Kids Tablets to Buy (or Avoid)

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Tablets are great for keeping children entertained for hours, but you can't simply hand your new iPad off to Junior and hope for the best. If not monitored properly, your little one could accidentally skyrocket your iTunes bill, or stumble upon a minefield of inappropriate online content. Fortunately, there are tons of kid-friendly tablets on the market that offer robust parental controls, age-appropriate apps and oftentimes a durable rubber frame that will survive your toddler's slippery hands.

Some kids tablets offer the type of premium performance that mom and dad have come to expect, while others are best left in timeout. After playing with just about every children's slate out there, here are the ones you should buy and avoid.

Apple iPad mini 2 (BUY)

Why splurge on the $399 iPad mini 4, when you can pick up the mini 2 for just $269? Given that the only real differences between the two are the gold color option and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, that's a great price. Otherwise, your little one will be able to enjoy the same robust app and game selection; sharp Retina display; and long battery life. You can put the extra dough you’ll save toward content and a sturdy case.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8-inch (BUY)

If you want to treat your little one to one of the most jaw-dropping tablet displays on the market, Samsung's Galaxy Tab S2 (8-inch) is worth a look. This tablet's 8-inch, 2048 x 1536-pixel display is ideal for cozy movie nights, and the slate's robust Kids' Mode ensures that all content your child gets his or her hands on is age appropriate. The Tab S2 8-inch can run you up to $400, but its premium price brings with it one of the best screens on any tablet.

Fuhu Nabi Elev-8 (Buy)

Proving that made-for-kids tablets don’t have to be junk, the Fuhu Nabi Elev-8 features a powerful octa-core processor. Its bright, 1280 x 800-pixel, 8-inch display is great for watching videos and learning from the ton of educational apps Nabi pre-loaded. It also lasts more than 9 hours on a charge. Parents can hand the tablet over to Junior with confidence, since the tablet comes with strong parental controls for managing the entire experience. The silicone bumper case is easy for small hands to hold onto the Elev-8. 

Fuhu Nabi DreamTab (AVOID)

Fuhu typically delivers some of the best kids' tablets on the market, but its new Fuhu Nabi DreamTab needs a bit of refinement before it's ready for your youngster. While the Dreamworks-themed DreamTab sports the robust parental controls, fast performance and kid-safe design Fuhu is known for, the tablet has a disappointingly short battery life (less than 6 hours) and is cluttered with too many apps that do the same thing. Unless your kid absolutely swears by characters like Shrek and Kung-Fu Panda, you're better off sticking with Fuhu's more solid Nabi 2. 

Polaroid Kids Tablet 2 (AVOID)

The Polaroid Kids Tablet 2 is an inexpensive kid-friendly slate with lots of content, but your youngsters can do better. While it features a bright, intuitive interface, as well as apps and books from the likes of Disney and Marvel, the experience is hampered by a short, 4.5-hour battery life and a limited version of Android that blocks out the Google Play store. 


Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 Kids (AVOID)

Samsung's $200 Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 Kids tablet has all the makings of a solid children's slate, but the competition simply does things better. While the tablet's colorful design and equally colorful interface will catch Junior's eye, the device's sub-HD display and lack of a kid-friendly browser are a bit disappointing. If you're seeking something equally colorful inside and out, you're better off with the Amazon Fire HD 6 Kids' Edition.


Amazon Fire Kids Edition (New and Notable)


Amazon's new Fire HD Kids Edition bundles the 7-inch slate, a new protective bumper and a year's subscription to Amazon's FreeTime Unlimited for just $99. FreeTime Unlimited gives you more than 10,000 books, videos, educational apps and games curated for children. Plus, a two-year guarantee promises to replace your Fire HD if your child destroys it. The new tablet's quad-core processor should offer speedy performance sure to cause less whining.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 Nook

The Galaxy Tab S2 Nook takes the already great, Android tablet Samsung made and adds Barnes & Noble impressive parental controls. You can also set up profiles for each family member and get easy access to the booksellers 4 million e-books, as well as videos, apps and games. That's particularly good for kids because B&N features a huge library of enhanced children's books.

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Author Bio
Michael Andronico
Michael Andronico, Associate Editor
A devout gamer and tech enthusiast, Mike Andronico joined the Laptop team in July 2013. With a B.A. in Journalism from Purchase College and experience at GameNGuide, Examiner and 2D-X, Mike tackles everything from iPhone rumors to in-depth hardware reviews.
Michael Andronico, Associate Editor on
Add a comment
  • Dotsss Says:

    This article is shit. Did a company pay you for this. I wouldn't buy a tab s2 or Ipad for my kid. Maybe for a teen.

  • Nikki Says:

    Looking for an inexpensive tablet for my 3 year old, something for him to have fun & learn. All you pushed were expensive tablets & their hd display, web browsers? Not helpful at all, sorry.

  • Amanda Says:

    I was looking for advice on a tablet that I could "child proof" for an older kid. This article did not answer that question at all.

  • Andrea Says:

    No Mention made of the Leap Frog 2 tablets.What is your opinion for a 5 year old?

  • MaryHS Says:

    This article needed to mention word-processing abilities. My 4th grader's teacher has them composing on a computer so it doubles as typing practice. But there's no computer at after-care.
    Which of these actually lets kids WORK?

  • W. A. L. Says:

    Amazon fire HD kids review inaccurate. The $99 version is NOT the HD version at all the 7 inch kids fire HD is different in many aspects so not sure which was reviewed

  • Tablet 4 Kids Says:

    What an interesting advice. will definitely refer to this in the future

  • Elisabeth Says:

    my 4 and 6 y/o grandkids play on our phones all the time or Mario on Wii. can they play anything that interesting on the new kindle fire? I can not figure this out. am 71 and not tech savy. any help would be appreciated. thanks

  • Denise Says:

    I'm sorry but I'm a bit confused. At the top you say you wouldn't want to hand your IPad to your child and hope for the best but yet the ones you suggest to buy are the expensive tablets I wouldn't hand over and why is it all the kids tablets on here are listed as avoid?

  • Michael Says:

    My son was very indifferent about the tablet we got for him. He ended up continuing to ask to play on mine and my wife's phones. We ended up getting him his own and that worked out really well for him. is a good place to get one.

  • lulu Says:

    No mention of the beast the Nexus 7? Better than all of these and for way less.

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