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