Typically less expensive than smartphones and lighter than laptops, tablets are a popular choice for a child’s first electronic device. With kid-friendly apps, video functionality, intuitive tap-and-swipe navigation and easily programmed security controls, tablets provide a wealth of educational, family-appropriate content and—when necessary—calming, car-quieting distraction.
And unlike some other lower-tech options, tablets grow with young users, with tweens and teenagers finding new purposes for their devices as they mature—from drawing to reading to gaming.
These three tablets, available from Verizon, have the love of the tech press and the power and versatility to entertain and educate children of all ages.
Available exclusively at Verizon, the GizmoTab is a fully functional Android tablet that runs on America’s fastest and most reliable 4G LTE network. That means internet access virtually anywhere, from the back seat to the kitchen table. CNET likes the gamified interface and 300 curated apps—focusing on counting, pattern recognition, numbers, spelling and other skills. “It’s what a tablet experience would feel like if everything was turned into a game,” the reviewer writes. “Your child’s character has to go to the school in a 3D town to get to educational apps and books, or warp over to the arcade to play minigames.”
For peace of mind, parents also can set time limits and monitor which apps are being used the most. And even those functions can be gamified, as PCMag.com points out: “if your child completes certain educational games,” the editors note, “you can reward them by increasing how long they’re permitted to play.” The site calls the GizmoTab a “solid choice” for a tablet that kids can use anywhere.
And that solidity comes right through in build quality, too. The eight-inch full HD display is protected by a rubber bumper—because it’s not a question of if your child will drop the tablet but when.
For lovers of the Apple ecosystem who want a high-performance tablet for older kids, it’s hard to go wrong with the iPad. Consider the Mini 4 for its more compact size and portability, or take the advice of Digital Trends, who calls the iPad 9.7 the best tablet for teens, one “with no weaknesses and … everything your teen needs to work and play,” including stellar battery life, a quality camera and a library of age-appropriate apps.
What’s more, the Family Sharing function allows up to five people to access app purchases, iTunes downloads and communal calendars. The function also contains parental controls that CNET calls “fast to set up, easy to maintain and simple to edit if you ever feel like changes need to be made.” And although sold separately, latest-generation iPads support the Apple Pencil, which allows users to write notes, doodle designs or paint watercolors with pixel-perfect precision. Digital Trends calls the accessory “ideal for the budding artist in your life.”
Samsung Galaxy Tab E
At just over eight inches, the Samsung Galaxy Tab E is small enough to be portable but substantial enough to watch or read when the family gathers. A free Galaxy Essentials app provides access to Kids Mode, an age-appropriate area for art projects, playing games and listening to music. Plus, as The Mama Maven points out, “new content is added weekly so kids stay engaged.”
Like some of its peers, the Tab E has parental controls for blocking unsuitable content and setting time limits, but unlike some less robust options out there, it also has 32GB of memory, a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor and 1.5GB of RAM, so parents can actually put it to work—or play—when the kids’ time is over. Says Tech Radar, “You’re looking at a device that should be able to easily cope with everyday tasks, from running games and playing films to browsing the internet and opening documents.” There’s also a split-screen mode, enabling the use of two apps at once—perhaps the ultimate in family technology sharing.
Learn more about all the compact and powerful tablets available from Verizon, and be sure to visit our Back to School page today.