With the holiday shopping season in full swing, you might be shopping for a kids tablet for the little ones in your life. With their touch-screen user interfaces and often simpler operating systems, tablets are a great way for kids to learn how computers work.
Kids can also challenge their minds with games like Monument Valley 2 and stream kid-friendly TV shows such as Teen Titans. And if you buy a tablet made for kids, you get comprehensive parental controls to help you stop junior from browsing adult-oriented websites or making in-app purchases.
We've reviewed the 2018 Fire HD 8 (the non-Kids edition) and liked its affordable price and decent display. The kids version is a full-featured tablet with a kid-friendly shock-resistant rugged case. It comes with one year of FreeTime which give kids unlimited access to a library filled with 20,000 apps, games, and video books, and at some point in the future, Audible books. What's more, it comes with Amazon's worry-free 2-year warranty so you can buy with confidence.
We also reviewed the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, which is a 9.7-inch tablet that packs some neat classroom learning tools so this would be a great tablet for middle school-aged children and teenagers.
If you're looking for something more premium, the Smartab 2-in-1 Touchscreen Tablet PC is perfect to get your kid accustomed to typing on a keyboard, drawing with a comfortable stylus or even learning languages with its translator (activated with the stylus and camera).
However, if your budget is lower and you worry about your child losing their toys, the Fire 7's $49 price cannot be beat.
Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition
The best tablet for children used to be the Fire 7 Kids Edition, but its new 8-inch sibling just swooped in and stole our attention away. Not only does it offer the same bumper and two-year no-questions-asked warranty as its smaller counterpart, but its battery lasts more than 5 hours longer. It also boasts a brighter screen and more responsive performance.
Pros: Durable design with two-year accidental-damage protection; Robust parental controls; Tons of free, age-appropriate content; Long battery life; Bright screen Cons: Soft speakers; Weak cameras
If your child is a little older and you can trust them with some pricey tech, we'd recommend getting them a 12.9-inch iPad Pro. With its unique AR capabilities, your child can take a journey through a virtual world and bring creatures to life right on the family couch. And if they're into drawing, the newest Apple Pencil is the perfect companion due to its magnetic wireless charging and smooth flat-edge grip. On top of that, they'll benefit from Xbox One S level graphics that can handle games like NBA 2K19.
Pros: Thinner and lighter design; Immersive full-screen Liquid Retina display; Incredible A12X Bionic speed rivals or beats most laptops; Very long battery life; Improved Apple Pencil; USB-C replaces Lightning port Cons: Entry-level model has just 64GB of storage; Power cable too short; Keyboard not as good as Surface Pro's; No touchpad
You could go for a more-affordable Android tablet, or one from Amazon, but the iPad offers the strongest app lineup for your kid(s). From educational titles that take advantage of augmented reality titles to a ton of tablet-optimized games, you'll never find your child asking why a certain app isn't available for the iPad. And not only does the 2018 model offer speedy performance and solid battery life, it works with Apple's Pencil (an extra $99).
Pros: Fast A10 Fusion performance; Works with Apple Pencil; Fun augmented-reality apps; Good battery life Cons: Thick bezels; Apple Pencil, keyboard and cover all cost extra
Amazon's Fire 7 Kids Edition bundles the company's 7-inch budget tablet ($49 on its own) with a new protective bumper and a year's subscription to Amazon's FreeTime Unlimited for just $99 (16GB). Right now, it's even cheaper, thanks to a sale that knocked it down to the nice price of $69. FreeTime Unlimited gives you more than 10,000 books, videos, educational apps and games curated for children. Plus, a two-year guarantee promises a no-questions-asked replacement if your child destroys the tablet.
Pros: Two-year "Worry-Free" warranty; Great parental controls; Expandable storage; One year of FreeTime Unlimited programming Cons: Tinny speakers; Wi-Fi is needed at unexpected times; Parental controls can be confusing; Very poor cameras
Lenovo's new 8-inch tablet is a good option for slightly older kids, ones with more experience with technology that don't need the training-wheels of a tablet made for younger tots. Unlike Amazon's Fire tablets, the Tab 4 8 offers a true Android experience, so you can use Google's apps without the annoyances and risks involved with side-loading. It also offers good battery life and performance, and a bright, colorful display.
For $20 extra, you can get Lenovo's Kids Pack add-on, which includes content curated just for kids, parental controls, options for scheduling and limiting play time, a protective bumper case, stickers and a blue light filter.
Pros: Good battery life; Decent performance; Bright and colorful display; Great value Cons: Front camera could be better
This enhanced version of Lenovo's 10-inch tablet can be made more kid-friendly with Lenovo's $20 Kids Pack add on, which provides a bumper to protect it from drops and a kids mode to protect your child from the worst of the Internet. But why would you go for this larger, pricier version? Its battery lasted three hours longer than the 8-inch model's did.
Pros: Amazing battery life; Comfortable design; Decent performance; Solid speakers; Sharp cameras; Vivid display Cons: Running old Android 7.1; Some glare on screen; Below-average graphics performance
If you're struggling to decide between getting your child a tablet or a full-blown computer, Samsung has got you covered with its new Galaxy Tab S4. It can easily switch from tablet mode to a stationary little laptop accompanied by its own desktop mode, dubbed as "DeX" mode by Samsung. The only bummer is that you have to pay $150 extra for the Book Cover Keyboard, but the S Pen is included, so your kid can be as creative as they want with drawing.
Pros: Beautiful, bright display; Strong sound; Speedy performance; Productivity-first DeX mode; S Pen offers great tricks Cons: Cramped keyboard; No touchpad; DeX has room to improve
If you trust your kids not to wreck a tablet, it's hard to say no to the low-priced $50 Amazon Fire tablet. This 7-inch slate offers Amazon's solid parental controls, so you won't need to worry about Junior navigating to sites they shouldn't see. You're just not getting the rubber bumper, 2-year, no questions asked warranty or the year of FreeTime Unlimited books, videos, educational apps and games.
Pros: Great price; Solid build quality; Access to Amazon's content ecosystem Cons: Slow performance; Subpar battery life; Lock-screen ads
Acer's Chromebook Tab 10 is the first tablet to run Chrome OS. Made for the classroom, and priced to compete with the 2017 iPad ($329), it features a 9.7-inch, 2048 x 1536-pixel screen, runs on a OP1 CPU with 4GB of RAM and offers 32GB of storage. Includes a Wacom EMR stylus and it will eventually feature Google's Expeditions AR, a classroom learning tool.
It has some solid graphics that are able to handle games like PUBG, which is packed into a gorgeous cobalt-blue design. However, its battery life only lasted under 7 hours, it has a pair of quiet speakers and less-than-ideal performance.
New and Notable: New Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition
The newest Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is launching on October 4 with the same $129 price point as its predecessor. With the new tablet you don’t even need to tap the display to get Alexa to do your bidding, as Amazon is finally incorporating voice activation. Amazon is also introducing Spanish language content to their FreeTime Unlimited service, which means "kids can now enjoy over 1,000 books, movies, and apps in Spanish that include titles and characters like Sesamo, Dora, Diego, Frozen, and more."
While its upgradeable microSD storage is being upped from 256GB to 400GB, the RAM and internal storage are the same as the 7th generation. Amazon claims that the battery life will last 10 hours, which is a bit concerning because the previous generation was rated for 12 hours while only lasting 10:12 on our test.