A 2 in 1 tablet and keyboard designed for children.
First published: 1st April 2016
The Smart is part of the Kurio family of tablets designed specifically for kids. It isn’t just for children though - multiple profiles and a full Windows system means the whole family can use it.
As well as games and apps, the Smart uses the Windows operating system, giving children access to Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint. It also comes with a keyboard to make typing easier and features Kurio Motion to get kids up and moving.
Our experts and parents have tested the Kurio Smart to help you decide if this is the right tablet for your child. Here’s what they thought:
Overall the tablet feels quite heavy, clunky and plastic; the style seems more appropriate for young children than older children who the tablet seems to be aimed at.
One of the main features intended to set this tablet apart from the rest is the keyboard, but this could be better. To use it, the tablet must be clicked into the keyboard, which is more of a stand than an attachment - it falls off if you pick the Smart up by the screen (as you might a laptop) and can't be folded around like an 'adult' 2-in-1 tablet.
The camera, which lets you take photos or video clips, might not be made for a professional photographer, but it’s perfectly fine for kids. Selfies are popular with children so it’s good to see that there is a front-facing camera too.
There is a lot of internal storage for everything from games to documents, as well as an expandable memory slot.
The tablet has pre-loaded Kurio apps as well as Microsoft Office.
There is also access to the Windows App Store to choose from thousands of apps through an app on the main screen.
Out of the box, the tablet guides you through the main settings, such as connecting to your wi-fi.
When you first access a profile, you will have to wait while the profile is set up and apps are installed.
In order to purchase content you will also need to verify the email address used to set up your Microsoft account.
Ease of use
If you're familiar with the Windows layout, you should have no problems using the Smart. If not, the navigation can take some getting used to.
Windows can be changed by 'pulling' from the edge of the screen, which can be confusing as it's easy to open the wrong window while trying to swipe around.
We found it a bit strange that even when the keyboard is connected, an on-screen keyboard appears when you open a text box.
We didn't find any problems with the speed of the tablet and the screen was responsive.
The mouse-pad on the keyboard wasn't very sensitive though, which if you have bought this tablet with the intention of using the keyboard could be quite annoying.
The parental controls are available through an app on the home page. To use these you must first create a parent account, then a separate child account (which requires a full Microsoft account and password).
The Smart uses the Windows controls rather than Kurio's own, easier to use controls. They take a little longer to navigate through but do have some key parent controls:
You can fully block internet access, block or allow specific websites, or filter based on content type. Using web restrictions automatically turns on SafeSearch for popular search engines such as Google and Yahoo!.
Please remember that filters are never 100% reliable - we strongly advise you to be cautious when allowing your child access to the internet and monitor what websites they are visiting.
This allows you to set the number of hours each day that your child can use the tablet, and also set the times they can use it (for example, you can stop them using the tablet after 9pm).
Games and Windows Store app restrictions
The game and app management was difficult to use and didn't block what was expected. When our testers were able to block apps, these still appeared on the child's profile, but couldn't be opened - this would be frustrating for a child trying to play a game they think they have access to. There is no option to 'select all' when blocking or allowing content so this takes a while to do as well!
You can choose to limit apps by their PEGI age rating, however this doesn't work very well - we found several apps that had the wrong rating (for example, 'Buy me a beer' is rated 3+) and therefore were not blocked by the filter. It's also confusing as you are asked to select which rating to allow, whereas the ratings would usually be a guide on what to avoid (e.g. not letting a child see a film rated 18).
There didn't seem to be a way to block access to the Windows Store, so children will have access to any games and apps not filtered. To stop them downloading paid apps, you will need to login to the store using your own Microsoft account and turn on the option to request a password when purchasing. You can also unpin the Windows Store from the homepage, although children will still be able to access it through the menu.
Desktop app restrictions
This area was particularly awkward to use, as the listed programs aren't easy to recognise and choosing 'browse' gives you a file explorer.
The Smart comes with the ability to play games by moving around in front of the camera. This is great in theory, but games like this are usually played on a large TV - the tablet’s 9 inch screen isn’t really big enough for children to play together.
|Display||8.9 inch IPS capacitive touch screen|
|Resolution||1280 x 800 pixels|
|CPU||Quadcore Intel® Bay Trail™ - T Z3735G|
|GPU||Intel® HD Graphic- Gen 7|
|Storage Memory||32GB (Part of the memory allocated to the OS, available storage memory is lower)|
|Camera||Front: 0.3 Mpx / Rear: 2 Mpx|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi b/g/n - Bluetooth 4.0|
|Languages||Supports multi languages|
|Connection||Micro USB - Micro HDMI|
|Battery||Lithium Polymer 4900mAh|
|Micro SDHC Card Slot||Add up to 32 GB of extra memory|
If your child will use the keyboard and Microsoft office, and you aren't too worried about controlling the content they can access, then the Kurio Smart is worth considering.
However, if your child is more interested in apps and games, you might prefer to look at standalone tablets.