Holidays

Best New Smartphones and eReaders for Moms

by Molly Finkelstein and Jeana Lee Tahnk


Best New Smartphones and eReaders for Moms

We've rounded up the best smartphones and e-book readers to help Mom stay connected to her favorite real—and fictional—characters. Find out which one is best for her

InnoTV gaming console

VTech InnoTV

VTech InnoTV

Leave it to VTech to come up with yet another great tech toy and one of the best game consoles for 5-year-olds. Perfect for petite players ages 3 to 8, VTech InnoTV is an educational gaming system made for preschoolers but built with the whole family in mind thanks to its multiplayer capability. It connects to your television and comes with four games that address language arts, math, problem-solving, and science, just to name a few, as well as a wireless controller made for tiny hands. The InnoTab cartridges and learning software are also compatible with this gaming system so kids can learn with Mickey Mouse, Dora & Friends, and others. Who says the best video game console for kids has to be for the big brothers and older sisters?  
($58; walmart.com)

 

Apple iPhone 4S (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint)
The iPhone went from a 4 to a 4S and made major changes to its speed, photo-taking features and usability. Now, even easier than ever before to operate, the 4S comes with a virtual personal assistant with its Siri voice recognition technology. Parents can tell the Siri what to do (send email, text Jane Smith), find nearby restaurants, parks and much more.

$199-$299 with contract at apple.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

T-Mobile G2x
One of the worst things that can happen to a mom on the go is her phone battery dying while she's waiting to hear from the kids. The T-Mobile G2x has one of the best battery lives of any smartphone, in addition to being well-built and extremely fast—in fact, it's one of the fastest Android phones. And, to make life a little easier, it has a touch screen and slide out full keyboard to make typing emails to your son's kindergarten teacher a piece of cake.

$99.99 with contract and online discount at t-mobile.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

Amazon Kindle Fire
The Kindle Fire is the newest addition to Amazon’s Kindle line-up and features, most notably, a beautiful full-color touchscreen. You can access movies, TV shows, books, magazines and more on its 7” display. It offers 8GB of storage which gives you plenty of space for all your movies, and your kids’ movies, too. It’s the most expensive Kindle in the bunch, but the one with the most features as well.

$199 at amazon.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

Motorola RAZR
The brand new Motorola RAZR is expected to give the iPhone a run for its money. With amazing graphics, 8-megapixel camera, an “impossibly thin” body and many more bells and whistles, parents will love the intuitive interface and sheer coolness of this phone. Plus it’s beefed up with a dual-core processor which means you can get to those kids’ apps that much faster.

$299 with contract at motorola.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

Amazon Kindle
One of the best eReaders out there, the Kindle can hold more books, periodicals, and blogs than any other—up to 3,500—and has a battery life of up to four weeks, so Mom can read her way through football season.

Weight: 8.5 ounces

Size: 7.5" x 4.8" x 0.335"

Display Size: 6" diagonal

Kindle with Wi-Fi, $139; Kindle with Wi-Fi + 3G, $189; from amazon.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

Amazon Kindle DX
This larger-screen Kindle is great for entertaining kids with big pictures, and the cool text-to-speech feature reads favorite books aloud to them. Little listeners can even adjust the speed, if it's reading too fast or slow for them to understand. Mom will love relaxing with a digital newspaper or magazine that's practically the same size as the real thing. Plus, with free built-in 3G, the DX works anywhere in the world.

Weight: 18.9 ounces

Size: 10.4" x 7.2" x 0.38"

Display Size: 9.7" diagonal

Amazon Kindle DX from amazon.com, $379

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

Barnes & Noble Nook
Perfect for moms as picky as their toddlers, the Nook lets you browse full books when you're inside any Barnes & Noble store, plus it's ePub compatible, so you can check out free e-books from the local library. The best part, though, is LendMe, which lets Mom and her friends swap their favorite new e-books with each other for free for up to two weeks.

Weight: 11.6 ounces (Wi-Fi); 12.1 ounces (Wi-Fi + 3G)

Size: 7.7" x 4.9" x 0.5"

Display Size: 6" diagonal

 $149 with Wi-Fi; $199 with Wi-Fi + 3G at barnesandnoble.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

Nook Color
Perfect for relaxing in bed, this color version of the Nook comes with built-in crosswords, sudoku, and internet radio, and it's LED-backlit, so Mom can read in low light or in bed. Plus, when the kids jump in the bed and get rowdy, the crisp color screen is perfect for displaying calming picture books.

Weight: 15.8 ounces

Size: 8.1" x 5" x 0.48"

Display Size: 7" diagonal

$249 at barnesandnoble.com

Subscribe to Parenting on NookColor for $9.97 per year!

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

iPad
Way more than just an eReader, the iPad is perfect for the mom-on-the-go who barely has time to check email. She can sneak in a little reading or catch up on work anywhere, anytime—with its size and almost full-computer functionality, the iPad is the ultimate travel companion. The device comes with iWork built-in, for making presentations, documents, and spreadsheets on the move. And for relaxing with an e-book, the touch-screen makes turning pages, rotating the screen, and changing text size and font incredibly easy. Apple also offers Enhanced Books, which include video, audio, and images to create a more in-depth reading experience.

Weight: 1.5 pounds (Wi-Fi); 1.6 pounds (Wi-Fi +3G)

Size: 9.56" x 7.47" x 0.5"

Display Size: 7" diagonal

Depending on memory GB capabilities, $499-$699 with Wi-Fi; $629-$829 with Wi-Fi + 3G at apple.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

Kobo eReader and Kobo Wireless eReader
For moms who love to curl up with a good book but don't have time to check out the bookstore, this eReader comes preloaded with a hundred classics, like Pride and Prejudice and A Tale of Two Cities. The quilted back makes this a little cozier than your average electronic device, and it's available in black, silver, and lavender.

Weight: 8 ounces

Size: 7.2" x 4.7" x 0.4"

Display Size: 6" diagonal

$119.99; $139.99 with Wi-Fi at borders.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-350 SC
The mom with the already overstuffed purse will love this device. It's the smallest and lightest of the current crop of eReaders, so Mom can stick it in her purse and forget about it…until she's really bored at a PTA meeting, that is. Cool features: You can mark up text with a stylus or with a touch keyboard, and simply tapping on a word brings up its definition. Available in silver and pink.

Weight: 5.47 ounces

Size: 5.71" x 4.11" x 0.33"

Display Size: 5" diagonal

$149 at sonystyle.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

Aluratek Libre eBook Reader PRO
Ideal for the no-nonsense mom who just wants to read on her eReader, this lo-fi option is small, cheap, and free of extraneous bells and whistles.

Weight: 8 ounces

Size: 6.0" x 4.25" x 0.5"

Display Size: 5" diagonal

$129.99; $149.99 with 2GB SD card at aluratek.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

Velocity Micro Cruz Reader
Essentially the Android version of the iPad, the Cruz Reader is about half the price and does even more. On long trips, Mom can catch up on reading, check email, and keep the kids entertained with an iCarly marathon or the latest Wiggles album.

Weight: 1 pound

Size: 7.5" x 5.6" x .57"

Display Size: 7" diagonal

$199.99 at velocitymicro.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

Apple iPhone 4 (AT&T)
Perfect for the mom on-the-go, the new iPhone allows for quick multitasking between apps, like the calendar, weather, and cool downloadable ones such as the Kitchen Calculator, which helps convert serving sizes. And best of all is FaceTime, a new video-calling program, so Mom can say goodnight to the kids face-to-face, even when she's out of town.

$199-$299 with contract at apple.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

HTC Droid Incredible (Verizon)
Ideal for the woman without a second to spare, the touch-screen Droid Incredible is, well, incredibly fast. One of the best of Verizon's smartphones, it's also very sturdy—perfect for women whose kids don't discriminate between toys and expensive electronic devices.

$149.99 with contract and rebate at verizonwireless.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

HTC Evo 4G (Sprint)
Moms who love to document every moment of their baby's life will love the 8-megapixel camera and HD-video capabilities of this smartphone. Plus, it has an extra-large touch screen and a cool kickstand to prop the phone up on a table—perfect for showing off the latest cute-kid pics and videos.

$199.99 with contract and rebate at sprint.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

Samsung Epic 4G (Sprint)
The so-called SUV of smartphones, the Epic 4G is big, but for good reason—it has a large slide-out keyboard and a touch screen. We like that the extra-large screen can display 16 million colors, making it easy to catch up on the latest episode of Dancing With the Stars, read magazines and e-books, and look at charming pictures of the kids.

$249.99 with contract and rebate at sprint.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

T-Mobile G2
One of the worst things that can happen to a mom on the go is her phone battery dying while she's waiting to hear from the kids. The T-Mobile G2 has one of the best battery lives of any smartphone, in addition to being well-built and extremely fast—in fact, it's one of the fastest Android phones. And, to make life a little easier, it has a touch screen and slide out full keyboard to make typing emails to your son's kindergarten teacher a piece of cake.

$199.99 with contract and online discount at t-mobile.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

Motorola Droid X (Verizon)
The Droid X has a large screen and built-in Swype for easy touch screen typing. It can also serve as a mobile hot spot, allowing other devices to connect to its internet connection, including say, a tween's laptop, so she can finish her book report during a long car ride.

$199.99 with contract and rebate at verizonwireless.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

T-Mobile myTouch 4G
For the mom who has terrible reception at home, this touch screen phone comes with WiFi Calling. This cool feature can route all calls through your home WiFi, rather than unreliable network signals, so Mom never misses—or drops—an important call.

$199.99 with contract and online discount at t-mobile.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

Samsung Fascinate (Verizon)
The Fascinate is small enough to fit into a pocket, diaper clutch, or evening bag, but still comfortable enough to type on. Its camera and video recorder produce great-looking images, even indoors, where other phones have problems, and where everyday hilarious recordable moments of kids still happen. Best of all, the videos are high-enough quality to function as home videos—they still look good even when played on a TV.

$199.99 with contract and rebate at verizonwireless.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

Samsung Vibrant (T-Mobile)
This touch screen phone is among the first to have Samsung's Super AMOLED screen technology, which makes the display and colors look incredibly vibrant. It comes with a pre-loaded copy of Avatar, so Mom can simultaneously test the brilliant colors and entertain the whole family.

$199.99 with contract at t-mobile.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

RIM BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9100 (AT&T)
For the mom who doesn't have time to worry about her phone, this slim non-touch screen option is perfect for tossing in a purse or pocket and going. It's also a quad-band phone, meaning it can make calls from anywhere in the world—perfect for long chats with international friends or relatives.

$149.99 with contract and online discount at att.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330 (Sprint)
If you know a mom who's dying for a Blackberry but has never used one before, the Curve is a solid, simple-to-use choice. The least expensive of the 'berries, this model comes with built-in apps for Facebook, Flickr, and Pandora, among others, and has superb call quality.

$49.99 with contract and rebate at sprint.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

RIM BlackBerry Style (Sprint)
If Mom's worried about tiny fingers fooling around with her phone, the Style is a good option. It's one of the only smartphones that flips open and closed, providing a barrier between kids and important emails. It looks like a regular cell phone, but don't be fooled: it's got a full QWERTY keypad inside and a full-color display on the outside.

$99.99 with contract and rebate at sprint.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 (AT&T)
The first 'berry with both touch-screen and slide-out keypad, the Torch also runs BlackBerry OS 6, the newest operating system. Moms will appreciate the new universal search function, which quickly finds anything, short of her car keys and Junior's favorite stuffed tiger.

$99.99 with contract at att.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

Palm Pre Plus (AT&T and Verizon)
For the mom who's always doing a million things at once (and what mom isn't?!), this latest version of the Palm Pre is fantastic at running tons of apps at the same time, without killing the battery, a problem other phones haven't solved. It's also got a slide-out keyboard, for easy messaging.

Free, with contract and online discount at att.com or wirelesscentralstore.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

Palm Pixi Plus (AT&T and Verizon)
The best part about the Pixi? With the current online discount, it's free! Plus, at 3.26 ounces, it's one of the lightest and slimmest smartphones out there. It's super easy to use and great for first-time smartphone users, so Mom can upgrade her phone without overly complicating her life .

Free, with contract and online discount at att.com or verizonwireless.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids

Samsung Focus (AT&T)
With the Focus's crystal-clear audio, Mom can talk to family and friends all over the place, without the annoying, "What? I can't hear you" interludes. Even the speakerphone quality is great, meaning the whole gang can catch up with Aunt Greta together.

$199.99 with contract at att.com

Plus:
Fun Fitness Gadgets for Families
Best Tech Gift Ideas for Dads
Awesome iPhone Apps for Kids