Which Tablet to Buy for the Kids

Which Tablet Should I Buy for the KidsYour child wants a tablet, but you don’t really want to hand over your iPad to a 4 year old.  Do you have visions of a large iTunes bill racked up by your child while you are not watching, inappropriate material sneaking in, too much time screen time?  There is a wide range of tablet options for the little tech consumers, including kid-friendly units all the way to standard tablets that are easy for the kids to master.

We’ve compiled information from PC Magazine, Consumer Reports and Laptopmag.com reports to give you advice on which tablet to buy for the kids.

Here's the roundup:

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7” (Wi-Fi):  Starting at $179, the Kindle Fire HDX has stereo speakers and a sharp HD screen that makes it great for videos.  Kindle FreeTime is a solid parental control mode where you can set separate time limits for different content.  Parents can create user profiles for their children and choose which books, apps, games and videos they can access.  Parents can also set daily limits on how much the kids can use the tablet.  When it is active, FreeTime also blocks the child’s ability to purchase new content, access the Web or social networks, including location-based service.  Amazon has a great selection of books, movies, TV shows, and music.   You can now set educational goals for your children before they are allowed to play games.

Kindle Fire HDX 7

VTech InnoTab 3S: For $60, the InnoTab 3S is worth it, especially if you’ve invested in InnoTab games.  It has more storage than previous versions, improved controls, a MicroSD card slot storage, and a rechargeable battery.

VTech InnoTab 3S

LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra: Bigger than the LeapFrog LeapPad2 Explorer, the LeapPad Ultra has a 7-inch touch screen, full Wi-Fi capabilities, and a rechargeable battery.

LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra

LeapFrog LeapPad2 Explorer: This is a great choice for kids aged four to nine.  It has 4GB of memory, a camera to record video and stills, and applets for download.  It encourages learning in addition to the fun gaming and media intake.

LeapFrog LeapPad2 Explorer

Kindle Fire HD: Available for as low as $139, Amazon's original Kindle Fire HD is a great deal for parents. Like the Kindle Fire HDX, the Fire HD offers Amazon's excellent FreeTime mode, which lets you set individual profiles for each of their children that limit how many hours they can use the slate. Parents can also set what apps their kids can use and which they can't. Beyond that, children get access to Amazon's massive library of books, movies and TV shows that should help keep your kid occupied during long car rides. The 1280 x 800-pixel HD screen and 1.5-GHz dual-core CPU provide a very good experience for the money.

Kindle Fire HD

Nabi 2 Tablet: The Nabi 2 has a protective rubber bumper and solid educational content that comes preloaded.  Kids can complete household chores  with the Chore List and Treasure Box in exchange for rewards in the app store.   The Nabi 2 features a powerful Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and more than 8 hours of battery life. The bundled Fooz Kids University gives your child an integrating learning system.

Nabi 2 Tablet

Google Nexus 7: For older kids, the Nexus 7 is a no-compromise Android tablet that starts at $159.  It has a multiple users feature that let you set up specific limitations for your child’s profile.  You can download parental control apps from the Google Play market.  The device also boasts a full HD display that great for watching movies and TV shows.

Google Nexus 7

Apple iPad mini: Apple’s App Store has a super selection of kids’ and educational content and with the non-Retina display, the iPad mini is priced and sized for smaller hands.  This is the iPad to get for anyone under 14.  In iOS 6 or higher, “guided access” locks down your device.  This allows your kids to play without deleting important docs.  The “single-app mode” will let your kid play, Angry Birds and only Angry Birds.

Apple iPad Mini

Asus VivoTab Note 8:  A little larger than an iPad mini or Nexus 7, the Asus VivoTab Note 8 runs Windows 8.1 and has MS Office installed.  Parents can install commercial parental controls.  The Asus also comes with a stylus for those ready to try some handwriting.

Asus VivoTab Note 8

Apple iPad Air:  While the iPad mini is great for kids, this super-light, slim, 10-inch model has top-notch app selection and a vast library of educational content.  It also works with major US carriers if you add cellular capabilities.

Apple iPad Air

Here's a video from Consumer Reports with advice to help you narrow down your choices.