Art Gifts for Kids Gifts for a 5 Year Old Girl Gifts for a 4 Year Old Boy

The Best Tablet for Kids

Kids tablet deviceWhich is the best tablet for kids? New tablet technology is now influencing the way kids learn and play. There are many educational applications (apps) and games available on tablet devices to help kids learn or let them relax while they are away from home. Some of the apps and games are so good that even when kids are at home they choose using a tablet device over other electronic devices.

The Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition

The Kindle Fire HD Kids edition by Amazon is built to help parents give kids safe content. The $149 purchase price includes a 6" color HD touch screen display (a 7" screen is also available), built-in wi-fi, and access to a growing number of Android apps and millions of movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, books, and games. The Amazon Silk browser uses Amazon's retail website technology and fast servers connected to an extremely fast internet backbone to provide faster internet use.

For kids, there is alot of content available for the Kindle with their new kids tablet with built-in Amazon FreeTime. FreeTime Unlimited is free for one year with the purchase of the Fire HD Kids Edition. There are over 5000 kid-friendly free books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games. The content is targeted for kids 8 and under. Add to that available apps designed for kids and children's movies and TV content and the Kindle Fire becomes a stand alone kids entertainment center. Parents can set up an account for each child in the FreeTime application and they can also control the amount of time they are allowed to access each type of content. There is no fee to view or use any of the content on FreeTime. The new Amazon Kindle and Kindle HD tablets come with a free one year subscription.

Amazon knows that kids are hard on electronic devices. For piece of mind Amazon offers a generous 2 year accidental replacement warranty on the Fire HD Kids Edition. The device also comes with a shock protection sleeve, so adding protection on the cost of the device is not needed. If the device is broAken within 2 years Amazon says they will replace the Fire HD Kids Edition with no questions asked.

Pros: The purchase price is one of the lowest for a main-stream Android-based tablet. The Amazon support is very good. This device provides a lot of control over what their kids can access. A huge library of kid-friendly content is free for the first year. This device includes a shock protection sleeve and 2 years of accidental break coverage with the purchase price! Many public libraries have free eBook borrowing available for the Kindle.

Cons: Currently, the Kindle Fire has an issue with the built-in camera. The camera is blocked from the kids account. There are also other complaints that the kids access is too limited. Amazon has announced they are improving access from the kids accounts.

The Kindle Fire HD

The Kindle Fire HD is basically the same tablet as the Fire HD Kids Edition except it does not come with the protective sleeve, the built-in parental controls, the 2 year accidental breakage insurance and the 1 year of FreeTime content. The cost of this tablet is only $99, which is $50 less than the Kids Edition. Amazon FreeTime works with the Kindle Fire HD. The cost to add FreeTime Unlimited starts at $2.99 per month for Prime members and increases to $9.99 per month for 4 kids.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 (Kids Mode)

galaxy tab 4If you have a Samsung Galaxy Phone, then the Galaxy Tab 4 may be the tablet to get for kids. The layout and use are almost exactly like a Galaxy Phone. This tab has a kids mode, which allows parents to control the use of the device.

It is a top of the line tablet, so if your child is not using it, then you can use it in the standard mode.

Pros: All of the features of one of the best tablets on the market. Fast processor, great cameras (one 3MP) and video recording, a microSD slot to hold more data.

Cons: Slightly more expensive than some of the lower cost kids tablets. If you only want it for a kid, then it may be more tablet than they need.

 

LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra

Leapfrog's LeapPad Ultra Kids' Learning Tablet is a popular tablet for younger kids. LeapFrog specifically designed the LeapPad as an educational and entertainment platform for younger children. The ability for this device to play Leapfrog apps allow it to be expanded over time.

LeapPad Ultra kids tabletThe up front cost of under $130 is very appealing, compared to the Apple or Android devices. The new LeapPad Ultra can now access the internet using Leapfrog's new kid-friendly Zui internet browser. This browser can only access websites that are kid-friendly. The new built-in wi-fi allows LeapPad Ultras to connect with each other. Some of the LeapPad games are multiplayer. The Wi-fi feature allows kids to play against each other on different LeapPads.

One of the best features of the LeapPad is the ability to run ultra eBooks. These digital books enhance kids' reading experience through visuals and game play, teaching kids phonics, word recognition and reading comprehension. Kids can select words and the tablet will sound out the word and tell its meaning. The enhanced digital books are designed for varying reading levels, from reading the story to the child to allowing the child to read every word. Ultra eBooks can be purchased using a app download cards which are purchased from the LeapFrog website. The LeapPad Ultra also has front and back cameras that can take photos or video.

Pros: Plays many of the old LeapFrog Explorer cartridges and new LeapFrog LeapPad apps. The purchase price of the unit is less than most iPad and Android-based tablets. This tablet is designed for younger kids and can be easily monitored by parents. Some good educational software is available on this tablet which is not available on any other device. It has a child-friendly web browser to help control online content. The wi-fi multiplayer ability is a nice feature.

Cons: Apps are proprietary and therefore relatively expensive because there is no competition by suppliers. The available apps, eBooks, and games are more limited than the iPad, Kindle, and Nook. Older kids may get bored by the available games and apps so this tablet's life may be limited (although new technology is always being sold, so don't buy now for a future use). The processor is a slower than most other tablets in this category. There is no SD card slot.

Apple iPad 2

The Apple iPad is the device that created all the fuss over tablets. What the Apple really created for kids was a simple tablet device that allows kids to avoid typing and navigation problems because of a simple touch screen interface that even younger kids can easily use. Now in its second generation, the Apple iPad 2 tablet is the benchmark for all other tablets. The display, responsiveness of the touch screen, and simplicity of the operating system are what sets apart the Apple iPad 2 from other devices.

Pros: The touch screen accuracy and screen display is the best of any tablet. A huge library of existing apps that is growing everyday is available. According to Apple, there are currently over 140,000 apps currently available that were designed for the iPad. It has two cameras for Skype or Facetime (video phone calls). Uses the faster 5 GHz band Wi-Fi with supported wireless routers. The iPad supports bluetooth technology. Control Apple TV from an iPad or content can be streamed from an iPad to a HDTV using Apple TV.

Cons: The iPad does not have support for Flash. There is no USB port or SD card slot. iPad apps are more expensive than iPod touch apps. The initial cost is higher than most other tablets.

Nook Tablet

Barnes and Noble's Nook tablet is similar to the Kindle Fire. The Nook Tablet is the newest offering from Barnes and Noble and should not be confused with the older Nook Color, which does not play movies. It is capable of accessing the internet, email, B&N apps, and millions of movies, TV shows, songs, eBooks, and magazines. At $249 the current price is slightly higher than the Kindle Fire and the iPod Touch, but much lower than the iPad. This tablet device, like the Kindle Fire, is designed more as a consumption device for existing entertainment.

When comparing the Nook Tablet to a Kindle fire it has a few advantages and also a few disadvantages. The Nook tablet has a slightly better 7" display. It also has 1GB of system memory vs. 512 MB on the Kindle Fire. The Nook has a microSD slot which is a huge advantage for users who have alot of their own content they want to load on their tablet device. The Kindle Fire only has a micro USB port which can only be used to transfer files from a computer to the device. The biggest complaint with the Nook is even though it has more internal memory (16 GB), only 1 GB can be used for user content not purchased directly through Barnes and Noble. This is where the microSD slot is important. User content can be stored on SD cards and side-loaded for use on the Nook. The Amazon Kindle Fire has 8 GB of internal storage, of which most can be used for Amazon purchased or user loaded content, but there is no way to expand the storage. Additional content is stored on a computer or Amazon's Cloud server for later use. Keep in mind that one movie takes up about 1 GB of space on a tablet.

Pros: Interactive kids' eBooks are available for the Nook Tablet, which are not available for the Kindle Fire. Families can record reading books and kids can listen. The internal memory size is double the size of the Kindle Fire. The price is less than other Android-based Tablets (except for the Kindle Fire). The microSD card is a great benefit for users with alot of existing digital content. Any eBook Barnes and Noble sells can be viewed for up to an hour for free in any of their stores on a Nook.

Cons: The list price of the Nook Tablet is $50 more than the Kindle Fire. Even though the Nook is an Android device it is designed to use Barnes and Noble apps (although there is a way around this). Loading time for eBooks appear to load slower than on an iPad 2.

Meep X2 by Oregon Scientific

The MEEP X2, offered by Oregon Scientific has a low starting price under $100. It is an Android tablet, but offers parents the piece of mind of full control of the device. All the apps available for the device are very kid-friendly. Oregon Scientific has taken the leap with this tablet o giving parents full-control of the device. Time of use of the tablet, apps, access and other features are are controlled by the parents. This control does limit the amount of apps and material available for the Meep.

Pros: Initial cost, full parental control of the device, very kid-friendly, SD card slot, two cameras, HDMI output.

Cons: No access to Google Play or the Amazon App market, amount of books and apps available are limited to the hundreds instead of the hundread of thousands.

iRulu Y1 Kids

This is a low-cost Android tablet that has some design for kids. It comes with a built-in shock protection sleeve. It can be set in one of 6 parental modes to help control what kids are accessing. It can also work in full-Android mode with access to the Google Play store for a huge selection of games and apps.

Pros: Up front low cost, good processor, parental control, microSD slot

Cons: Customer Service (if needed) is overseas.

VTech InnoTab 2

The VTech InnoTab 2 is the other tablet device that was specifically designed for younger kids. According to VTech, the InnoTab tablet is targeted for kids 4 to 9 years old. The VTech tablet currently is the cheapest tablet available for kids.

Pros: The price is the lowest of any tablet device for kids. The InnoTab plays MP3 music. The cost of apps is slightly lower than LeapPad apps.

Cons: The InnoTab has a pretty slow processor by today's standards. The undersized processor results in slow loading times of apps and games. The tablet is powered by 4-AA batteries. The 5 inch screen size is a little small for electronic books.

iPod Touch

The iPod touch is a mini-tablet device, and is capable of almost everything a 7" or 10" tablet device can do, but has a 4" display. Like the iPad, the iPod Touch does not have a SD card slot or USB port, but it has Wi-Fi and bluetooth connectivity. Although smaller, the iPod Touch features one of the best touch screen displays available. The 326 ppi Retina display is one of the best available. With the release of the iPod Touch, Apple has evolved the iPod from a music player to a multimedia device capable of games, movies, internet, email, and apps. There are some very good educational apps available for the iPod Touch along with TV shows and movies kids love. The iPod Touch runs Facetime, which is a video phone app which runs through wi-fi. This app is the ultimate kids walkie talkie. It also feature built-in Nike+ (high tech shoes) support, a fingerprint scanner, Apple Airplay support and the full library of iTunes apps.

Pros: It is the most portable because of its size. Good value for the available features. The apps for the iPod Touch are cheaper than the iPad apps. Starter apps which are limited versions of full apps are available for free for almost any app. This allows kids to try before they buy. Runs Facetime. A password can be set up for internet use and for adding apps to the iPod. A nice travel size with an excellent display quality.

Cons: Screen size is small.

 

Kids Tablet Comparison Table
 
iPad 2
Nook Tablet
iPod Touch
iRulu Y1 Kids
Cost
Screen Size
6"
7"
7"
9.7"
7"
5"
7"
3.5"
7"
Screen Resolution
1024 x 600
1280 x 800
1024 x 600
1024 x 768
1024 x 600
480 x 272
1280 x 800
1136x 640
800 x 480
Internal Storage
8GB
8GB*
8GB
16GB*
16GB
2GB
4GB*
16GB*
8GB

System Memory

512MB DDR2
1.5GB
shared
512MB DDR2
1GB
?
1GB
256MB
512MB
Processor
1.5/1.2 GHz Quad Core
1.2GHz Dual Core
800 MHz
1GHz Dual Core G5
1GHz Dual Core OMAP4
400 MHz
1GHz Dual Core
1GHz A5
1.2 GHz
Operating System
Kindle 4.0
Android 4.4 Kit Kat
Leapfrog
iOS 7
Android 2.2
Android 2.3
Android 4.2
iOS 7
Android 4.2
Battery Life
8 hrs
8 hrs
9 hrs
10 hrs
9 hrs+
4AA or AC
8 hrs
8 hrs+
4 hrs
USB Port
Micro+
Micro**
Micro**
No
No
No
Yes
No
SD Slot
No
microSD
No
No
micro
Micro
Yes
No
micro
Cartridge Slot
No
No
Yes
No
No
Yes
No
No
No
Web Browser
Amazon Silk
Yes
Zui Kid-safe
Safari
Yes
No
Yes
Safari
Yes
Flash Compatible
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
Built-in Cameras
2
2
2
2
No
Yes
2
2
2Mp
Built-in Microphone
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Built-in Video Recorder
No
Yes
Yes
720p
No
Yes
720p
1080p
720p
MP3 Player
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Motion Sensor
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Movie Player
1080p
1080p
Yes
1080p
1080p
Yes
HDMI output
1080p
Yes
eBook Reader
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Plays Netflix Movies
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Parental Controls
Yes
Yes
Yes
Limited
Yes
Yes
Yes
Limited
Yes

* Larger capacity models are available at a higher cost.

** Micro USB ports can only be used to transfer data from a computer. This port is not compatible with direct connect to a USB drive or external hard drive.

+ Micro USB ports can connect to a computer or TV. This port is not compatible with direct connect to a USB drive or external hard drive.