It didn’t take long for technology manufacturers to cotton onto the fact that kids frequently ask their parents to borrow their tablets. Today, there are a wealth of child-focused tablets, as well as those that work well for both adults and kids. Our round-up includes the best of the bunch from both categories, so that whether you’re buying exclusively for your child or for the family as a whole, you get the best for your needs.
If you decide to invest in one, think about what your child will use it for – and, perhaps more importantly, what you want them to use it for – then find the right fit. Do your homework about the best tablet for the particular age group your child fits into and if you’re buying for younger kids, make sure it’s durable and that you’re happy with the safety features. Don’t forget to think about the screen size too, as some are much bigger than others, and remember some will need a sturdy case, which can be expensive in their own right. Finally, be sure to research how much screen time is healthy for kids as there are genuine risks if they use them too much.
1. VTech Innotab Max: £75, amazon
For younger children (aged 3-6), this is a good, slightly lower-spec tablet that includes entertaining, educational games. Our mini testers also raved about its messaging system, which links to a parents’ smartphone or tablet app so kids can send fun photos and drawings. Unlike the LeapPad, you can add your own movies and music.
2. Samsung Galaxy Tab3 Kids: £290, amazon
The kids’ version of this tablet has a slightly reduced spec compared to the adults’ one, with a bright outer case and exclusive apps for children. It’s solid, with a responsive screen. and we like the fact it comes with a briefcase-like tough case, which means kids sit properly while using it.
3. Nabi 2: £94, amazon
It may look a bit like an Etch A Sketch, but it’s actually a fast and intuitive Android-based kids tablet with apps downloadable from Google Play. The resolution isn’t quite as good as others, but it’s durable; even if you drop it on concrete (yes, we tried it) it doesn’t break.
4. Google Nexus 9: £299, john lewis
If you only want to buy one tablet for the family, we’d recommend this for parents and children alike. It runs on Android, with access to Google Play to download apps, games and eBooks, and it’s got great sound and a pinsharp screen.
5. Kurio Student: £200, johnlewis
This one is great for both homework and play, thanks to the detachable keyboard. It operates Windows 10 (including Microsoft Office) and has an impressive 32GB of storage. We particularly like the new motion-controlled games, with 18 options to get the whole family up and moving.
6. LeapPad Platinum: £75, smyths
This has a library of more than 800 apps, games, ebooks and videos that can be filtered by age group. The company has a team of educational experts developing the apps to ensure they are both informative and fun. It’s also super-durable – it practically bounces if you drop it.
7. Hudl 2: £99, amazon
Tesco’s Hudl has massively improved since its first edition, with a bigger, full-HD screen and far better childsafety features (Tesco worked with support group Parent Zone to design them). The softtouch plastic back withstands kids’ clumsiness and the high-quality sound is great for video games.
8. Amazon Fire HD6 Kids Edition: £109, amazon
This has one of the best screens for reading, plus a free year of Fire for Kids, with unlimited access to books, films, apps and games. It’s also kid-proof, with a toughened screen, rubberised case and a two-year guarantee. Parents can block access to the web and set time limits on games.
9. Apple iPad Mini: from £259, johnlewis
iPads are used in a growing number of classrooms because they are easily personalised for different age groups, and this one is a great size for kids to handle. The App Store’s wealth of child-friendly games, apps and eBooks is impressive, but this is not made to be chucked about – get a tough case.
10. Linx 7: £57, amazon
This is the best quality budget tablet we tried and is a great option for family-wide use. Everyone can have their own profile, including a limited child-friendly version. Kids can personalise theirs with apps from the Windows Store – and you can have peace of mind.
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing
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