I’ve watched the kids tablet market balloon over the past years, with many manufacturers popping onto the scene with underwhelming machines. The main issue was the belief that some kids-friendly branding would be enough to disguise the poor performance beneath.
This arrival from Kurio is a welcome addition to the market since it firmly establishes a new sub-category of being homework friendly – and I think parents are going to like it.
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The Kurio Smart has a folio-style keyboard that sets it apart from other children's tablets – it feels far more grown-up than the rubber-cased versions out there. In my opinion, the inclusion of the keyboard is hugely helpful for children. So much in-class work for kids of all ages takes place on a keyboard nowadays that this machine actively promotes the practicing of this skill.
Windows 10 comes preinstalled, alongside a year's free access to Office 365, providing superb tools with which to complete homework. It's a little frustrating that while a micro-USB is included for expanding the 32GB memory, there's no regular USB for saving and sharing homework.
However, further parent-pleasing arrives on the Smart in the form of the ability to set limits on what features can be used and when.
Kids are kept happy too, since the Kurio Smart comes pre-loaded with a decent bunch of games with which children can reward themselves after completing their homework.
There's no way that children will be interested in a tablet that doesn't offer any entertainment. The Smart benefits from a robust WiFi connection that allows for streaming and online access. Alongside the standard preinstalled games, motion-gesture titles offer Xbox Kinect-style gaming. While I wouldn’t quite classify them as exercise, they're certainly better than a full suite of sedentary titles.
The inclusion of an HDMI is a smart addition too. Plugged into our TV, we were presented with a way to super-size algebra homework on-screen, which was actually moderately entertaining. With homework complete, we played a few games on the big screen. This feature turned the Smart into a true family tablet.
Reporting back on the touchscreen, kids were suitably impressed. The touchscreen offers just the right amount of responsiveness for their sometimes eye-watering ability to tap at light speed on any screen.
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Usually a difficult one to gauge, while most of the on-screen imagery for the Kurio Smart shows kids around the age of 9/10 with the unit, I found that my five-year-old was able to use the keyboard – and the tablet part – with great success.
Most surprising was that my teenagers had no issue with the Smart not being cool enough for school. Instead, they made the point that it was less likely to warrant unwanted attention at school versus their iPad mini.
The Kurio Smart comes in at the top end of the price scale when it comes to kid tablets. However, as I quickly discovered, this isn't a tablet for the really young ones. This does give it much more value – it’ll have some longevity as a purchase for a five-year-old and get used by others in the family.
If you have no intention of offloading your iPad or iPad mini any time soon then I’d certainly recommend the Kurio Smart.