Around this time last year, LG and Verizon released the Ellipsis Kids Tablet, GizmoPal 2 and the GizmoGadget, a couple of kid-friendly wearables and a tablet exclusive to Verizon and their network. Verizon seems to be making a habit of holiday Gizmo releases — today, they’re announcing the GizmoTab, an 8″ kids tablet that can be adjusted as children get older.
Like most tablets, the GizmoTab is basic on the inside — it’s powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 SoC, 3 GB of RAM, and a 5,100 mAh battery. The tablet only has 16 GB of storage, but that can be expanded by 128 GB with a microSD card. There’s also a 5 MP front camera and an 8 MP rear camera that can take 1080p video. It’s not a powerhouse, but it’s above average for a kids tablet, especially for the kinds of games and apps that will come with the GizmoTab.
Usually, kids tablets either run Android with parental controls or a closed-off system that only allows content that the manufacturer approves. The GizmoTab is of the former type, running Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Parental controls include the abilities to set time limits and schedule no-use times (like during dinner). These limits can be made flexible, as parents can use an app to give kids bonus time for helping out around the house, for example. Parents can also set browsing filters that can be adjusted as kids get older, or can use the tablet themselves in adult mode.
But none of that is unique to the GizmoTab, so the real draw comes from the free content. Verizon went all-out here — 300 premium educational games and apps have all been made free with purchase of the GizmoTab. Those games and apps have been curated by Fingerprint, a kids’ tablet platform. Fingerprint also provides a custom home screen overlay that looks less like rows of apps and more like an adventure game map, where kids can cruise around and browse for apps by categories on different islands. Kids and parents can easily browse that selection and download what they want. Verizon says they’ll continue to update this catalog over time, in partnership with Fingerprint. The apps in question are ones that would normally cost money — Verizon says they’re making $600 worth of apps free to anyone who buys the GizmoTab.
We’ve spent some time playing and testing the new GizmoTab, and it’s clear that Verizon has spent a lot of time listening to feedback from users of their Ellipsis 4G tablet for kids. To that effect, not only have they improved the software running on their new GizmoTab tablet, but also the hardware. With a better display, better battery life, and more performance under the hood, this time around the hardware is powerful enough that mom and dad will want to use the GizmoTab too — and they easily do so by switching to the regular Android interface. Furthermore, the new parental control software running on the tablet is not only more intuitive, but the 300 free handpicked apps for kids make the GizmoTab an incredibly competitive value. All in all, the GizmoTab sets a new bar for kids tablets.
Starting today, the GizmoTab is available at Verizon stores for $80, but it has to be paired with two-year activation on their network and a data connection — the data plan is necessary to gain access to the 300 free apps. At the outset, purchasing the GizmoTab will also net you a gift card for Toys ‘R’ Us, Barnes & Noble, or The Gap. That gift card is worth $100 if you add a GizmoPal 2 or GizmoGadget smartwatch. Verizon will also have a selection of padded bumper cases and tablet stands in various colors.
UPDATE 12/02/2016: The post has been amended to point out that Fingerprint has provided the GizmoTab’s custom interface and curated list of kid-friendly apps and games.