As a parent, you face the dual challenges of trying to protect your own tablet from your child and trying to protect your child from the internet that the tablet connects them to. Should they have their own? Is it safe? These are questions that you need to ask, and the product with the best answers might be the Ellipsis Kids Tablet from Verizon.
There are a number of kid-friendly tablets that have been released over the last couple years, and they keep getting better. The Ellipsis Kids tablet is a nice entry level Android tablet bundled along with a few special features that make it ideal for your child. Its relatively small size at 4.9″ x 8.1″ makes it a great choice, especially for small children.
The primary safety feature is the password lock that keeps kids out of Android operating system proper. Once you set the four-digit password, your child can only access Zoodles Kid Mode. The tablet suggests that you use your birth year as the password, but that doesn’t seem very secure — we’d use something more random that your child won’t be able to guess. Kid Mode is a digital playground that is safe for kids to explore. The Zoodles target age is from 2-8 years old. With your purchase of the tablet you will gain premium access to educational games, videos, and e-books from Zoodles. You can tailor the apps to your child’s age and skill level, too.
Within Zoodles Kid Mode you can find 27 educational games. If you want to slowly open up more options for your kids, you can use the Parent Dashboard to give your child access to any of the apps that you’ve downloaded and installed on the tablet in Adult Mode (which is a standard Android tablet interface). That can be anything from Angry Birds to the Android Settings app, so be careful not to check the wrong box. From the dashboard, you can also view the progress that your child has made, see their drawings, and keep tabs on their activity. It is a very nice way to see how they have been using the device.
Another important feature is usage time limits. You can choose 30 minutes, one hour, two hours, or unlimited, and you can have different settings for the weekend. You can also restrict apps based on five levels of violence. Another great and much needed setting in the Parent Dashboard are the individual adjustments that you can make to app sounds, background music, and effects.
Overall, the Zoodles Kid Mode works very well. Basic attempts at circumventing the Kid Mode lockouts were unsuccessful. Even a long-press hard reset rebooted into Kid Mode. This is good, since kids will inevitably press all the buttons at one time or another. The app itself can be a little buggy at times — once, it completely locked up on us forcing a reboot, but it restarted again in the safe environment of Kid Mode, so not a big concern.
Another important kid-friendly feature is the bumper case that comes with the tablet. It offers very good protection for drops onto the corners and also makes it very easy for small hands to hold. Though it likely goes without a saying, due to the easy access to the very small, swallowable memory cards, small children should only use the tablet with the case on.
The Ellipsis Kids tablet has a beautiful 8″ display, 16 GB of memory with a MicroSD slot, a 5 megapixel rear camera, and 1.3 megapixel front camera. It has a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor running Android KitKat and can connect to the Verizon 4G LTE network. The battery (5,000 mAh) will optimally give you over 14 hours of usage and 12 days of standby time, but the actual battery life depends on how your child uses the tablet. If they’re watching a lot of videos or movies, you should probably expect half of that, or less.