Love them or loathe them, it’s safe to say that tablets are here to stay and will be top of many a Christmas list.
Whether you see them as a great learning resource, or believe screens are the
Fire HD 10, Amazon, was £149, now £109.99
Alternatively, you could get the Amazon Fire (i.e the grown up version) HD 10 for you and your child to share. This is a great value option, offering more bang for your buck, especially if you’re already an Amazon Prime member. You can create child profiles to limit screen time, set educational goals and manage content with high grade parental controls. Amazon Fire for Kids comes free with every Fire tablet. You can also subscribe to Fire for Kids for heaps of kid-friendly apps, audiobooks, videos and games, for £1.99 per month. Note that this differs from the Amazon Kids range where you get a year’s subscription free.
This version is 30% faster than older versions and has a 10.1 inch screen and an impressive 12 hours of battery life. It also has dual cameras – front and rear-facing – with 720p HD video recording. It is available as 64GB. You don’t get the no-questions-asked two year guarantee or the child-proof bumper. But you do get Alexa. This is a great budget option for the family. As long as you’re all happy to share, that is.
LeapFrog does great tablets for kids, with a focus on educational software. This model is aimed at three to nine year olds (but better suited to the younger end of that range) and offers an array of games and apps that are fun, but will help your child learn and develop. It also has solid parental controls built into it and offers multiple user profiles.
A plus point on the versatility front is that this model uses Android. You don’t get loads of apps with the tablet (20+) but you can buy them at extra cost (quite a bit of extra cost). It comes with a green or pink protective bumper and a stylus, which is cool for writing practise or drawing. It has a 7inch screen and a six hours of battery life. The main downside is the screen resolution which is noticeably low. It also doesn’t cover for accidental damage.
Apple iPad Mini 10.2, John Lewis, from £384
An iPad Mini is a great option for mini hands, that will – no doubt – want to move on to explore more over time. With a 7.9 inch screen it is the right size for little people, too. It is expensive compared to an Amazon or LeapFrog tablets, but it will probably keep them interested for longer and there’s kudos in slick Apple design (OK maybe more for the adults). It also has the best choice of apps and games on the market and the picture quality wins hands down.
You can disable Safari to stop your child from browsing and accessing inappropriate content, though parental controls aren’t as strict as they would be on child-dedicated tablets. This model can now support the apple pencil, which makes it a good educational and creative tool. It has other nice features like True Tone, which automatically adjusts the white balance on the screen, whatever lighting you’re in. It offers ten hour battery life and comes in classic Apple colours; silver, grey or gold. Remember to buy a durable, kid-proof case for it.
LeapFrog LeapPad Ultimate, Amazon, was £129.99, now £60.60
Billed as the “next generation of children’s interactive and technological play” the LeapPad Ultimate offers a 7 inch multi touch screen with sharp graphics. It has a shatter-safe screen and a wrap around bumper. It comes pre-loaded with apps, games and puzzles for educational content in maths, reading and science to help kids with learning.It offers 16 apps, including Music Player, and two cameras and video recorders. It has 8GB of memory Simple, educational and entertaining. At just over £60, it’s a bargain.
Like the Fire HD 10, this model comes with a child-proof case and a two years’ warranty. You get a stand with this one too for no hands viewing. You also get Amazon Fire for Kids Unlimited and the same fab parental controls. It also offers 12 hours’ battery life and 32GB memory. If you’re looking for a tablet that does everything the Fire HD 10 does, and are happy to have a smaller screen, this is the one.
LeapFrog Academy Edition, Amazon, from £96.24
The Academy Edition is basically a more recent version of the LeapFrog Epic. It is an Android tablet, with the same screen resolution and protective bumpers in green or pink. Both offer 16GB memory, with additional SD card slot that will take cards up to 32GB. The parental controls are also the same.
The main difference is that you get the LeapFrog Academy app, a subscription-based service, free for 3 months. The screen on this model is shatter resistant, unlike the Epic. You also get another hour’s battery life and it comes with more pre-installed games.
Kurio Tab Connect, Amazon, from £69.98
This is another Android, child-specific tablet. It claims best-in-class parental controls, such as time limits and app management, including being able to switch the tablet off remotely. Just brilliant/ infuriating, depending on where you are on the parent-child axis. It also offers a life-time subscription to Kurio Genius, an internet filtering system designed to keep them safe, which covers more than 32 billion websites in 200 languages. Should be enough to keep them entertained for a few minutes. You also get a new surprise app a week.
It has a sleek – dare I say grown-up? – design and a 16GB memory. You can create up to eight profiles – that’s four more than Amazon Fire – so a good option for larger (albeit patient) families. The screen is amongst the smaller ones at 7inch, but it’s good quality. Overall a good buy for just under £70.
This model is a slight upgrade on the Kurio Tab Connect, in so far as it has an improved content system, with 40 preloaded apps. Other than that, it has the same screen size, internet filtering system and parental controls.
It might not have the catchiest name, but for under £50 this is a good budget option. The Ainol inbuilt kids’ app is the iWawa and it offers parental control and filter options and access to the usual suspects like Netflix and Youtube, through its Android operating system. It comes with 8GB storage, which can be increased up to 64GB with an SD card.
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