Freddy Cloud

Frederick (“Freddy”) Cloud has had a passion for all things electronic since he “accidently” caused the class Commodore PET to malfunction in 8th grade. “I swear. I didn’t do it on purpose” He was quoted as saying to a very unhappy computer teacher... Read his full bio

Don’t Skimp on Gadgets for your Kids

A few days ago, I received this image on my Facebook timeline, with a series of question marks:


This is called the Child So Smart Kids Tablet. You can get it online from $9 to $30, depending on where you get it from.

I ask that you don’t do this to you or your children.

If you want to purchase a dependable tablet for your child that they’ll be able to grow with, you’re going to have to spend more than $30 unless you’re buying a used one from someone you know. As with everything else, you get what you pay for. And yes, that includes the Android tablets sold in the corner store that come from companies like Coby and Polaroid. I did some research, and I’d like to share what I’ve found to be some of the more popular choices for a child-friendly tablet. Clicking on the tablets name will take you to the websites for more information about them …


Leap Frog makes many different educational toys, but they make two “tablets” aimed at children: the LeapsterGS and the LeapPad (there are 2 LeapPads, but the LeapPad 2 is the latest):


What I like about the Leap Frog tablets is that they’re geared specifically at children. There’s no chance of them accidently wandering into an app they aren’t supposed to have access to or seeing something they aren’t supposed to see. Applications are either purchased on cartridge or downloaded from their online catalog. 

These devices are tough, they come in different colors and the LeapPad even has a camera. The LeapsterGS is about $60, and the LeapPad is about $100.


Then there’s a tablet called the Tabeo:


At $149, this is an Android tablet aimed at children sold at Toy’s R Us. It has a 7” screen, two cameras, and has some educational and parental control software pre-installed. I won’t get into the technical specs, but what you’re getting here is an entry-level tablet. It has its own store to download apps from, so there’s quite a bit you can do with this. Not bad for the price, but if you’re willing to spend a little more money, there are other options …


I’ve always had some type of Amazon Kindle in my house. The Kindle Fire, at $159:


Or the Kindle Fire HD at $199:


make excellent tablets for adults or children. Why children? Well, for one they’re very well constructed. They both have good technical specs (more so the HD version), and the HD version even has a camera. But additionally Amazon took Android (yes, another Android tablet) and put their own software on top of it, making the interface for the Kindle Fire VERY easy to use. Also, it’s Amazon, so the number of books and applications in its Amazon Kindle Store is HUGE. To top it all off, Amazon launched a subscription service called Free Time Unlimited, which is a monthly service for children between the ages of 3 and 8 that gives them unlimited access to videos, books and applications targeted specifically at that age group. Not a bad deal, if you ask me.


Fuhu actually has 3 different tablets aimed at children of different ages; the Nabi Jr ($99), the Nabi 2 ($199), and the Nabi XD ($249):


Full disclosure, the Nabi 2 is the tablet that my boys have. The fact that I’ve purchased two of them should say something, though.  Technology-wise, if it wasn’t for its size, an adult could use these devices (okay, maybe not the Jr) with very few complaints. Fuhu did their homework with these tablets; the software that the tablets use is a parents dream. There is quite a bit of control here, and like the others it has apps pre-installed, and its own store to purchase apps from. Further, you can install the Amazon App store and access their library of apps (yes, this runs Android as well). The Nabi 2 (and the Nabi Jr) is pretty durable with the bumper on. The website has a video of it being dropped from various heights without taking any damage. The one thing I’m unhappy about is the fact that the charger is proprietary, meaning you HAVE to use the one they provide. I would have liked to be able to charge it via micro-USB, but that’s just me.


Last but certainly not least you have the Apple iPad Mini:


I really don’t have to go into detail about the Mini. iPad is THE name in tablets, and the mini is a pocket (assuming you have big pockets) version of the most popular tablet on the planet. The Mini is also the most expensive on the list at $329, but if you have an iPad and you’re currently fighting with the little ones over time slots for it, its $329 well spent. Also, I’m pretty sure this version of the Mini will go down in price once a newer one is announced, so bide your time and reap the benefits if you have your heart set on the kids having an iPad of their own.


There are others, of course. Samsung makes a ridiculous number of tablets, Barnes and Noble has the Nook line, etc. But these in particular appealed to me because of their ability to work well with children. This is an investment that hopefully your child will be able to utilize for quite some time, as opposed to the likes of the Child So Smart Kids Tablet, which I don’t have a lot confidence in its holding your child’s attention for longer than the batteries last. Spend a little more money and give them something that you will be sure will educate and provide entertainment for them for years to come. Or until something new comes out that they want more. Whichever happens first …

Talk to you soon!

Freddy C.



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