Best forParents looking for a safer, more secure and affordable entry-level tablet that the kids can call their own.
Top BenefitsRugged rubberized case, long lasting battery with 13-hours of video playback, easy-to-use parental controls, and a 3-month free trial of Samsung Kids.
ConsiderationsWhile the Samsung Kids app content is more suited for younger kids, the tablet runs a full Android operating system that kids can advance into.
Bottom lineThe Samsung Galaxy Tab A Kids Edition combines the full functionality of the popular Android operating system with configurable kid-tailored apps and content through Samsung Kids.
Safer, more secure and rugged, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A Kids Edition is a reliable tablet for children, particularly younger ones. Reasonably priced, it has all the features of a full Android tablet that parents are likely already familiar with. The shielded and more secure Samsung Kids app is a big selling point here, especially for younger kids. There's a wide range of popular games, e-books and video content available to keep kids exploring. Once kids are ready to “graduate” beyond the Samsung Kids app, the tablet can easily switch to the Android operating system while still offering a high level of parental controls. This also makes it a good tablet for families with multiple children of varying ages.
Setting up the Galaxy Tab A Kids Edition tablet out of the box was pretty easy, taking less than 10 minutes total. Android smartphone users will breeze through the initial setup process, since it’s exactly the same. (You will need a Google account, meaning a Gmail address, to do this.) Once the device is up and running, the next step is launching the Samsung Kids app and following the setup instructions, which guides you through the creation of user profiles for up to three kids—which means fewer arguments! The Samsung Kids app comes with a three-month free trial. You do have to sign up with payment details in order to access the free trial, but it’s easy to cancel if you choose to.
Overall, parents and kids will find navigating the operating system of the Galaxy Tab A Kids Edition tablet easy and similar to other tablets, although some of our parent testers had difficulty finding their way out of the Samsung Kids app initially. That said, the majority of our parent testers said that their children easily found their way around the tablet’s navigation with no issues. For parents, switching back and forth between the Android and Samsung Kids environments is quick, but it’s password protected, so kids can’t do this without parental assistance.
Perhaps the biggest selling point of the Galaxy Tab A is the Samsung Kids app, a $9.99/month (or $78.99 per year) subscription service that offers over 10,000 hours of premium games, books and videos. All of our parent testers and their children reported a high level of satisfaction with the range of content the app offers—and even with much of the content better suited for younger children, our testers reported that their kids of all ages were so engaged that it was often difficult to get their them off the tablet for dinner. With a bright and fun user interface not unlike that of YouTube Kids, books, games and video sub-category tabs make it easy for kids to tap and scroll around the large, colourful icons. Familiar titles and brands such as LEGO, My Little Pony, Caillou, Peppa Pig, Crayola and Octonauts, offer both educational and entertaining content that will keep kids busy for weeks on end.
Our parent testers agreed that one of their greatest concerns when deciding to hand devices to their kids is whether they’re providing them with a safe computing environment, and this is perhaps where the Samsung Tab A Kids Edition shines most. The Samsung Kids app’s parental controls are easy to set up and can accommodate up to three user profiles, so each child can tailor the content to their own liking. Highly configurable, parents can set limits for overall play time, and individual content categories (games, books, videos), in case you want them playing less games and reading more e-books. Content age filters can be set and parents can even filter content based on specific skill types (e.g.: math, science, creativity, critical thinking content). One parent tester found that the content didn’t seem to change when they applied the age filters; but on the whole, the Samsung Kids app proved to be a safer, password protected place that our testers felt comfortable leaving their kids to explore unsupervised. With no in-app purchases available, there’s also no chance of kids racking up credit card charges.
Additionally, for parents allowing their older kids to browse around outside the Samsung Kids app, the Android OS has all the same built-in and password protected parental control features of a standard Android tablet. Limits can be placed on app purchases and age limits can be set for content available in the Google Play Store. You can even set up additional user profiles for kids, where you can install only the apps and functions you want your kids to access.
But can it take a beating? Two thirds of our parent testers rated the ruggedness of the Kids tablet as very good, and able to withstand the rigours of their kids’ daily use. The rubber casing is easily removed for cleaning and securely wraps around the tablet’s eight-inch aluminum body, adding slightly more size and weight to the device. It’s grippy, comfortable to hold, and none of our parent tester’s kids complaining about its weight or size while using it for long stretches of time. It’s worth noting that the casing doesn’t protect the actual screen, so users may want to explore the option of an additional screen protector.
Two thirds of our parent testers rated the overall quality of the tablet’s display as good, which is completely adequate for the general use of children, especially for its CDN$219.99 price point. Videos and games are bright, clear and none of our parent tester’s kids reported any eye strain or fatigue, even after hours of use. The Galaxy Tab A Kids Edition tablet also includes an eye-friendly Night Mode (which turns the screen backgrounds dark with white text), adaptive brightness (adjusts screen brightness based on the room’s light) and blue light filters, which can help make sure kids still get to sleep at night.
In a world where most of today’s devices are ditching their 3.5mm headphone jacks in favour of Bluetooth or USB inputs, we were happy to see that the Galaxy kids tablet has held on. While our parent testers weren’t blown away with the sound from the dual external speakers, headphone sound was crisp and clear, Bluetooth connectivity was easy and strong, and the controls on the device’s side were easy for kids to access and adjust, even through the rubberized case.
Should your kids be budding directors-in-the-making, parents will find the cameras more than capable of producing high-quality pictures and HD video, comparable to most mid-range tablets and smartphones on the market. The 8-megapixel rear-facing camera is the heavy lifter, with kid-friendly controls and a range of options for them to get creative. The Live focus feature is particularly helpful, as it automatically detects faces, drastically reducing the number of blurry pics taken. The 2-megapixel front-facing camera is adequate for selfies, but don’t expect brilliant images or video in low light.
With a 13-hour battery life the Galaxy Tab A Kids Edition was able to handle all the gaming and video viewing our parent testers and their kids were able to throw at it over a two-day testing period. Recharging the device fully from a completely depleted battery took just over three hours, and there’s some helpful data available in the device’s settings that show what apps and functions are being used most.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A Kids Edition is a high-quality, easy-to-use mid-range tablet that offers a safer and more secure experience that parents can configure and control. At a price point lower than competitors, the Tab A offers great value for money. With both a full Android operating system and the kid-friendly Samsung Kids app environment, it’s a diverse and configurable device that parents and kids from young to older can use.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A Kids Edition is currently available in Samsung Experience Stores in Canada, online at Samsung/com.ca and at select authorized Canadian retailers.
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