $127. www.thinkgeek.com

t605_caseradioschargeronly_324x324Motorola Talkabout T600 H20. These two-way radios are ideal for keeping in touch and for safety when out of cell phone range. Brand new in 2016. Two-way radios are important for communication and for emergency preparedness, which is especially important during family ski trips and on board the cruise deck.  These feature NOAA weather updates and alerts and the T600 H20 is completely WATERPROOF and FLOATS, so no need to worry if it accidentally falls off the boat or in the snow drift.  It also comes equipped with a handy water-activated flashlight, which includes a white and red LED (to preserve night vision.) $119.99. www.motorolasolutions.com
earbudsSweat proof Earbuds iB71. Features iPX5­rated water­resistant construction for sweat proof use and protection from the elements. Headphones are equipped with custom fit ear cushions, a built­in echo­cancelling mic which allows you to have wireless phone calls with an in­line remote control. Enjoy up to 4 hours of continuous music or talking. Includes USB charging cable and travel pouch. $39.99. www.ihomeaudio.com
edwinEdwin the Duck. The first ever smart duck and is a gift the whole family will love! It has all the classic (and waterproof) charm of the traditional bath toy, but also connects to mobile devices to offer games, songs, and interactive stories through a continuously updating library on its companion apps. Along with being a tech toy, Edwin is a fantastic parenting tool with a built-in water thermometer, night light, sleep sound machine, and Bluetooth speaker. $99. https://www.edwintheduck.com/products/edwin-the-duck
microscopeDino-Lite AM2111 handheld .3 MP Digital Microscope. It’s amazing what you can see with a microscope. Your kids will love collecting samples to examine, and even everyday objects can reveal surprises. This handheld microscope plugs into your computer, laptop, tablet, or phone — the software supports Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS — and shows from 10X up to 220X magnification. There are also four LEDs to illuminate your subject and a plastic stand you can slot it into. You can also use it to capture photographs or video. $100. www.amazon.com
image002Apple Watches. DICK’S Sporting Goods now sells the must-have fitness and lifestyle wearable this holiday season, the Apple Watch. Whether purchasing a series 1/2, or Nike +, Apple Watches are a great gift for the fitness enthusiasts and techie on your holiday shopping list and perfect for work, play and exercise. $299-$399. www.dickssportinggoods.com
sky-viper-2-inch-nano-ptru1-20851364dtSky Viper 2 Inch Nano Drone. “No FAA registration required.” Sky Viper Nano Drone copter measures 2 inches. With a single touch of a button you can do amazing stunts! Use it indoor or outdoor it can handle just about anything. $29.99. www.toysrus.com





speakeriBT84 Splash proof Color Changing Bluetooth Speaker. IP67­rated waterproof and dustproof, this durable Bluetooth stereo speaker system includes a speakerphone that connects to any Bluetooth device for wireless audio playback. This speaker features a rechargeable Lithium ion battery that lets you enjoy your music anywhere (USB charging cable included). Also includes Aux line­in to listen to any audio source.Rugged shock proof cabinet. $69.99. www.ihomeaudio.com

virtualMatel View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack. Virtual reality is starting to take off and it’s exciting. There are a few headsets that use your smartphone as the screen, but this is the first one we’ve seen that’s specifically aimed at kids. It works with various smartphones, just like Google Cardboard, and there are a number of compatible VR apps and games currently available for Android and iOS. In a nod to the view-masters of yesteryear, Mattel has also included reels that trigger different augmented-reality experiences. You can buy various $15 reel packs, which cover topics such as space and wildlife. $16+. www.amazon.com

codeapillarFisher Price Code-a-Pillar. You’re never too young to start learning problem-solving skills and the Code-a-Pillar proves it. This robotic caterpillar consists of different sections, ones your child can stick together. Each segment does something different, so by sticking them together in a specific order, your child is creating sequences that form the basis of coding. Can they guide the Code-a-Pillar from A to B? Younger kids might not fully grasp the concept, but the toy also has a motorized head and sounds that gives it some personality, so it’s always interesting to play with. $50. www.amazon.com


go-colours2Arckit Go Colours. A fun way to learn design skills early on.  Large floor plates and easy “click and connect” components make this a perfect starter set for younger architects. $59.99 Ages 10 +. www.fundamentallytoys.com



kuriotabletKurio Xtreme 2 Special Edition. This kid tablet takes it to the next level with improved technology, leading safety features, and great content that kids love. It now comes preloaded with top-tier Disney content, like Frozen Ice Puzzles and Donald’s Number Launcher.  Kurio’s signature password-protected Parental Area allows parents to set time controls, manage apps and determine web access for up to eight user profiles. The Kurio Genius Internet filtering system allows kids to safely search the web, covering more than 18 billion websites in 200 languages and providing in-app web filtering to block inappropriate content. $99.99. www.kurioworld.com

image003FitBit Activity Trackers. Whether just starting to exercise or breaking PRs, Fitbit Activity Trackers are perfect for anyone on your holiday shopping list. From the classic “Flex Activity Tracker” to the “Surge Fitness Watch,” there is a wide array of options across various price points. $79-$250. www.dickssportinggoods.com

t100_t107_tworadios_324x324Motorola Talkabout T100 Series. This two-way radios are compact and easy-to-use, ideal for elementary age children who aren’t in the cell phone stage quite yet, but they do need to check in with mom and dad in the neighborhood.  They are also fun for hours of playtime time outside! They are also ideal for families with a passion for weekend adventures and active lifestyles. These radios are stylish and still provide reliable two-way communications when out of cell phone range. Perfect for outdoor adventures and for giving kids independence without cell phone fees. They series come in blue and bright pink and easily fits into a pocket.  These feature 22 channels and up to a 16 mile range. $34.99. www.motorolasolutions.com 
ihomeiBN350 NFC Bluetooth Dual Alarm Clock with Handsfree and QiCharging. Stay on schedule and charge a range of devices with this innovative iHome dual-alarm clock. Place your compatible smartphone on top of the Qi-certified device for swift wireless charging, or plug your phone into the clock’s handy powered USB port. This iHome dual-alarm clock incorporates NFC technology, so you can connect an array of Bluetooth-enabled devices with a quick touch. $129.99. www.ihomeaudio.com
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