2015 Kids Tablets Buying Guide

Introduction

2015 Kids Tablets Buying Guide There is nothing quite as wondrous as the first time you power on your fancy new tablet and realize that there is a world of information, communication, and entertainment right at your fingertips. In fact, the only feeling that is quite as visceral is the first time you see your child fling that tablet off the couch onto the tile floor, and hear that subtle but distinct crack that only comes from the shattering of a high resolution screen.

Yes, kids love technology as much as adults, perhaps even more so, and tablet makers have taken notice. Now there is a full-blown separate and distinct category of tablets aimed strictly at children, which allows them to get their hands on a new tablet while keeping their hands off yours.

So what makes a kids tablet great? BFAds.net has delved into this topic with another of our signature buying guides, helping you know what to look for and what to ignore when you're shopping for a kids tablet this Black Friday.


Durability

Durability

Let's get the obvious out of the way first. Children, as much of a blessing as they may be, are not the world's most graceful creatures. They're prone to spills and tumbles, and have been known to have tantrums and even throw things from time to time. That means that if you're going to put a piece of technology in their hands, even a relatively inexpensive one, it's got to have the durability to stand up to whatever punishment your child deals out, intentional or otherwise.

Manufacturers have responded to this problem by beefing up the durability on tablets aimed at kids, and usually you'll find them clad in colorful, oversized bumpers, sometimes with a layer of hard plastic protecting a recessed screen.

Amazon's Fire Kids Edition takes this even a step further, by shipping with one of the aforementioned oversized bumper cases and also offering worry-free no-questions replacement for two full years should your child manage to destroy the tablet.

Of course, no one knows your child better than you, and with such a wide assortment of children's tablets on the market, each equipped with varying durability options, the only person who can truly pick the most suitable tablet is going to be the parent. You're the best judge of which rugged tablets might be overkill and which are just right.


Parental Controls

Parental Controls

Aside from the physical protection from damage, one of the biggest differences between run-of-the-mill tablets and kid-specific tablets the inclusion of robust parental controls. Tablets, for all the educational and entertainment benefits they can offer your child, can also present just as many problems and dangers as a computer with Internet access.

Without a comprehensive set of parental controls, it can be easy for children to accidentally stumble upon adult content or download and install apps that are not age appropriate. Speaking of apps, failing to lock down app store access on these devices could bring about unexpected credit card charges should your child unknowingly go on a spending spree.

Before you choose your kid's new tablet, check the product listing to make certain these parental controls can restrict app store access and lock down individual apps based on their content rating or whether or not the app allows in-game purchases. You'll also want to choose a tablet that has parental controls that offer filters for web browsing that will automatically block access to inappropriate websites.

Finally, many kids tablets offer parental controls that feature time limit management, perfect for parents that want to restrict the amount of time their kids spend on their tablet. If you want to prevent your child from being up at all hours in the night, or spending all day glued to the tablet, you'll want to make sure the software included on the device includes time limits.


Screen and Performance

Screen and Performance

Parents may think that since these tablets are tailored specifically for kids, the hardware features outside of those which protect the device are all the same or not all that important, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Kids' tablets, just like tablets for grown-ups, come with a variety of hardware specifications and build qualities. If you're buying a tablet for your child because they're constantly grabbing your expensive new smart phone or tablet, handing them a cheaply-made device with poor performing hardware could mean that they toss it aside and reach for your premium device out of frustration.

Because there is a lot of customization on the interface to make these tablets suitable for children, rather than dissecting hardware specifications, it's best to head down to the store and try a demo unit out for yourself.

First, check the screen size and make sure it is suitable for your child. Manufacturers like V-tech and Leapfrog make tablets that have the appearance and form factor of a large 7” tablet, but actually only have a small 4” or 5” screen surrounded by a large bezel.

Next, and especially if you're looking for a model that specifically has a fingerprint resisting coating or protective plastic cover over the screen, make sure the screen is still sharp, bright, and responsive to the touch. These features can be great, but if they make the screen fuzzy and difficult to read, or require hard presses on the screen to get a response, they may be more trouble than they're worth.

Finally, kids get frustrated at poor performance just like parents, so take a few moments to test out the tablet a bit make sure it's quick and responsive in both launching and switching back and forth between apps.


Software Library

Software Library

The choice of software library is really what separates the tablets geared as strictly learning instruments to what are more fully-featured tablets that happen to be geared towards youngsters.

Usually this distinction comes between tablets that are made from the ground up with kids in mind, like those offered by long-time children's tech veterans like Leapfrog and V-tech. These relatively inexpensive tablets feature closed, proprietary operating systems that only offer software sold by their respective manufacturer. The plus here is that you need not be as vigilant in making sure your child has not gained access to apps that are not age appropriate since they just don't exist. The drawback is that there is much less variety of apps available and it limits the ability of the tablet to really grow with the child. Plus, these manufacturers also set the prices, and they are not cheap. On the Leappad 3 for example, the app prices start at $7.50 and range upwards of $25 dollars, which would make the cost of the tablet on par with an Android-based tablet after only a few app purchases.

The other option for kids' tablets are more traditional Android-based tablets that have been adapted to be kid-friendly. The major players here are the Amazon Fire Kids Edition and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids Edition. These each feature custom software interfaces designed to make the tablet more easily accessible to kids, while also giving parents a robust set of parental controls that prevent mischief of any sort. The benefits here are, of course, that with access to full-blown Android app stores there is a huge variety of apps that parents can install and to which they can grant their kids access. Of course, the quality and learning value of these apps are hit or miss, just as any category of apps in the Google Play or Amazon App store. Thus, it may be a challenge and take a take a bit of research or trial and error before you can find suitable and valuable apps for your child.


Final Thoughts

Although it may seem like a no-brainer these days, there are still some kids tablets that lack rechargeable batteries. If you expect your child to get heavy usage out of their new tablet, check to make sure that a rechargeable battery is listed as a feature in the product listing.

Also, if you're an Apple fan and want to pass your love for all this iOS down to your child, unfortunately, there are no kids versions of Apple iPads. If you'd like your child to have an iOS device, it will be up to you to both ruggedize and set up parental controls on the device.

Of course, there is no better time to shop for kids tablets than Black Friday, and there is no better place to keep up with the latest ad leaks and price breaks than BFAds.net! We will be sorting through the hundreds of pages of Black Friday ads to bring you the best values in kids' tablets, HDTVs, smart phones, and more! Also check out our Hot Deals page for daily and weekly updates on the best product prices and sales. Finally, for up to the minute info and alerts for Black Friday ads as they happen, make sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Some Popular Kids Kids Tablets

Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
$149.99 at Amazon
nabi 2
nabi 2
$107.00 at Amazon
LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra/Ultra XDI Kids' Learning Tablet
LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra/Ultra XDI Kids' Learning Tablet
$82.99 at Amazon
LeapFrog LeapPad3 Kids' Learning Tablet
LeapFrog LeapPad3 Kids' Learning Tablet
$79.99 at Amazon
Apple iPad mini
Apple iPad mini with Kids Fun Play Armor Protective Case
$199.00 at Walmart
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids Edition
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids Edition
$149.99 at Best Buy

October 26, 2015
blog comments powered by Disqus

Back to Top
x

Log Into Your BFAds Account

Remember Me