Best iPhone games for children

February 28, 2011

Tiny Wings for iPhone 59p

This game was only launched a couple of weeks ago and has bit a great hit with children and their parents.Tiny Wings has already knocked Angry Birds from the top of its perch and has landed on the number one spot in the UK App Store. It’s even earned itself a 4 and a half star rating from over 600 reviews.

Tiny Wings is a pretty simple one-button game. You have to aid a bird with, “tiny wings” dive-bomb through several levels, tapping the screen to do a nose dive. The game has you bouncing off  hills in a 2D side-scrolling world filled with colourful islands. Touching the screen will cause the bird to dive-bomb out of the sky and slam into the earth. The trick is to time things in such a way that the bird will hit the side of a hill and pick up momentum, allowing you to then launch off the next hill with more speed than before. Your ultimate goal is to outrun the coming of nightfall. If you get stuck slowly sliding down hills the game will end and your points will be tallied.  Tiny Wings is like a flying, super fast version of Nintendo’s Excitebike – as the game’s speed increases, so must your reflexes.

Tiny Wings  is compatible with iOS 4+ and like Angry Birds is very addictive. It tops our choice of gaming apps.

Harry Potter: Spells for iPhone £1.79

This is the first official Harry Potter game and the graphics are as good as anything Xbox or Wii has to offer and the sound effects are a sheer delight to would-be magicians. Harry Potter fans will love the twists and challenges.

The game offers two modes of play: single player and multiplayer. The single player encourages you to practice your spell-casting proficiency to increase your accuracy score. If you multiplay with another iPhone-wielding, Harry Potter-loving friend, you can use Bluetooth to duel each other. Or you can play online with Wi-Fi and duel other players around the world. Your user profile is stored along with your worldwide stats, allowing you to drop and pick up the game at any time.

The  game takes you straight into Harry’s world where you receive an acceptance letter to Hogwarts School and you get a wand just right for you. You are then placed in your residence house (Ravenclaw, Gryffindor etc) and you are ready to learn to cast up to 14 spells by holding your thumb on the screen while waving your handset around as if it were a wand. You can also record your own voice calling out the spell, which will play back to you with each successful cast.

All of this is sure to thrill Harry Potter fans albeit the rhythm, speed, and angles to accurately cast spells seem to be quite complex.You really need to be a dedicated Harry Potter fan to have the patience needed to perfect the spell making magic. This is a well designed and challenging game.

Tap Zoo for iPhone -free

NOTE: Although this game is free to download many of the items in the game require in-app purchases paid for with real money.

Children will love this game as they can create their own virtual zoo. Visitors pay entrance used to buy more animals and attract more visitors. With cash and experience you can start a breeding programme or add a gift shop. Tap Zoo is a zoo simulation game where players are put in charge of running a zoo in the hope of turning it into a world class safari park. Players will choose which animals to buy and to breed, what stores and restaurants to have and how the park looks using decorations, paths and trees. Players will enjoy all aspects of zoo life, from feeding and cleaning, to picking up litter after the messy visitors. This game will appeal to people of all ages and especially fans of Theme Park and also Facebook games such as Farmville.

Items bought for coins and stars are earned as part of the game. However, if the player wishes to purchase more, they must do this using real, not virtual, money. Parents should note that when they allow children to play Tap Zoo the game will not ask permission to take money but simply says ‘ Are you sure you want to buy this item?’ children may not realise that this incurs real costs and charges to their iTunes account. Therfore, it is highly recommended that parents disable in-app purchases to guarantee this game is financially safe for them to play. We recommend you read our recent post: ‘Hidden cost of free iPhone gaming’ to fully appreciate the problems inherent in apps of this genre.

  • To buy the apps reviewed above go to itunes store
  • With 3 you are free to download and use as many online apps as you like, as often as you like without any data charges.  Visit the three website to find out more.







Hidden cost of ‘free’ iPhone gaming

February 28, 2011

Watchdog examines charges in “free” iPhone games


A US regulator Watchdog has taken up complaints that a free iphone app is encouraging children to run up huge bills for their parents. Tap Zero is targeted at children and although the app is free – players buy in-game currency by using a credit card and their iTunes account. Tap Zoo has quickly risen to earn second place on Apple’s top grossing app chart.

The problem seems to be that children think they are playing a free game with virtual coins to win virtual prizes whereas the cost is real to the parents who pay the purchases and losses built into the app. The Federal Trade Commission is taking this matter very seriously as they believe that young children are unlikely to understand the financial ramifications of their purchases. The FTC  are seriously querying the app indusrty with respect to the marketing of these applications.

Advantages of Mobile Phones for Children

A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that 75% of children aged 12-17 had a mobile phone and the same study concluded that over half of 12 year olds had their very own phone ( these statistics were most applicable to the United States). Currently, many European countries (e.g.  Finland) report that on average children have mobile phones by age 8!

Giving mobile phones to children can  have a number of advantages which counteracts the problem discussed above. Parents argue that when their child has a mobile it makes it easier for them to track where their children are. Mobile phones can offer a sense of security to parents and children.  Additionally, parents also believe that giving a mobile phone to children is a good way of teaching them to become more responsible. Children given expensive smartphones  such as iPhone must learn to be more vigilant  not to lose their mobiles as well as to stick to usage limitations set by their parents.

IPhones allow children to access not only the Internet, but also a host of “apps”. Many apps are harmless or even helpful, but there will always be some that present inappropriate content or initiate dangerous contact. Parental control should be initiated by parents to protect their children – iPhones and the iPod Touch- are both equipped with a parental control function (go to “Settings” – “General” – “Restrictions”). By setting a 4-digit passcode, you can enable and disable access to the camera, the app store, the iTunes store, YouTube, and the Internet (there are also third-party apps available to allow restricted web access – see below).

Service providers offer a variety of plans regarding web usage and text message limitations, often referred to as “data plans” or “data packages”.  Parents should openly discuss and determine the amount of usage they consider appropriate for their child.   Children are more tech-savvy than ever and can utilise this knowledge to their advantage.  By being concerned and remaining alert parents can reduce the risk of their child abusing the privilege of having a mobile phone.

Parents can generally curtail pricey mobile phone bills incurred by their children if they use a service from AT&T Wireless; this allows parents to set limits on their children’s cell phone usage, including voice, texting, and web browsing. AT&T’s is a web-based interface that lets parents control detailed aspects of their children’s mobile phone plans and is compatible with Apple’s iPhone. You must pay a monthly fee for this service (approximately £3 per month). The Smart Limits for Wireless system is part of a larger Smart Limits initiative that AT&T is deploying on all of its services, including landlines and broadband Internet.

Mobicip Safe Browser Setup

Mobicip™ offers an alternate browser for Safari that enables parental controls on your child’s iPhone or iPod Touch. It is simple to setup and works anytime anywhere! The Mobicip Safe Browser is protected by a account setup by the parent.

Make sure you purchase the app from the iTunes account that will be synced with the device. Your child may have a separate iTunes account to which the device is synced. Please purchase through that account instead of yours. If you have already purchased the app from your account, call iTunes Customer Support and they can cancel and refund.

Select App Store icon

  • To get further information go to itunes store
  • Read our forthcoming article on best apps for children

Is PAYG the right choice for you?

February 23, 2011

Is pay-as-you-go right for you?

If you spend less than £15 a month on mobile phone top ups then a PAYG deal is probably your best choice. However, if you already have a PAYG deal, don’t assume there are no more savings to be made – there could be other PAYG mobile deals cheaper than the one you’re on, especially if you’ve been on the same PAYG deal for yonks. Check out our sponsored link on the right of this page!

As well as the five major mobile networks (O2, Orange, 3, T-Mobile and Vodafone) and Virgin Mobile, you should still check out the options from PAYG mobile service providers that ‘piggy back’ on one of the main operators, such as Tesco and Asda. These virtual operators often offer very cheap mobile contracts. Visit the tesco website and/or asda website for their latest offers.

The Pay as you go mobile phones, like the contract phones, are locked phones, which are sealed by the service providers providing the deal. However, the PAYG deals offer more flexibility when compared to the contract deals, as there is no signed contract involved. You can look for a change in network, whenever you feel like.

Which? magazine suggest that switching to a cheaper pay-as-you-go mobile phone deal (PAYG) can save you more than £100 a year and get you a better service . The procedure of a network change is, however, similar to that of contract phones, in PAYG mobile phones. You will need to buy a new deal with your network of choice to switch networks. The only difference will be that, since there is no contract term to serve, you can go for a change anytime at your convenience.

Pay as you go mobile phones can be particularly suited to the very young, teenagers, and the elderly. Children and teenagers who don’t have an income cannot afford a regular mobile phone contract yet they are avid and highly proficient users of mobile phone technology. PAYG is ideal for this population and also helps the paying parent to keep track of mobile phone usage.

Another growing market are the more mature ‘silver surfers’.  There are currently a significant number of elderly people who struggle to keep up with the fast paced changing mobile phone technology and are living on a tight budget; they realise that mobile phones are an essential lifeline for them – the solution- PAYG mobile phones. As discussed, PAYG mobile phones can be incredibly cheap – with basic, easy to use mobile phone handsets, and easy top up schemes – making them ideal for this growing population. For relatives concerned about vulnerable grandparents or parents, ensuring they have a pay as you go mobile can be incredibly reassuring.  Pay as you go mobile phones offer elderly people reassurance and confidence to go out and about – as having a phone at hand can be a great comfort.

However, whoever you are, whatever your age – if you find that you’re topping up your mobile credit by more than £15 a month then you might get more for your money with a pay-monthly mobile phone contract. The contract phone means you agree to pay regular straightforward monthly installments  for periods of up to 24 months and has the added advantage that you could choose a new smartphone handset such as iPhone 4 free of charge or drastically reduced. Why not check out our buy online webpage.

Topping up your PAYG mobile phone

There are a number of ways to top up your PAYG account. Vouchers are available  in most supermarkets and newsagents. Another way is to top up via certain cash machines. You can also register you card details online with your operator and pay money into your account via its website. Or call your operator and pay directly over the phone.

An easy and fast way to top up is via text message. If you register your card details most operators allow you to pay into your account simply by texting the last four digits of your card, followed by the security code and the amount you want to top up. Check your operator’s website for details on this payment method.

One of the biggest downsides of PAYG, in comparison to pay monthly contracts, is that you need to ensure there is enough money in your account when making calls – getting cut off during a call, and taking the time to top up when low on credit, can get most frustrating.

Be aware that if you don’t use your PAYG mobile for long periods, your provider may assume it’s no longer in use and deactivate your number. If this happens to you, you could lose any credit that you have on your phone. If you have a PAYG mobile for emergencies only, make a quick call on it  every few weeks so your provider knows your phone is active.

With PAYG you will pay full price for your phone – if you are regularly using more than £15 per month on top ups why not consider replacing it with an iPhone – a quality smartphone – that on a contract will not cost you the earth. Check out the latest deals on our Buy iPhone online page.

Alternatively, if you would prefer to pay monthly but don’t want a lengthy contract tie in, consider a Sim-only contract. Sim-only deals don’t include a free mobile handset, but you get more calls and texts for your money and you’re only tied in for a month at a time.

New headset for iPhones

February 17, 2011

Steelseries introduce a new headset for the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

The Award-Winning Siberia Neckband Headset is Now Available in a Refreshed Design for Music, Mobile, and Gaming

SteelSeries, the leading manufacturer of premium audio peripherals and accessories, today is introducing the award-winning and unique design of the SteelSeries Siberia Neckband headset to music lovers and mobile gamers to use with their iPod, iPhone and iPad. This headset version has been designed to fully support iPod, iPhone and iPad devices, which features a single 3.5mm jack for combined audio and voice and an inline remote that powers audio and call controls. The Neckband features thick, cloth covered foam earcups, an optimized soundscape, and a retractable microphone system to be used while answering calls or stored in the left earcup while just listening to music.

“We believe that gamers are some of the most demanding consumers and as competitors they require well designed peripherals that reproduce high-quality sound and clear voice communication, which ultimately can mean the difference between a tournament prize purse and going home empty handed,” said Bruce Hawver, SteelSeries CEO. “We knew that if our audio products can meet and exceed expectations for gamers, that our designs would also be appealing to a broader music and entertainment audience. Now iPod, iPhone and iPad users who want an audio solution for entertainment on their mobile device have a new, high-quality headset option.”

Featured throughout international music videos, the Siberia Neckband is considered one of SteelSeries’ most unique designs. The headset rests behind the head on the user’s neck while providing excellent sound reproduction that has been fine-tuned with the help of professional musicians, DJ’s and audiophiles. It can be adjusted to fit all head sizes through its retracting neckband, while the unidirectional, retractable microphone can be stored in the left earcup and can be easily pulled out when answering calls. Its optimized soundscape emphasizes crisp highs, and deep balanced bass levels for music and movies.

The SteelSeries Siberia Neckband is $79.99 / €79.99 MSRP. Details regarding product availability, retail locations, and new additions to this music and mobile audio line-up will be announced soon. Be sure to check out SteelSeries’ Facebook and Twitter pages to gain access to these details and updates first.

IPhone 2011

February 15, 2011

Smartphones in general were 2010’s hotest technology and the iPhone in particular promises lots more to enjoy in 2011.The iPhone 4 released by Apple in 2010 is elegant, easy to use, faster and technically outsmarted its older siblings in every department. Research suggests that the Apple iPhone is also the most viewed handset online. Its hugely successful  iOS operating system outshines its rivals by delivering a smooth and consistent performance and a huge library of apps.

If you have never owned, or used, a smartphone you will love an iPhone as its design interface is intuitive, simple to learn and easy to use. It also offers you a seamless integration with iTunes for listening to music [check out our recent item on iPhone 4 has 5 star music rating for a review of how to get the best out of your iPhone].

Apple’s  App Store is fantastic with apps for everything you might want and need and all approved by Apple -thus keeping app problems to a minimum. The iPhone is no longer the preserve of the business executive as consumers  expect to multitask via mobile broadband, access the internet and email while going about their daily life. You can now have an iPhone 4 (16 or 32GB) on PAYG for around £490 or the cheapest 18 month contract with a free handset is approximately £66 a month. See the latest deals on PAYG iPhones at PAYG iphone page on o2.

For 2011 a new smaller version of the iPhone is reportedly in the pipeline  and rumour has it that it will be on sale this summer. Reports from the US say the new model will be between half and a third of the size of the current iPhone and most importantly, about half the price. Its MobileMe service will be included free as a “locker” for photos, videos and possibly music too. According to sources at Apple, the company has built a prototype which will cost as little as $200 without a contract, compared with the latest iPhone 4 at $625.

Another report has emerged that says the fifth-generation smartphone will actually feature an expanded screen to take on Android devices’ larger screens.  The report of a larger screen is just one among many regarding the next iPhone that has surfaced in the past few days. A Taiwanese blog, suggests that it has reliable information that the iPhone 5 has been designed with a physical keyboard that slides out, a longer-lasting battery and a better camera. such reports suggest the iPhone 5 will also be released sometime this year.

Apple has not commented on these reports.

  • Visit itunes store for an app experience
  • Visit the o2 website for PAYG iPhones
  • Visit our Buy iPhone online page for more choice re PAYG and contract mobile phone networks

IPhone apps- fashion & beauty

February 13, 2011

The Sunday Times in association with are checking and reviewing the best apps available for your iPhone. A mammoth task as last month Apple released its ten billionth app. This year app sales are expected to reach $15 billion. The Sunday Times App List has been compiled by experienced app reviewers and experts in specialist fields such as fashion and culture choosing the best 500 apps available today.

This article briefly reviews 10 of the best fashion and beauty apps:

  • Style Guide for Men at £3.99

If you are unsure re what to wear for that special date you will find this app will help you to sharpen up your look. Get to grip with what suits your body shape and learn about formal and informal wear. A no-nonsense guide to men’s fashion.

  • Sartorialist – free for iPhone

Although designed for iPhone this app is crisper when viewed on iPad. Shows great photos of well-dressed people worldwide – images change daily. Browsing pleasure to get new outfit ideas.

  • Trendstop Trendtracker – free for iPhone

Forecasts the latest fashion trends to keep you one step ahead. Lists and informs re fashion shows. great for students in the design world.

  • Shopstyle- free for iPhone

Browse and buy from a huge selection of fashion brands from M&S to Balmain.

  • Beauty Genius by Marie Claire – £1.19 for iPhone

This is a good ‘how to’ masterclass from top make up artists – videos no selling involved.

  • Modiface – free for iPhone

Load a photo of your face and you can try out virtual make up suggestions to find out what suits you best.

  • About Royal Wedding -£1.19 for iPhone

Similar to Hello! magazine – if you like this type of mag you will love all the news re William & Kate.

  • Chickfeed – free for iPhone

Concise top fashion and lifestyle blogs into one great newsfeed.

  • All Saints Spitalfields – free for iPhone

A serious shopping experience – fashion from the latest edgy collections.

  • Which? Your Rights -free for iPhone

An essential guide to your consumer rights. Use it when you need to return a faulty item, get your money back, or shop for sale goods.

The above recommendations are just a taster of the apps recommended in The Sunday Times – for extended reviews visit

To get the best out of your iPhone 4 be on The One Plan you can download and use as many online apps as you wish, as often as you like, without any data charges – to find out more Visit the three website

To obtain the apps discussed above  visit the apple store

Considering updating or buying your first iPhone? Then go to Buy iPhone online page

Free iPhone shopping app released by Google

February 5, 2011

Go Shopping with Google

Google iPhone shopping app gets British release

Google has  introduced a new version of its Shopper mobile app which lets owners search for products using their phones. This new app is an iPhone compatible version and can be used in the following way:

You take a photo of the product or its barcode, type in the product name, or you can just name the product aloud into your iPhone and Google’s Shopper will immediately become a search engine facility finding prices, reviews from websites and social media  channels, and it will suggest which local shops have available stock. How cool is that!

The Google Mobile blog announced Shopper’s introduction, saying: “Google Shopper turns your phone into a shopping assistant, so you can learn more about products and read relevant user reviews, compare prices…, (and) save and share products for later consideration.”

Google’s Shopper is a step beyond other similar apps already available as it offers a more comprehensive price comparison facility. A previous app by Google, Google Goggles, is superseded by the new Shopper.

Best of all it is free! The Google Shopper app is available from the search engine company’s App store. It is available for iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 with iOS 4.0+ in English only for the UK and United States.

If you are still waiting for release of the white iPhone 4 techies in the know suggest it will become available in March. However, there are some good deals available now online for the black iPhone 4 16GB and 32GB. These handsets come with Wi Fi connectivity as well as their own HSDPA connection offering fast WiFi access, in addition to Bluetooth and USB connectivity, in conjunction with EDGE and GPRS. This provides a myriad of alternative connection options, sufficient to cater for any eventuality.

The iPhone can be further enhanced by adding additional applications such as the latest free Shopping app from Google. The iPhone remainsthe leader of smartphones due to its outstanding versatility which is missing from many other mobile phones that are currently available in the market.

For further information and latest deals on iPhones go to our buy online webpage