Can I just say: I'm so excited that Spring is here! We were all getting a little cabin fever - Aubrey is getting into the terrible twos, Ansley is needy, and Ryan is getting needy too.
One of the things that got us through the "winter blues" was getting the girls each a tablet! I know, I know what you are going to say: Too much screen time is bad for kids. I understand that there are lots of different opinions out there on how much screen time your children should have. I get it. I totally do. All that aside, lets just talk through why I like the product itself.
I first heard about Nabi's in general from their old daycare center. They had just got a batch in for the students over the holidays. When I saw the Nabi's for the first time, my initial impression was: dang, those tablets look rugged!
Admittedly, I went into Best Buy a few months later to buy a tablet without a specific one in mind. I was basically tired of Ansley constantly gravitating to my phone wanting to watch YouTube videos. So, what did I do? I went comparison shopping WHILE shopping (a salesman's favorite type of customer). I did little research. I ended coming home with the Nabi Junior 4GB for Ansley. As I was shopping, I did think about other options, such as the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Apple iPad mini (cheapest price is from Wal-Mart). Knowing how rough my kids are with their toys AND coupled with the fact that I would have to buy protective coverings for them (whereas the Nabi Junior already had the rubber bumpers included), I decided to get the Nabi Junior 4GB at $99. After watching Ansley's experience with it, a few months later got my youngest the Nabi Junior Nickelodeon Version with 16GB. The ONLY reason I upgraded was because the girls really loved Dora and the fact that it would save me time from having to download apps (time = money).
On shopping sprees like this (where I spend a lot of money in a span of 30 minutes), I usually have buyers remorse. This was the exception.
The unboxing and setting up process took less than ten minutes, and that includes setting up the wifi and registering the devices. Parents, you know how antsy kids get during the unpackaging phase. The Nabi Junior packaging team made it super easy to unpackage.
When Ansley got hers at 18 months, she quickly learned how to navigate within a couple of minutes. When Aubrey got hers, Ansley wanted to switch because the newer version had Nickelodeon apps already installed (with Dora).
From my experience, the Nabi Junior was perfectly built for MY kids!! If we were standing in line or traveling in the car for long periods of time, I took out these bad boys, and the girls were content (most of the time). And for transparency, I was not compensated for this post (but dang, I wish I was).
The 4GB and 16GB Nabi Juniors are a little different. I should have reached and comparison shopped a little more before the purchase, but now you get to learn abou them based on my personal experience with both. For an additional $40, you get additional apps, a faster processor, and more storage with the 16GB. That's pretty much it in a nutshell. As a gadget person, this would be super important for me. But these tablets were for the KIDS, and the 4GB was just fine. For kids, if you are thinking about paying the extra premium, TO ME, you would be paying for the time savings of not having to buy/install additional apps for Dora.
I know you can find the specifications on each at Amazon.com or (my personal favorite) bhphotovideo.com. I won't bore you with those details. Here are the main differences between the Nabi Junior 4GB and Nabi Junior 16GB Nickelodeon:
- 16GB has quadruple the space. If you plan on buying a lot of apps or taking lots of pictures, then this will matter. I haven't had time to even search for apps to install (trust me, most parents don't), so this isn't a problem. Otherwise, stick with the 4GB.
- 16GB has a faster processor. If you plan on having this Nabi grow with them, then you might consider this. To me, a ten year old is probably going to have a new tablet in about a decade.
- 16GB has Dora installed. Nuff said.
The Nabi Juniors have in general the following things in common:
- Parent mode
- Lock content of what they can see
- Ability to install normal apps like YouTube, Facebook, Google
- There's a camera installed that takes pictures and video
- Password protected parent mode
- The ability to grow with the device (technology tells me that devices last about 4-5 years, if that)
- Fairly inexpensive compared to other tablets
- No need to buy additional "cartridges" (like the InnoTab and the Leappad)
- Not only do they have the Nabi app store, I can also use the Amazon app store. I'm told you can use the 1mobile market store as well.
The following are the only additional apps that I've added. There are only a few listed because I honestly haven't had time to browse for new ones. (Honestly, this is because I'm not as familiar with the android platfrom and the various stores you can buy apps from.) The kids are happy when the ones that come preloaded with them anyway!
- Kids Video Player for YouTube
- Memory Game (Dora)
In addition the the features and specifications, I also wanted to talk about their customer service. It is TOP NOTCH! Two events occurred:
- The charger for the Nabi broke. They sent me one for free.
- The Nabi wouldn't turn on. They had me send it in, and it appears (from what I can tell), they sent me a whole new device. Awesome!
Another difference that you may find are the Nabi chargers. See the image below. They function the same, but are positioned a bit differently. Hopefully, you get the one on the right because (a) the prongs fold in and (b) it is more space efficient when you are using it on a power strip.
What I don't like:
- My kids will not keep the rubber bumpers on their Nabi's - they are fascinated by it or something. I wish they came glued on there. I will say that even without the rubber backing, the Nabi's are super durable. I can't even begin to count the number of times they have dropped it on the floors and on concrete WITHOUT the bumpers. (Don't try this at home).
- There's a tiny learning curve. I really haven't had a chance to play with all the things that it could do, but it comes pre-loaded enough so that after naming the device and creating user accounts (5 minutes), you can just hand it to your kids.
- Turning on the device (after its been completely shut off) takes more than a minute. Probably more of an issue with my kids' patience than anything else.
- The amazon and 1mobilemarket app store isn't included as standard installation. It would've been nice.
- There are two apps that sit on the main screen in kid mode. Imagine the home tab of your cell phone. You'd want to be able to pick what you most commonly use right? Exactly. With the Nabi, the Wings Challenge and Camera are stuck on the home page.
- I can't find additional chargers anywhere. I'm hesitate to buy one off of eBay because of that viral video of a guy who bought a cheap charger from China (e.g. blew off his hand).
For more detailed specifications, go to the following specific links that will take you to the product reviews:
Other review sites that you might find helpful:
Recommendations on WHERE to buy:
- BHPhotoVideo.com. I'm a photographer and buy all of my high end equipment here. I often first search at Amazon.com for my baseline pricing for electronics, and will come here next to make sure that what Amazon has is market pricing (I've found with Amazon that I sometimes will find higher prices there because its a "Fulfilled by Amazon" product and not a true Amazon product that's being sold by them). There have been a handful of instances that BHPhotoVideo beat the price of Amazon. In addition to that, their shipping is super fast!
All in all, the Nabi Junior (both the 4GB and 16GB) has worked well with my toddlers who are 1.5 and 2.5 years old. Although I can't compare this to a Kindle Fire or an iPad, my kids really love their Nabi.
What tablet did you choose for your kids and why?
P.S. In full disclosure with the spring and summer coming in full force, their Nabi's are being confiscated at home and will be only released when we are in the car or traveling.