Plenty of preloaded apps ; Great Kurio software; Fully functioning Android tablet
Lackluster display; Weak audio; Below-average battery life; Sluggish performance; No access to Google Play
The kid-friendly Kurio 7s tablet is packed full of educational apps, but suffers from a poor display and below-average battery life.
Want to get your kid a tablet that will last into his or her teens? Designed for children ages 3 and up, the $149 Kurio 7s is an update of Techno Source's 7-inch slate from last year and could almost pass for a grown-up tablet. With an abundance of kid-friendly apps and impressive parental controls, the Kurio 7s would seem to be a great pick for families. Unfortunately, the 7s still has plenty of room to grow.
The Kurio 7s comes with a bright blue silicone bumper, but remove it and you wouldn't think the tablet was designed for children. Other kid-friendly tablets such as the Fuhu Nabi 2 and the Oregon Scientific Meep come in bright, eye-popping colors and bulky child-safe designs, but the Kurio 7s itself is black with a bright blue logo on its back.
The Kurio's 7-inch screen is framed by a reflective black bezel flanked by two speakers. A 0.3-megapixel camera sits in the center above the screen, an improvement over last year's odd right-corner placement.
Measuring 7.8 x 5.0 x 0.49 inches, the Kurio 7s isn't the thinnest tablet around, but it's smaller and
The Kurio 7s' aqua removable bumper features a fun circle motif on its back. The soft, pliable case provides an easy grip and has slits that allow access to some of the ports under it. It was easy enough to press the volume rocker and power button through the bumper.
The right edges of the 7s' soft touch back are littered with small aqua labels for its host of ports: microUSB, microHDMI, a microSD Card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Also on its right edge are the tablet's mic and a hard reset button. A volume rocker and power button sit on the top of the 7s.
Display and Audio
The Kurio 7s' 1024 x 600 resolution is the same as the Nabi 2, and bests the Oregon Scientific Meep (800 x 400). Still, you can get a 1280 x 800-pixel screen from the ASUS MeMo Pad HD 7 for the same price as this slate. When we measured the brightness of its display, the Kurio 7s notched 221 lux, beating the Nabi 2 (162 lux) but falling behind the Meep (374 lux) and category average (363 lux).
The Kurio 7s' two stereo speakers were barely able to fill a small four-door sedan with Stan Lee's dramatic narration of "Avengers: Origins Assemble!" In a small, quiet meeting room, though, the Kurio 7s delivered loud, albeit tinny music via its front-facing speakers. We played "The Fox" by Ylvis and enjoyed the thumping electronic beats but wished the notes were fuller.
On Laptop's audio test, which involves playing a tone on the device on max volume and measuring it from 13 inches, the tablet registered 81 decibels, just shy of the 83 dB tablet category average. The Oregon Scientific Meep hit 80 dB.
Parents can create up to eight individual profiles; log in to one of these, and you are presented with a completely different interface. Gone is the standard Android shortcut bar and clock widget. Instead, the Kurio logo anchors the bottom of the screen, flanked by star and gear icons.
Tapping the star pulls out shortcuts to the Kurio store, gallery, camera, browser, music and reader apps. The gear icon brings up settings for the profile skin, avatar, Wi-Fi (which requires a parent's password), help and log out. On the home screen are all the apps the child has been authorized to use arranged in a 6 x 2 grid.
We created a profile for a hypothetical child named Esther. Kurio asked us for her name, gender and birthday before letting us select what kind of profile to set up. Kurio offered three preset profiles: Child with Web Access, Child without Web Access, and Educational profile -- but also let us define specific settings.
If you create a custom profile, you are first asked to choose the type of Internet access you want to allow: No Internet Access, Restrict Web Browsing to Specific Sites, Kurio Genius Filtering System or Full Internet access. These settings control the level of filters imposed on the browser in each profile.
Based on a range of ages, Kurio's Genius Filtering System has categorized more than 450 million websites based on their suitability for kids. On top of that, you can define Safe Lists and Block Lists to refine the system. Each profile can be protected by its own password or pin.
The default search engine in the browser was a crayon-skinned version of Google called KidRex. When we searched KidRex for One Direction, we saw results for the band's Twitter account and news on various adult-friendly sites, but if we clicked on the link to the group's Twitter account, the purple octopus appeared again. We also ran a search for "One Direction dong" and the engine refused to run that search, showing a similar warning saying that search was blocked.
More apps can be downloaded via Kurio's curated app store that can be accessed in both the parent and child profiles. The Kurio store's home page spotlights categories like Education, Entertainment, Games, Sports and Books & Comics. Apps can be filtered by age-appropriateness in two-year age intervals from 0-3 to 12+.
MORE: 25 Best Android Apps
Unfortunately, Google's Play store isn't available even in the grown-up account, and many popular apps, such as Facebook, Flipboard and Slacker, aren't in the Kurio store. This tablet is definitely not for parents.
With several other apps open (Gallery, Music, Camera, the App store, "Avengers" and Color The World), we encountered some lag when playing "Fruit Ninja." The game stalled for two seconds when we scored a two-hit combo and caused us to miss the next group of fruits. Gameplay was significantly smoother once we closed all other apps.
On Quadrant, the Kurio 7s' score of 1,802 was well below the tablet category average of 3,449 and the Fuhu Nabi 2's 3,964. It did score slightly better than the Meep (1,473).
It took the Kurio an achingly long 22 minutes and 1 second to transcode a 1080p video into 480p on VidTrim. That's more than twice as long as the tablet average of 10:44.
Graphics-wise, the 7s scored 7,167 on An3DBench, lower than the tablet average of 7,391 but slightly better than the Meep's 7,115.
VerdictFuhu Nabi 2, which is more responsive, provides two hours more battery life, and has a much greater app selection. Ultimately, the Kurio 7s is not much more than a curiosity.
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|CPU||dual-core 1GHz Allwinner A20|
|Storage Drive Size|
|Storage Drive Type|
|Graphics Chip||Mali 400 GPU|
|Front-Facing Camera Resolution||0.3|
|Card Reader Size||40GB|
|Warranty / Support||One year limited warranty|
|Size||7.87 x 5.0 x 0.49 inches|
|Weight||1.2 pounds with case; 13.9 oz without|