Best tablets for kids 2016

Every kid wants a tablet. But deciding to invest in a tablet for your child is a big step, and there are a number of qualities to consider: price, parental controls, and perhaps most importantly, durability. Therefore, the top pick is the Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition. It's what I bought for my kids.

Our pick

Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition

A kids tablet almost impossible to beat

The only tablet that offers a 2-year, no-questions-asked warranty is Amazon's. If the unthinkable happens to the Fire 7 Kids Edition, or if you know your kids tend to be hard on their toys, peace of mind is included in the price of the product. Running the mature and fast Fire OS, the only thing missing is Google's services, but Amazon's Appstore is stocked with lots of apps and games.

Who should buy the Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition?

The Fire 7 Kids Edition is a great choice for kids of all ages. It comes with a ridiculously tough case, a great warranty, and superb parental controls. If your child is a little older, just pop the case off and their Fire 7 looks just like yours.

It comes with one year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which allows your child to access over 10,000 apps, games, shows, movies, and books, all kid-tested and parent-approved. Parent mode, which is accessed with a password, gives you the opportunity to share media that your kids need your permission to get into. It also helps keep little fingers away from your Amazon account, which is pretty important.

Additionally the Fire Kids Edition now comes in an 8-inch and 10-inch version for $130 and $200 respectively if you're looking for something a little bigger.

Is it a good time to buy this tablet?

The price is pretty constant being an Amazon first-party product, but there are frequent deals. It's been over a year since the last update, but even then it was a very modest one that only tweaked a few small areas. There's nothing to suggest a replacement is imminent, but even then, it's unlikely there would be a massive change.

Reasons to buy

  • Great warranty
  • Tons of child-friendly content
  • Excellent parental controls
  • Well priced

Reasons not to buy

  • Battery life on the low side
  • A lot of reflection from the screen

Everything you want from a tablet for your kids

The only thing the Fire 7 is missing is the Google Play Store. While that might be offputting to some adult buyers, for children it's not really an issue, especially not when Amazon does such a great job at providing and curating content that your little ones will enjoy.

Specifically, though, the Kids Edition has perks over the regular Fire 7 that make it worth the extra money. The included case is absurdly thick and just bounces when the tablet (inevitably) hits the deck.

But it's not just that, Amazon has a pretty bulletproof 2-year warranty where you can claim a replacement if the worst happens, and Amazon Freetime Unlimited for a year is a handy bonus.

Amazon's parental controls are also particularly strong. The kids can have a completely walled experience, siloed off from the main tablet where you, the parent, would have to share content that isn't already curated for young eyes.

It's a tablet you can genuinely just hand to your child without having to worry about them breaking it, or what they're doing with it.

Alternatives to the Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition

While it's hard not to recommend the Fire 7 Kids Edition, there are other great options out there for more specific requirements.

Runner-up

Galaxy Tab A 8-inch

Samsung has a pretty great kids mode

Samsung has stuck with its tablet line and the Galaxy Tab A 8-inch looks good, is well made, and offers a slightly more premium experience for adults and youngsters alike.

You get 16GB of internal storage, great battery life, a nice display, and most importantly, Samsung's kid's mode, which is pretty good. It's not quite as far-reaching as Amazon's, but it's nice to use and has all the parental controls you need to make sure those little fingers aren't doing something they shouldn't be.

Budget pick

Dragon Touch Y88X

Google Play-enabled kids tablet

The Dragon Touch tablet runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow with a heavily customized user interface that's designed to be super kid-friendly and is pre-loaded Disney content worth $80. The Y88X includes 20 books and 4 audiobooks for your kids to enjoy at no extra cost.

It comes with Kidoz, Dragon Touch's parental control software, which also helps customize content recommendations specific to your child. Besides a chunky protective case, the Y88X has a nice 1024x600 resolution 7-inch display. The stand on the case adjusts so you can prop it up to watch a video or rest it at a comfortable angle for little fingers to poke at it. It's also available in four colors.

The bottom line

No one knows your child like you do. You are the best predictor of what your child is going to enjoy and get the most use out of. You're also the one with the wallet.

But it's tough to look too far beyond the Amazon Fire Kids Edition. Amazon's no-quibble warranty and the sheer amount of content available for the young ones makes it hard to top. All of these are good, though, so you're sure to be getting a great tablet for your kids with any of these.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Richard Devine is a Reviews Editor at Mobile Nations with a long history in Android. You'll usually find him deep in hardware, gaming, both, or drinking root beer for which he openly has a mild addiction.

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