Tablets for Kids: Which Dedicated Model Suits Your Offspring?
Tablets for Kids. Children are drawn to touchscreen technology, and it is no wonder why: The bright colors, the brilliantly animated games and the ability to manipulate the device intuitively are all incredibly attractive features. Many parents have handed their valuable smartphones or tablet computers over to their small children to keep them happy and quiet during a car ride or office visit, but the devices are expensive.
Should a child become bored with the device or simply act in a clumsy way, parents could be out hundreds of dollars with an incredibly elaborate paperweight. In February of 2012, many manufacturers met this dilemma head on, offering a range of tablet computers and e-readers designed especially for children.
The Vinci Tab is the most expensive of the children’s tablets, but it also comes with the broadest range of age appropriate content and is highly durable. At $389, children between the ages of 18 months and five years will find the tablet an entertaining and educational tool. Vinci Tab looks and feels the most like an adult tablet, despite the bumper handle around its exterior. Instead of the proprietary programming that other models favor, Vinci Tab features Android software.
It has a 3-megapixel camera and offers 4GB of storage. The 7-inch touch screen display is superior to other toddler tablets in both picture quality and touch response. Vinci Tab is the only child-specific tablet that comes with a rechargeable battery, which contributes greatly to its price point.
Targeting children between the ages of three and seven is the Fisher-Price iXL. The clamshell design of this tablet makes it easily handled by tiny hands while protecting the electronic elements from falls and footprints. At only $80, this device resembles the appearance of a book more than a tablet. Games, books and other applications are available for the i-XL in both cartridge and Internet download format. The storybook reads to children and features a handwriting help program.
However, the small, 3.3-inch screen is smaller than some found on mobile phones and is not as impressive as others on the market. Families can create up to five profiles on a single tablet, allowing the device to be shared among several siblings. The i-XL tablet runs on AA batteries.
A just $79, the least expensive children’s tablet is the Vtech InnoTab, which is designed for kids aged four to nine. The InnoTab features an accelerometer, the device that allows games and applications to respond to tablet tilting. The InnoTab can be set up without having to plug into a computer, but there are games available for download on the Vtech website in addition to the cartridge games available for separate purchase.
The tablet comes with a built-in stand and includes a stylus that can be used instead of a child’s fingers to manipulate the 5-inch touch screen. The e-reader allows a child to progress through reading naturally: It will recite the book, allow a child to read alone or read only the words that he or she touches.
Also for children between the ages of four and nine, the LeapPad Explorer is moderately priced at just $99. The device may have a only few native applications, but most of the LeapPad Explorer’s content is on cartridges, which can be purchased separately. Parents also have the option of downloading content from the LeapFrog website, which features books, games and other applications. Each child who uses the Explorer has a customizable avatar that acts as a guide through the operations of the device — a digital pet that can be groomed or played with, as well.
Just like other LeapFrog devices, the LeapPad Explorer is set up to track a child’s progress through educational materials on the Learning Path. Also, as children master a game, the game adapts and becomes slightly more difficult next time to continue to challenge them. Like the i-XL and InnoTab, the mobile device operates on AA batteries.