Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Kurio Xtreme, the Ultimate Android Tablet™ Built for Kids

Kurio Xtreme, the Ultimate Android Tablet™ Built for Kids

Fall 2014 Toys
Ages: 6 & Up
Manufacturer: Techno Source
Price: $129.99

The Kurio Xtreme is a 7-inch Android-based tablet custom-designed for families with children. The screen is small, sized appropriately for younger users, and the outer edge is protected by a rugged bumper. Parents can set up as many as eight individual accounts for users and set time limits (both by time of day and by maximum allowable play time) for each child. The tablet features both front and rear cameras, fun for kids to play with for photography and videos, though the resolution is low (2 MP on the rear and only 0.3 MP on the front; at least this means that children cannot fill up the available memory quickly) and the color is disappointing. However, the Kurio comes with 16 GB of built-in space, and USB and microSD ports allow for inexpensive expansion of memory.

The Kurio comes with over 100 preinstalled apps, most educational or at a minimum harmlessly playful; parents can customize which apps will be visible to each profile. Apps can be deleted and new ones installed from the Kurio store or from Google Play; for example, we quickly realized we would want a more flexible sound recorder than the preinstalled one, and found a free one readily available. The tablet also offers email and web clients, at the parents' discretion; filters on the web seem rigorous at blocking inappropriate content.

Parents and older youths who are used to the slick interfaces of high-end iOS and Android tablets may feel cramped by the style of the children's accounts on the Kurio; profile screens are busy and crowded, and apps are inclined to open spontaneously when one is merely trying to page through the lists. The tablet can be slow at times. Many of the preinstalled apps are of mediocre quality and require in-app purchases in order to make any real progress; however, Kurio did include a number of fun, popular, and challenging games, such as Cut the Rope 2 and Fruit Ninja, sure to entertain even teen users.

Fortunately, younger users greet the Kurio with a far less critical eye and quickly adapt to the interface, enjoying the ability to customize a profile, choose favorite apps, and try new games, books, and utilities from the well-organized (and again fully-customizable) groups. Our testers found ways to use the tablet as a school aid, recording music practices and running a timer to meet homework challenges, then turned around and made movies of friends and took pictures to share with family.

Parents will be pleased both with the affordable price and with the multi-user parental controls, a feature set entirely lacking from iOS tablets and of limited availability on other Android tablets. The parent account allows the Kurio to behave as a full-featured, standard tablet (albeit one with chubby bumpers), so this really is a family tablet, not just a kids' toy. Though the Kurio tablet's hardware is not top-of-the-line, it is a solid choice for parents who want some security and protection over their kids' electronics use.

Emily Crawford   ©2014 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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Techno Source

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