When you think about it, 7-inch tablets almost seemed destined for kids: They're great for games, watching movies and surfing the Internet. And it didn't take long for a slew of companies to create Android tablets targeted at the under-10 set. But most tablet producers offer underpowered shells of the adult versions with playful packaging.
Fuhu's $200 Nabi 2 got it right — they created a 7-inch Android tablet with an interface tailored to kids that doesn't skimp on power or features.
Why we like it
The Nabi 2's designers really thought about how kids would use a tablet. For example, its big icons make it easy for little hands to launch apps. The unit comes with a thick plastic case that protects the edges from inevitable drops and makes the device less slippery— so hopefully fewer accidents will happen. The tablet also features its own app store that offers only child-safe programs, including educational apps such as Kids Numbers and Math and games including "Fruit Ninja" and "Cut the Rope."
Spec-wise, the Nabi 2 blows away other kids' tablets. It features a 1024-by-768-pixel screen (the same as on the iPad mini ), while similar products try to get by with 800 x 480. The front-facing camera captures 720p high-def video and 2 MP images — better than many "adult" tablets. Its processor handles basic games with no problems, and surfing the Internet feels fast and responsive.
If you can pry the tablet from your kids' hands, it has a "parent mode" that opens up more features and essentially turns it into a capable Android tablet for any age.
Keep in mind
Other kids' tablets can be found for less money, with many starting at $150. But you get what you pay for — cheaper tablets will cost you in speed and quality.
By design, not all Android apps are available in the Nabi 2 app store, since it filters out apps the company believes are inappropriate. And you can't download from Google's Play Store, even when in parent mode.
This isn't the only way to get a tablet for your kids. Google's Nexus 7 costs the same as the Nabi 2 and offers more app options, and you can download apps like Kid Mode that creates a child-safe environment in which your son or daughter can only play games or apps that you say are OK. However, if your son or daughter is a tablet hog, you may want to get a kids' tablet just so you can have yours back.
Without skimping on the features, the Nabi 2 offers a fast, fun and durable device that should keep the little ones entertained for a while — maybe even until next Christmas.
- OS: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
- Storage: 8 GB built-in, expandable to 32 GB with MicroSD card
- Display: 7 inches, 1,024-by-768 pixels
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
- Camera: Front-facing, 2 MP, 720p video
- Dimensions: 8.69 (W) x 6.05 (H) x 1.14 inches (D)
- Weight: 1.31 pounds
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