A few weeks ago, Ryan and I tag teamed the Kindle Fire HD 6 and 7 in a review that left us both pretty dang impressed with what Amazon has cooked up in its newest budget-friendly tablets. Since then, I've been playing with the Fire HD Kids (6" - $149; 7" - $159), Amazon's attempt at entering the kids' tablet market. I'm using the six-inch model for this review, but the tablet is also available in a seven-inch model.
I know a lot of people with kids. And from those people, one of the most common questions I get (especially this time of year) is "what's a good tablet for my child?" In the past there has only been one answer to that: Fuhu's nabi. The age of the child has a lot to do with my recommendation, of course, as there are different nabi series for varying ages. But the point is the same: the nabi has been the reigning champ of kids' tablets.
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.
Well, it's CES time again – time for manufacturers to show off what they've been working on for the last several months in hopes of coaxing you into opening your wallet to them. Normally, we get a slew of fantastic, exciting, and innovative devices in the CES storm; however, there are also a few that just aren't worth even considering. This new Polaroid tablet for kids is one of them.
NEEDS MOAR BEZEL!
It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the Nabi 2 tablet for kids. As a father, I was extremely impressed with its vast suite of educational software, ease of use, and overall solid build quality when I reviewed it. The one major drawback of the Nabi 2 is that it's not really meant for pre-school-age children. Sure, it could help give your little little one a headstart, but $200 is a bit much to shell out when they may not even start using the device until the ripe-old age of five.
There's no doubt that the Nabi 2 is the absolute best tablet on the market designed just for kids. When I reviewed it back in June, I came away impressed with everything that Fuhu was able to pack into this device, all while keeping the price around $200 (that was, of course, before the Nexus 7 was announced, so a $200 tablet that didn't suck was impressive in itself). The build is solid, it's packed to the brim with educational software, and the Monarch UI is a fantastic and intuitive interface for kids.
If you're thinking of getting your little munchkin a Nexus 7, Barnes & Noble Nook HD, 7" Kindle Fire HD, or a similar 7-inch tablet/e-reader for Christmas, then you'll undoubtedly want a way for them to keep it safe. But c'mon - this is your kid we're taking about. They don't want a folio, gel case, or even a nifty Active case for their device. They want something fun. Something unique.