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10 best kids' tablets: What's the best tablet for children?

We test, rank and rate the 10 best children's tablets

Technology manufacturers were quick to realise that kids love to play and interact with tablet PCs. So much so, several tech firms have started making their own dedicated children's tablets.

Here's where we review and rank the 10 best children's tablets available to buy in the UK in 2014. Leapfrog has also announced new LeapPad tablets: the LeapPad 3 and LeapPad Ultra XDi.

We've included the iPad mini (the larger iPad can be too large for small hands) and an Android tablet because these will better suit older children. The 2013 Amazon Kindle Fire HD is here because a recent update adds a locked-down kids' mode, and it supports multiple profiles.

We think kids aged over 7 would probably prefer an "adult" tablet, but do remember to install proper parental controls to restrict the Internet's multitude of inappropriate content. See also: 28 best tablets you can buy in 2014.

10 best children's tablets: What's the best tablet for kids?

10. Kurio 7

  • Reviewed on: 14 September 12
  • RRP: £150 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 5 out of 10

The Kurio 7 has a decent interface for kids, and some good pre-loaded content. Its content filters are some of the best we've seen and don't require a paid subscription. However, the hardware is disappointing: a low-resolution, occasionally unresponsive screen with poor viewing angles, mediocre battery life and a slow processor that can't even handle websites such as Google Maps. The concept is good and, had the hardware been up to scratch, we'd have liked the Kurio 7 a whole lot more. As it is, it fails to live up to its 'ultimate' description and you're better off buying a Google Nexus 7, a protective case and installing a child-friendly web browser and the Kid Mode app.

9. Arnova ChildPad

  • Reviewed on: 6 July 12
  • RRP: £99 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 5 out of 10

The ChildPad looks the part but we can’t recommend it to parents because of its sub-standard games and fiddly interface. The range of games and learning apps on the Leapfrog LeapPad and VTech InnoTab are superior to these Android offerings, although they pale into insignificance compared to those on offer on more expensive iOS devices. Given a better interface and much-improved apps and games, plus the promised more secure parental controls the ChildPad would be compelling. Currently, it’s just not good enough.

8. Tesco Hudl

  • Reviewed on: 10 February 14
  • RRP: £119 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The Tesco Hudl is a budget tablet with a nice design and good build quality. Key specifications are better than the price tag suggests such as the processor and good quality 7 in screen. A microSD card slot and Micro-HDMI port are two reasons to opt for the Hudl over Google and Amazon alternatives.

7. Apple iPad mini

  • Reviewed on: 24 June 13
  • RRP: Wi-Fi: £269 (16GB), £349 (32GB), £429 (64GB)
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The iPad mini is a premium small tablet, with a price to match. It's a shame Apple couldn't have included a Retina screen and newer processor - expect the iPad mini 2 to get those updates when it launches later this year. This Wi-Fi only model also lacks GPS. It's not cheap by any stretch, especially if you want more storage spare or the 3G/4G cellular version, but it's great value compared to a full-size iPad. You can save a chunk by buying a Nexus 7, Nook HD or Kindle Fire HD, but if you must have an iDevice, it won't disappoint.

6. Leapfrog LeapPad2 Explorer

  • Reviewed on: 23 August 12
  • RRP: £89.99 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

We loved the original Leapfrog LeapPad Explorer tablet for kids, and the LeapPad2 is a great update – with improved hardware and a bunch of new games and educational and creative apps. It's not a toy, it's a proper little tablet that boasts access to over 300 apps. Although a lot less sophisticated than an iPad children didn’t seem to compare it badly, seeing it as another type of gadget altogether. It’s a better size for children than the iPad, and while the games and apps aren’t as slick they capture the child’s imagination just as well. Cheaper and more robust than adult tablets the LeapPad 2 is a definite hit with younger kids (aged 3-7).

5. LeapPad Ultra

  • Reviewed on: 26 June 13
  • RRP: £119.99 inc. VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

While the LeapPad 2 improved on the original LeapPad, the LeapPad Ultra marks a bigger step forward with its larger 7-inch swipe screen, wi-fi, child-safe web browsing and peer-to-peer gaming. The faster processor, doubled storage and built-in rechargeable battery only go to make it even better. Our child testers (aged 3-7) loved the Ultra, and enjoyed playing with the cameras and chatting with other nearby LeapPad users on apps such as Pet Chat. It's not cheap but it's much less expensive than most adult tablets and has great educational value, too. The child-safe Internet is also going to reassure parents.

4. Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids

  • Reviewed on: 20 December 13
  • RRP: £199 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

This is one of the better kids’ Android tablets we’ve seen but with a street price of £150, it’s not cheap. Yes, you get Android Jelly Bean and access to Google Play, but the sluggish performance and poor cameras combine with the missing user profiles and imperfect screen-time management to outweigh those advantages. The new Kindle Fire HD costs £119 (or £139 if you want 16GB of storage) and has a much better kids’ mode with user profiles and great screen-time management. The price doesn’t include a child-friendly case, but these are sure to appear now that the FreeTime feature has been added.

3. nabi 2

  • Reviewed on: 26 February 14
  • RRP: £150 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

It's not without its faults, but the nabi 2 is currently one of the best Android kids' tablets around. It's rugged and has an easy-to-use kids' interface. You're unlikely to want to use it yourself, but it does allow you to use the full Android interface, and now has Jelly Bean and access to the Google Play store and Google apps.

2. Kurio 10S

  • Reviewed on: 16 September 14
  • RRP: £200 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

The Kurio 10S has reasonably good child-friendly software and decent parental controls. A year on from our original review, the addition of Google Play and other Google apps is a major bonus and means you're not limited to the Kurio store. Keeping Wi-Fi turned off improves battery life, and at the current discounted prices, it's not a bad deal at all.

1. Amazon Kindle Fire HD (2013)

  • Reviewed on: 20 December 13
  • RRP: £119 inc VAT (8GB), £139 inc VAT (16GB)
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

Since we initially reviewed the Fire HD, Amazon released an update which adds a new feature: FreeTime. this turns the Kindle into a great tablet for kids, allowing you to create separate user profiles and limit screen time. Usefully, you can set different limits for reading and everything else, so kids can't sit there playing games all day long.

If you can live with the limited amount of storage in the 8GB model, the £119 price makes this a great choice over virtually all other dedicated children's tablets.

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