Since the devices can range in price from $50(US) to thousands, with most in the $300-$800, many of us do not want to spend that much for such a fragile device for our kids. Apple and the iPad Mini come close at just over $320, while Amazon is pretty much dead on with its $159 Kindle Fire and the $199 Fire HD. However, these devices were still designed with adults in mind (though the Fires do have a child mode built in that is pretty effective.)
The children’s tablet, real tablets, is a fairly nascent market with two entries so far: the Kurio and the Nabi. The Kurio sells for $149 for a 4gb unit. However, it seems pretty lacking and the touch screen is so-so. Also, it does not come with any full-version games. The Nabi, on the other hand, not only comes with full-version games, it includes 50 very kid-friendly music tracks, an easy to use interface and the touch screen is really nice. Not Kindle Fire nice, but not bad either. Plus, the device is running Android 4.0 with a kid-friendly and a parent friendly user interface. The Kurio does allow for upto 8 profiles, while the Nabi has two: Nabi and ‘Mom Mode’ (which could also be called ‘Dad Mode’.)
In Nabi mode, the device is kid centric. Very few system settings are available here, only the ones dealing with the screen and wifi are available. Plus, the child cannot do much in the way of changing the appearance of the device, delete software, purchase anything or do other things they should not do. In other words, it is pretty kid proof.
There are games like Angry Birds included. In all, there are 25 full version games and other software plus a slew of demo games. Also included, is something called the Treasure Chest. Treasure Chest can be a reward for the child: do something good and get rewarded with games, puzzles, music or what ever. The Treasure Chest uses coins as its monetary system. The parent buys coins from the Nabi store (think Microsoft or Wii points) which can then be doled out to the child via the management panel. When you allot coins, they are available to the child in the Treasure Chest. They can then use the coins to ‘purchase’ something from the Chest. It’s a fun, nice way to reward the child.
For the parent, they can add the Amazon App Store and purchase and download apps there as well. Since only the parent can purchase software, only the parent can make it available to the child via the Nabi mode home screens. In the parent mode, there is an ‘add/remove apps’ app that allows Mom or Dad to add or remove an app from the child’s home screens. That game you just got too violent for them but you like it, just remove it from the Nabi home screen. By default, software is NOT added to the Nabi home screens, you must do this yourself.
The device also includes a lot of educational software and games as well as a trial for University, a sort of online school. I have not looked into this, so I can only repeat what is on the web site.
Internet access is via the Maxthon Browser’s child mode. There are ten or so links already in the browser for kid friendly sites and the parent can add sites as they wish. The full Maxthon Browser is also available for the parent as well as Android’s Browser. While Flash 11.1 is included, Flash based sites do not appear to work or work well.
The device, a 7 inch Tegra 2 tablet, is rugged, but kid friendly. It comes with a red rubbery bumper that is adequate for gripping by the child. Graphical prowess-which, I might add, is pretty damn good, is by nVidia. The speed boat racing game looked great and was very smooth. Audio, while not loud, was crisp and clean. Overall, this is a very nice tablet for parents as well. It also comes with 8gb of storage and has a micro-SD slot for additional storage. Connectors include micro-HDMI, power and USB.
My one gripe with the hardware is the case itself: the middle of the back has these lego like things that protrude up. They are used for these blocky letters, so you can turn the device over and use with real world blocks to spell out things. They are called ‘Kinabis’. Check out the accessories page.
For $179, the Nabi 2 is really good tablet for both children and adults. A bit more expensive than the Kurio, but it seems worth the extra $30. If you are looking for a kid-friendly tablet, hop on over to your local Best Buy or Toys R Us and check this thing out.