When I was young, all I had was a green-and-black-screened Game Boy. Kids today are different: they want a full-fledged tablet that can play games, watch videos, and read comic books. But that’s okay, because there are quite a few solid, affordable tablets designed just for kids.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to wade through all the garbage that’s out there. There are a lot of companies selling old, underpowered, or overly locked-down devices that just won’t cut it, so you have to be careful when shopping for your little one.
In most cases, it’s best to stick with the big names: the same brands you’d buy from if you were looking for a regular tablet. In fact, you could just buy them a normal Android tablet and use its built-in parental controls. But for this list, I’m going to look at mostly kid-focused tablets and a few full-featured slates for those that are a little more grown-up. Here are the best tablets for kids in AU.
1. Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition
Amazon is the biggest name in kid-friendly tablets today and it’s all thanks to its Fire HD Kids Edition line. This line of tablets is packed full of cartoons, games, children’s books, and plenty of other kid-friendly streaming media. Each Kids Edition tablets also come with a year’s subscription (normally $2.99 per month) to FreeTime Unlimited, which is basically Prime Video or Netflix for kids.
Although the Fire HD Kids Edition is available in a variety of sizes including a 7-, 8-, and 10-inch versions, we’ve chosen to focus on the 8-inch variant as it hits the best balance of screen size, features, and price. The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition comes sporting a 1,280 x 800 display, Dolby Atmos dual speakers, and a 10-hour battery. Lastly, they also come with a great two-year warranty for when your kid inevitably breaks something, even with its ultra-rugged the case.
2. Samsung Galaxy Tab E Lite
If you’re a fan of Samsung’s Galaxy phone and tablets, you might consider its $100 Galaxy Tab E Lite for Kids. It’s essentially the same as its Galaxy Tab E Lite—an affordable, lower-specced 7-inch tablet—with a bright case and a Samsung’s kid-friendly interface pre-installed. Like Amazon, it comes with a subscription to a kid-friendly content service, though Samsung only gives you three months of access for free, after which it’s $7.99 per month, which is much pricier than Amazon’s FreeTime.
If the 1.3GHz processor and 1GB of RAM aren’t enough for you, but you like Samsung’s kid-friendly interface, you can actually install Samsung’s Kids Mode on any of Samsung’s other tablets, like the superior Galaxy Tab S5e. You’ll get all the same parental controls for screen time and apps, on any device you want and it’ll also probably come with a newer version of Android than the 4.4 OS on the Galaxy Tab E Lite. Just make sure to grab a rugged case, too.
3. LeapFrog Epic
While the Amazon Fire Kids edition has educational content, it’s also a bit more of an open sandbox. If you’re looking for something a bit more strictly educational, LeapFrog’s Epic tablet comes pre-loaded with a bunch of educational apps, while still allowing parents to install certain apps from the Amazon Appstore (no Google Play, though).
The home screen is a bit less traditional, with a customizable scene containing colorful characters, which may appeal to younger kids. Like the other tablets on this list, it comes with a rubber bumper to protect the device from falls, and you can subscribe to LeapFrog Academy for even more content.
The LeapFrog Epic is similarly specced to the other tablets on this list—1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage—but it’s priced a bit lower, currently around $100 on Amazon. It also uses Android 4.4 as its OS, so make sure the apps you want to use are compatible with older versions of Google’s operating system.