|Reviews and comparison of leading children’s tablets.|
At Fundamentally Children we understand how hard it can be to choose the right tablet for your child. With so many on the market at a wide range of price points it can be hard to know which is best, for what age and what features are actually important. Tablets can be a fantastic tool to introduce children to technology, provide varied and engaging play but also to support your child’s development. We have reviewed and compared a range of tablets to help you decide which one is best for your family.
We have created a separate guide on how to choose tablets for kids which details the factors you should take into account in making your choice. This encourages you to consider the following factors when choosing a tablet for kids: who will use the tablet, screen size, tablet cost, choice and quality of apps and other content, parental controls, internet access, availability of cases, connectivity and the wider specification. Following comprehensive analysis, in this guide we provide reviews and comparison based on these criteria of what we feel are currently the best kids tablets out there. Each tablet has been reviewed by our experts and, where possible, by children through our playcentres to provide you with peace of mind and all the necessary information you require in order to take the next step in buying a Kids Tablet.
The following table compares our current favourites against each other for these key features to help you make an overall decision on which kids tablet would be best to buy for your child:
Other tablets worth considering for children include the new Tesco Hudl 2 (which we hope to review thoroughly soon – a brief review of the specification is below), the popular Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 (which we have also reviewed below but has not quite made our top three largely due to its £199 price tag for the specification) and the Nabi 2 and Arnova ChildPad which we hope to review soon.
Kurio Tab & Kurio Tab XL
Designed especially for kids by the KD Group, these highly-rated tablets run on an Android OS (like many smartphones out there today) with access to Android apps from the curated Kurio App Store and the Google Playstore.
The tablet comes with:
- 60+ pre-loaded fun and interactive apps for your child to learn, play and enjoy.
- The Kurio Motion apps which encourage children to get active while they play (unique to this tablet)
- Access to over 100,000 apps from the Google Playstore and carefully selected children’s apps through the Kurio App Store
- Parental controls that both let you restrict access to websites and content, as well as to manage the time they spend on the tablet.
- Personalisation features, allowing you to create up to 8 user profiles, so if you have more than one child, they can each have their own area with separate parental controls, time limits on usage and apps they can access.
- An integrated front-facing and rear camera (0.3mp Front / 2.1 mp Back).
The standard Kurio Tab’s screen size is 7 inches, whereas the XL version is largely at 10 inches and has a better screen resolution and processor.
Amazon Fire HD 7
The Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 is a tablet that all the family can enjoy with plenty of apps to appeal to everyone’s taste. Although we have not yet had our hands on this tablet the specification is impressive for the price point.
Amazon has made huge waves over the past few years by expanding their portfolio into digital devices that integrate with their great online services. This new range of tablets in particular aim to cater both for adults and children. It runs on Amazon’s own Fire OS 3.0 and has a great range of apps to download for free or at a small cost from the Android based Amazon App Store. It’s a great shared tablet as it allows up to 2 adult and 4 children’s profiles on one tablet.
In terms of features particularly aimed at kids, then this is a great contender.
The new Fire HD 7 comes with the new Amazon FreeTime built in. This enables parents to set up which content/apps can be accessed by each profile (allowing you to only provide access to selected age appropriate apps and other content for each child). This can be really valuable in ensuring you encourage your child to get the most developmental benefits from the tablet. For example, you could give your child access to only educational apps on some occasions or allowing videos/music/other games at other times.
FreeTime also allows parents to set time limits on when or how much time a child can use the tablet for which is extremely useful in helping you to manage your child’s play diet. You can also restrict what types of content they can access – such as games and videos – leaving them with unlimited reading time should you choose to.
The specification for this tablet as you can see from our comparison table is great for the price.
iPad mini & iPad Air 2
Although iPads are primarily aimed at adults, due to the vast selection children’s apps available on the iTunes App Store they are increasingly being used by or at least shared with children.
They are an expensive option but it is hard to deny that they provide access to the most extensive, up to date range of apps and the quality of the devices is second to known.
One great thing about Apple products is that regardless of which device you choose, there are very little, if any discrepancies between the operating systems for the devices they produce. For example, although an iPod touch is smaller and easier to hold than an iPad, neither device is restricted from the features that are provided by the latest iOS updates unless one of the devices is an older model or if an application is specifically design for iPads.
That said iPads have not kept up with the child-centric features available on kids-friendly tablets. They do not provide the ability to set time limits, to create different profiles different family members (leaving your content available for your child to access if you share the tablet) nor to choose which apps one child can access compared to another or yourself (without constantly deleting and re-downloading or choosing a parental control app to add on top). They do provide some restrictions relevant to children within the general settings including preventing access to some apps, preventing in-app purchasing and access to age restricted content but they are not comparable on this front to the other tablets reviewed here.
Choosing which iPad to buy comes down to your own personal preferences and price. Of those models still sold by Apple directly, the iPad Mini is the lowest price with the smaller screen and lowest specification (there are also iPad 2 and 3 models now which are both incrementally more expensive and higher specification). The iPad Air 2 is the newest and lightest model and a larger size. Children who are exposed to Apple devices at an early age can be hard to transfer over to other devices once they are used to the ease of use and quality it offers. With the right choice of content (see our list of approved Apple apps) there are certainly huge opportunities for learning and development on iPads and familiarisation with the latest technology.
Vtech InnoTab MAX
The InnoTab range is popular choice for kids tablets for younger users as Vtech have successfully established themselves as a pioneer in kids technology over the past two decades. The Innotab 3S has been available for some time and remains a good choice for younger children. However, the new Innotab MAX provides access to a much wider range of content whilst continuing to focus on only providing apps hand-picked by Vtech.
Innotab Max runs on Android which means that this tablet not only provides bespoke apps created by Vtech specifically for their Learning Lodge but also a range of Android apps. However, please not you will not have access to the Google Playstore so do not have free access to download apps beyond those curated by Innotab.
The tablet is well designed for small hands, built into a robust case and appeals to children who have had no previous access to tablets. The user interface is simple and easy for children providing a number of apps (such as art and photo apps) pre-loaded.
This tablet also includes secure internet browsing and time limits. In addition, parents can track their children’s progress and also communicate with them via the secure kid connect system – sharing text messages, voice messages, and photos to selected friends and family.
Like Vtech, LeapPad is a market leader in providing technology products for kids. They have been delivering tablets to the children’s market for a long time and really understand their audience.
The LeapPad 3 is a great option for 3 – 8 year olds (particularly those who have not been exposed to iPads or Android tablets).
All the content available for the LeapPad is designed and veta by their internal learning experts to make this an enviable option as a learning tablet.
The tablet size is around 7″ but the screen size is around 5″ making it smaller than other options but the quad-core processor means this is still a high performance tablet. It is marketed as Kid-tough and, we gather, has been thoroughly drop tested ensuring it really is a robust option for little people! The LeapSearch powered by Zui provides kid-safe web browsing and serves up only child appropriate content providing peace of mind. You can even sign up to receive learning tips and progress updates to enable you to track how your child is learning through play on this tablet.
Tesco HUDL 2
Supermarket giants, Tesco have recently launched the 2nd edition of their widely-acclaimed HUDL 2 tablet, a cost-effective, fun family tablet that packs a punch! The tablet itself is customisable by allowing you to choose which colour you would like the device in from a range of 8 colours. We’ve thoroughly tested the HUDL 1 tablet and look forward to roadtesting this new version with our experts and children in our testing venues. Although it is not primarily a kids tablet, according to the specification, children are strongly considered and catered for.
- There are child-safety locks and restrictions that you can implement on your child’s profile to ensure that they stay safe online and that they are only granted access to apps that you want them to access.
- You set time limits for usage of the HUDL 2 (as is becoming standard for children’s tablets). Once they reach a certain time period, the device will lock them out until their next designated session that you have set up from them.
- The HUDL 2 is an Android tablet with full the Google Playstore. There are over 100,000 apps available here and careful selection of good quality, age appropriate children’s app can provide wide opportunities for development through play. We recommend checking reviews before selecting apps for your children (see Good App Guide list of approved apps)
- In terms of features the HUDL 2 has a 8.3″ HD screen, a micro SD slot that can be expanded to 32GB and a rare HDMI port so you are able to project your tablet onto your HD compatible TV!
Although not specifically designed just for children, the HUDL 2 is a great tablet for all the family to enjoy.
Samsung Galaxy Kid Tab 3
When it comes to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, there are very few brands that can match the quality and experiences that Samsung provides to its customers. With the Galaxy Kid Tab 3, Samsung have introduced a new tablet designed especially for a new audience, kids. Moving away from their modern, traditional designs and interface, the Galaxy Kid Tab 3 comes in a bright yellow colour scheme with a modified version of the Android Jellybean 4.0 OS.
When it was released last winter (2013) this was really ahead of the game but for the price there are other children’s tablets that offer a similar specification and features for a lower price. However, this is still an extremely high quality kids tablet and one that will not disappoint. It provides:
- Silicone Orange bumper casing to protect the tablet and comes complete with a stand, stylus and kids grip cover kit.
- A 7″ display with a front-facing and rear camera (0.3mp front / 3mp back).
- 8GB internal memory (with only 4GB available to use) and a Micro SD slot to increase memory up to 32GB.
- Child friendly interface and Parental Controls to manage your child’s usage. Allowing separate user account and time limits to be set up.
- Pre-loaded apps and games featuring Toca Train and Hair Salon 2.
You can trust Samsung when it comes to quality, but there are some limitations with the Kids Tab 3 such as the Time Manager feature only allows you to set a time restriction on your child’s overall tablet use as opposed to restricting time and access to specific activities on the tablet (available on the Amazon Fire HD). All in all, this is fantastic tablet to introduce your child to and there is plenty for them to learn and experience with the Kids Tab 3.