So Christmas is appearing in all the shop windows and the children are busy putting together their letters for Father Christmas. Lots of mummies have been asking me about which Tablet they should recommend to Father Christmas for their children. I haven’t tried out all the tablets so don’t feel I am in a position to recommend a particular one however I am happy to share my thoughts and some links to professional review sites.
I have a Kindle Touch and love it, I overheard a conversation in the library the other day between the librarian and a customer where the lady taking out the book said that she wouldn’t use a Kindle it just wasn’t the same. 8 months ago I would have joined in and agreed but I am a convert, all my books in one place, fits into my handbag, has a digital bookmark that doesn’t fall out, stays charged for weeks and I can download a new book in seconds. I tend to read in bed at night and I would like a backlit screen to avoid the light being on when my husband is trying to sleep so am looking at covers with built in LED lights. I have two iPods which we all use for games, Facebook, surfing the internet and music. My phone is a Samsung Galaxy S3 which is a little larger than an iPod but smaller than a tablet and I love that now having got use to its size. For working at home I use a Dell X1 which is a netbook sized laptop or our 24″ Dell Inspiron all in one touch PC. I am not gadget mad but I like tech that adds value! We have lights at home and at work that come on as you enter a room and turn off if there is no movement in a room after a certain length of time, a great example of useful tech. We also have a Wii that falls into the useless tech pile in our house, not sure why we haven’t got into it but as a family we prefer hand-held devices for playing games. I love the tablet PC devices and absolutely see the appeal as such looked into which one we could add to our repertoire of tech.
As with any technological purchase I now make the starting point was “Why do I want one, what do I want to do with it and how much do I want to spend?” hmmmm the genuine answer at this point was “I just do, allsorts and as little as possible”. Following a few days of pondering my list was as follows:-
1. Reading books
2. Reading the news
3. Online Research
4. Facebook for myself and the business
5. Playing games
6. Educational Apps for the Children
7. Organisational Apps
9. Blogging (at least keeping notes ready for writing blogs on my PC)
10. Watching Films – I’m not sure I would do but it may be handy on long journeys for the children or when they need to come to work with me in the holidays.
The sites I used to check out the tablets were the following and I would urge you to read the reviews for yourself as I did.
Next action was to go and hang around in PC World for an hour playing with them all and trying them out. I wouldn’t recommend taking children along for this exercise although I did get the eldest to open our website on each of the laptops:-)
I decided that a 7″ would be the size of tablet I would go for due to price and also portability (it fits into my handbag) and for the children this is a great size for their hands.
The Kindle Fire HD is too much a gateway to Amazon and won’t give me the freedom to shop elsewhere that I like easily. The reports on usability aren’t very positive.
The Google Nexus 7″ all the reviews are great and google play is my first stop for apps so no issues there. Google and Asus have launched the Nexus at a price to knock the Kindle Fire off the top spot. You can go for an 8 or 16GB depending on your budget but there is no way to increase storage so if you want to store photos or lots of films could present an issue.
Apple Mini I can’t bring myself to sell my soul to Apple so I’m afraid it didn’t get a look in however lovely it looks and however much people rave about it. If you have already gone down the Apple route though this is a great bit of kit and someone I know uses their Mini more than their IPad now.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7″ – Processor wise this is not the quickest tablet on the market you get access to Samsung apps and also Google Play so plenty of choice available, it has a micro SD slot which means you can expand the memory. I like this as I can copy films, music and files via a card reader on my main pc and have access to the content on my tablet easily. Slightly more expensive than the Kindle and Nexus unless you get it on special offer for me this is the one I would opt for.
In terms of parental controls I cannot comment on the Kindle but for the others there are a range of applocker apps that you can download. I have one on my phone and it gives me the ability to password protect apps on the phone. This means the children cannot access Google Play, Samsung Apps, Texting, EMail, Facebook, Twitter or the Internet without me having to unlock it for them. I can hand over my phone with complete peace of mind since downloading the app and it was free. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.domobile.applock&hl=en
All that said once I had done my research and decided on a Samsung Galaxy Tab I also decided that for me, more tech wouldn’t improve our life and that I would put my £190 towards having a beautiful hexagonal table top I have converted to a kitchen table that the whole family can sit around and play board games or just chat:-)