Consumer Reports tests tech toys

Monopoly 'Zapped', Sifteo Cubes among winners

If you have kids on your holiday gift lists, a toy with a technology twist can be a good bet. So, Consumer Reports electronics experts played with the latest gadgets to find some winners.

Who doesn't love a good game of Monopoly, especially when you can use an iPad to keep track of your cash?

"One of the big trends this year is toys that interact with apps on your smart phone or tablet. And we thought the Monopoly game was a lot more fun with an app," said Consumer Reports' Carol Mangis.

Monopoly's "Zapped" edition costs $30. You download the app for free.

Consumer Reports' ShopSmart sampled 11 other tech toys, too.

A favorite for kids seven and up: Sifteo Cubes, for $130. First you download the software to add games to the interactive cubes. Then shake, flip, tilt or press the blocks to play a variety of brainy games like puzzles or math challenges.

If you want everybody off the couch, try Mattel's Loopz Shifter game for $45.

Players seven and up use their best karate-chop-like moves to repeat a pattern.

And there are tech toys for creative kids, like Crayola's Digital Light Designer for $60. Budding artists 6 and older can move the wand to draw pictures with LED lights.

"This toy is magical, but there is one drawback. Its motor is really loud," Mangis said.

SmartLab's $20 D-J Rock Dock lets kids 8 and up build a speaker dock that really works. Don't expect high fidelity, but your child will love being able to say, "I made it myself!"


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