So you have decided to buy a tablet? Which one? You may have noticed that the most commonly discussed tablets on our website are those that are made by Apple and have access to the Apple App Store for downloading apps or those that have access to the Google Play store for downloading apps. There are other tablets out there, however, that sometimes have pre-installed apps or have their own “store” for downloading apps on the tablet.
Here are some of the features you might look for when deciding which tablet to purchase:
- Parental controls– These allow parents or caregivers to protect the user by controlling content and apps that are allowed as well as setting screen time limits, and more.
- Protective case either included or available to be purchased separately- Mobile devices are expensive, protect that investment!
- Number of Apps Available– Tablets that have access to the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, or have their own “store” for downloading apps will allow you or the user to continually add new games, books, etc. whereas users may grow bored more quickly with those that only have pre-installed apps and games.
- Cost– Tablet prices can range anywhere from around $70- $1000+. It is important to take the cost into consideration along with the availability of features mentioned above. For example, you might see the value in spending more money if a tablet has access to a variety of apps that can grow with the user rather than one with limited apps and no ability to add more.
The iPad seems to be the most recognizable tablet computer out there and was one of the first to gain popularity and change our idea of how a “computer” looks and what it can do. Put simply, an iPad is a flat, rectangle-shaped computer that is less than half an inch thick, hence the common name these computers have been given, a “tablet”, and has one surface that is a glass touch screen. It has access to the App Store where users can download the apps (applications) that they want, including games, social media, movie streaming services, etc. The iPad comes in a variety of storage amounts so that you can purchase based on your storage needs. Want to download a lot of movies or videos? Then more storage is required. If you are just playing games or streaming movies or videos online, not as much storage space is needed. The iPad has many built-in parental controls, some of which we detail in this helpful video. The iPad also includes all of the Apple Accessibility Features that they have developed over the years, including VoiceOver, enlarged text, and much more. When you decide to purchase an iPad, there are several versions or types that you can purchase, again dependent upon your need. The most popular version currently is the iPad 10.2. It comes in 3 different colors and 2 different storage size options (32GB or 128GB). Visit the Apple Store to learn more about and purchase an iPad.
Samsung Galaxy Tab
We’re going to use the Galaxy Tab S7 for a quick overview of Android-based tablets. The Galaxy Tab S7 is a flat, rectangle-shaped computer that is less than half an inch thick and has one surface that is a glass touch screen, much like the iPad. Android-based tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, are pre-loaded with several apps, but also have access to the Google Play Store, where users can download the apps (applications) that they want, including games, social media, movie streaming services, etc. The Galaxy Tab comes in a variety of storage amounts so that you can purchase based on your storage needs. Want to download a lot of movies or videos? Then more storage is required. If you are just playing games or streaming movies or videos online, not as much storage space is needed. Samsung products also have accessibility features, which you can read more about here: Android Accessibility Features and parental controls which are available through the Family Link app. The Galaxy Tab S7 is currently available in 4 different colors with an interchangeable microSD slot for storage up to 1TB of storage! Visit Samsung’s website to learn more and to purchase.
Other Tablet Options
What if I want a more affordable option or one that is specifically designed for children? Many tablet companies offer “kid-friendly” options that allow parents to more easily restrict content, may be focused solely on learning activities, or might just be a dedicated reading device. Some of these come with only pre-installed apps, some have their own “store” for downloading apps, and some are Android based and allow users to access the Google Play store to download apps. Here we explore some of those options. One may be just the right fit for your loved one and your wallet!
Amazon Kindle and Fire Tablets
First of all, it is important to understand the difference between the two types of tablets that Amazon offers. Fire tablets have access to the Amazon App Store so that you can download apps of all kinds: games, social media, movie streaming, video calling, and more. Kindle tablets are dedicated e-book devices and are able to hold hundreds of e-books. The Kindle is a great option for someone who loves to read and doesn’t want to be interrupted by the notifications of email or games while enjoying a book. They are also a great option for parents who want their children to have a way to enjoy books without worrying that they will be interrupted by chirps and dings from other apps. Amazon also makes “kids” versions of their devices with protective cases and the ability for parents to easily monitor and limit the content their children are exposed to as well as the amount of screen time they have each day. Check out the Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet for an entertainment tablet or the Kindle Kids Edition for a dedicated reading tablet. The Fire 7 Tablet is a popular choice for adults of all ages and comes at a more affordable price than an iPad or some of the Samsung tablets. You can read more about the whole “family” of Fire Tablets here and Kindle Tablets here.
VANKYO MatrixPad Kids Tablet
The VANKYO MatrixPad Kids Tablet is a great tablet for kids that also happens to be COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule) compliant. You can read more about this rule and how it protects children here. This nifty little tablet comes with a shock-resistant case with a built-in stand, Eye-Health mode which filters blue light, and even supports 38 languages! It seems the developers of the VANKYO were very intentional about protecting and supporting all children. VANKYO tablets are Android based and have access to the Google Play Store for downloading apps, however the tablets do come pre-loaded with age-appropriate games, videos, e-books, and more. They also have an expandable storage space so that you can store even more videos and e-books to be available to your child no matter where they are using the tablet. You can find a complete list of the tablets offered by VANKYO and make purchases on their website and they are also available on the VANKYO Amazon store here. At the time of this writing, the tablets cost around $85.
Pritom Kids Tablet
The Pritom Kids Tablet K7 is an Android-based tablet that is recommended for ages 2-12 by the manufacturer and comes with an impact-resistant silicone case with a built-in stand. This kid-friendly tablet boast parent controls including child locks, game time limits, content management and more. It comes pre-loaded with the iWawa Kid’s parent control software and learning and game apps, however also has access to the Google Play store for downloading more apps and games with parent permission. The tablets are available from the Pritom website, where you can also see a full list of their products for all ages, and are available on the Pritom Amazon Store. At the time of this writing, the purchase price is around $70.
GrandPad by Consumer Cellular
The GrandPad is a unique tablet created by Consumer Cellular that is geared specifically towards older adults. The tablet is managed by the admin (the family member or caregiver that purchases the tablet) either through a web-based portal or a smartphone app where the user’s contacts, Internet access, music, apps and more can be personalized and monitored. The tablet features a display with larger icons and fonts as well as less distractions by limiting the number of apps on the screen. The tablet also comes with a charging cradle, which prevents struggling with plugging a small cord into a tiny port to charge, as well as a stylus and protective cover. As of the time of this writing, Consumer Cellular has a new version of the GrandPad, the ConnectPad, in the works and we are so excited for its release! Get a sneak peak at this new tablet’s capabilities here: ConnectPad How To Videos and Manuals.