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Best tablets for kids

Find out which of the latest Android models is right for your child

Last updated: January 2014

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As we've found over the last couple of years, tablets meant just for kids can come with some very grown-up features. We just tested six of the latest child-centric Android tablets to see how they stack up.

What distinguishes kid tablets? Child-specific content—such as games, educational apps, art programs, e-books, music, and videos—comes preloaded in most of these tablets, some of it exclusive.

Just as compelling are the controls and filters on each tablet that keep kids safe online and regulate their usage. These tools vary in the amount of control they give to the parent, and also in how easy (or not) they are to use. (Some regular tablets, including the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, also offer parental controls.)

The cost of these kid tablets isn't so child-sized—they range from $70 to $230—but they do cost less than most regular tablets, and they have plenty to offer. Best of all, put one of these in your children's hands and maybe they'll leave your tablet and smart phone alone!

The latest tablets include:

  • ClickN Kids Tablet
  • Fuhu Nabi 2 Nickelodeon Special Edition
  • Fuhu Nabi Jr. Nick Jr.
  • Oregon Scientific Meep X2
  • Polaroid Kids Tablet V2
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids.

(Our previous batch covered the Ematic Funtab Mini 2; KD Interactive Kurio Touch 4s, Kurio Touch 7s, and Kurio 10s; Toys "R" Us Tabeo e2; and Vivitar XO Tablet.)

Battery life of the kids' tablets doesn't match the best of the 7-inch tablets for grownups, which can last for 10 hours or more. At 9.3 hours, the battery on the Samsung tablet is the longest-lasting we've seen so far in kid tablets. A number of the junior models ran a decent amount of time on a single charge, in the 7- to 9-hour range. But a few models came in at about 4 hours, short by any standard.

How we tested

We reviewed display quality, battery life, ease of use of the touch-screen interface, and features of each tablet.

For display quality, we measured screen brightness and size, and our experts judged color accuracy, viewing angle, and readability in sunlight. For battery life, we timed the length of operation on fully charged batteries, using continuous Web-browsing activity.

The touch-screen interfaces were graded on responsiveness, required pressure, dragging accuracy and speed, and use of multitouch functions, such as pinch-to-zoom.

We also looked at a variety of features on each tablet and evaluated parental controls.

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