26
Jun
1

Back in December of last year, Fuhu announced two new members of the nabi family: the jr. and XD. While the latter is designed for tweens and sports a larger form factor, the former is an itty-bitty device designed for the itty-bitty hands of a pre-schooler. At the time, two versions were announced: a 4GB variant for $99 and 16GB for $129. A lot has changed since that announcement, including the specifications of the unit with the larger storage capacity.

The device was spec'd like this at announcement time:

  • 5-inch 480x800 display
  • Tegra 2 processor
  • 512MB RAM
  • Rotating camera
  • 4GB/16GB versions
  • Android 4.0

And that's kind of what happened. The unit I reviewed back in April had 4GB of storage and shared those exact specs. Fast-forward to a few weeks ago, and we noticed this on the Nabi site:

image

There are a few noteworthy items in this image: the processor, battery, and Android version – they're all much better than the 4GB version I reviewed. Here's the breakdown:

  • Tegra 2 vs. Tegra 3
  • Android 4.0.4 vs. Android 4.1
  • 2,350mAh battery vs. 2,500mAh

Later research would also uncover that the 16GB version has 1GB of RAM, whereas the 4GB version only has 512MB. The larger model also sports NFC, which is missing from the 4GB version. Those are some pretty significant differences.

Thinking this had to be some sort of typo, I reached out to Fuhu for clarification. Turns out these specs are indeed legit – here's the statement Fuhu gave me regarding the differences:

We consider ourselves in the business of creating experiences for kids in Learn, Play, Grow ... not as a hardware company.  We don't define our products on specs as you may be used to seeing with the adult-targeted, general purpose tablet providers... we define our product line by the specific experience for a particular segment (e.g., preschoolers, primary school kids, tweens, teens).  This is why despite the difference in specs, both versions are still called "nabi Jr" because they're both built to be the ultimate learning tablet for preschool-aged children.

So, basically, they company doesn't differentiate the 4GB from the 16GB in terms of hardware (aside from storage capacity), despite the fact that the larger of the two packs essentially twice the power. On one hand, I can definitely see where Fuhu is coming from – this isn't a device designed for adults, and specs don't matter to kids; on the other hand, being completely transparent about the differences helps tech savvy consumers make the best purchase decision. In this case, the 16GB option is hands-down the better choice.

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That's not just on paper, either – the difference in performance between the two is definitely noticeable (which should be expected). Aside from having four times the physical storage space, the 16GB jr. is also all around snappier and more fluid – something that is a must for a toddler's limited patience.

The real kicker here is the price. The 4GB jr. sells for the announced price of $99; for $139, however, you can get essentially twice the tablet with the 16GB version. If you've been considering this device for your little one, this is a no-brainer.

The 16GB nabi Jr. is currently available at Best Buy, Amazon, and B&H.

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Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Megaton

    Can the Play store be installed on this one?

    • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

      it's pretty easy to install. It doesn't have it out the box

  • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

    What are the limitations of this device? Play Store support? YouTube? Amazon Appstore? Need a good, low-cost tablet for my kids that's durable, but I'm not trying to wall them off from the world.

    • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

      this thing is very durable and as for a store. they are simple to install I just put TWRP and the playstore and amazon app store installs are child's play. Took me an hour without knowing at all what I was doing.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        I rooted it instantly and added the Play Store and YouTube, which turned it from useless to actually quite decent.

        The Tegra 2 version is very large though, I would have gladly opted in for the faster T3 variant had I known about it.

        Also, my son dropped it only 2 weeks later and cracked the screen completely. Nabi doesn't have a recourse for this, so it's now paperweight. Can't fix the screen, they just don't support the procedure.

        • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

          well maybe my son is just better with electronics than most kids. I actually purchased a warranty for it expecting him to break it. I probably wouldn't get any electronic device without a drops and spills warranty for a child. So Artem, are you going to replace it?

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            I don't know yet. I also have the Nabi 2 and the XD, so I'll see if the Nabi 2 will do instead. I did like the small factor and the turning camera of the Nabi Jr though, for a small child (<1 year).

        • Matthew Fry

          They did say that they aren't a hardware manufacturer. It's still weird that they don't have some way of refurbishing units though. Do they just chuck the defect returns or resell them?

        • doc

          Is rooting it difficulty for those without technical knowledge regarding the procedure? I never even heard of the word "rooting" with respect to kids tablets until yesterday. Watched a video on how to root Nabi products today and found the instructions far from clear.

      • REKnight

        Any chance you can point me to instructions on loading the Play Store?

  • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

    this greatly pisses me off. I bout the nabi jr for my son but I would have got the upgrade had I known about the huge bump in specs. I know it's a children's toy, however my son is going to grow with this thing so the fresher the specs the longer it'll last. Plus he's always messing with the latest stuff (he's 3) he's already gotten the hang of using google hangouts to contact his parents (sometimes at really bad times) so I would have loved to have gotten him a faster machine.

    • Matthew Fry

      Can you return it?

      • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

        I bought it in April so probably not

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    This confused me greatly when I first saw the different versions being sold everywhere, at different prices. Nabi never even clarified or announced the differences between the two, and the main Nabi Jr page misleadingly states only the T3 variant's specs. And the T2 version is still running ICS.

    Nabi really upsets me with many ways they are running things.

  • Matthew Fry

    My best guess, reading between the lines, is that their manufacturer has a couple configurations that they can produce cheaply and there are no 16GB SoC with a Tegra 2. It's more likely that they are hiding the specs of the 4GB than the other way around. The prices are not equivalent to the hardware and the 4GB yields better margins.

  • Ashley Guttuso

    Fair warning: We bought a nabi Jr from WalMart in May 2013 and our
    three-year-old absolutely loved it. We couldn't have been happier. We'd read
    many good reviews about the fact that it was made to withstand drops, and Nora
    was actually really careful with it. Then the inevitable happened: she dropped
    it. Her screen cracked on a diagonal and only one side of it works.

    I contacted nabi Cares, but it turns out they don’t. I’ve
    been told there's nothing they can do. There is no screen replacement program
    for this product. There goes $100.

    It was fun while it lasted, but we won't be buying nabi
    products in the future. The “Drop-Safe Bumper” was a big disappointment. We
    cannot justify spending more money with a company that promises “The nabi Jr.
    will handle those little bumps and drops without complaint and with its chunky
    construction and drop safe bumper, it will make it home undamaged after show
    and tell.”

    I thought my daughter would learn great lessons with this
    device, such as number recognition, phonics, and spelling. Instead, she’s
    learned that sometimes a company cannot stand behind the product it makes.

  • Gleezus

    Nabi 2 or Nabi Jr (16GB).... What is the major difference aside from size and memory? My daughter is three and really wants an "iPad" and I thought this would make a good substitute.

  • Laurie

    Please tell me how to use blue tooth to and from nabi jr.

  • Lee

    get it from Target for 139 and spend the 59 extra bucks on the 2 year accidental mishandling warranty...its worth it. They will send you a new one if the screen shatters. When we ask you to spend that extra money to extend your warranties and cover it for damage...were not doing it to make money, were asking you because its worth it (I work at Target)...it would have saved all of you this nightmare.

  • doc

    Advertised specs say that the original 4GB version of the Nabi Jr. has flash memory capactiy up to 32GB. I found 16GB SD cards advertised at Amazon for under $6? Would merely adding memory with SC cards (to 16 or 32GB) make a significant difference in the performance of the original product (which is all I can reasonably afford at this time)?

    Second, would a seven year old, who's never had a tablet previously but might have borrowed older sisters iPad now and then, find enough in the Nabi Jr. original (with memory increased and possibly rooted if I can figure out how to do it) to sustain interest?