Kids and tablet computers can be a dangerous combination. If they open up a search engine and type a simple question like, ‘where do babies come from’, it’s less likely they’ll get a picture of a stork, and more that they’ll be greeted with the complete process in full glorious technicolor (probably with a helpful video).
This doesn’t mean we should throw out the baby/tablet with the bath water (off-topic fact see the history of that phrase here) since tablets can be a great way to help teach children how to read or learn math. They can also be used to give suffering parents five blessed minutes of peace so they can enjoy their dinner at a restaurant without having to drag their child to the restroom 7 times in a row (speaking hypothetically… of course).
The Funtab Pro by Ematic helps to solve many of these issues. Parents have the ability to completely lockdown the browsing capability and control the apps that the child uses. Do you have a devious child that you fear may over-ride the restrictions? Never fear, the FunTab Pro also emails you a weekly update on the apps and websites that were used by your child. Checkmate! Watch the video below for my hands-on.
- Comes preloaded with many of the child-friendly apps – such as, Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and more. In addition, it is also preloaded with many educational apps to help your child with math, number recognition, reading, geometry, and more.
- Has a front and rear facing camera that allows the child to send video emails to predetermined email addresses. The parent has complete control on who can receive these video emails and who has the ability to respond back to the child.
- For a monthly fee ($3.99) you can upgrade the apps and books that are available. It is a little disappointing that the device requires a separate subscription in order to have access to all of the content, but at least it is at a reasonable cost.
- Price and Value – at $150 the FunTab Pro is at an attractive price point. It is $50 more than the LeapPad, however it does not require the purchaser to spend $20-$30 for each additional game. Even with the $3.99/month (optional) subscription fee the FunTab Pro is much better value.
- Runs on Android’s “Ice Cream Sandwich” with the Zoodles mode. Zoodles will send parents an update showing the amount of time each child spent on a particular app. It also breaks down their time based on the apps category – math, reading, life skills, tutorials on creating explosives, and so on.
- The 7″ screen is attractive, but not HD sharp. However it’s probably good enough for most 5 year olds.
- The touchscreen is OK, but it is not as responsive as some of the tablets I have used. Again it’s probably fine for most youngsters and it’s certainly not a deal killer.
- The battery life can best be described as average. The manufacturer states a 6 hour run time per charge, but I found that to be a bit optimistic.
- Preloaded with dozens of kid friendly YouTube videos .. i.e. the Will.i.am “What I am” Sesame Street Song (requires a wifi connection) as seen here.
- Runs on the Android “Ice Cream Sandwich” platform with the Zoodles Kid mode.
- 1GHz processor
- Up to 6 hours of battery life.
- 1GB DDR2 of system memory and 8GB on-board storage memory
- 3-axis gyroscope
- HDMI port – in case you want to hook this 7″ tablet up to your HD television
- Built-in 802.11b/g/n WiFi
- Additional memory via microSD card slot
Summary- If you are looking for an educational and safe tablet for your child, the FunTab Pro by Ematic deserves consideration. It is not perfect (screen resolution, touchscreen response, and optional subscription fee) but it does provide controllable entertainment and educational apps at a reasonable cost. Older children (10+) may become bored with the lack of expandability, but any many ways it is perfect for younger children.
4 1/2 Stars
Available at Amazon.com for around $130