Choosing a tablet that is safe for your child to use can be a tricky business. Yes, most have security settings and filters, but how can you be sure that the apps and websites your little one has access to are appropriate for their age?
The best solution for this quandary is to look at models designed specifically for children. Kurios is a company that offers such a thing, with its new Tab Advance vying to take on the heavyweights of the Amazon Fire Kids Edition, Apple iPad Mini 4, or the various options offered by Leapfrog.
To help you make the most informed choice, you should also take a look at our Best tablet for kids roundup.
Kurio Tab Advance: Price
You can pick up the Kurios Tab Advance for under a hundred pounds from a number of high-street and online retailers. At the time of writing it was available for £89.99 from Argos, Amazon, and Smyths Toys.
It comes in two colours -Pink or Blue- with 16GB of storage, but this is expandable by an additional 32GB via its microSD slot.
Design & Build
Like many kids’ tablets, the Kurio Advance has a 7in display. It improves on the Tab 2 by using an IPS screen rather than TN. That means colours don’t change horribly when you view it from an angle.
It’s hardly impressive though: Amazon’s £49.99 Fire 7 has offered this tech for a couple of years. Resolution is also the same as before at 1024×600: the Fire 8 HD Kids tablet has a better (and bigger) 8in 1280×800 screen.
Ok, so at normal price that costs £129.99, but the standard version of it costs £79.99 and the Kids Edition is on sale from time to time at £89.99.
Ports are at a minimum, with just a headphone jack and Micro USB, but once you remove the chunky, rubber protective case you’ll also find a hidden aperture for a microSD card.
In the hand, the Advance is comfortable to hold thanks to its svelte 189.2 x 107.6 x 9.15mm dimensions, and the 250g weight means that little arms shouldn’t tire too quickly – it’s half the weight of the Tab 2.
The cameras haven’t been upgrade so you get a 2Mp main shooter at the rear, accompanied by 0.3Mp selfie one in the front. You won’t be framing any of the images taken on the device, but they allow kids to enjoy making simple videos or dabble in photography.
It’s a pleasant package, with the bright blue or pink, rubber protective shell not only looking attractive, but also reassuring parents that any small drops should be survivable.
As this is a budget tablet you shouldn’t expect lightning performance. The core hardware is basically the same as the Tab 2 and Fire 7: a 1.3GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM handle most things perfectly fine, but we did encounter some frame-rate issues in fast-moving games, although nothing that made them unplayable.
More of an annoyance was the unresponsiveness of certain touch targets, making it hard to tap to close windows or select certain options as the screen just didn’t register our finger.
On several occasions, the short delay after pressing the power button would mean that we’d press it again, only to see the screen turn on then back off again. This happened more than we’d like, and maybe suggests that the rubber case is there to protect the Advance from being hurled across the room in frustration.
For most tasks, especially games and watching YouTube Kids, it’s a perfectly decent little device. Just don’t set your sights too high, and you won’t be disappointed.
Battery life is acceptable rather than amazing, with our HD streamin video test sapping all the power in just over four hours. More sporadic use will obviously stretch things out a bit longer.
While it’s perfectly possible to use the Kurio as a standard, budget Android tablet, the whole idea is that kids use the dedicated interface designed for them.
Once a parent sets up their own account they can then tap on the Kurio Genius Parental Controls icon to create a profile for their young one. The Advance allows up to eight profiles, so the tablet can be shared by all the family.
The apps available to the youngster are determined by their age, with the Genius algorithms tailoring the experience quite well. Of course, you can still deny access to anything you’d rather not have them use, thanks to the App Management section.
In here you can see all of the apps that have also been restricted, and choose whether to allow them or not. It’s an easy to use system, that gives parents a quick way to get the tablet up and running while also knowing exactly what their little one will be using.
Alongside choosing which apps are available, there’s also the facility to say when the tablet can be used and for how long. The Time Control section has a simple layout where you can either select a global setting for the week, or tailor it on a day by day basis. This is handy if you don’t want your young ones playing on the tablet before school, but are happy to let them relax with it on a Saturday morning.
These can also be temporarily extended for 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes without altering the overall settings. Handy if you’re in the car, or on the bus and your child wants to finish the current level of Subway Surfer before they get home.
Kurio includes a browser, as you’d expect, but implements a filtering system that locks out any sites that appear to include adult related content – these include not just graphic images, but also social media, and adult language.
Each new tab starts with the child friendly KidRex search page, and even when we navigated to the Google Search page instead and looked for inappropriate content (“No dear, I’m working!”) the filter system caught pretty much everything.
As with any product with a screen that connects to the internet, our advice is that you don’t leave your child alone browsing the internet, but at least with the Kurio there is a decent level of protection.
The apps themselves are a good mix of games, video streaming, educationally focussed, and creativity programs. More can be downloaded from the included Kidoz app store, which has a large selection, all of which eschew in-app purchases.
If you can’t find everything you want then there’s the option to enable the Google Play Store, although you’ll need to police that yourself.
One unique feature to the platform is the Kurio Premium Content section, which provides educational and STEM related apps on a weekly basis. This means that kids will have something new to keep them occupied every few days, and hopefully stimulate their brains.
For the first year the service is free, but after that you’ll need to sign up to a subscription. We couldn’t find a price for Premium, but as it’s a year until you’d need to start paying, it would be a better idea to enquire closer to the time.
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