Kids these days have all the luck. Kurio today (August 4) launched its Kurio Smart device, which it says is the first Windows tablet designed for kids aged 8 to 12. I was more impressed by the fact that the Smart is basically a mini Surface for an impressively low price of $199. I had a chance to play with the 9-inch hybrid before it goes on sale September 1 and, kid or not, I now want one for myself.
Kurio didn't skimp on the specs despite keeping the price tag low. Where other kid tablet makers have gone for cheaper, lower-power CPUs, Kurio armed its Smart with a quad-core Intel Bay Trail chip that should provide enough power for your child's favorite games or videos. The hybrid's 720p screen was bright and colorful in the dark showroom I was in, with vibrant and vivid Windows 8 tiles.
A huge draw for me with the Kurio Smart was its snappy keyboard. Offering more key travel (depth) than those on the Surface's Type Covers, the Smart's keyboard made for a very pleasant typing experience. Sure, the keys were a little cramped for an adult, since they're designed for a child's hands, but I have small fingers and only had an issue with the undersized Enter key. I also liked the touchpad on the dock.
Just like Windows tablets for grown-ups, the Kurio Smart comes with a one-year subscription to Office 365, so your child can do his or her homework without having to convert documents to another format. The Windows 10 version of the Smart will start shipping September 15; Windows 8 models will get an automatic update.
Equipped with a 0.3-megapixel front and 2-MP rear camera, the Smart is also ready for Skype calls. The cameras are also compatible with Kurio Motion, the company's gaming interface that uses a device's camera to detect your child's body movements, turning those into moves in a game. I watched, amused, as two children in the showroom tugged an imaginary rope in front of a Kurio tablet and their characters gained points onscreen.
I'm excited to see how well the Kurio Smart performs once we get one in for review, but honestly, I just want one to use on my couch for my Netflix binges and to reply to occasional Facebook messages or emails. And at $199, this mini Surface is a real steal.