Best Tablets For Kids You Have To Know

Best kids tablets: buying guide

Age appropriate

The best tablet for your child will depend on their age. LeapFrog and VTech make tablets which are well suited to young children from around 3-6. When kids reach around 6 or 7, they no longer want what they see as a ‘toddler’s tablet’ and will start asking for something a bit more grown up.

They’ll no doubt already know what a ‘proper’ tablet should be like because they’ve borrowed your iPad or Android tablet. That’s one reason we’ve included the iPad mini 2 in this list: it’s a lot cheaper now than when it first launched, but it remains the most expensive option here. If an iPad becomes available as a hand-me-down, that’s great: your child will be over the moon even with an old one. The issue is that iPads don’t have great parental controls. They’re also quite fragile. But, they have the widest selection of apps and games, many of which are free. You can buy child-proof iPad cases, and disable Safari (to prevent web browsing) and restrict music, videos, apps and games to the appropriate age level, so they’re actually quite a good choice for kids.

Where’s the Tesco Hudl?

Aside from VTech and LeapFrog, there isn’t a massive amount of choice for kids’ tablets. Tesco discontinued the excellent Hudl 2, and since it’s almost impossible to find now, even on ebay, we’ve had to remove it from the list below. Samsung never made a successor to the Galaxy Tab 3 Kids, which is a shame as it was a good – if overpriced – kids’ tablet.

This leaves only Amazon, which sells a Kids Edition version of its £49 Fire tablet. It costs twice that price, but includes a foam case, a two-year warranty that covers accidental damage, plus a year’s subscription to Fire for Kids which gives them access to a fairly good range of apps, games, videos and books. Parental controls are also excellent.

Best kids tablets: How to choose

If you’re not going for one of the options we’ve already mentioned, you’ll have to go for a standard tablet (probably running Android) intended for adult use. Then you’ll have to lock it down (or not) to ensure they don’t see things in apps or online that you’d rather they didn’t.

The advantages of a specially designed kids’ tablet include a ‘safe’ web browser (or no internet access) and games and pre-loaded apps which are appropriate for kids. What they don’t tend to have is a wide choice of the latest games. The LeapPads, for example, are great tablets, but your kids might be frustrated when they can’t get the same games or apps their friends have on Android or iPad.

And that’s why we rate Amazon’s range of Fire tablets. These are fully fledged tablets with a great feature called Fire for Kids (even those which aren’t specifically the Kids Edition). You can set up password-protected profiles so you can give each child access to only the books, games and apps you want them to see. Plus, you can set different time limits for reading and playing. The fact that the range starts from just £49 is why we think the Amazon Fire is one of the best choices for kids right now.

Specifications

It’s best not to dwell too much on specs. They rarely tell you how good a kids’ tablet is. Two things you should consider are battery life and screen size. Many kids’ tablets last around half the time of an iPad – around five or six hours. They can, of course, use their tablet while it’s charging, but it’s worth avoiding any that don’t charge over USB as this makes it awkward to power them on long car journeys.

Younger kids might struggle with a 10in tablet, which is why the Amazon Fire is a good choice all round. Its 7in screen is just the right size for small hands.

Rather than looking at processor speeds and RAM, read our reviews to find out if a tablet is fast enough to keep up with your kids. Gigahertz ratings aren’t a helpful guide in this respect.

A third important aspect is storage. If the tablet you’re considering has no micro-SD card slot, you’ll have to start deleting apps, music, photos and more when the internal storage is full. It pays to get as much storage as you can, but it’s still important to have a microSD slot. Memory cards are cheap and even if a tablet doesn’t let you install apps on it, you can still use it for photos, videos and music.