Nabi’s kids-oriented tablets have carved out a nice space for themselves at the low-end of the market, but the brand’s new 20-inch and 24-inch devices are taking a significantly, well, bigger approach.
At $449.99 and $549.99 respectively, the Big Tab HD line is a sizable investment for your child’s entertainment and education. When I first got my hands on the 10.5-pound 20-inch model, my first thought was, “How will kids even pick this thing up?” The 24-inch version weighs even more at a whopping 13 pounds.
Big Tab HD packs an Nvidia Tegra 4 CPU, 2GB of RAM, a rear-facing camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC. The operating system is based on Android 4.4, with Nabi’s Blue Morpho custom kid-friendly launcher. The 20-inch uses a 1600 x 900 resolution, while the 24-inch is 1920 x 1080.
Given the relatively low pixel density of the tablets, the larger display on the 20-inch version wasn’t awesome. The touchscreen also felt less responsive than normal-sized devices.
I was curious to see how kids responded to it, so I brought it out at a couple of get-togethers with kids ranging in age from 6-14. The device was a hit, and the parents enjoyed the fact that their kids were playing together instead of just hanging out on separate screens. The group quickly found the multiplayer options in games like Fruit Ninja and air hockey, eventually deciding on a four-player tank game called Don’t Fall in the Hole as their favorite.
Pre-installed games include classics like checkers, chess, tic tac toe and hangman. You’ll also have access to Show Time – a store for movies and books from Disney, Dreamworks and more – and drawing apps that are great for doodling.
The tablet comes with a metal frame that doubles as a handle and a stand. It’s useful, but it adds more bulk to an already bulky setup. With the stand, you could conceivably rely on Big Tab HD as a replacement for your kids’ TV, but you’d have to find alternative sources for content instead of DVDs and satellite television.
Big Tab HD includes a parent mode that lets you bypass the custom interface in order to use the device as a regular Android tablet. The experience was sub-par, but I did manage to do some browsing and install a few apps, including Netflix and a four-player beer pong app, from Google Play. I’d love to see tabletop gaming apps such as Settlers of Catan take advantage of the big screen, but I’m doubtful that Nabi will sell enough units to warrant custom builds from developers.
While Big Tab HD succeeded at entertaining my friends’ kids, it wouldn’t be my first choice for a family-oriented tablet. I’d rather have a smaller device, like the Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition tablet, that’s easy to take to restaurants or out on road trips and flights.
Carting out a 20-inch tablet gets kids and adults alike excited, but it also feels like more gimmick than substance. Sure, we could play a few games on it for an evening, but eventually it’d end up just collecting dust because of how heavy and cumbersome it is. If you have multiple kids that would benefit from sharing a screen, you might get enough value out of this super-sized tablet, but otherwise, I suggest you pass.
Published November 6, 2014 — 19:41 UTC