The Best High Tech Toys for 2010
Watch Stephanie's segment on the TODAY SHOW November 16th
Tags: Stephanie Oppenheim, Today Show, High Tech Toys
Posted: 2011-02-01 11:02:33 By:

 

There's something for every age and every budget on this year's best high tech toy list:

 

 


2010 Award
Scrabble Flash
(Hasbro $29.99 Score: )

We think this new word game is one of the best games of the year.  Just as the box says, you slide, swap and shuffle the five electronic tiles to make words fast. You can play on your own--solo or with any number of players. These clever tiles not only know a real word when you put it together, they keep score. There are three levels of play. On level one you can make words with less than five letters, the object is to make as many as possible before the timer in the tiles beeps and shows you a clock. At level two you have to make five letter words with the letters the tiles show you before your time runs out. At level three you play the five letter game with other people. This is really the best new scrabble-like game in years. The playing pieces are nice to handle and big enough for ease of reading. It's technology that you learn to works with relative ease and few complications. It's marked 8 & up, but we think the whole family is going to want to play this. It's also a great travel game to take on the road or into the restaurant while you are waiting for the bread basket and main course.


The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2010 Award
Crayola Story Studio
(Crayola $3.99 & up Score: )

When you say Crayola, most of us conjure up the idea of the yellow and green box, the smell of the crayons, and the possibilities that they present. High tech usually isn't in the picture- until this year.  Crayola Color Studio allows you to take a code off the box (boxes of 48 crayons or more) and use the on-line studio where you can import a picture of your child (or you!) to place as the central character of their own story.  You can print out as many pages as you'd like.  Great fun!

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2010 Award
LeapFrog Leapster Explorer
(LeapFrog $69.99 Score: )

If you're on the go, the Leapster Explorer is an electronic play platform that will engage your child.  (Assuming that your child has not taken charge of the games on your smart phone!)  We preface all reviews of such toys as fun rather than toys that will teach your child skills.  Much like the workbooks that we grew up with, these types of toys are great for reinforcing what your child already has learned.  They are meant to give fun, interactive opportunities to practice skills- and on this level this device can be very satisfying. On the otherhand, if your four year old feels overwhelmed by the games- chances are he has stumbled into material that is designed for older kids.  The Disney licenses also appeal to kids - whether they're playing a game with Buzz Lightyear or one of the Disney Princesses (no matter where you come down on these characters, they do appeal to this demographic).  One of our favorite aspects of the Explorer is the music...where you can explore harmony with the four different characters that sing familiar tunes. By removing the spot light on one of the characters, that voice is silenced.  Fun for exploring how music is layered.  The games are varied--some working on abc's, math and logical thinking.  There are also eBooks for downloading.  As with all of the new LeapFrog games-there is an opportunity for tracking your child's progress on line.  We wonder how many parents bother with this aspect- but it's there. You can customize the content with downloads to meet your child's individual needs. 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2010 Award
Kid Tough Video Camera
(Fisher-Price $60 Score: )

Shown here in pink this video camera also comes in blue. Like the original Fisher Price Kid tough cameras for young kids, this is a chunky bump resistant video camera that your preschooler can enjoy and save wear and tear on your expensive equipment. It can record up to 15 minutes of video and be played back on the TV or the computer. It has big buttons to accommodate little hands and is uncomplicated to learn. Comes with its own downloadable software and SD card for extra time. Designed with dual hand grips for steady shots, this is a kid-friendly piece of equipment. Compatible with MACs and Microsoft Windows XP, Wndows Vista, Windows 7. Here's a great way to see the world through your child's eyes. 3-7

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2010 Award
Barbie Video Girl
(Mattel $49.99 Score: )

This toy has been DISCONTINUED. Our testers were totally thrilled with the latest Barbie on the scene. Available with blonde or brunette hair, Video Girl has a small LCD screen and buttons built into her back. At first glance it looks like Barbie is wearing a very large necklace. Look again. It's a video camera that's discreetly placed smack dab in the middle of her chest. Easy to operate, it can take videos that can be downloaded on your computer. Appropriately, the USB cable is totally pink, as is most of Barbie

s body. About the only hard part of using this video camera is loading the batteries in Barbie's long thighs. This is going to need adult assistance. We made a few videos and the quality of the videos is really good. You can get sound when you replay this on the computer. Played on Barbie's back there is no sound. Barbie is compatible with Windows XP with SP3/Vista with SP2 and MAC: OS 10.5 Leopard. It takes two AAA batteries  - one for each thigh and they last approx. 75 minutes. The instructions are simple to follow.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2010 Award
Spy Net Secret Mission Video Watch
(Jakks Pacific  $49.99 Score: )

A big black wrist watch that actually has a video camera with small screen for recording and playback. You can also connect the watch to the computer with a flash drive that comes with it to download videos. In addition to the video recorder you can record audio and even find out what time it is. Lots of instructions to set this up with fine print to read. There are also some games, but it's the video camera that makes this a nifty piece of gear for kids 8 & up.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2010 Award
Air Hogs Hawk Eye R/C Video Camera Helicopter
(Spinmaster $64.99 Score: )

Wow! was pretty much the universal review of the new remote-controlled helicopter from Spinmaster with a built in video camera.  "It really works" noted one of our senior toy testers. The age range is appropriately marked 12 & up. The on-board video camera can capture five minutes of video and is meant to be used indoors exclusively (of course our toy testers enjoyed bending the rules on this one).  Our testers also thought the video was decent- (320 x 240 pixels at full color).  It can also capture photos at 640 x 480.  Comes with its own USB cable so that you can download the files on your computer. The company has also added a video eiditing platform at www.airhogs.com.  Takes 3AAA batteries but you can charge the heli through your computer. The batteries are for the controller.

Our testers also really loved the control they had over the new Missile Launching Helicopter--but even our tween and teen testers thought the actual missiles (hard plastic projectiles) were not particularly a safe bet.  They did think that it was the most sensitive heli they had played with and were able to land it on particular pieces of furniture (and cross beams!) in their house.  We love when kids tell us that we should tell the company to replace the missles with foam or just get rid of them altogether! 

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2010.

 

 

 


2010 Award
General Grievous Spinning Electronic Lightsaber
(Hasbro $39.99 Score: )

Star Wars fans young and old will really appreciate this spinning electronic lightsaber that you can use as one uber lightsaber-or take apart and have two to use for pretend play. Each saber lights up (one is green and the other is blue); both make that wonderful humming sound when activated.  The gyro-grip takes a little practice but is really satisfying once you get the hang of it.  No matter the age of your Star Wars fan, this will be at the top of the list. 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 
2010 Awards
Sing-a-ma-jigs
(Fisher-Price $12.99 Score: )

Our testers agree - these are the cutest novelty toys of the season. Pictured is just one of several Sing-a-ma-jigs. Each has it's own colorful personality and tee-shirt. To activate their sounds and moving lips, you must press their bellies. But first, press the left hand and the doll greets you with words. Press again and it will sing a familiar song. Press once again and the doll sings in harmony alone or with as many other Sing-a-ma-jigs as you may happen to own. Each doll has it's own unique song. Red sings "Where, Oh Where, Has My Little Dog Gone?" and he sings as fast or slow as you push his belly. Blue sings, "When the Saints Go Marching In." Yellow, in an argyle tee shirt sings, "Home on the Range" and Pink in polka dots sings "Skip to My Lou." These are going to be hot, hot, hot! The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

SNAP: For kids who need to strengthen hands, this is a playful motivator. It's also a good way to learn about cause and effect since the song sings fast or slow, depending on how you squeeze it.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2009 Award
Hexbug Nano Battle Bridge
(Innovation First $39.99  Score: )

These little NANO bugs that come in test tube inspired containers are either a HUGE hit with kids, tweens, teens and even adults that need a little bug to pull out of their office desk every now and then. At $7.99 each--they're affordable, come in lots of different colors.  New this season is the Hexbug Nano Battle Bridge ($39.99). When our testers built it, they commented that it looked more like a "parking garage for bugs that they could never really exit!"  Pure novelty--and a whole lot easier to tend to than hamsters.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2010 Award
Fantasma Web Runner Remote Control Spider
(Fantasma $39.99 Score: )

Use the Radio controller to make this big 8" Black Widow spider run up and down walls as well as across the floor. Designed to creep out younger siblings, this is a novelty toy guaranteed to delight 8's & up on your list. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: . Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2010 Award
Natural History Museum RC Tarantula
(Wild Creations $28.99 Score: )

This sure looks like the real thing! A life size tarantula with velvety flocking and creepy legs that is sure to scare the family kitten, puppy or little sister. It's easy to operate with a two button RC control that moves the bug with high-speed precision. It can move in every direction and even spin on its eight furry, independently moving legs! It's a model of a large Goliath Bird Eating Tarantula that measures at its widest span an amazing 6 inches! 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010.

 

 

 


Award
Animal Planet Animotion Rattle Snake
(Jay at Play $24.99 Score: )

If you have a child that wants a real snake but you're not ready, take a look at this 40 inch animotion snake. The snake moves a bit (he won't slither around the house though) and his eyes light up red.  Could this toy be used to scare unsuspecting family members...you betcha!

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: . Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2010 Award
Hot Wheels Stealth Rides
(Mattel $24.99 Score: )

We're going to start with the warning.  This amazing toy comes with three loose small batteries (the kind that look like metal buttons).  Now while this toy is marked for 8 & up as a result, we know that Hot Wheels are bought for much younger kids.  We almost decided to pass on this toy entirely because these batteries can pose a safety risk to small children.  That said, the toy is appropriately marked and it is super cool.  If you have an adult in your life that longs for the Hot Wheels of their childhood, you need to get them one of these!  Ok, here's how it works.  The car goes completely flat. That's right. It collapses so that you can put it into the flat controller.  Yes, I said controller--the controller doubles as the case but also is actually the controller for your RC HOT WHEELS!!  Unbelievable but true.  One of our favorites of the season!

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2010 Award
Disney Tron Legacy Zero Gravity RC
(Spinmaster  $24.99 Score: )

Hands down one of those super cool toys that everyone wants a turn trying.  The new DISNEY TRON movie will launch December 17th and while we haven't seen the movie, we can tell you that the toys are fun.  The Tron Legacy Zero Gravity RC will drive all over your walls AND upside down. To add to the fun, it lights up as it goes leaving a light trail.   The vehicle is controlled by  a wireless remote control and can go both backwards and forwards pretty quickly.  The sound is a tad too loud (so that if you're supposed to be asleep you're parents will know you're still playing with this great vehicle). 

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2010.

 

 

 


2010 Award
Kinect for XBOX 360
(Microsoft $$149  Score: )

All those controllers that litter your family room...they're gone.  You are now the controller with Microsoft's new Kinect for the XBOX 360.  Just raise your hand to select the game you want to play. Want to kick the ball coming at you, kick it.  Want to play ping pong? Go right ahead -- no paddle required.  It really works.  Our testers loved the games on Kinect Adventures! that come bundled with the console. Be prepared to work up a sweat!  One downside for apartment dwellers, you do need a lot of room to really play Kinect.  They suggest that you're 8 feet back from the sensor and you'll want at least that to move from side to side. So be prepared to move that coffee table!  Hey that could be part of the family work out. From the other new titles we tested, Kinect Sports and Dance Central got high marks from our teen testers. If you have an XBox, the Kinect can be added on for $149 or you can buy a new XBox already bundled with the Kinect. Both are bundled with Kinect Adventures (a $50 value).  

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 
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