Tablet Update: Sprout’s Cubby vs Fuhu’s Nabi 2s

One of my most popular posts is [REVIEW: The Sprout Cubby Tablet for Kids] It’s a Cubby…not a chubby. I thought I’d do a little update on our current kid friendly tablet situation.

Ben used his Cubby regularly, it served us well, until my dad sat on it and the screen cracked lol.. I still have no bad things to say about the Sprout Cubby. However, we decided against buying another one. It just so happened that the Nabi 2S Tablet was on sale that same week so we jumped onto the Nabi/Fuhi ship and haven’t looked back.


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I’d like to go through a few things I’ve noticed in regards to comparing the Sprout Cubby and Fuhu’s Nabi 2S Tablet:

The Nabi2s keeps a charge throughout the day, it’s much easier to put on the charger too (for those that had issues with Cubby’s charger).

As I stated in my original post about the Sprout Cubby, the Nabi’s touchscreen  is noticeably more responsive than the Cubby (for me at least). I still don’t think my son notices a difference.

There is still tons of pre-loaded content but everything is easy to delete/uninstall in Mommy/Daddy mode.

The bumper that came with the Nabi is also more durable than the one that was on the Cubby. My son can’t take this one off without help and it’s nice and squishy/absorbent for the occasional drop. Speaking of bumpers. There are TONS of accessories available to purchase for the Nabi Tablet(s). When we purchased our Nabi 2s a screen protector was included and it has done well. We haven’t gotten a chance to use any of the other accessories yet. We’ll probably get a new bumper in the future, if there’s ever a good sale.


All of the Pros of the Sprout Cubby were still a Pro with the Nabi 2s. If you recall, my main concern was having Google Play readily available (the Nabi Jr. did not have it installed). The Nabi 2s had Google Play installed from the get-go. No need to root or proceed with a workaround. The ONLY thing that the Nabi 2s lacked was the rear facing camera, but we could do without it. Ben isn’t interested in photography at the moment; he’s more of a cardboard box playhouse kinda kid.


If anything, the Nabi 2s solved most, if not all, of the Cons I had listed in my previous Cubby review. I’ve also noticed that the Sprout Cubby isn’t that easy to come by anymore and the Nabi 2s is priced very competitively with it now (they both go for around $80 at Walmart). If you can find them both at a store, I’d definitely check and see what the pricing is, it seems to fluctuate for whatever reason. If they’re about the same price, I would go with the Nabi 2s hands down. Try them both out and see for yourself. If you have any questions (about either tablet) drop them down in the comment section below!


Do you have any recommendations for a budget friendly, toddler friendly, tablet?

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[MINI-REVIEW: Discord] The Future of VoIP?

Let me set the record straight, I am not, and do not claim to be, a “hardcore” gamer. I play a few games recreationally and that’s about it. I do, however, appreciate a beautiful UI when I see one. Keep that in mind when you read this review of sorts. It’s coming more from an admirer of UI rather than a elite gamer’s perspective.

First off, what exactly is VoIP? VoIP is short for Voice over IP. In layman’s terms, it’s when you use your computer like a phone (ie: Skype, Facebook Messenger, TeamSpeak, Ventrilo, etc.)

Discord is new to the scene of VOIP but you wouldn’t be able to tell when compared to other clients. The UI is clean, crisp and concise (which all pretty much mean the same thing, but dang is this UI great). I was recently introduced to Discord by a redditor on the /r/Splatoon (love reddit, love Splatoon) subreddit. If you play Splatoon, you know there are no voice chatting options available. Splatoon is a “kid friendly” game, so I can understand why they don’t want voice chat. Things can get ugly real quick when someone starts raging.. But there are still people out there that would like some kind of voice chat. That’s where Discord comes in, it helps Splatoon players connect and use voice chat to help with teamwork.

On to the good stuff, the UI.

Oh.My.Lordy. This UI is beautiful. It’s so simple yet it doesn’t look like it was created to run on a Windows 98 (I’m looking at you Windows 10 graphics department).. Incredibly intuitive, there’s a tremendous amount of features, and the best part… it’s FREE! You can set up tons of rooms for text chat and tons of rooms for voice chat. You can also DM (direct message) anyone who is part of your server. Unlike Skype, which runs like a fat hog, it doesn’t burn up your computer and it can be ran INSIDE your browser. No download necessary. Unlike Teamspeak and Mumble, the iOS and Android App is just as beautiful as the desktop client (app is also FREEEEEE). I could rave on and on about how much better Discord’s UI (and features) are better than the mass majority of VOIP clients aimed towards gaming but you should just check it out for yourself. As I said earlier, I’m not a gamer but Discord is so nice, it makes me want to game more JUST so I can use the darn thing. Voice quality is superb and it’ll make you scratch your head about how the devs do it (I have no clue, you’d have to ask them).

ALSO, since it is fairly new (alpha, I believe) the Developers are crazy responsive to any issues/ideas that you run into.

https://discordapp.com/

Check it out, you won’t regret it. I promise!

-Bevin

*I have not been asked by Discord to write this mini-review of sorts; I just appreciate a nice UI when I see one and I like to share apps that exceed my expectations!

[REVIEW: The Sprout Cubby Tablet for Kids] It’s a Cubby…not a chubby.

Last month, I caved. My parents bought Benjamin a “kid friendly” tablet. I always told myself that I’d never be one of those parents that let their kids use technology at such a young age. Honestly, I kind of let myself down by allowing it but let me tell you something..it’s been great. Kids these days are exposed to technology (more specifically phones/tablets) right out of the womb.. We have our smart phones and tablets taking pictures/videos of them; music playing from them; we’re texting, sharing, calorie counting, and reading news on them. It’s just a part of life. They see their parents using them on a daily basis and it’s only a matter of time before they want to see what all the fuss is about themselves.

After my son turned 1, he really (and I mean REALLY) loved watching these short ABC videos on YouTube. Something about the music and colors just grabbed his attention. He would shake his little tush to the song, and it was cute. Before I knew it, he was asking for “phone” so he could watch his favorite video.

After going back and forth on how to go about it, my nerdy side won and I started researching tablets made for kids. I had my heart set on the Nabi Jr. but then quickly realized it was a bust. No Google Play means no YouTube for Kids. The Nabi 2 was nice but the price point was a little more than what I was willing to spend. One day I pondered into Best Buy (because why not?) and I spotted the Sprout Cubby. It was small enough for my 1.5 year old’s stubby hands, it had 16 GBs of flash memory and it had access to the Google Play Store. I went home that night and looked it up to see what other people had to say about it.

Unfortunately, there weren’t many reviews out there for it. There were a few horrible YouTube videos that were recorded by what looks to be a 6th grader, and any blog that “reviewed” it just listed the specs that I already know of. Amazon was incredibly brutal, but I always take them with a grain of salt. I don’t mean to toot my own horn but most people aren’t as tech savvy as I am (or I like to think that at least lol). Many of the complaints on Amazon were that the screen broke or the charger broke blah blah blah. Honestly though, if you take care of ANYTHING you buy, it’ll last. You have to teach the kid to respect technology, even if the box does say “kid friendly”. It doesn’t necessarily mean your child will not throw the tablet into the toilet, you still have to supervise while they’re using (duh).

While I was on the fence about the whole thing, good ol’ grampa and gramma went out and bought him the Cubby, or as my mom calls it the Chubby lol..

Right out of the box, it was a pretty easy setup. However, it did say to charge the tablet for 6 odd hours before using it. It was late anyways though so I plugged it into the charger and it was ready in the morning.

Let me get into a little breakdown of the pros and cons

PROS

  • Super lightweight and easy for my 1.5 year old to hold.
  • Screen size is perfect for a kiddo, nothing obnoxiously big (I’m lookin’ at you Nabi Big/XD)..
  • Tons of content pre-loaded onto the tablet. I guess this could be a con too if you don’t really like any of the Sprout stuff. My son loves Sprout though, so I’m not complaining. I haven’t looked into if I could delete any of the pre-loaded content though, it’ll be something I’ll look into when the time comes.
  • Front and rear facing camera. Not the best quality but the kids won’t know the difference (no complaints here).
  • Access to Google Play. The other tablet I was interested in (Nabi Jr) did not have immediate access to the Google Play store. I think there were a few technical modifications you could make to access it but.. meh. No Google Play was a deal breaker for me; that meant no YouTube and Ben would not likey that.
  • Parental Controls- time limit, ability to set what apps are accessible, no more mysteriously deleted e-mails or missed notifications on my phone.
  • UI is not bad to look at.
  • Tablet is not bad to look at.
  • Small size makes it possible to throw into diaper bag/purse.
  • Ability to add more than one profile for kids.
  • Access to “parent mode” which allows the tablet to act like a normal Android tablet.

CONS

  • If you don’t pay attention (which you should), the charger can be slightly difficult to plug in. I haven’t had any issues with it but I can see less patient people getting frustrated w/ it.
  • Touch screen isn’t always responsive. My son (1.5 years old) hasn’t gotten irritated by it though and manages to navigate with no issues. I’ve noticed a little unresponsiveness when I use it but it doesn’t bother me all the much. It’s not an iPad so I didn’t expect it to act like one. The Nabi line did feel a tad more snappier than the Sprout though. I’ll give it that.
  • Tons of pre-loaded content (see also in Pros). This can either work for you or against you. I, personally, don’t mind it but you might.
  • Bumper falls off without much force. My son can take the bumper off but isn’t able to put it back out. Like I said earlier, supervise your child or teach your child to bring the tablet to you if it does. My son just goes “uh oh mom” and I simply put it back on. I don’t think the bumper is supposed to protect the tablet all that much, it’s more for grip imo.
  • No readily available “accessories” to replace bumper. There’s no other cases for this tablet. They do offer a few pouches and screen protectors that you can purchase separately but…meh.
  • Not really a con to me, I knew what I signed up for, but it is Wi-Fi only so you can’t access any content that requires the internet without…internet (duh) lol.

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All in all, I’m happy with it and my son is happy with it. It’ll be something he can grow with and it keeps him happy while I’m working out or cooking dinner. I couldn’t ask for anything more from a tablet made for kids. I’d definitely reccommend you  give the Sprout Cubby a look when you’re at your local Walmart/BestBuy, if you’re on the market for a tablet for your kiddo(s). Of course, you should always look into other tablets that meet your own needs (Nabi line, Kindle, iPad, Leapfrog, etc. etc.)

I hope this helped you on your tablet journey though! If you readers like reviews like this, leave a comment and I’ll be sure to try and do more.

Oh, and happy Friday!

-Bevin

*My parents purchased the Sprout Cubby out of their own pocket. Pictures to come…if I ever get a chance. 🙂

Teethz and stuff

Have you ever felt like you owned your own personal dinosaur? …. No?! Lucky you.

Since Ben has been teething, I’m pretty sure he’s like 50% pterodactyl. I love the little chubbo, but MAN can he scream his little head off. As of yesterday, we have one very sharp tooth that cut through Ben’s gums. Poor thing sobs periodically throughout the night, rubbing his mouth and whimpering like a lost puppy. We gave him a couple teething tablets, a little Tylenol but nothing seems to help. We resorted to nighttime snuggles which helps for a few hours.. then he wakes up and decides he wants to be a dinosaur again. Lucky for him, he’s still freakin adorable and I can’t stay annoyed with the screaming too long.

All this teeth talk reminds me that I should have a dentist appointment coming up sometime this month. Urgh, I hate the dentist. Something about people scraping my teeth and gums until they bleed, and then scolding me about how my gums are bleeding (even when their metal prick is stabbing me for 30 minutes straight), just doesn’t rub me the right way..

Anyways, back to Ben.. He’s growing so fast. Other parents always told me that time flies by when you have a baby. I thought they were liars when we first had Ben, sleepless nights, sopping diapers and a stationary baby. I never thought that time would end, but it has. Ben’s not a newborn anymore and it makes me a little sad. It’s a new phase in his little life though and I’m excited to see what’s next.


Which brings me to my next thought. Benjamin’s 1st birthday party.

I’ve never been good at planning parties. I have good ideas (at least I like to think so) but I’m not very good at executing those ideas. Hopefully things will come together. We’re going to be throwing two parties. One up here in Central CA and another in Southern CA. That way both families can attend without having to make a 6 hour drive. As far as the theme goes, I think we settled on “Superheros” that way everyone can dress up as their favorite and decorating should be pretty easy. Luke Skywalker, Batman, and Elsa are all invited. Everyone has a different idea when you say the word “superhero” so it should be quite interesting. I have 3 months to plan this sucker, wish me luck.


Bear with me now as I go on a little, off topic, ramble.

Comic-Con 2015– I. WANT. TO GO.
I’ve decided that I’m finally going to attempt to gain a Comic-Con badge for next year. I know, it’s a year a way but whatevs. I’ve been wanting to go for a while but just never got around to trying. Say a prayer for me when the tickets go on sale. That is all.


I’ve been beta testing iOS 8 since it was released to developers earlier this summer. It’s been pretty nifty so far. It seems a lot snappier than iOS 7 and the Quick Reply feature is neat. If there was one gripe that I had, it wouldn’t be so much with the iOS but rather my own impatiences. I know, bugs are going to be prevalent whenever you’re testing a beta but I wish there were more people documenting the bugs they come across. I’m sitting here Googling “Does app X do some funky bug with iOS 8” and nothing ever populates. I know the answer, I probably have to clean install the operating system, but sheesh! I hate not having my answers readily waiting for me on the magical page which we call of Google results.

If you’re wondering (which I’m sure you’re not) which app I’m referring to, it’s Line Camera. Currently, I’m not able to use any of the available stamps. The app just sits there and acts stupid. I’ll get over it.


Enough with the complaining though. Today I will leave you with my current favorite picture of my little dino.

 

Bevin.

It’s my birthday and I’ll eat if I want to!

That’s right folks, I’m 24 today. Every birthday people always ask, “How do you feel?!!”, and they all have the same stupid face like I’m going to turn wrinkly before their eyes. Honestly though, birthday’s have never made me feel old or sad. I don’t really get excited about them either. For one thing, I have to awkwardly say “Thank you.” to a bunch of people and I always have to awkwardly tell people my materialistic desires.

“What do you want for your birthday, Bevin?!!!”
“You know, a spaceship…”

I’ve never been good at telling people what I want. I’m a giver, always have been and always will be. It’s awkward to tell people what I want because I don’t really need anything. Anything given to me always feels like excess. However, I shouldn’t complain if someone hands me $20. The only person that I don’t feel bad about nagging stuff to is my husband. Because that’s his job, right?

Either way, Happy Birthday to me 🙂 and I appreciate everyone’s well wishes even if you can’t feel the love from my Facebook replies.

There is one thing that gets me excited about my birthday, cake.. I love me some cake, especially if it has sprinkles. I’ve already requested one from my sister, we’ll see if my birthday wish is granted. Once again, I spent way too much time on Betty Crocker and came across this beauty of a cake.

Me likey sprinkles and cake.


Moving on to things other than how old I am, Benjamin just turned 8 months a few days ago! I previously posted about a wonder week he was getting ready to start. Boy, did it cause some wonders. The day after the wonder week started, he learned to crawl. The next day he learned how to go from a crawl to sitting back down on his booty. He learned how to wave bye, and the most panic worthy– he’s learned how to pull himself up into the standing position when there’s a sturdy couch nearby. Panic worthy only because he’s managed to face plant onto the floor a few times. Bumps and bruises here we come..  The joys of a newly mobile baby. Not only did he have those huge developments, he’s hit the teething stage at full force. His poor gums are so swollen at times, he drools a river and bites onto anything that brushes near his lips. Nothing’s cut through yet, but it’s only a matter of time. So far, 8 months has been my favorite. His personality is really started to  shine through. He’s independent but still a cuddly koala. He has such a wonderful sense of humor, my husband can vouch for me on that. I love him so much; more and more each day.


My husband and myself finally did the deed… We bought ourselves a family laptop. (Hah, you thought.) It’s been something that we’ve been wanting to do but just never got around to doing. It all started when I started playing Adventure Time Battle Party (will now be referenced as ATBP).For those of you who are not familiar with ATBP, it’s pretty much LoL (League of Legends) for n00bz. I suck at gaming, but I pretend I don’t. My husband enjoys playing LoL and I was always interested but I knew it was totally out of my league (you likey the pun?). Don’t judge me for enjoying a game based off of a show made by Cartoon Network. Try it out if you’re interested in LoL but don’t have mad skillz. Anyways, don’t get me wrong, I love my MacBook but ATBP certainly does not.. It lags and crashes like crazy and it finally drove me crazy enough to purchase a new family gaming computer. Now I’ll have something to play The Sims 4 on too 🙂

Don’t mind me while I spend all of my life savings on computer games now.

Bevin

Today in technology…

Today in technology there was the announcement of The Sims 4 Release Date! There’s only two video games that I get extremely addicted to; Animal Crossing and The Sims. Looks like when September 2nd rolls around, I’ll be addicted to The Sims 4. Managing my time will be interesting since I work full time and then I have Benjamin (who is my first priority of course). I think my gaming will have to take a slightly different role than it has in the past. Prior to Ben, I was able to play all day, every day, if I wanted. Now, I’ll come home from work, make sure he’s all taken care of and then see if I have the time/energy to play. Either way, I’ll be able to play at least an hour on the weekend. It’s crazy how parenthood changes a person; a good crazy, of course.

The Sims 4 looks fun. You can customize your Sim in some incredible ways. Building seems a lot easier too. I would spend HOURS building my home and moving all the furniture/windows around. It seems like a breeze in the new version. We shall see though.

Anyway, that’s all I was really interested in at E3 this year. Maybe Super Smash Brothers too though, but they won’t talk about that until later in the conference. Check out The Sims YouTube Channel for some previews/demos.

That’s all I really wanted to talk about in this post. I think I’ll title my tech posts like this, in the future. That way all my non-tech enthusiasts can just skip right over em’.

Hope everyone’s Monday isn’t being a total drag, do yourself a favor and stop by Starbucks on the way home from work today. That’ll make everything better 😀