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 two more of the latest child-centric Android tablets—the Vinci MV 7 and the School Zone Little Scholar Learning Tablet—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. (Many regular tablets also offer parental controls.)
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 Galaxy Tab 3 Kids 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.
The cost of these kid tablets isn't so child-sized—they range from $70 to $250—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!
Other recently tested 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.
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 we evaluated parental controls.
—Carol Mangis and Antonette Asedillo