What It Is
The XO Tablet is a basic Android tablet created by the One Laptop Per Child program, which has put tablets and computers in the hands of underprivileged kids around the world. We took this tablet for a test-drive, and the plusses are that it's a full-fledged Android tablet running Android Jelly Bean 4.1. It's got a seven-inch screen, a 1.6 GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage. It comes with a green silicone bumper to protect it, which is smart and pretty cool. It also has a front and back camera. This makes it a pretty average low- to mid-priced wi-fi-enabled tablet. The battery life is pretty good, but the speakers are not that good. Kids will want to use earphones to be able to hear clearly, especially when the silicone bumper is on.
What XO is promoting as its difference is the educational content: books, software, and more. And there's a lot of it. There's Little Pim for language learning, a full library of books that includes classics, and tons of other kinds of apps. (We're not sure kids will want to read Bleak House, but we were happy to see it included, nonetheless.) You will also have complete access to Google Play, so if you're tired of the more than 160 apps on the XO Tablet, you can get others.
Another point of difference is what they're calling a "dream interface". From here, kids can decide what they want to be on any given day and touch on that interest to find apps at different levels that are appropriate to that interest. You can set up as many as three different profiles for kids in addition to a parent's.
Once parents set up a profile, kids can explore the different apps. The parent control section can limit access to the internet, but it doesn't get rid of ads in some of the apps. There's also a journal that parents can access to determine kids' learning and usage.
Is It Fun?
Kids at ever younger ages are clamoring for a real tablet. This delivers at a highly competitive price. Kids will enjoy the diverse built-in content, and parents will appreciate that it comes "fully loaded." It can also be used as a basic Android tablet as kids get older and no longer use the educational content.
Who It’s For
The XO Tablet is for ages 3–12.
What To Be Aware Of
We're not sure that the educational content has been curated. It's mostly been collected. But there's a lot here, and the value of all the content that's included certainly makes the $150 price point for the XO Tablet a good deal. A similar tablet with no additional content could be about $50 less. It's certainly one that's going to grow with kids and double as both an e-reader and a fully functioning Android tablet as kids get older. If you're looking for something between a toy tablet and a high-end adult tablet, this could be an excellent choice.
The XO Tablet is available to purchase from Target, Amazon, and Walmart.
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