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Tablet computers for kids

December 12, 2011 8:11:43 PM PST
Tablets are really hot this holiday season, and plenty of new ones are just out. There are also a bunch of tablets made just for kids. Consumer Reports just sized up ones from Fisher-Price, LeapFrog, VTech and Vinci.

They mimic tablet computers, but they don't have nearly as many features. They also don't have access to the Internet. That's a good thing because they're for such young children. But parents will have to help download content.

More than a dozen kids checked out the tablets by using them to read books, take pictures, and play for several days. And back in the lab, testers measured battery life and evaluated display quality and how easy a tablet is to use.

The Vinci, for ages 4 and younger, is the most like an adult tablet. It has the best display and touch-screen interface and the largest hard drive at 8 gigabytes. But it costs $480.

That's a lot of money to spend on a device for a toddler!

For far less, testers recommend the $80 InnoTab by VTech, for ages 4 to 9. It has a smaller screen and hard drive, but it's loaded with features like an art studio, e-book reader, and MP3 player.

The crowd pleaser with the children turned out to be the $100 LeapPad Explorer, also for ages 4 to 9. Its camera, photo-editing feature, and art studio had kids beaming.

The fourth tablet tested, the $80 Fisher-Price iXL Learning System, didn't have as many fans, but one aspect of it was a standout. It had an especially long battery life?13 hours. That's longer than even most tablets for adults. The battery life for the other three kids' tablets was 3 to 7 hours.


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