Buying Guide: Best tablet for kids: Top iPad, Kindle and Android tablets

Best tablets for kids you can buy right now

best tablet for kids 2016

Tablets are multi-functional, reasonably affordable computers that are used for work, play and learning. They’re also great devices for children of all ages. Children use tablets to read books, watch their favorite Netflix series, create music, edit videos, play games, write term papers, and so on.

Techradar has already offered its top 10 ranking of best tablets. But what of the best tablets for children? That depends, of course, on their age, interests, and your budget. We looked at quality, reputation, price, sturdiness, the range apps, and the unique strengths of each device. For toddlers, ruggedness matters more than in-app purchasing, obviously.

For your young adults in college, productivity applications and the availability of design and math software is crucial. For teens, like it or not, a tablet that’s great for gaming and social media, and packed with the latest technology, are highly desired features.

Here are the best tablet for kids in each category, whether they want an iPad, Kindle or Android in 2016.

Best tablet for children ages 5-10

best tablet for kids 2016

iPad Mini 2

A great tablet at a good price with every app your child needs

Weight: 331g | OS: iOS 9 | Screen size: 7.9-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: 1.5GHz | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 16/32/64/128GB | Battery: 6470mAh | Rear camera: 5MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

See more iPad mini 2 deals

Incredible range of apps for children
Excellent form factor
16gb storage can’t hold much content
Not the newest technology
Limited 90-day support and one-year warranty

Though iPad Mini 2 came out in 2014, it’s still a great tablet, particularly for children. The device is lightweight and perfectly sized for smaller hands, and it sports an amazing screen. Sure, it’s been surpassed by the iPad Mini 3 and iPad Mini 4, but those added a few specs and design tweaks that your kids won’t miss.

The iPad Mini 2 still runs on Apple’s intuitive iOS platform, and there are tens of thousands of apps optimized for iPad, ranging from education to art to writing, reading and much more. It’s not the cheapest tablet, but it should provide your young child everything they need in a tablet and with care, last them all through grade school.

Read the full review: iPad Air 2

Best tablet for tweens (ages 10-12)

best tablet for kids 2016

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4

A sleek, sophisticated and extremely precocious tablet

Weight: 278g | OS: Android 4.4 | Screen size: 7-inch | Resolution: 1280 x 800 | CPU: 1.2GHz | RAM: 1.5GB | Storage: 8GB (32gm microSD slot) | Battery: 4000mAh | Rear camera: 3MP | Front camera: 1.3MP

Great form factor for children
Solid performance for the price
Small on-board hard drive
Low-resolution cameras

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 is a tweener device, one that is short on disk space and power, but is surprisingly capable. Offering a high-quality build and respectable display, the well-constructed tablet can run the many thousands of Android apps available. Plus, it’s a great media tablet for young children and it’s all at a price where ecosystem lock-in isn’t a fear.

There’s also a “Kids Mode,” a more playful UI designed for younger children If your child is absolutely demanding a tablet, this is a great buy. Note: The 8GB drive will get eaten up fast with music, videos and pictures. Samsung typically offers a 32gb microSD card for about $15 – a must-buy.

Best tablet for teens (ages 13-17)

best tablet for kids 2016

iPad Air 2

The best pure iPad may be the perfect at-home computer for teens

Weight: 437g | OS: iOS 9 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 2048 x 1536 | CPU: 1.2GHz | RAM: 1.5GB | Storage: 16/64/128 GB | Battery: 74340 | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Amazing screen
Fast A8X chip
Great camera
Expensive

Though a bit on the pricey side, the iPad Air 2 is an amazing tablet. Great for gaming and for watching movies, it’s also capable of making movies, thanks to the 8MP camera which can shoot 1080p HD video, and the high-quality microphone.

The iPad Air 2 is fast, thin, and does just about everything a teen would demand from a tablet. Perfect for editing audio tracks, for FaceTime calls, for writing emails or outlining a paper, it’s also a great lean-back device. iPad Air 2 is probably the one tablet that not even teen’s can find something to complain about.

Read the full review: iPad Air 2

Best tablet for toddlers

best tablet for kids 2016

Amazon Kindle Fire 7 Kids Edition

Amazing price for a fully functional tablet

Weight: 437g | OS: iOS 9 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 2048 x 1536 | CPU: 1.2GHz | RAM: 1.5GB | Storage: 16/64/128 GB | Battery: 74340 | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Unbelievable price
Massive free media library
Bulky and slow
Amazon’s version of Android
Poor camera

The Amazon Kindle Fire 7 Kids Edition doesn’t have the greatest specs. It uses Fire OS, Amazon’s fork of Android. But, it’s a remarkable device. For only $90, your child can have a well-constructed tablet that offers reasonable speed and access to thousands of free Android apps. Plus, if you’re a member of Amazon Prime, the device includes thousands of free Kindle e-books, unlimited streaming of free Prime Music and Instant Video from Amazon. The online retailer even throws in a two-year warranty.

It’s true the Fire 7 is available for only $50. But the extra $40 is worth it for parents of very young children. Amazon adds a protective bumper and a one-year subscription to FreeTime Unlimited, Amazon’s curated media service that offers 10,000 free books, videos and educational games for children. There’s also a two-year “worry free” guarantee.

Best tablet for college students

best tablet for kids 2016

Microsoft Surface Book

The “ultimate laptop” is part tablet, part hybrid device, and probably the future of personal computers

Weight: 437g | OS: iOS 9 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 2048 x 1536 | CPU: 1.2GHz | RAM: 1.5GB | Storage: 16/64/128 GB | Battery: 74340 | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Unbelievable price
Massive free media library
Bulky and slow
Amazon’s version of Android
Poor camera

If you think college is expensive, wait till you test drive Microsoft’s new Surface Book, which will likely set you back around $1,499. Thing is, though, this machine can do just about everything a college student needs. It’s a high-performance laptop, fully capable of running Windows, Office and the myriad software applications required for nearly any degree. It’s also a tablet, which the student can take to class – and use the stylus to capture notes. It’s a great gaming device and is suitable for leaning back to watch the latest Netflix series. With its capable front and rear cameras, there’s also no excuse for avoiding video calls with the parents.

The few technical concerns are each very important to consider. The device is heavy for a tablet. And it’s slightly underpowered compared to high-end pure laptops.

Read the full review: Surface Book

More tablet reviews

best tablet for kids 2016

Don’t see the best tablet for your child? That’s okay, because we have plenty of other tablet reviews that didn’t fit into our kid-focused recommendations.

We have sorted through all of the best tablets for grow ups that children or young adults with a bit more pending money and careful hands might enjoy, too.

Since MWC 2016 is right around the corner, we expect a few more tablets to be announced this month, and the iPad Air 3 and sequel to the Nexus 9 might

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