After researching over 30 of the best-selling kids' electronics available today, we bought and tested the 10 best models. We evaluated how these electronics hold up to both kid and parent scrutiny regarding functionality, design, the ability to hold interest, and ease of use. This niche market is incredibly diverse and can be overwhelming to those looking to enhance their child's independent play or entertainment time. Our experts have narrowed down the field and identified the best electronic devices for your child.
Large size could be uncomfortable for small wrists
The VTech KidiZoom Smartwatch DX2 is a great introductory smartwatch for ages seven and up. It has the look and feel of an adult smartwatch, with functionality better suited for kids. Our testers found that they enjoyed reading the time to make sure they weren't running late or to check how much time they had remaining on a given task. The pedometer feature is kid-themed and has a character that mimics the wearer's pace during kinesthetic games. It also gives feedback and encouragement during physical activities, both of which can motivate your child to keep that walk or run going just a bit longer and creates a positive association with those activities. We could go well over three days before needing a charge, although this duration may decrease over time. There is a camera that almost feels like a spy tool and a time-telling learning game to boost math skills.
There are a lot of engaging functions on the VTech KidiZoom, blurring the line between enrichment and distraction. It took our testers a few days to adjust to the wonder of having so many activities tethered to their wrists, and more than a few warnings were necessary before some kids were able to self-regulate device use. Similarly, the adult-like look that many kids loved also means a large watch face that may be too bulky for smaller wrists. Overall, this kid's mini wrist computer is not only a useful tool, but an engaging gadget to keep your child's interest piqued for quite some time.
Manufacturer Suggested Age Range: Not specified | Battery Type: Charging cable included
REASONS TO BUY
Screen-free electronic that gets your body moving
Promotes public speaking and performance skills
REASONS TO AVOID
Hard microphone grille left some users with a fat lip
Volume control is limited
Take family night to a new level with the BONAOK Wireless Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone. This wireless microphone is also a portable karaoke machine that will have you belting out your soul's jams for those long winter nights. Whether for your kid's sleepover parties, or family game night, this awesome mic will be sure to please "kids" of all ages. Third-party apps allow you to play an assortment of songs on the karaoke microphone through your phone. These apps also allow you to record your songs, edit your work, and add pictures or overall flare to your recordings. You can certainly use the microphone without the added apps, but you won't be able to play songs as these do not come preloaded on the device. Kids in our testing group enjoyed taking center stage with this substantial microphone to feel like a real star. This electronic gadget brings a wonderful dose of arts and music into your child's activities.
Although the third-party apps allow you to enjoy this product more fully, it is an additional (and perhaps hidden) cost. Apps are iPhone and Android compatible, and many offer a free trial period to test them out. Free options do exist, but like most free things, they may not contain all the songs or features you want. We also found the volume and voice distortion/modification features on the microphone to be somewhat lacking.
Walkie talkies are a smart and valuable purchase for any family. They can be a safety tool to use when out on excursions, a way for your child to check in while running to the other end of the playground, and a functional prop for imaginary play. The Selieve Walkie Talkies fit this bill nicely and comes in at an affordable price. The smaller size fits little hands well, and the buttons are easy to push. They have a decent range for around-the-house play but may be limited outside if there is dense building or vegetation cover. Kid testers kept coming back to this toy during free-choice play sessions and loved talking remotely to their buds.
Younger kids had a hard time figuring out which button was the "talk" button on the device, and all seemed to struggle with the volume control. One user hurt their ear by holding the device too close with the volume on high. The overall feel of the device is somewhat flimsy, and we're not sure it will hold up to months or years of intense kid-play and probable droppage. There are different colors and designs available. If you are looking to test-drive walkie talkie technology, or want to build up to the more expensive two-way radios out there, then the Selieve Walkie Talkie is a good candidate.
Manufacturer Suggested Age Range: Not specified | Battery Type: Charging cable included
REASONS TO BUY
Low price tag but high entertainment value
Small and portable
REASONS TO AVOID
Will be a battle to limit game-time
Short battery life
The Jamswall Handheld Game Console was a hit for young and old players alike. Once you pick up this device, you are instantly glued to the tiny screen, playing classic console games from the late '80s and early '90s. Once our kid testers were able to wrangle the device out of dad's hands, they became voracious mini-players that had to be pried away. The size fits smaller hands well, and the buttons are easy to press, although they aren't labeled that clearly, and their function was a bit tricky for some kids to figure out. There is an option for two players, which can quiet some sibling rivalry over whose turn it is. We found that the two-player option didn't always work, however.
This gadget is highly captivating, which also means it can be quite challenging to put down. The small screen can be an eyesore after long periods of use as well. This device is not very robust, and the charge time is not that long, lasting only a few hours of play, although this might be a good thing if you are concerned about setting device time limits. The Jamswall Handheld Game Console is a great item to throw in a bag if you are traveling with older kids or looking for an exciting stocking stuffer.
Manufacturer Suggested Age Range: 5 years and older | Battery Type: (3) AA
REASONS TO BUY
Small and portable
REASONS TO AVOID
Does not provide much entertainment or retain attention
Hard plastic material
The cuteness factor is off the charts with Star Wars The Child Animatronic Edition and his adorable sounds and body movements. Any user can find instant satisfaction in activating one of his 25 sound and movement combinations — all of which will melt your heart. He will brighten your child's desk or room with heartfelt companionship and genuine emotion. Young users can even lay Baby Yoda down to rest with a sleep function when it is time to put this toy away.
This electronic is ridiculously easy to use; simply pat its head once for a single movement or three times for a mash-up of sound and movement combos. The extreme ease of use also means that users soon tire of it as there are not many other ways to interact with this device. None of the parts are movable (hands and head are automated but not easy to manually manipulate) and the hard plastic put off some users. This device is a great choice as a prop to decorate your child's workspace and keep them company. If there is one thing Star Wars Baby Yoda does well, it lifts your mood and provides momentary distractions to awe at its loveable coos and expressions.
Why You Should Trust Us
We began the process by researching over 100 of the best-selling kids' electronics before purchasing and testing 10 of the top products. We had numerous children from ages 3-8 years old (and their parents) thoroughly investigate these products in free-choice play sessions to determine not only the functionality and overall vigor of each product but the ease of use and ability to retain attention as well. Our testing team was led by Madelyn Rios, who is obsessed with finding the coolest gadgets and learning toys for young people, to make her classroom engaging and meaningful. She has been designing experiments and testing materials in both her science classes and in the field as a wildlife biologist for over 15 years. Her attention to detail brings a high level of precision to work and ensures tests are controlled and unbiased.
Analysis and Test Results
Kids electronics offer an incredibly wide array of products, which makes a side-by-side comparison very difficult. Despite this, we were able to look at the main aspects that should be considered when purchasing a product for your child and evaluated how these products are received by relevant age groups. Additionally, the pros and cons of each model were considered as was their ability to meet testing criteria.
It is often the case that you get what you pay for; each child also has a range of interests, in which different aspects of a product may appear to be more appealing. We considered a range of metrics during our testing process, including ease of use, the ability to retain interest, durability, battery life, and design. After taking all of our metrics into account, we chose the Jamswall Console as one of our high-value kids' electronics winner, given its entertainment value and price. The Selieve Walkie Talkies were also a big hit, as they provide great entertainment at a fair price. The BONAOK microphone also comes in at a similar great price and is a product the entire family is sure to love.
Ease of Use
The first thing we considered is ease of use. Let's face it — if a child can't operate a device on their own, they will most likely not engage with it. Furthermore, if a parent can't easily assemble or get their child set up, then it is equally as unlikely to get quality use.
To test for this, we looked at how many accessories or cables were included, whether it came assembled, if the buttons were clearly labeled and easy to use, and evaluated if children both under and over five years old could operate the device independently in play sessions. If users could operate the device with little to no adult assistance, then it received a high rating in this category.
The products that were the most simplistic were by far the easiest to use. The LeapFrog 100 Animals Book reads like a book and is ready to go once you get it out of the packaging. No instruction is needed before children as young as 12-18 months old can start turning pages and pressing buttons. The same is true for the Just Smarty Interactive Alphabet Wall Chart. Although there is a minimal amount of set-up for the Star Wars The Child Animatronic Baby Yoda, and the device is easy enough for any age to use, it provides a low level of engagement and fails to retain attention after short amount of use.
Once you've established both you and your child can use a device, you may be concerned about whether or not your child will continue using the product and will want to ensure that you're providing an engaging activity.
We tested products to determine if they retain interest and if kid-testers return to play or interact with the product again. If kid-testers engaged with an electronic for five or more minutes in one sitting and continued to choose this item to interact with in subsequent play sessions, then we gave it a high rating for this category.
The Jamswall Handheld Game Console really knocked it out of the park on this metric and was the most captivating, by far. The VTech KidiZoom Smartwatch DX2 also rated really well in this category. Both of these are screened devices, so if you are looking for screen-free engagement, the Selieve Walkie Talkies retained a great deal of interest without the use of games or lights to draw users in.
The Seckton Upgrade Kids Selfie is a fun way for kids to interact with their surroundings. After some prompting, kid testers could take pictures and videos on their own with minimal help. This device is an affordable camera that will entertain children for a moderate amount of time. Budding photographers can also dress up their pictures with kid-themed stickers and frames. The picture and video quality is not extraordinary but does the job for small humans. Plus, the smaller file size allows more images to be saved on the included memory card. The size is appropriate for ages three and up, but kids over ten may find it too small for their comfort. The battery life is decent and lasted one day of heavy use before needing a charge.
Younger children love toting around their new pet friend with the VTech Care for Me Learning Carrier Toy. This electronic toy has a sturdy build and is able to withstand long periods of intense play. The lights, sounds, songs, and phrases increase interaction with this toy and encourage imaginary play. The plush dog was an instant hit for children, as were the large buttons and kid-friendly design.
The Leapfrog 100's carrying handle is easy to grip, and although the tabbed pages may be challenging for the youngest users to turn, parents will appreciate the wipeable surface and well-marked pages. Users can choose from either English or Spanish to hear about animal names, sounds, and fun facts. The 12 different habitats offer a wide selection of animals and build the foundation for scientific research.
Next, we looked at durability to determine how long you can expect your investment to last. Although every user exerts a different amount of force, and environmental conditions can greatly alter the longevity you may observe, we can predict what a typical user can expect by evaluating the robustness of a product. To do this, we observed the quality of materials used and how well it is built. If products are built from sturdy materials or made with a greater degree of craftsmanship, then products will last longer when they are dropped or handled by aggressive kid-testers.
The LeapFrog 100 Animals Book is well-built and the manufacturer has selected a durable material for their pages; this product held up very well in our robust kid-tester groups. No visible signs of wear or tear were observed after several play sessions or being dropped on both hard and soft surfaces. Similarly, the VTech Care for Me Learning Carrier Toy is a sturdy toy that also held up well with use and abuse. Users will most likely lose the accessories or wear out the plush dog long before the actual carrier takes a beating.
The ongoing cost to operate a kids electronic device is something to consider when purchasing a gadget for your child. For some products, you may find the cost of the batteries is higher than what you purchased for the item.
To test for this, we evaluated if batteries are included or required, how many batteries are required, what type of battery, and a general test of battery life for products that use a rechargeable cell. The actual time battery life is influenced by many factors that are difficult to control or determine for various users. We did, however, track how long various kid-testers could operate a product before requiring a charge. As for battery types, products that required several larger batteries received a lower rating than those that operate with fewer or smaller batteries. If batteries are included, or fewer/smaller batteries are required, it will cost the consumer less to operate this product.
The LeapFrog 100 Animals Book and Just Smarty Interactive Alphabet Wall Chart both rated well in this category. They come with batteries, require few/small battery sizes, and because of their simplistic design (and minimal lights), they will be able to last for some time. For products that have lithium or rechargeable cells, the VTech KidiZoom Smartwatch DX2 lasted for days without needing a charge. This is a useful feature for a kid's wearable device that gets tons of use throughout the day.
Finally, we tested how relevant the product's design is to overall kid style and fit. Obviously, personal preference makes it very challenging to test how one might like a product's look, but a manufacturer should consider how easy it is for the appropriate age group to handle a product and be comfortable using it.
To evaluate for this criteria, we relied heavily on qualitative feedback from kid testers, but observed how easy or hard it was for them to handle the device as well.
We also assigned points for gender-neutral design and naming schemes when ranking products. Lastly, we considered the safety features, or drawbacks, of each product. If an item has a relevant design that appeals to a wide range of children and encourages safe and comfortable use, then it received a higher ranking in this category.
Although the VTech KidiZoom Smartwatch DX2 may not fit smaller wrists well, it does a good job of balancing fit and function for the heart of this age range. It also offers a handful of different color options and a wristband that users found comfortable and easy to use. The graphics are interesting and attractive for the specified age range as well. The VTech Care for Me Learning Carrier Toy probably does the best job of creating a gender-neutral toy that is a great size and weight for the suggested age range.
There are some flashing lights on this device, however, which some users did not care for. The Star Wars The Child Animatronic Baby Yoda had both highly positive and negative design considerations. The animated motions and sounds were very consistent with those portrayed in The Mandalorian series, yet the hard plastic (and a considerably top-heavy head) makes it difficult to do anything besides observe this device; it is not an easy toy to engage with.
We hope you enjoyed reading about this selection of kids' electronics as much as we enjoyed testing them. These products can be a great gift for a child in your life, a useful learning tool for developing minds, or a much-needed form of self-entertainment during traveling or independent playtime. In a world that relies heavily on electronic gadgets and ever-increasing screen time, we find it is important to instill a responsible and thoughtful relationship with technology at a young age. In this way, children may learn to view, and use these devices in their most pure form: a tool for learning and development that can offer a brief mental escape when appropriate.