A couple days ago my cousin wrote me a message asking for advice on buying her son a tablet computer. This is a common question I get when I am talking with friends, family, and co-workers. Below is her message, and then my answer. This will become obsolete sometime, so keep that in mind.
Hey Rich I am thinking about buying a tablet for Michael for his birthday and I was wondering what your thought is about them and if you have a suggestion on what tablets are good. I was looking at the Tabeo 7 inch sold by Toys R Us for kids but I am not sure if there is a better one out there for kids. I would like to not spend more then $150 or do you think that I should wait and spend more money on one so that it will last awhile. I didn’t know if there was a way to put apps on them so that he could write reports on it and send to wifi printer his birthday is not till may so if there is anything that you can suggest I would appreciate it
(Now my response)
I did some digging. The Tabeo is the same as the Archos 7-inch Child Pad, but more expensive. The Archos is $130. Neither got good reviews. That being said, take reviews with a grain of salt. If you can get your hands on one, you can evaluate it yourself.
What I see as being the problem with them is they are already older devices. That means you will need to replace it sooner. Think of it as a total cost of ownership. If you buy something that needs to be replaced sooner, is actually more expensive than spending a couple bucks more and not needing to replace it for a while longer.
I don’t think you need to worry about getting a tablet that is geared for a child. I watch Spencer (who is turning 5) using an iPad just fine. He knows how to get to the apps that he likes and watches movies and plays games. He isn’t doing anything too complicated, but he can grow into it. What John did was to have a hand-me-down old iPad shared between his boys.
Take a look at the Nexus 7. It is $199. It is one of the most up to date Android tablets out there.http://www.google.com/nexus/7/
There are apps to print from a tablet, but I don’t think a tablet is a great device for writing on. Tablets are a great consumption device. They are great for watching movies, reading, checking email, games, and some unique apps. I have a troublesome time writing anything of length on a tablet. Word processing is still the preferred way to create documents.
Another thought: I am researching the Chrome Books and thinking of getting one for myself. I have been happy with my tablet, but finding there are limitations. The Chrome Book is not a full blown laptop, but it does most of what I want. (Of course my geeky needs are different than other people’s needs) I can surf, check email, watch videos, and create documents on a real keyboard.
More later. I got to get back to work.