Best Tablet for Kids of 2021
$62.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Basic and exceptional price, color choices||Kidoz app is entertaining, provides a variety of games, handle turns into a stand or can hang, boasts a thick case|
|Cons||Case could provide more protection, kid content should be more targeted to kids, battery life is not great||Resolution and battery life could be better|
|Bottom Line||A bare bones option with a thin case but highly affordable||Comes with a fantastic case and the Kidoz app is packed with content|
|Rating Categories||Contixo V8-2 Kids||Vankyo MatrixPad Z1...|
|Picture Quality (30%)|
|Access To Content (20%)|
|Battery Life (10%)|
|User Interface (10%)|
|Camera Quality (10%)|
|Specs||Contixo V8-2 Kids||Vankyo MatrixPad Z1...|
|Screen Size||7 in||7 in|
|Resolution||1024x600 HD||1024x600 HD|
|Storage||16 GB||32 GB|
|Extra||Micro SD slot for 128 GB expandable storage||Micro SD slot for 128 GB expandable storage|
|Content||Kids Place||Kidoz platform|
|Stated Battery Life||4 hrs||8 hrs|
|Tested Battery Life||3.7 hrs||3.3 hrs|
Best Overall Tablet for Kids
Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition
If you're looking for a tablet for kids that you can also enjoy yourself once they're tucked into bed, the Amazon Fire 10 is by far our favorite model. The 1080p full HD video playback makes cartoons and nature shows come alive. The screen resolution is amazing, with vivid colors and crisp audio quality. With up to 12.5 hours of continuous video streaming capability, it offers long battery life. It also has excellent storage capacity, holding hundreds of games and videos, making long road trips a little easier to manage. It comes with a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+ (FreeTime Unlimited), which includes a broad array of ad-free games and videos. The parental controls are highly customizable and accessible, allowing you to access them from your Amazon Parent Dashboard or the unit itself. If you feel like your child is watching too many videos, you can have them read for an hour before unlocking games or other non-educational content. Best of all, if you are concerned about placing an expensive piece of technology in a child's hands, know that this device comes with a sturdy protective case.
Although the case on the Amazon Fire 10 should help it withstand the occasional drop, it is quite bulky with an overall dimension of 11.5 inches wide, 8.1 inches in height, and 1.0 inches thick. It's not the easiest thing to hold while reading in bed, but the stand sets it up perfectly for watching videos. For kids accustomed to Apple or Android operating systems, it may take a bit more time to get used to. Also, the kid's edition version of the Fire 10 costs more than the regular one; however, it includes the case and a year of Amazon Kids+. Overall, this is our top recommendation and one we appreciate for its customization, storage, and durability.
Best Bang for the Buck
Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition
The Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition is not the least expensive model in this review, but it is a great value purchase. The screen is almost just as detailed and vivid as the Fire 10, and it comes with the same one-year Amazon Kids+ subscription. Some of the other 7 inch tablets cost a little less, but their picture quality and screen sensitivity are not nearly as good.
This unit may feel small if your child likes to watch many videos, but it's undoubtedly a good size for younger children who find the Fire 10 too big or cumbersome to handle. It is a little challenging to read some children's books on the smaller screen, and we often found ourselves zooming in and out a bit to see the text properly without squinting. The color choices for the cases are limited to blue, pink, and purple; a more gender-neutral array would be refreshing. Overall, there is not much else we don't like about the Fire 7, and we'd choose this model over any of the other 7 inch models. For those seeking a bargain, this is a great choice.
Best for Pre-School Kids, Age 3-6
Pritom Quad Core 7-Inch Kids
The Pritom Quad-Core 7-Inch Kids is a basic Android model (identical on the outside to the Dragon Touch Y88X Pro — even the cases are the same), but it comes with Pritom Kids, which is their proprietary children's app. This app is geared towards preschool-aged children and includes child-centered, independent learning units with plenty of 'ABC' activities. We like the parental controls on the app that lets you set screen time blocks with mandatory breaks in between, which is better for eye health, among other things. There are no extra subscription fees for content, and when your child outgrows what's already on the device, you can always access more content in Google Play Store.
The battery lasts for about 4.5 hours of continuous play, which is not too shabby, but it doesn't seem to hold a charge well. We charged it up, didn't use it, and within 24 hours, it was drained. The screen sensitivity and resolution don't compare to that of the Amazon Fire but are sufficient for the age group. Other models are geared towards younger kids, but they cost more and require a subscription to use them. The Pritom Quad-Core gives you similar content at a great price!
Best Pre-Loaded Content
Dragon Touch Y88X Pro 7-Inch
If your child is a fan of all things Disney, check out the Dragon Touch Y88X Pro. It comes with 18 ebooks and six audiobooks about popular Disney characters (mostly level 1-3 readers) and the KIDOZ app that has a lot of content. The device runs on the Android system, giving you full access to the Google Play Store. The case is a little less bulky than the Fire 7 but is still highly protective. There's a small stand on the back, which is helpful when propped up for hands-free viewing.
The viewing quality is not the best, and if you think you might occasionally watch a show with your child on their device, the small size will get annoying quickly. Overall, if you're looking for something inexpensive that you can put in the hands of a Disney fan, the Dragon Touch is one to check out.
Why You Should Trust Us
We've tested all manner of home and office equipment here at TechGearLab, and we applied our thorough testing standards to this category as well. To determine what makes for the best kid's tablet, we recruited a long-time Senior Editor Cam McKenzie Ring, who is a mother and a past educator. As a traveling mother of two, she has just the right blend of experience and expertise that we look for in our testers. She tested these devices with her kids and other families while at home and on long road trips around the country.
When we selected which models to test from the dozens of options out there, we purposefully chose those geared specifically towards children. This meant they needed to come with a protective case and have some kids-specific content available. Apple and Lenovo were amongst the well-known brands that were left out. While Cam looked at each model's technical ins and outs, her sons went to "work" playing games, watching videos, and navigating the various operating systems; their feedback was incorporated into the opinions expressed in this review. We also test the picture and camera quality while looking at how each store and packs away. We also look at options that offer a great value to help you keep your wallet heavy and spending light.
Analysis and Test Results
A tablet on a long road trip or flight can be a saving grace and an educational tool for your family. After testing each extensively with our testers, we rated each contender across specific metrics. These, we think, are the most important when considering what to buy. Specifically, picture quality, access to content, durability, battery life, user interface, and camera quality. We discuss these in-depth to help you determine which is best for your needs.
As with many electronic devices, you pay for what you get. Each user is also different and may be more interested in features only offered in a particular model. When considering all tested matrices, the Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition offers great all-around value for its price, although you could certainly find value in each product. Others may find the Dragon Touch Y88X Pro the best value option if they are seeking the preloaded Disney content. Included subscriptions, free-trial periods, and preloaded apps could be a big factor in value, so it is recommended to consider what content your user will most likely use when making a value-based decision.
Perhaps the most important quality you want in a tablet (for children or yourself) is a high-quality screen that is also responsive to touch. The Amazon Fire 10 has the best picture quality in this review. Animated movies are bright and detailed, and we feel like we are using today's technology and not something from 15 years ago.
The Fire 10 has a 1920 x 1200 Full HD screen (224 dpi). While it's not the highest resolution option out there (even the base iPad 7th gen is better with a 2160 x 1620 screen at 264 dpi), this seems more than sufficient for a kid's tablet than a discerning parent might occasionally watch as well.
If you're just looking at the specs, you might think that the Amazon Fire 7 would be equivalent to the Android models that all have 1024 x 600 screens, but the Fire 7's picture quality is still better, though not quite as good as the Fire 10. The Pritom and Dragon Touch often look washed out or out of focus.
Access to Content
One of the main selling points of these child-focused devices is that they come with age-specific content and/or give you access to that via a subscription app. As in the case of the Amazon Fire models, you pay more for the "kids" version, but it includes a year of their Amazon Kids+ app, which is the most comprehensive content platform in this review. You set your child's age and have access to a seemingly unlimited number of games and videos tailored to their age range, all for a small cost after the one-year trial ends.
If you already pay for Amazon Prime, Netflix, or other streaming apps, you may be reluctant to pay for yet another service, but in some instances, it may be worth it. While there is a lot on the Amazon Kids+ app, it didn't feel like we were getting much more than what is already available on Prime Video, and there are usually many children's books available in Prime Reading. The benefit of the subscription apps is that they usually include ad-free viewing and no in-app purchases, which we prefer for our child's development and our wallet.
We also liked the content on the KIDOZ app that is found on the Dragon Touch. It includes many free videos and games, but you have to hunt around in the settings and 'disable sponsored content' to get rid of the ads. The Dragon Touch comes with some free Disney early reader ebooks and audiobooks, which we found to be a nice bonus. Older testers (in the 9- to 11-year-old range) enjoyed free games on the Google Play Store.
The content on the Pritom Kids app is also geared towards a younger, pre-school crowd, but it is all free and requires no subscription.
There's nothing more nerve-wracking than putting an expensive device into a three-year-old's hands. Even an older child is likely to drop their tablet is high, so having a sturdy case is key.
One of the main characteristics that distinguish the models in this review from other non-kid tablets is the included case. We tested this by putting each tablet into the hands of a child and assessing the protective qualities of each.
The sturdiest and most protective cases are on the Amazon Fire 10 Kids and the Amazon Fire 7 Kids. These three cases are over an inch in width, with sturdy foam that wraps around the front edges of the unit. While you can't be sure of complete protection (if you were to hold it at an angle and smack it against a corner of a table, the screen would probably still crack), these cases should protect against most falls, even face-down ones.
For anyone heading on a long road trip without enough plug-in options in the car or plane, having enough battery life to last for at least a day-long trip is important.
If you plan on staying home or are around an outlet most of the day, this may not be an issue, but let's be honest. Nobody wants to have their tablet plugged in all the time. As such, we think it's important to compare battery life across the board.
We tested each battery by running videos continuously to see how long they would last with sustained use. Long weekend family road trips or given the current norms of children and families being at home more, your kids might "plug in" and not surface for hours. The Amazon Fire 10 had the longest battery life in our tests lasting 12.5 hours, and the Fire 7 for almost ten hours, exceeding the manufacturer's stated battery life listed as seven hours. The Dragon Touch and Pritom models didn't fare as well, lasting around only four hours, give or take.
For this metric, we looked at how easy it is to navigate the system in general and how customizable the parental controls are. Digital devices are a largely unavoidable part of our current lives, and developing good habits early on is key to keeping kids active between media breaks.
A pre-set time limit can also take some of the difficulty and constant pressure out of enforcing it — the device just shuts off when they've reached the limit! While the overall operating system on the Amazon Fire 10 and 7 is not our kids' favorite, the parental controls are. We can set limits for the total time used daily and the time of day, and then also "insist" that they read or listen to a book before they've "earned" access to unlock the "fun" stuff.
We like the setup on the Pritom Quad-Core, which recommends blocks of break time in between use.
The controls for the KIDOZ app on the Dragon Touch are not as fancy as some others — you can only set a daily limit and hours of operation, and when we first started playing games on them, we were regularly interrupted with ads. It turns out there is a disable sponsored content feature, and once we clicked that, the ads went away, but it seems strange that this is not a standard-setting.
For years, tablets have notoriously had low-resolution cameras, and the latest crop of models is no exception. The standard currently seems to be around the two megapixels (MP) mark, which, when compared to the 12 megapixel (and up) cameras found on most smartphones today, is laughable in its quality. It seems as though manufacturers are assuming that the most you'll be doing with your device is a video call with the camera facing out, and for that, a two MP usually suffices.
The Amazon Fire 10 and Fire 7 took slightly better photos than the Pritom model, although all had two MP cameras. The Dragon Touch had the worst quality images and created only dark and blurry images.
This testing metric also allowed us to see how easy it is to get content off the devices and compare the photos' resolution. The Fire 7 and 10 models can share directly to the Amazon Photos feature, via Bluetooth to another device, or via email. The Android models all have easy options to either share with your Google Drive or via email.
Finding a tablet that can stand up to the regular use of a child while offering excellent screen quality and features can be a daunting task. You don't want the device to easily break, and you also don't want to spend an arm and a leg. Luckily, we've done the research after purchasing and using each option side-by-side. We hope our research will help you gain confidence in your next purchase.
— Cam McKenzie Ring
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