My list of considerations when purchasing a tablet for kid(s)
The following list is my summary of the factors that need to be understood when tablet shopping especially for kids’ tablets.
Home user tablets range in cost (as at July 2013) from about $50 to $1500, depending on brand and specifications.
Operating Systems for consumer tablets
Main alternatives are Apple and Android.
Apple iPad tablets are only made by the one company and they run a proprietary operating system called iOS. Software for these devices can only be downloaded from the iTunes App store which offers applications, games, music and videos. The official web browser is Safari and all devices come with a standard set of apps.
Android tablet computers are made by a large number of manufacturers. These devices all run some version of the Android operating system. Google develops and licences this system software. There is an official Google Play App Store for downloading applications, games, music and videos. The official web browser is Chrome and all devices come with a set of apps that will vary from one manufacturer to another.
Is the tablet well designed, made of durable material and built with care? Some devices have plastic frames, others have metal. Does it have a long enough power cord? Does the frame flex too much? Are all of the connectors for ports tight? That sort of thing.
Will it be easy to get accessories such as cases, spare batteries, replacement chargers etc for a device. The Apple market is very well catered for but coverage of the Android market is more patchy.
What is the screen resolution like? Once again, Apple devices are tied to strict standards, Android tablets range from superb to rubbish.
How much storage space does it have? How much RAM on board? Does it feature GPS, Bluetooth, a microSD card expansion slot? Front and/or back camera? What ports are available?
Battery life is dependent on the rating of the battery itself as well as how the device is used. Most people want bigger, more powerful batteries although for a kid’s tablet, shorter might be better to limit their THOAS (“Time Hunched Over A Screen”) in a given day.
Each of the points in this post are important in deciding what device to buy. I have only scratched the surface here. More details to come. The next series of posts will feature a dissection/explanation of the “Specs” table that appears in ads for tablets.