Best Tablets for Families
Apple iPad mini
B&N Nook HD
Google Nexus 7
Kindle Fire HD
Tablets make great family devices. They’re entertaining, sharable, portable, and intuitive. If you’re looking for a single tablet that the whole family can enjoy, consider the following topics before you make your choice.
Shared tablets tend to find their way around food and drink. Don’t splurge on a $700 iPad without a warranty only to see it dropped into vat of mac n’ cheese. Slippery fingers require a tablet with a warranty or protection plan. Another way to minimize money damages is to opt for a smaller tablet such as the Kindle Fire HD or Nexus 7, both $200.
Accounts and Security
If you want to make sure that each family member has their own private account on your tablet, the non-iPad selections (Kindle Fires, Nook HDs, Surface, and Nexus) lead the pack with easy-to-use multiple logins. iPads can be shared, but require greater effort to customize.
- Kindle Fires have a multiple account feature called FreeTime that enables parents to limit the amount of screentime kids have on the tablet.
- The Nook HD and Nook HD+ allow up to six personal profiles. Each profile begins to learn what you like and start recommending books and movies based on your tastes.
- Microsoft’s Surface gives users the ability to have separate accounts. Each member of the family can install their own apps, store their own files, and customize their own themes.
- Google’s Nexus linup has app launchers like Kid’s Place that restrict certain apps, set time limits, and block downloads. With the upcoming release of Android 4.2, the Nexus 7 and 10 will have multiple user accounts that are fully customizable.
- Although iPad’s default settings favor an individual user, there are apps like Our Pad that offer customization options. Restricting apps, purchases, and other content on iPad requires some work through Guided Access.
Size and Portability
If you’re taking smaller hands into account, a lighter, seven-inch tablet makes the most sense. Devices with cellular connection, such as the iPad, iPad mini, or Kindle Fire HD 8.9, naturally become more portable as they keep their connection away from your Wi-Fi range.
Luckily, all these devices have a good selection of cases to reduce normal wear and tear. There are also ultra -protective cases that guarantee to cushion your tablet from falls and keep it dry, like the Gumdrop line for iPad.
Here are some other family-friendly accessories to consider (if you don’t have them already): a good set or sets of headphones, a stand for watching movies together or recipe reading while cooking, and a splitter that allows two sets of headphones to be plugged in at once.
Have questions or feedback? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at [email protected]