ChildPad, Fuhu’s Nabi, and Oregon Scientific’s MEEP! are all designed specifically for kids, with the concerns of parents in mind. These tablets fit smaller hands and can stand up to the kind of use—and abuse—that kids dish out.
All three tablets feature 7-inch screens with front cameras, run on
Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, and offer robust parental
controls. All three have internal storage, with optional expansion
slots for up to 32GB via microSD card. The Nabi features 8GB internal
storage, while the MEEP! and Arnova ChildPad offer 4GB internal storage.
I recently had the chance to spend some time with these devices, and I
can tell you they’re certainly kid-friendly. Of course, each has its
pros and cons. Based on the consumer reviews I’ve seen, the ChildPad and
MEEP are both fairly durable, but both seem to be plagued by buggy
operation. The ChildPad navigates like a standard Android device and
comes with a six-month trial subscription to parental controls. The
MEEP! has possibly the best parental control options, allowing parents
to monitor activity remotely and blocking access to the Google Play
Store. However, navigating the MEEP! tends to be a little less
intuitive, as the user relies on an on-screen wheel to select apps, etc.
From my experience, I’ve found that both devices will get the job
done. Aside from games and apps, you can access eBooks and audiobooks on
both tablets using OverDrive Media Console for Android.
The device that most impressed me was the Nabi. It does look a
little strange, given the raised, plastic grid on the back—which lets
kids personalize their devices with little decorative tiles called
KINABIs—and the soft, rubber bumper around the edges that gives the
corners a stretched look. This bumper is a protective feature that you
can see in action in the “Drop Test”
videos posted at the Nabi website. The Nabi comes loaded with an
impressive array of educational apps. A chore calendar enables parents
to assign values to tasks. By completing tasks, kids earn coins they can
spend on games. Mommy mode lets parents create a list of acceptable
sites the child can visit on the device’s browser. And, of course, the
Nabi supports library eBooks and audiobooks via the OverDrive Media Console for Android app.
By Justin Noszek, Support Services Specialist at OverDrive.
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