Six of the best gadgets and gizmos on a theme. This week: Six of the best digital pets.
By Peter Jenkinson
Zoomer - £59.99 from smythstoys.com
This voice-activated canine for Spinmaster scores points across all the ages; tap his head to wake up the LED eyes, then begin your fun. He has loads of commands ready to undertake, from playing dead to cocking his leg (childish, yes, amusing, most definitely). Play-time with this pooch is about half an hour before 'nap' time, which involves a USB charge. He also isn't keen on listening to you all the time, but surely this just adds an element of reality?
Fish and Crab bowl - £8.95 each from red5.co.uk
Bring a bit of the big blue into your front room without any need for cleaning or feeding. These artificial aquatics are miniature bowls containing creatures from the sea which will happily swim about non-stop. Hidden away in the base are magnets that will pull about the inhabitants in random directions too - really rather good.
Tamagotchi Friends - £24.99 from smythstoys.com
The scourge of teachers across the land and possibly most confiscated toy of all time, the pocket-friendly Tamogothci is back. It has sold over 80 million since first appearing 17 years ago, and although it now retains its old looks, it has a few modern updates inside too. Owners can 'bump' other enthusiasts to send messages and swap gifts and watch your friend meter increase. You can become quite obsessive nurturing these pets, but - for everyone else's sake - at least this version has a mute button.
Sesame Street Elmo Hugs - £4.99 from argos.co.uk
Each year recently, Hasbro have unleashed an updated digital version of the cute red character, and this has to be about the best one ever. You can play, cuddle, dance and even nap together with Elmo - but the best part of all is when you go in for the hug, you get one back, with some unmistakable voice commentary. Don't be deceived by the age rating, everyone needs a hug!
Hexbug Nano V2 Hurricane Set - £39.95 from red5.co.uk
After putting together the 51 various pieces of this futuristic play-set, you can unleash your robotic bug to explore. Marvel as your Hexbug climbs tubes, takes on tunnels and freefalls into the black hole - don't worry, it's not the end, it's the exit before starting again. These sets are modular so you can keep adding to your layout and, of course, buying more bugs.
Furby Boom - From £54.99 at argos.co.uk
The more you interact with your Furby, the better you can shape what kind of digital pet personality it will have. Straight out of the box, these furry balls from another dimension speak only Furbish and it's up to you to teach it your mother tongue. Interact with yours directly or via the smartphone app, and accessories are also available for those who want to take ownership to another level.
App of the week
What 3 words - Free on iTunes and Google Play
By dividing the world into 57 million 3x3 metre squares, and naming each one, this app claims it can make navigating more accurate that street names or postcodes. It could well be more memorable too, as you're invited to claim your own spot for a minimal fee.
:: Note to Editors: There are no top 10 app charts this week.