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Kurio Tab 2 review: a kids' tablet that's almost great  March 13, 2015 – 11:36 am

Kurio Tab 2 review

Kids tablets are steadily improving with many now being ‘proper’ tablets instead of ‘toys’ with proprietary app stores and none of the apps your kids actually want. Kurio reckons it has come up with the best yet in the Tab 2.

We’re always wary of any product that claims to be the ultimate, but Kurio goes even further with the Tab 2, saying it’s also the “safest tablet for kids”. It’s not perfect, but it is one of the better options if you don’t want to hand over your iPad (or buy your kids their own).

Kurio Tab 2 review: Design and build

This is a decent-looking 7in Android tablet that comes with a protective rubber bumper that’s more streamlined than usual. It covers the corners and should prevent damage from the inevitable drops the tablet will endure during its life.

A removable plastic cover at the back slots into the bumper in two places to offer two viewing angles, but it’s hard to attach.

There are front and rear cameras (0.3- and 2.1Mp respectively), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a micro HDMI output. There’s also a mono speaker, headphone jack and a microSD card slot for adding up to 32GB on top of the internal 8GB (only 1GB of usable storage is available out of the box). The micro USB port is used for charging and synching, and also supports USB OTG (on-the-go) so you can access files stored on a compatible flash drive.

The tablet is well built but the screen specs are below expectations. We’ve long criticised kids tablets for having low resolutions, but more importantly poor viewing angles. The Tab 2’s 1024x600 resolution is the same as the new £49 Amazon Fire but the fact that Kurio didn’t opt for an IPS screen means colours don’t look right unless you’re looking square-on.

We could also level criticism at the poor-quality cameras, but the Amazon Fire shares the same specs. We’ve yet to see a kids’ tablet with acceptable video and photo quality at any price.

Here are a couple of photos which show the poor quality of the rear camera (the front is even worse):

Performance is mixed. The quad-core processor is speedy enough, but sometimes apps take a long time to load and the screen isn’t always sensitive to a light touch and a firmer press is needed to register a tap.

Kurio Tab 2 review: Software

Software is just as important as hardware on a kids’ tablet. Kurio’s system isn’t nearly as slick as Amazon or LeapFrog’s with small, hard-to-read icons and a less-than-intuitive interface. It needs an overhaul.

A few apps, games and ebooks are pre-loaded which means that once you’ve set up a parent account and your child’s profile (and installed any over-the-air updates) it’s ready to go with hours of fun before you need to install any new apps.

That’s the theory, anyhow. In practice we were miffed to find that some of the apps were essentially trials, so within five minutes our four-year-old tester was asking us to buy new deserts to make in Smurfs Bakery (you can make only one iced lolly – the other treats are locked out). Other games include adverts and in-app purchases, while others are ill-suited to children who can’t read. No instructions are read aloud (as you get with LeapFrog games) so you’ll need to be on hand to explain how to use most apps.

It’s not all bad: there are five Motion games which use the front camera in a similar way to the LeapFrog LeapTV to put kids in the action and get them to be active while playing games. This is where the stand comes in, allowing you to prop up the tablet so you can play the games hands-free. And if you buy an inexpensive micro HDMI to full-size HDMI cable you can hook the tablet up to your TV and see the game on the big screen. Some of the games have a two-player mode, too.


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