If you're not wild about sharing your tablet with your kids, there's good news. This year you'll find a lot more tablets made especially for them, and they are far from just kids' play. Consumer Reports checked them out.
"This year we're seeing tablets with real Android operating systems and features like Wi-Fi and expandable memory," said Carol Mangis of Consumer Reports. "These tablets are not just toys."
Consumer Reports evaluated five tablets designed for kids. They cost between $150 and $200. Testers checked lots of features, including display quality. Some screens were hard to view from an angle. One machine measured battery life by tapping the screen to keep it awake until the batteries run down.
Then came the team of experts! Consumer Reports asked a dozen young testers to play games, read books, and create artwork on the tablets.
They answered questions, too, like how easy the tablets are to turn on, and which activities are fun.
"These tablets all come loaded with child-friendly games and learning activities," Mangis said. "And not surprisingly, the kids liked the games the best."
For bookworms, the Meep! Tablet from Oregon Scientific has the clearest display screen. And if you want to limit your child's internet access, parental controls are on all the tablets. The most extensive for younger kids are on the Meep!, the Kurio 7 and the Nabi 2.
"Some tablets have internet filters," explained Mangis, "which means kids can surf only to approved websites. And on some tablets, parents can limit their kid's time online."
And which tablet did the kids like best? The Nabi 2 for 200 dollars. It has a friendly interface, and the longest battery life.
Consumer Reports notes that some "grownup" tablets have parental restrictions, too. You'll find them on tablets including the
Galaxy Nexus, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Amazon Kindle Fire models.