How do I choose a children’s tablet? Our ultimate Guide!

“Children’s tablet.” That’s an expression that means everything and nothing at the same time. From the vaguely elaborate plastic toy to the sophisticated touch pad with a child-friendly interface, there are many different products behind this fashionable term.

TOY 'TABLETS': FROM $90 TO $130

In the toy kingdom, they’re very elaborate. They are multimedia devices that make it possible to play, read stories, with an educational dimension. Most also include one or even two cameras (one on each side). But their components are very basic (screen 480 × 272 pixels, 1.3 or 2 Mpixel camera, 550 MHz processor maximum). Some models still include a memory card port to expand internal storage, usually limited to 2 or 4 GB.

They are robust, often with shockproof silicone corners. A sign that we are talking about toys: most of them work with batteries (although there are some models with rechargeable batteries).

No need for parental control, these products do not allow you to browse the Internet. They offer several types of content, adapted to the age group targeted by the tablet: games, educational games, videos, cartoons, stories in the form of ebooks, songs… To add them, it is necessary to connect the device to a computer on which will have been previously installed software acting as a shop of games and other applications (free or paying, from 2,90 to $25 for games or applications under license). LeapFrog and Vtech are the two main manufacturers. Their models are also compatible with game cartridges (sold separately, of course) to insert directly into the tablet.

REAL 'CHILDREN' S TABLETS': FROM 85 TO $260 FOR CHILDREN

Many manufacturers offer real tablets designed specifically for children. Their screen remains of modest quality (generally 800 × 400 pixels; 1024 × 800 pixels in the best of cases), and it is notably by saving on this component that manufacturers maintain sales prices around $120. For the rest, their technical characteristics are not ridiculous. They incorporate a correct processor (from 1 to 1.6 GHz), sometimes a dedicated graphics card (which optimizes the display). They are powered by rechargeable batteries. Their internal memory is limited (4 or 8 GB), but a micro-SD expansion port allows for extended storage. They also work with Android (4.0 or higher), Google’s operating system (the most popular internal software). Manufacturers have all added a specially designed interface for children, with large colour icons. Note that on some models, it is possible to go back to the classic Android interface, which is found in “adult” tablets. This can be an interesting possibility for the tablet to serve the whole family.

In addition to the dedicated content pre-installed in the tablet, there again adapted according to several age groups, you can access online application shops. Most of the time, these are manufacturer-specific shops (Lexibook Market, Apps Lib at Archos, Kids Market at Videojet, etc.), but sometimes the Google Play Store is also integrated. Thousands of applications for children are listed.

These tablets also provide access to the Internet. But rest assured, an efficient and easily configurable parental control is always available. Parents can, for example, limit or prohibit access to the browser and/or the application shop, define time slots, which can be adjusted according to several user accounts (one for each child).

These tablets are sturdy, their plastic tablet is generally shock-resistant. Some manufacturers were careful not to cover the back too much, so that they could sell protective covers!