The best and most creative musical tech for your kids

Want to give your children and early start in their musical education? This easy-to-master equipment is intended to make them virtuosi in no time. We test the best musical tech designed for kids.

1. Loog Pro Electric

Learning how to play the guitar can be daunting for beginners, but Loog aims to make it fun. The three-string neck on the Mini Pro reduces chords to the basic triad of just three notes, making it is simpler to play any song. It uses the first three strings as a standard guitar and follows the same tuning, and, as a result, everything learnt on this guitar – including finger placement – can be applied later to a six-string guitar.

Championed as the ideal way to get kids interested in music, each purchase comes with set of colourful flashcards with chord diagrams and a free app. The app is structured as a game in which monsters help kids learn chords that in turn will help them learn a host of songs. The show-stopping designs comes in a range of six pop colours including red and electric green, as well as two limited editions.

2. Roadie 2

Guitar tech’s beware, Roadie 2 is after your job. This simply and effective automatic guitar tuner fits over the tuning peg and adjusts pitch three times more accurately than the human ear. And by relying on a vibration sensor, not a microphone, it tunes pitch perfectly (customizable in 0.1 Hz increments from 420 Hz to 460 Hz) even in the noisiest of music venues. Ideal for pairing with that Farallon ukulele.

3. Orange Micro Crush Pix

The satisfying full bass response and built-in chromatic tuner on this mini guitar amplifier will add oomph to an adventurous music session. Its 10cm speaker sits compactly within its 8.5 x 15 x 15cm orange frame, which at 0.8kg and with strap holders either side of its enclosure, is highly portable. Hailed as an amp ideal for home practise or for warming up on tour, it’s powered by a 9V battery for simple plug in and play. It incudes a clean channel for crisp, spritely tones, as well as an optional overdrive on/off that can be used to tap into metal madness. Thankfully, its headphone jack will keep noise levels down after hours.

The best Christmas gifts and toys for kids big and small

Who says toys are just for kids? Our guide to the best toys available this Christmas is ideal for kids who can’t walk yet or kids the wrong side of 50. From retro gaming to state-of-the-art stargazing, there’s something for all ages and interests. View dozens of reviews on Toys & Games here on the official website of New Real Review.

Looking for something a little different? We’ve got tech-heads covered with an exhaustive guide to all the best gifts for geeks. And if you’re shopping for the jet-setter in your life, we’ve rounded-up the best travel gifts for added style and comfort.

LEGO Creator Rollercoaster

They say that with six Lego bricks, you could come up with more than 915 million combinations. But with Lego Creator’s 4,120 pieces, you can make an entire theme park complete with a two-train roller coaster and its boarding station, a ticket booth, a cotton candy cart, and of course 11 minifigures to recreate theme-park parties. You can also motorise the roller coaster and add sound effects to the game using a Lego motor and batteries.

PlayStation Classic Mini

For all the novelty that microprocessors and high-definition visuals can offer, old-school gaming consoles come with an undeniable charm. That is why Sony has launched a new version of its 24-year-old original PlayStation console – albeit one that is 45 per cent smaller. It features 20 built-in classics including the very first GTAFinal Fantasy VII and TEKKEN 3, that will most certainly get you reminiscing of the “good old times” – that is, the birth of 3D visuals.

LEGO’s latest Star Wars set is an epic 2,000 brick Y-Wing

To celebrate Star Wars Day (yes, we capitalise this important life event), LEGO has come up with a handsome addition to its Ultimate Collector Series – a 1,967-piece Y-Wing worthy of a place next to your £649.99 Millennium Falcon. Set 75181 retails for £169.99, and continues LEGO’s recent run of more movie-accurate, adult-focused models.

Of course, this isn’t LEGO’s first Y-Wing, or even the first Ultimate Collector Series version of the starship – that particular honour goes to 2004’s 1,473-piece set 10134, designed by Jens Kronvold Frederiksen, the deranged genius behind the gigantic aforementioned UCS Millennium Falcon.

2007 and 2012 also saw small Y-Wings (76581, 446 parts; 9495, 458 parts respectively), and most recently we’ve had the 691-piece set 75172, released in 2017 to tie in with Rogue One. What this 2017 set lacks in scale and complexity, it makes up with an abundance of fun minifigs – besides a pilot, astromech droid and stormtrooper, it includes blink-and-you-miss-them movie characters rebel Admiral Raddus and Saw Gerrera-affiliated mercenary Moroff. At 41cm long and 20cm wide, and with firing lasers and bombs, its emphasis is on play value over accuracy and scale.

The 2018 Ultimate Collector Y-Wing is an altogether more serious affair, aimed squarely at grown-up fans of the Original Trilogy – its only minifigs are Gold Leader and R2-BHD – and it packs in a huge amount of detail on its 61cm x 30cm frame. In fact, as a build, you’ll be creating an awful lot of intricate engine trim out of piping and grille pieces, so you might want to start your finger dexterity exercises now.

One of the nice things about this model is that it has been designed to look great on display, so the early parts of the build are dedicated to creating a rock-solid central structure – the mounting point for the base is in the middle of the ship, so this part of the chassis has to bear the weight of all the parts hanging off it, like the nacelles and cockpit. As a result, there are plenty of Technics beams and rivets which will require careful lining up – a mistake here will require surgery later on.

Of all the Y-Wings, this one has the best cockpit by far – rather than try to recreate the iconic white-and-yellow fuselage in coloured bricks (as in past versions), the designers have sensibly opted for angled white blocks, with yellow decals to add the all-important racing stripes. This gives a pleasingly accurate shape, and the fact it’s larger than previous ones has allowed for cute interior details, such as an adjustable targeting computer for your pilot.

The nacelles are unintentionally hilarious to build, and we challenge any adult to build them without dissolving into fits of laughter halfway through (see the video. Sorry, LEGO.). But once you’ve recomposed yourself, you can appreciate the clever use of side-mounting to create an impressive in-the-round texture that really looks like a piece of spacefaring machinery.

A display stand to show off your labours (it took WIRED about five hours) at a jaunty angle is a thoughtful addition, though it is a little wobbly – you’ll need a very stable surface if you don’t want to see your pride and joy waggling in a most worrying fashion.

Overall, the UCS Y-Wing is a great way to celebrate Star Wars Day – you’ll have to head to lego.com or a LEGO store to get hold of one, though, but we get the feeling you won’t be alone…