Consumer Reports rates best tablet computers for children


These new colorful computer tablets are made for kids, but in fact they've got features that are all grown up.

"This year we're seeing tablets with real Android operating systems and features like Wi-Fi and expandable memory," said Consumer Reports Web Editor Carol Mangis. "These tablets are not just toys."

Consumer Reports evaluated five tablets designed for kids. They cost between $150 and $200. Testers checked lots of features, including display quality. Some screens were hard to view from an angle.

The tablets were measured for battery life with a machine that taps the screen to keep it awake until the batteries run down.

Then came the team of experts. Consumer Reports asked a dozen young testers to play games, read books and create artwork on the tablets. They answered questions, too, like how easy the tablets are to turn on, and which activities are fun.

"These tablets all come loaded with child-friendly games and learning activities," said Consumer Reports Web Editor Carol Mangis. "And not surprisingly, the kids liked the games the best."

For bookworms, the MEEP! tablet from Oregon Scientific has the clearest display screen. And if you want to limit your child's Internet access, parental controls are on all the tablets. The most extensive for younger kids are on the MEEP!, the Kurio 7 and the nabi 2.

"Some tablets have Internet filters, which means kids can surf only to approved websites," said Mangis. "And on some tablets, parents can limit their kids' time online."

Which tablet did the kids like best? The nabi 2 for $200. It has a friendly interface and the longest battery life.

Consumer Reports notes that some "grownup" tablets have parental restrictions too. You'll find them on tablets including the Galaxy Nexus, Barnes & Noble NOOK and Amazon Kindle Fire models.

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