5 apps to keep family and friends entertained this Christmas



Beat the boredom, get competitive and have a giggle with our top 5 apps for keeping family happy this Christmas

Your tablet may be your go-to device for buying shoes, watching YouTube and surfing Facebook – but come Christmas time they become an invaluable tool for entertaining family, friends and others who’ve descended upon your home for the holidays.

Beat the boredom, get competitive and have a giggle with our top 5 apps for keeping family happy this Christmas

  1. Scrabble

Scrabble and Christmas go hand in hand. The game is over 75 years old, and has been played in living rooms at Christmas ever since. By playing on the iPad you can keep the coffee table clear for drinks and tins of chocolates. Plus, you don’t have to clear up afterwards, and there’s no chance of someone throwing the board over if their attempt at playing ‘xzloty’ is disallowed...

What we really love: Every player gets three ‘best word’ options, where the game shows you how to score the maximum number of points. Did we mention that you don’t have to clear up afterwards?

What for: iOS 7.0 or later, with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Android varies with device.

Apple: App Store

Android: Google Play

  1. Heads Up!

Did you ever play ‘Who am I’? Everyone writes a celebrity name on a post-it note, you each stick one on your head and have to guess which name you got? Well, Heads Up! gives it a fun makeover for the app generation. You simply guess the word on your card by holding your phone above your head -- displaying the card to your family but not you. The group shout clues or act out scenes to help you guess before the timer runs out.

If you’re going to be holding your phone or tablet over your head you’ll want it to be slim and lightweight. And the Asus ZenPad tablet is small enough to hold in one hand and weighs just 270g.

What we really love: You can make hilarious videos of your games and share directly to Facebook. And you won’t get bored, with 18 themed decks, from accents to animals, to pick from.

What for: It’s 79p on the Apple App Store, compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with iOS 6.0 or later, and free for Android.

Apple: App Store

Android: Google Play

  1. Trivial Pursuit Master Edition

This classic board game has Christmas written all over it. Watch your other half wince as they struggle to recall how many months have 30 days in them. Hear grandad explaining, at length, exactly when the Battle of Glendale took place. Trivial Pursuit pits brother against sister and husband against wife in the battle to assume a coveted role as the family’s general knowledge superstar. Hold onto your hat: things are about to get pedantic.

What we really love: This Master Edition has extended question packs, so your brain power will be thoroughly tested. And it allows you to play around a table, or virtually -- so you can challenge family and friends even if they’re spending Christmas elsewhere.

What for: iPad and iPad Mini with iOS 3.2 or later

Download from EA

  1. BBC iPlayer

You’re all settled in to watch Sherlock, but Aunty Jean chooses that moment to pop round with some leftover Christmas cake? Not to panic -- the BBC’s iPlayer app means you can watch the whole thing on your iPad later on. In fact, over the past decade, this catch-up service has become as much a part of Christmas as wrapping paper and sprouts. It no longer matters if you want to have dinner while EastEnders is on, or take the dog for a walk through Strictly -- you can be your own Christmas telly programmer.

And with the super-sharp 9.7-inch screen on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 the glitz of Strictly will sparkle like never before. The resolution is higher than many Full HD TVs. And colours are bright and vivid.

You’ll hardly notice you’re holding it either, it’s Samsung’s thinnest and lightest tablet.

What we really love: The cross-device pause and resume feature means you can pause a show on your mobile and pick it up where you left off on your tablet. And if you ‘Favourite’ shows, new episodes will appear under the My Programmes tab -- along with recommendations based on your tastes.

What for: iOS 7.0 or later, with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Android varies with device.

Apple: App Store

Android: Google Play

  1. Downton Abbey: Mysteries of the Manor

Can’t get enough of Downton and its bygone tales of life upstairs and downstairs? This game was made for you. There’s a break-in at the manor while the Crawleys and staff are out at the village fete – and the Earl of Grantham hires you to solve it. Explore the Abbey to piece it all together. Once you earn the trust of the villagers and the Crawleys, you’ll get privileges to explore new locations -- and unravel some of the Abbey’s darkest secrets…

What we really love: This clever, fun app will have everyone really excited for the Downton Christmas special. And, you can use it to challenge friends, family and other players around the world, too.

What for: iOS 7.0 or later, for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Android 4.0 and up.

Apple: App Store

Android: Google Play

If you’re going to be using these apps then you’ll need a tablet to use them on. Find the right tablet for you.