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The Acer Chromebook Tab 10: A Definitive Review

Acer Chromebook Tab 10

The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is the first tablet that runs on ChromeOS. The company is offering it as an education device. ChromeOS is the operating system of choice when it comes to mobile devices designed for education. In 2017, ChromeOS accounted for 57 percent to 60 percent of all quarterly mobile computing shipments for use in K through 12 programs in the United States.

ChromeOS-run Chromebooks are popular because they give students access to mobile computers that are powerful and affordable at the same time. They are also easier for schools and IT departments to administer. Admittedly, the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is more of a tablet than a laptop computer. Will it prove to be a suitable device for students?

Acer D651N-K9WT 9.7IN 4GB 32GB OP1
  • Processor Manufacturer: Rockchip
  • Processor Type: OP1
  • Processor Model: RK3399


What You Should Know About the Acer Chromebook Tab 10

The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is a Chromebook OS tablet that measures 6.8 by 9.4 by 0.4 inches and weighs 1.21 pounds. One look and it becomes evident that Acer did not design the Chromebook Tab 10 to compete with the Microsoft Surface or the Apple iPad.

The Taiwanese company has a clear design philosophy: this tablet is for kids, and they designed it that way. Far from the sleek look of consumer tablets, the Acer tablet has a straightforward and no-fuss appearance. The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is mostly plastic, with big bezels all around the tablet so that you can hold the tablet comfortably in both portrait and landscape mode. The tablet has embedded speakers and a microphone, but there is also a headphone jack if you want to listen to something in private.

Features and specifications


All in all, the tablet's design is nothing fancy. What about its other functionalities, though?

Outstanding Display

One of the first things that you will notice about the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is the bright and vivid screen. Its liquid crystal display (LCD) measures 9.7 inches diagonally and has Quantum Extended Graphics Array resolutions of 2048 by 1536 pixels. The result is that your images have around 3.2 million pixels. The backlit active matrix thin film transistor color LCD uses in-plane switching technology.

All of these mean that the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 has the same screen as the ones you will find on other high-performance devices. What's more, the touchscreen display gets its power from an ARM Mali-T864 graphics controller.

Stylus

The manufacturers included a stylus with this package. The good news is that you can safely place the Wacom pen in the enclosure found on the left side of the tablet. The included stylus is rather straightforward, with no buttons and other features. You only use it as an input device for the Chromebook Tab 10, allowing you to draw or write naturally on the screen, as you do with pen and paper.

Processor, memory, and storage

To power its performance, the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 has a Rockchip OP1. The processor is made explicitly for Chromebooks. It has clock speeds that can reach 2 gigahertz (GHz). Further, the Chromebook Tab 10 has 4 gigabytes (GB) of memory, which is more than enough for a Chromebook. It also has 32 GB of storage that allows users to store more mobile apps and media files.

Other features

This tablet uses a 4,500 milli-Ampere-hours (mAh) lithium-ion battery. Acer promises up to nine hours of use without needing to recharge. The device can connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth 4.1. Further, this tablet has a 5 megapixel (mp) back camera and a 2mp front camera. Lastly, the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 uses Chromebook OS, but you can use Android mobile apps for this tablet. You can download apps from the Google Play Store.

Acer D651N-K9WT 9.7IN 4GB 32GB OP1

Ratings and reviews

The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 currently does not have a lot of reviews on Amazon, but it does get a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars. Reviewers pan this tablet for its slow performance, poor camera and speakers, and how poorly the ChromeOS was implemented in tablet form. One reviewer even indicates that the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is not a good laptop, nor is it a good tablet. However, this tablet does receive praise for its ability to run both Android and Linux apps, and its display.

As for expert reviews and opinions, this tablet gets a rating of 3 out of 5 stars from AndroidCentral. Mashable gives it a rating of 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Pricing for the Acer Chromebook Tab 10

The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 has a price range of $320 to $350. You can buy this from Acer's online store, or you can check out online retail sites such as Walmart or Amazon.

How We Reviewed

To write this review of the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, we looked at the device's information pages, as well as the opinions of several credible consumer tech sites such as TechRadar, Android Authority, and CNET. We also checked out the product's sales pages on online retailer sites such as Walmart.com and Amazon. We did the same for the Chromebook Tab 10's competitors.

How it Compares to Competitors

The market for kid-friendly tablets has a lot of competing devices. The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 competes with the Dell Chromebook 11, the Apple iPad 2018, and the Lenovo IdeaPad 120S, to name just a few.

Dell Chromebook 11 11.6-inch
  • 11.6" HP non-touch HD display (1366 x 768), a 180-degree hinge allows the system to lay flat, making it easier to share...
  • Google Chrome OS. Automatically downloads and installs security and software updates, so you don't have to waste your...
  • Intel Celeron N3060 dual-core processor for general e-mail, Internet and productivity tasks with 4GB high-bandwidth RAM...

The Dell Chromebook 11 (2015) has a screen that measures 11.6 inches diagonally. This display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. This Chromebook is made to be durable with its plastic casing. Some of the features that you might want to know about the Dell Chromebook 11 is the Bay Trail Intel Celeron processor it has, as well as a hinge that opens 180 degrees, allowing you to set the screen flat on the table.

Like the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, this Chromebook is for the rough environments at school. Dell claims that the Chromebook 11 has been tested to survive water spills, dust, and dirt, and even drops. The Dell Chromebook 11 has an Amazon rating of 3.3 out of 5 stars. Positive reviews for the Chromebook talk about how durable it is. There are also praises for how easy it was for kids to figure out. It is an excellent way to keep your kids preoccupied so that they do not try to use your computer when you need to work at home. Meanwhile, critical reviews talked about the poor customer service they got from Dell.

Prices for this device run from $180 to $430. Pricing depends on whether you choose a touchscreen or traditional display, as well as the size of the storage you want. Compared to the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, the Dell Chromebook 11 has a better speaker and is more durable. If you are looking for a device that can survive harsh school environments, then you might be better off with the Dell Chromebook 11.

Apple iPad (Wi-Fi, 32GB) - Space Gray (Latest Model)
  • 9.7-inch Retina display
  • A10 Fusion chip with 64-bit desktop-class architecture
  • Touch ID fingerprint sensor

With prices for the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 starting at more than $300, it is inevitable that you will compare it to the Apple iPad 2018. An iPad with 32 GB of storage costs at around the same price as the Acer Chromebook Tab 10. Apple is also positioning the iPad for education, offering discounts for schools that want to buy iOS devices.

Amazon customers give the iPad a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Verified buyers rave about its battery life, the responsive screen, the speedy performance, and just about every feature it offers. There are a few critical reviews and most of these talk about something that is not related to the iPad. You can buy the 32 GB version from the Apple Store. You can also purchase this tablet from online retailer sites with prices ranging from $325 to $340 for the 32 GB model

How the Apple iPad 2018 compares to the Acer Chromebook Tab 10

Compared to the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, the Apple iPad loses out only in 2 areas. First is the lack of an included pen. The good news is that the iPad works with Apple Pencil, which costs around $90 to $100. You also have to wonder whether the beautiful iPad is also sturdy enough to survive being used for school and education. That may not be true, but you can invest in a hard case for your iPad. All in all, the Apple iPad trumps the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, and just about any other tablet that comes out to directly compete with it.

Go right ahead and buy this tablet and enjoy the 9.7-inch multi-touch display. The retina display has a screen resolution of 2048 by 1536 pixels, with a pixel density of 264 pixels per inch. You will also enjoy the speedy performance and better cameras more than the ones you get from the Acer tablet.

ASUS ZenPad S8 8" (2048x1536) 32GB Black Tablet - Z580C-B1-BK
  • 8" IPS Display (2048 x 1536) with ASUS TruVivid technology for better visual experience
  • Intel Atom Z3530 Quad-Core, 64bit, 1.3GHz
  • 2GB RAM, 32GB Onboard Storage

The Asus ZenPad S 8.0 is an 8-inch tablet that has a large screen encased in a handy and portable body. It has a modern and sleek look that older kids might appreciate. Like the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, it has an excellent display with the same QXGA, IPS, and multi-touch screen. However, the ZenPad's display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and a coating that keeps it smudge-free. The ZenPad also uses Dolby TrueHD technology that delivers premium sound quality. Unlike the Acer tablet, the ZenPad S 8.0 has a quad-core Intel Atom processor that guarantees speedy performance.

The tablet gets a rating of 3.7 out of 5 stars. Customers on Amazon love how lightweight this tablet is, as well as its low price and excellent display. A downside for this tablet is that it only offers 4 GB of storage. However, you can pop in a 128 GB memory card if you need additional space. Further, the Asus ZenPad S 8.0 has a 5mp front camera and an 8mp back camera. While both are better than the cameras you find on the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, they still deliver average photo quality, especially in dark areas and low light conditions.

Prices for the Asus ZenPad S 8.0 range from $190 to $270.

Pros and Cons of the Acer Chromebook Tab 10

When compared to Chromebooks, PCMag found that the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 performed at par or better than other Chromebooks in the budget category. You might also like that the tablet has a great QXGA display that gives you the most vivid colors and perfect looking images and videos.

Pros

  • PCMag found
  • Great QXGA display
  • Vivid colors

Cons

  • In the budget category

What can be better


However, even the display is good only when you are indoors. Under the bright sunlight, you will find it hard to see things unless you turn the brightness up. This tablet does not have an OLED screen. The Rockchip processor you find on the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is not that powerful.

Fast performance and processing power will take a backseat to make sure that the battery lasts longer or ensuring that the wireless connection is fast. As a result, using this tablet can feel a bit sluggish. The tablet will stutter too much and too often to offer a good user experience.

What's more, the included cameras are not impressive. At its price range, you certainly will not expect the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 to have such lousy cameras. The disappointment does not stop there, however. AndroidCentral comments that along with the camera, the speakers and the microphone are also mediocre. It would be painful for all participants if you were to use this tablet in a video meeting.

Should You Buy the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 for Your Kids?

When you buy an Acer Chromebook Tab 10, you get a portable tablet that has an incredible screen. If your kids use a tablet for watching YouTube videos or catching up on their favorite Cartoon Network shows, then this tablet is a good option. However, aside from the screen, there is not much else going for this device.

It does not have a good set of speakers, microphone, or camera. You will probably need to use a headset to hear things, and the low mp count of the camera is plain disappointing. The sad truth is that the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 has a high price, but it has nothing to show for it, except for the excellent display.

The Apple iPad, or the cheaper Asus ZenPad S 8.0, both have comparably excellent displays. Both of these tablets have a better set of specifications and faster performance than the Acer tablet. The 2015 edition of the Dell Chromebook 11 might have the same performance issues as the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, but it has a more attractive price point and is more durable.

Should you buy the Acer Chromebook Tab 10?  Its slow performance, inferior hardware, and high price, along with the presence of better alternatives all point at a hard pass for this device.

LeapFrog Epic: Review And Guide to Fun Learning for Your Kids

If you're having a hard time reaching your child when trying to teach them new lessons you aren't alone. Fortunately, the LeapFrog Epic tablet and other tablets like it can help parents with that. Tablets can make learning fun for kids. They are great interactive tools. Also, instead of boring worksheets, your kids can play games on the tablet and learn at the same time.

These fun learning games capture your child's attention and make teaching them a whole lot easier. However, you want to make sure that tablet you purchase does what it says it does. The tablet industry is highly competitive. Manufacturers are working diligently to incorporate the best features, processor speeds, and usability models, to sell their product. As a parent, you must consider several models to find the best product.

LeapFrog Overview

LeapFrog is a technology company that focuses on education and entertainment. The company was founded in 1994 and has been a go-to for parents who want their children to learn while having fun for over twenty years. The LeapFrog Epic tablet is one of their latest educational tools, and it is pretty cool.

LeapFrog Epic features and specs

The LeapFrog Epic tablet features a 1024x600 resolution screen that is very clear and has a built-in, rechargeable lithium-ion battery. A sizeable seven-inch touch-screen makes it easy to navigate with your child's fingers or a stylus pen. Also, if you are worried about your child throwing it and shattering the screen, you can breathe easy because the screen is shatter-free.

The tablet lasts more than seven hours if you fully charge it. And it is pretty fast for a kid's tablet thanks to its 1.3GHz quad-core processor. Additionally, the LeapFrog Epic tablet has 16GB internal memory capacity and can expand to 32GB. It allows children to download and save more apps for online learning and enjoyment. The operating system is Android, and it has built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n connectivity. Along with all of that, there is a 3.5mm stereo jack for audio sound, and it has a built-in microphone feature as well.

LeapFrog Epic 7" Android-based Kids Tablet 16GB, Green

The tablet is compact and lightweight. Its dimensions are 9x6.38x1.02 inches, and it weighs under two pounds. The recommended age for users is three to nine years of age. That makes it the perfect tablet to help your child learn essential skills as they develop cognitive thinking and reasoning skills.

When purchased directly through LeapFrog, the tablet includes a removable green silicone bumper (with extra-grip). You also receive a stylus pen, a USB charger and wall adapter, the quick start guide, and the owner's manual.

LeapFrog Pros and Cons

You're going to base your decision on many variables when purchasing a tablet for your child. Parents must consider the pros and cons should when comparing tablets. That will help in your decision-making process when comparing the LeapFrog Epic against other competitors' products. We've put together a short list of the best features, and customer complaints online. Using these factors, you'll find it easier to compare tablets. And, you will eventually choose the best product for your child's learning and growth development.

Pros

  • It comes with $175 preloaded LeapFrog Academy app
  • It features parental controls and time locks, so you can control how long your child's online
  • There are intuitive guides for children 3 to 6 years of age
  • 480p video recording capabilities
  • It has learning skill, development, cognitive, and behavioral apps
  • Check Circle
    Subjects include science, math, history, reading comprehension, spelling, counting, and others
  • Check Circle
    Award winner
  • Check Circle
    Has parental controls with the LeapFrog LeapSearch browsing app

Cons

  • The high price-tag for an entry-level tablet
  • The processing speeds can lag or lapse with faulty connectivity
  • After three months, you pay $5.99 per month for LeapFrog Academy
  • Some of the games and apps are a bit pedestrian for older children using the tablet.

Our Review Methodology

In reviewing the LeapFrog Epic against other tablets for children, we relied on different criteria when rating the tablet. We considered pricing, features, add-ons, learning modes and the intended ages for the apps. Additionally, we looked at reviews from real people who purchased it and listened to what they had to say.

Overall, we give the LeapFrog a leaping rating of 


Competitors in the Children's Tablet Marketplace

The marketplace has so many manufacturers selling children learning tablets and electronic devices making it difficult to choose just one. In addition to the LeapFrog Epic, these are a few top brands for parents to compare, before making the purchase decision.

Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet, 7" Display, 16 GB, Blue Kid-Proof Case

You can't go wrong with a tablet manufactured by Amazon. The Fire 7 kids edition tablet is a great developmental and learning tool. You receive a kid-proof case with the tablet and a two-year, worry-free guarantee. If anything goes wrong with the tablet you receive a refund, no questions asked. It has a large seven-inch IPS display, and 16 GB of internal storage.

Some of the pros of owning this tablet include the one-year FreeTime subscription. The Amazon FreeTime subscription gives users access to thousands of kid-friendly apps. Movies, TV shows, games, and books are available for download through this service. You have access to over 15,000 apps, games, videos, and books on this tablet. It also has a micro SD slot, allowing the memory to be expanded up to 256GB. The tablet is available in blue, pink, and yellow. It also features flexible parental controls. You can choose what sites your children can visit, and you can set time-use limits.

Some of the cons include the automatic renewal of FreeTime. If you don't cancel after the one-year free trial, you're automatically going to see the service charge on your bill. The mono speaker and built-in microphone aren't the best quality for a tablet. The wifi usage will impact the battery life immensely. So the more browsing your child does, the less power/time they'll get on a single charge. Users also complain that the tablet stops holding a charge after a certain period.

Overall, however, the reviews were positive, and it is rated

Quality

Usability

Support

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Dragon Touch K8 Kids Tablet, 8" HD IPS Display 2GB RAM 16GB Nand Flash Android Tablet, Kidoz Pre-Installed with All-New Disney Content (More Than $80 Value) - Exclusively Designed Stylus

This tablet features an eight-inch IPS display touchscreen. It also has 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage which is expandable up to 32GB. It operates on the Nand Flash Android operating system. Kidoz comes with the tablet as well. It gives your child access to Disney content online. An exclusive case design and stylus come with the tablet at retail price.

A major perk of this tablet is the Kidoz app; it makes Disney movies and games available at your child's fingertips. There are hundreds of games and learning apps to consider. The screen has a 178-degree viewing angle. The resolution is 800x1280 and has crisp, vibrant colors. The tablet also comes with a stand for better viewing when laying down. Kids can handwrite or draw on the tablet with their stylus pen.

Some cons were written by owners in their reviews as well. Some complain that the stylus pen isn't very intuitive and not as responsive as finger/hand touch. The screen isn't as sturdy as other tablet models. It doesn't have a shatter or crack-proof screen. If your child drops the tablet, it is prone to damage. It is not as sturdy or shatter-resistant as other tablets on the list. Adding a screen protector is advisable.

Despite the negative reviews, most parents are happy with it and rated it

Quality

Usability

Support

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nabi Jr. - 4GB Kids Tablet

Ideal for younger children, this 5-inch tablet is compact and easy to use. The learning tablet is specifically meant to serve as a learning tool for kids. It comes with the Wings First Step Program. This program covers letters, counting, and tracing educational tools. The tablet is perfect for kids pre-k and younger. The Wings Program is intended to help your child develop confidence and learn the basics at an early age.

The tablet features may positive attributes. It contains more than 30 preloaded apps and games. There are puzzles, counting games, matching, and first words games. For younger children, this is a viable tool to help them learn the foundational basics. Your kids can watch movies and TV shows on the tablet as well. It is kid-safe out of the box, and you can set additional parental controls. The tablet has built-in data protection.

One of the major cons is the simplicity of the tablet. If your child is six or older, the tablet might not be the best option for them. It also has a smaller screen than the others. At nearly two pounds, the tablet is a bit bulky given the smaller screen size as well. The resolution is 800x480, which is far lower in quality than the competitors on the list. It doesn't come with a stylus pen either, which is a primary feature included with other models.

It has a mid-rating at

Quality

Usability

Support

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Product

Image

Details

Rating

Price

LeapFrog Epic 7" Android-based Kids Tablet 16GB, Green

focuses on education and entertainment

$146.99

Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet, 7" Display, 16 GB, Blue Kid-Proof Case

great developmental and learning tool

$99.99

Dragon Touch K8 Kids Tablet, 8" HD IPS Display 2GB RAM 16GB Nand Flash Android Tablet, Kidoz Pre-Installed with All-New Disney Content (More Than $80 Value) - Exclusively Designed Stylus

makes Disney movies and games available at your child's fingertips

$99.99

nabi Jr. - 4GB Kids Tablet

the program covers letters, counting, and tracing educational tools

Check on Amazon

Our Verdict

If you want a tablet which will peak your child's interest in learning, the LeapFrog Epic is a great option. It is intuitive, sleek, and features a wide range of learning apps, games, and developmental tools. Best of all, it will help your child begin the developmental and cognitive learning models at an early age. Although it does cost a little more than competitor tablets, the additional $175 of free, upgraded apps, and the three-free months of LeapFrog Academy trial, offset the price. It also comes with a 2-year warranty.

If your primary focus in purchasing the tablet is to help your child develop an interest in learning, the LeapFrog Epic tablet delivers. Backed by a leader in children's online education is a bonus. If you're on the fence between this and other tablets, consider the upgrades offered, making this a leader in the children's tablet market.

Review: Why ThinkFun Circuit Maze Board Game Is Popular?

circuit maze board game

When you think "board game," you're probably thinking of something like Monopoly, Sorry, or Life. And while those are fun, they're not exactly games that engage the ol' gray matter between your ears. Chess can certainly get you thinking, but it's not exactly the most exciting game. Worse, you can't play as a family.

That is not the case with ThinkFun's Circuit Maze board game. Not only is it a game the whole family can play together, but it's also a sneaky introduction to Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) concepts. It makes learning fun, and any game that can teach electrical engineering in a fun way is something worth paying attention to.

Part of ThinkFun's Maze series, the Circuit Maze board game challenges players to solve increasingly difficult puzzles using nothing more than their critical thinking skills and a few simple playing pieces. The simplicity of the game is part of its appeal, and it makes the learning so much easier. STEM may seem complicated, but even the most advanced science starts off with the most basic rules. And that's where games like this excel at imparting that knowledge disguising as "mere" gameplay.

STEM Awesomeness

STEM is the foundation of pretty much everything around you. The car you drive. The bus or train you ride. The phone or computer you're reading this on. The television you watch. The house or apartment building you live in. The water you drink. The food you eat. The air you breathe. All of it is affected and influenced by science, technology, engineering, and math. Our entire modern world would cease to exist without STEM.

That means, as a part of our education system, STEM is absolutely essential to our future. Even before we called it STEM, the combination of science, technology, engineering, and math is what allowed the United States to put a man on the Moon and land a probe on Mars with a giant parachute and rocket boosters. STEM is how we launched the Computer Age and changed the world. Then, just a few decades later, we invented the internet and changed the world again. Imagine what we'll do a few decades from now if we keep applying the power of STEM.

Putting aside international competition to be the king of the technological mountain, to maintain what we already have will take millions of professionals trained in STEM fields. Advancing our society will take millions more. That's why so many schools have begun to incorporate STEM into their curriculum. And now you can do the same at home and have a blast while doing it with the Circuit Maze board game!

ThinkFun Makes Thinking... Fun!

circuit maze

Image via i.ytimg.com

Founded in 1985 by Bill Ritchie and Andrea Barthello, ThinkFun has been in the business of making your brain work overtime for over thirty years. Their original mission was "To translate the brilliant ideas of the craziest mathematicians, engineers, and inventors into simple toys that can be appreciated by boys and girls around the world." We think they've done just that.

With games like the famous ​1996 Rush Hour that has you moving cars around a small grid to clear a path to Adam's Cube which makes the Rubik's Cube look dull in comparison, ThinkFun has emphasized building critical thinking skills during play time. They've even commissioned studies on how gameplay affects the brain, finding that regular interaction with challenging games can boost your IQ.

ThinkFun's Circuit Maze board game is part of a series of logic games the company has produced to make you think. There's also the Gravity Maze, which makes you figure out how to use gravity to your advantage. They have the Laser Maze which is similar to the Circuit Maze in that you have to get the laser from point A to point B using mirrors instead of a circuit. There are also several Code games that introduce kids to computer coding skills without the need for a computer. If that sounds impossible, you don't know ThinkFun!

ThinkFun Circuit Maze Electric Current Logic Game and STEM Toy for Boys and Girls Age 8 and Up - Toy of the Year Finalist, Teaches Players about Circuitry through Fun Gameplay

Currently only available online, the Circuit Maze board game is perfect for families looking for games that don't rely on the random roll of the dice or the draw of a card. Even strategy games like Risk and Axis and Allies can sometimes feel too random to be genuinely challenging. Circuit Maze, on the other hand, is 100 percent up to you and your brain. There aren't any random elements here. Just you, your thinking cap, and the laws of physics. And the best part is that no one has to sit out the round waiting for everyone else to solve the puzzle. Everyone can work together to win the round and move on to the next!

PRICE

OUR RATING

The Components

The set up is deceptively simple. The board itself is a five by five grid that allows you click the pieces into place to build your circuit. There's the power source that is two parts. The first is the battery tower that holds three AAA batteries. The second is power "token" that is attached to the battery tower by a wire. That allows you to place the power token wherever you want on the grid (more on that later). There three LED tokens, two straight tokens, two bridge tokens, two double corner tokens, two T-shape tokens, five corner tokens, one switch, and three blocker tokens. Additionally, there are 60 challenge cards.

It doesn't sound like much, but if you've ever played Sudoku, you'll know that a small grid can provide an almost infinite amount of entertainment.

How to Play

Each challenge card gives you an image of the grid. On that image are the locations of both the battery tower and the power token. Along with the battery tower and power token will be anywhere from one to three LED tokens along with potential obstacles. These will be placed on the grid as per the instructions. Finally, you will be given a specific set of tokens you are allowed to use to complete the puzzle. After that, it's up to you to figure it all out and connect the circuit.

Sure, it sounds easy enough, and the introductory levels are. After all, the makers of the Circuit Maze board game are assuming you don't have a degree in electrical engineering. They're going to start you off nice and slow, introducing you to the fundamentals. But once you've got the basics down, it gets more difficult. By the time you get to the end levels, you're either going to be pulling your hair out or begging for more. We bet that if you've stuck around this long, you're hooked.

But if you get stuck and the frustration is too much, don't worry. The answer is on the back of the card-- but that's cheating. Wink wink.

Completing the Circuit

At its heart, the Circuit Maze board game is really a logic puzzle. The laws of electricity are simple but rigid. You can't cheat Mother Nature to get that LED light to start glowing. The tokens have to be placed in just the right way to complete the circuit and win the round. The more advanced levels are maddeningly complicated, but the rules are still the same. You have to figure out how to apply them to succeed. It's almost like filling in a crossword puzzle but with electricity instead of letters!

Sixty challenges don't seem like a lot, especially considering a good number of the easy ones will be too easy by the time you get to the finals levels. However, unless you have a photographic memory, the later levels are so complex that you won't remember the solution by the time you get back to trying them again. Maybe by the fourth or fifth time you've done a particular challenge, you'll have it committed to memory but by then, several months will have gone by at least. And let's be honest, if you're playing with it that much by then, it was worth every penny.

If you do ever get bored with the challenges, you can always try to come up with your own. Trying to stump your family members might be just as much fun as solving the puzzle together!

electric circuit maze

The Competition: Snap Circuits

ThinkFun's Circuit Maze board game is very similar to Elenco's Snap Circuits. Both require you to build a circuit using colorful plastic pieces. Both are a heck of a lot of fun. However, while Snap Circuits has a much broader range of activities you can do, you won't necessarily learn anything while doing them.

Here's the problem: As much fun as Snap Circuits is, you can just follow the instructions. Once you put together the circuit, sure, you can play music but do you understand why it's working? Not unless you already understand the basics of electricity and circuity or if someone is explaining it to you.

On the other hand, you can't beat the challenge cards in the Circuit Maze board game without understanding the basic principles behind electrical currents. Yes, the first several levels are simple enough that you don't have to follow the "why" but later? You have to understand what a short circuit is. You have to understand how electricity flows from point A to point B and why. It's impossible to play the game otherwise.

In Snap Circuits, you build a circuit according to instructions and understanding is optional. In the Circuit Maze board game, you create a circuit according to the laws of physics and understanding is mandatory. Even if you don't know the technical jargon that goes along with that understanding.

Deal Breaker or Circuit Breaker?

The best games are the ones that make you think while you're playing them. With the Circuit Maze board game, you get hours of fun and some serious education all disguised as brainteasers. Even if you don't give a hoot about STEM or electrical engineering, this game is worth playing. At the absolute worst, you're going to pick up some problem-solving skills. At best, you're going to get a decent grasp of the fundamentals of electricity and circuity.

There are a few minor drawbacks to the game, however. One of them is that the tokens don't always connect to each other properly. The leads, or metal bits that touch each other to let the electricity flow, don't always touch. That means that even if you solve the puzzle correctly, the LED light won't turn on. You can tinker with the pieces to make them work better, but it's a temporary solution. The tokens are designed to be resistant to tampering, presumably to make sure they don't break easily. Also, the tokens occasionally pop put while you are placing in a token next to it. It can turn into a short round of “whack-a-mole” as one piece pops out and then another as you push that one back in.

These are minor design flaws and only slightly take away from the overall product. With a manufacturers' suggested retail price of only $29.95, the Circuit Maze board game is worth a purchase.

Lenovo Tab 4, 8 Inch Tablet Review: Everything You Need to Know

lenovo tab 4 8 inch

As a parent, getting your child to focus on schooling, engage in their classwork, and doing their homework without a built-in "reward" system may seem like a challenge. Technologies, such as the Lenovo Tab 4, 8-inch tablet has dramatically impacted the way children learn, retain information, and their engagement and enjoyment of learning. Here's where electronic devices like tablets are a great learning mechanism, especially for young children whose minds are like sponges and can easily retain information. If you've been looking for a viable solution to intrigue your kids, look no further than electronics, gaming, and teaching apps.

It can be challenging to understand just what it takes to get your child to enjoy learning. And some subjects make it tough for even the most engaged child want to focus in on their work. Technology integration, gaming apps, and natural educational materials in the Lenovo Tab 4, 8-inch tablet might be just what you're looking for as a parent.

About Lenovo

Lenovo has an extensive range of tablets, computers, laptops, and electronic devices available for educational and entertainment purposes. The company was founded in 1984, in Beijing, China, and has since led the retail market in consumer electronic goods. Initially entering the PC market, Lenovo has recently become a worldwide electronic brand in the consumer electronics market. In recent years the company has launched servers, notebooks, and the ever-popular Lenovo-Thinkpad convertible tablet series.

Because of its reputation, consumers can rely on the quality they'll receive when purchasing from the brand. Pairing this with educational apps will further enhance their desirability to learn and focus on their studies. Quality, innovation, stellar configurations, and performance-capabilities, are some of the distinct characteristics which set the brand apart from others.

Features & Capabilities of th Lenovo Tab 4, 8 Inch Tablet

Lenovo Tab 4, 8" Android Tablet, Quad-Core Processor, 1.4GHz, 16GB Storage, Slate Black, ZA2B0009US

The Lenovo Tab 4, 8-inch tablet features a vibrant screen and enhanced audio, to immerse kids in the learning experience. You can set up personal accounts for all users if multiple people in the family will utilize the tablet. Some additional specs include the following.</p>

Visual appearance and image quality

With a 1280x800 resolution, display colors are vibrant, and images naturally pop from the tablet's screen. Great visual experience is achievable for watching, streaming, or utilizing the tablet for learning/educational purposes.

Audio

A powerful Dolby surrounds sound system allows users to utilize the tablet for several tasks. The quality speaker system will enable you to enjoy quality acoustics, without having to use headphones for crisp sound quality.

Speed

A Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor ensures seamless operation with this tablet. The 64-bit quad-core processor helps eliminate lapse or connectivity concerns. The Lenovo Tab 4, 8-inch tablet has 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB built-in storage.

Design

The slim design is just .32 inches thick and only weighs about .68 pounds. It is light, easily transportable, and is an excellent tablet for kids/adults who are on the go.

PRICE

OUR RATING

Our Review Process

Of course, the capabilities, performance, speed, and teaching/gaming apps went into our review process for the top educational tablets. In addition to this, we took the price of the device into consideration. We also took into account the availability, the reputation/brand-name, and user reviews and ratings of all the tablets we have listed. Our integrative approach reviewed the tablets, their capabilities, and flaws as a whole, to help provide our verdict.

The Lenovo Tab 4, 8 Inch Table Target Audience/User

This tablet can be utilized by many people. It is perfect for kids who are in school and need an educational resource, which implements gaming and competition into learning. With different gaming and educational apps, your child will immerse themselves in the learning experience. The tablet offers extensive research tools as well. With parental guides, you can set limits on which sites your child can/can't visit. So, you know they are only using it for schooling while getting the most out of the learning experience.

The tablet isn't only limited in use for kids. For adults who want an entry-level model and price point, this is a great tablet as well. It has sufficient memory to store videos, music, and files. You can use it for work (installing Microsoft Office and other apps), or for viewing enjoyment. The excellent audio system and high-quality monitor provide a viable viewing platform for various forms of entertainment.

Although it is efficient as a learning tool and educational tablet, adult audiences can also benefit from using this tablet for work or play.

Price and Where to Purchase

The Lenovo Tab 4, 8-inch tablet costs between $115 and $130. It is available for consumers to purchase directly through Lenovo's website, Amazon, Best Buy, and Newegg.

Comparable Tablets

There's fierce competition in the tablet market. Lenovo has carved itself as a leader in the industry. Here we'll review a few top competitors/brands which offer children's tablets. Before choosing a specific model, parents should consider a few of these tablets as well.

Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa, 8" HD Display, 16 GB, Black - with Special Offers (Previous Generation – 7th)

The Amazon Fire HD 8 relies on Alexa technologies and voice commands, making users' lives easier. It features 32 GB built-in memory and 1.5 GB of RAM. You can choose to upgrade the tablet with special offers. That includes unlimited access to gaming apps, movies, and songs. There are several kid-friendly games and learning apps. Parents can also utilize parental controls.

To receive the upgrades and "free" movies and games, you do pay a premium price for the tablet. Additionally, the processor isn't upgraded from the Amazon 7 and is still a quad-core 1.3 GHz.

PRICE

OUR RATING


Kurio Tab 2 Tablet: 7" Touch Screen, Intel Atom Quad Core, 8GB Storage, Android 5.0 Lollipop (Certified Refurbished)

The Kurio Tab Advance utilizes Android 4.4 OS and features separate child and adult user modes. It features customizable user-options and password protected account settings. Parents can utilize the parental locks to limit the sites your child can visit. You get over 90 apps with the purchase of the tablet, to enhance the learning experience.

Some owners complain about the USB charging cable coming loose after a few months' uses. Many claim it doesn't hold a charge well.

PRICE

OUR RATING


Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa Hands-Free, 10.1" 1080p Full HD Display, 32 GB, Marine Blue - with Special Offers

As the name implies, a tablet specifically designed with your kids in mind. It features Alexa, and for Amazon Prime members, you can access free games, movies, and TV shows. It also has built-in parental controls and safety settings. A massive 10-inch display is vibrant, and the tablet is available in 32 or 64 GB models. A 1.8 quad-core GHz processor is an upgrade to the Amazon 7 and 8 Tablets.

The tablet is lacking a bit regarding the educational apps. You can download from the app store, but there aren't many built-in educational apps for kids.

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OUR RATING


Kurio 2 Kids Android Intel-powered tablet Google Play, 8GB WiFi 7.0", Touchscreen, Android 5.0 (Lollipop) OS!

The tablet features 8 GB expandable memory, and you can set up to eight user profiles. It has a blue bumper exterior, to provide full support if the tablet falls on the ground. Several parental mode settings are allowing you to monitor use and restrict site access. You can upgrade memory up to 32 GB. It comes loaded with single-play games and educational apps.

The tablet doesn't offer as much expandable memory as competitors. A higher price tag is also going to dissuade many buyers, and less-known name-brand isn't as attractive as other tablets.

PRICE

OUR RATING


LeapFrog LeapPad3 Kids' Learning Tablet, Pink

LeapFrog is a leader in children's technologies. The LeapPad 3 is an educational gaming tablet for your kids to immerse themselves in learning enjoyment. It is suited for kids age three to nine. A 5-inch capacitative touchscreen is extremely responsive. The wifi tablet includes several preinstalled gaming apps. And, has 4 GB internal memory capacity built-in. It features the LeapSearch tool. LeapSearch is a tool allowing parents to search games and apps for specific educational training.

It has a much smaller screen at 5 inches than competitor tablets. It is relatively high in price, considering it is intended for younger audiences as well.

PRICE

OUR RATING


VTech InnoTab Max Kids Tablet, Blue (Discontinued by manufacturer)

The children's tablet incorporates learning and enjoyment into one package. It comes with 650 educator learning cartridges. These cartridges give your child access to various materials and subject-matter in an enjoyable format. It features a kid-tough design. The rugged exterior and padding can withstand drops, bumps, and dings when your child is playing with it. 18 apps are available at the time of purchasing your new tablet.

The screen size is small in comparison to other tablets. It is also a little pedestrian in the use of cartridges, rather than strictly app-based educational tools.

PRICE

OUR RATING


LeapFrog Epic 7" Android-based Kids Tablet 16GB, Green

This 7-inch Android tablet is extremely child-friendly. It is made for kids age three to nine and has the Just for Me Technology. The Just for Me Technology is made explicitly by LeapFrog featuring over 1000 apps, learning modules, and teaching tools for kids. It features a durable design and a vibrant LCD touchscreen. The monitor is very user-friendly and responsive. The exterior green bumper protects the tablet from damage if it falls.

The age range is lesser than that of competitor tablets. There are some preset apps. However, you pay a premium rate for the learning academy (which is $7.99/month).

PRICE

OUR RATING


Lenovo Tab 4, 10.1" Android Tablet, Quad-Core Processor, 1.4GHz, 16GB Storage, Slate Black, ZA2J0007US

The tablet has a 10.1-inch screen size and 1.4 GHz quad-core processor. HD display and Sony surround speakers allow you to immerse in listening and educational enjoyment. The tablet comes in either 16, 32, or 64 GB varieties. It has multi-account settings. It also features parental warnings and controls to limit site access for your kids.

This tablet is not specifically for kids. Although there are some gaming and educational apps, it is a multipurpose tablet. If you are strictly shopping for educational purposes, it might limit its use in the educational spectrum for some. The Lenovo Tab 4, 10 inch tablet is a little larger than the 8-inch version.

PRICE

OUR RATING


LeapFrog LeapPad Ultimate

This tablet has a 1.3 quad-core GHz processor. It has 16 GB storage built-in and a green exterior bumper around the display for protection. Owners gain full access to the LeapFrog Learning academy with over 1000 games/educational apps. A 7-inch display is comparable to most educational tablets. Kids have instant access to hundreds of educational games. Parents have the peace of mind in knowing they can there are parental features to limit site access. The screen is also shatter-free.

The limited age range of three to nine years limits which child can benefit from using the tablet for educational purposes. Likewise, the tablet does not allow you to adjust screen brightness levels either. Low light/brightness settings make it tough to utilize in some conditions.

PRICE

OUR RATING


Pros & Cons of the Lenovo Tablet

When considering the Lenovo Tab 4, 8-inch tablet, you need to consider all aspects of the product. Let's review some of the pros and cons of this learning tablet here.

PROS

  • You can set individual password settings for each family member
  • Easy to set parental locks/controls
  • Kid-friendly options
  • Check Circle
    It includes a shock-resistant bumper 

CONS

  • It is only available in black
  • The front-facing camera is only 2-MP
  • Speakers are nestled
  • Isn't as fast as newer Android models/tablets available

Additionally, the tablet features the KIDOZ app. This is a content discovery platform for kids which distributes apps, games, and learning content.

Our Verdict

If you are strictly shopping for an educational tablet, the LeapFrog Epic might be the best option. Although you pay fees for using the LeapFrog Academy feature, it has the most educational apps. It also features parental locks. A major drawback here is that the tablet is for kids age three to nine. So, your child will outgrow this tablet quickly.

For parents shopping for a multipurpose tablet, there are many options. Overall, the Lenovo Tab 4, 8-inch tablet is the one to choose. Excellent audio control, several user account settings, and parental locks. It allows you to download apps for education as well. Additionally, it does not have age limits/restrictions like other tablets. The tablet is reasonable in price, in a competitive market. It operates on the reliable Android OS. And, you can upgrade memory if you plan on utilizing the tablet for various purposes.

Cheap Tablets For Kids: Is It Worth Buying Those Cheap Techs?

Since their introduction, tablet computers have become an indispensable part of family life. But is it worth buying those cheap tablets for kids?

While a tablet computer can open up a world of learning opportunities for a child, they can also be very pricey. There are a number of less expensive options out there. Before you start looking for cheap tablets for your children, it is essential to understand the features included in tablets designed for kids and what to look for in those features.

Why Buy Cheap Tablets for Kids?

Popular tablets like the Apple iPad mini 4 and the Galaxy Tab S2 have premium specifications. But they also command hefty price tags with both tablets retailing for around $399 MSRP. That is a LOT to spend on a tablet for a child, and just one reason why finding inexpensive tablets for your children is such an appealing alternative.

little boy playing on a cheap tablets for kids

What do Cheap Tablets for Kids have that Others do not?

Inexpensive tablet alternatives designed specifically with children in mind have many features. Most include parental controls and come pre-loaded with software for children. They also have sturdy construction to withstand the rough use of a rambunctious child.

Cheap tablets for kids with these built-in options are a practical alternative to more pricey tablets. They also cost less to replace if your child breaks it. Another added benefit is that they are less of an investment if your child is ultimately not interested.

Parental controls

Parental controls are essential for any mobile device that a child can access. A suitable control system will come pre-installed and allow parents to monitor, approve, and block children from accessing websites or applications that they should not have.

Age-appropriate applications and games

Kids use different apps than older family members. While the Google Play Store and Apple App Store have a large variety of apps for kids, these apps vary wildly in content and quality. Kids tablets usually come with preinstalled apps that are pre-screened to be age appropriate.

Sturdy construction

Sturdy construction is essential because no matter how careful a family is, it is almost inevitable that a tablet will get dropped, bumped, or spilled on. It is vital that a tablet be able to withstand the everyday rigors of childhood.

Things to Consider

When buying cheap tablets for kids, there are a few things you need to consider. It is always a good idea to compare different options. Check customer reviews for any tablets you are considering. Ask other parents in your friend groups. Shared experiences are often the best way to determine the quality of a potential purchase.

Parental controls & user profiles

Before giving your child a tablet, one of the most important things you need to check are the parental controls. Parental controls are a huge part of the solution when it comes to keeping your child safe online.

The good thing is that most cheap tablets for kids do have some parental control built in.
Amazon Fire for Kids and the LeapFrog line of tablets both have extensive parental controls included in their installed operating systems.

At its most basic, you want to ensure that the parental control function allows you to block access to any websites you do not want your child to access. An excellent feature to enable will prevent installing applications. This protects your child from malware and otherwise not-child-friendly applications.

Some parental controls also allow you to set a certain amount of time for particular purposes, limiting the time for specific activities. There may be instances where you would limit a child to one hour of media watching or gameplay.

little kid playing on a cheap tablet for kids

User profiles

Check to see if the tablet can set individual user profiles where more than one family member uses the tablet. Cheap tablets for kids with this feature can be especially helpful. This assists you to keep the peace when you have children of multiple ages with different preferences and learning levels.

Amazon Fire allows you to choose the age range of your child (Child, Teen, or Adult) which automatically sets access to age-appropriate applications and media. With this feature, it takes much of the guesswork out of what to allow.

Be advised though that these auto-settings are not a replacement for parental supervision and monitoring of online activity. As with everything, they are vulnerable to game designers and web developers who create workaround programs. These malicious programs allow internet content to defeat the safety protocols.

Operating system & apps

The different operating systems that cheap tablets for kids use varies depending on the manufacturer. The operating system determines what type of apps can run on the tablet. While compatible applications are often available for many platforms, the selection might vary from tablet to tablet.

Many cheap tablets for kids will come pre-loaded with kid-friendly apps, and some will even have specialized app stores. For example, LeapFrog Ultimate (MSRP $99.99) tablet from LeapFrog uses its Brio OS and has its app store.

Some companies may use a very customized version of Android. For example, Amazon uses a customized version of the Android OS called Fire OS for its Fire tablet line.

On cheap tablets for kids that use a variant of Android, you may be able to install other Android-based apps not on the tablet’s app store through a process called sideloading though this will vary between different tablets.

Display size

Most tablet computers range in size from slightly bigger than a large smartphone at 5” (diagonal) to just slightly smaller than a small laptop at 11” (diagonal). If you are going to buy an inexpensive tablet, consider the age of the kid that will use it.

Younger children with less coordinated motor control might be better off with a medium to large size tablet. These are easier to grip and more forgiving of wayward fingers. The LeapFrog Epic (MSRP $119.99) is a moderately inexpensive tablet for kids. It is targeted for children around preschool age and has a diagonal width of 9” for the display.

Older children with more experience and greater fine motor control can use slightly smaller tablets. The Lenovo Tab 4 8 (MSRP $129.99) which features an 8” display.

Display resolution & color

A significant tradeoff with most cheap tablets for kids is the display resolution. In general, tablets for kids are not going to have HD displays. Where they gain in features designed for young users, they sacrifice in other areas.

For example, the LeapFrog Epic and Amazon Fire Tablet for Kids both have resolutions of 1024 x 600. Customer reviews of various kids tablets also note that the colors are somewhat muted compared to other tablets. As adults, video resolution might play a huge role in our selection of a tablet. Apparently, manufacturers have decided it isn't as important for kids.

Screen responsiveness

It is essential to note screen responsiveness, or how quickly the tablet responds to touch and gestures. Slow screen responsiveness is sure to cause frustration. As children move through a game, they expect to touch the screen and get a reaction. If that reaction lags, they may miss a bonus apple, get knocked off the race track, or other mishaps.

Whenever possible, try out a tablet for yourself in person. If you are shopping online, check product reviews to ensure the screen is responsive enough.

Durability

Kids are not always gentle which is why cheap tablets for kids are an excellent alternative to investing in a more expensive tablet. Tablets designed for children are often built to withstand being bumped, dropped, or otherwise roughly handled.

Look for a tablet that comes with a sturdy case and screen protection. The Contixo 7” HD Kids (MSRP $89.99) tablet comes with a durable case and three layer screen protectors. The Amazon Fire Kids Edition (MSRP $99.99 for the 7” variant) also comes with a sturdy case.

Camera

Cameras are a feature on just about every tablet computer, and kids tablets are no different. Cheap tablets for kids are more likely to have cameras that have a lower resolution than other tablet cameras. Low light pictures may come out blurry or grainy.

This is another area where sacrifice for the price comes in. Younger children may not care much about photo resolution. However, older children may notice the lower camera quality.

Battery life

Short battery life is a sure way to breed tantrums. When looking for a tablet, check to see that it has a battery life of at least 6 hours.

Stay away from any cheap tablets for kids where customer reviews warn of short battery life. Note that processor-heavy applications like games or video streaming can affect how long a battery charge will last.

The Takeaway

Giving a child a tablet can give them hours of enjoyment through educational games and applications. It can also provide a parent a few minutes of relative calm.

Is it worth it to buy a less expensive tablet for your children? In a word: yes. Cheap tablets for kids are an excellent alternative to more expensive ones. Just make sure that you are buying the right tablet for your family’s needs.