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Testing tablet computers designed for kids

Tablet computers are great for little fingers that can't yet navigate a keyboard.
November 27, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The market for kids' tablet computers is growing dramatically. Just two years ago only 8 percent of children had access to a tablet at home. Today it's 40 percent. Consumer Reports tested six tablets especially designed for children.

What's better for little fingers that can't yet navigate a keyboard than tablet computers? But which is best for the kids in your life? Consumer reports called in the experts to help find out.

Kids and Consumer Reports testers put six kid tablets to the test, checking touchscreen response and color accuracy.

"If you're in the market for a kid tablet, you want to keep in mind how many kids are going to be sharing it, the ages of the kids, what kind of screen size you want," said Consumer Reports Carol Mangis. "They come in phone size and they come in full 10-inch tablet size."

All the tablets tested include pre-loaded, kid-appropriate content, a Wi-Fi connection and a camera. And all have parental controls.

The $230 KD Interactive Kurio 10 with its large 10-inch screen and wide viewing angle is good for two kids to watch at a time. And it has a healthy battery life, averaging more than seven hours.

Parental controls vary.

"Parental controls can let you determine how long your kid can play on the tablet," said Mangis. "You can also set access to the Internet, whether you want them to be able to go to the Web or not, and if so which sites they can access."

The Ematic FunTab Mini 2 for $70, allows parents to set up individual profiles, so different kids can have age-appropriate experiences. But one drawback: Its battery averages just four and a half hours. Most of the kid tablets come with a little extra protection: grippable frames that make them extra kid-friendly.

Consumer Reports also tested a tablet from Toys R Us. The $150 Tabeo E2 has nearly eight hours of battery life, and comes loaded with 30 child-oriented games and apps.

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