With today’s tablet market, homeschoolers have a number of choices when it comes to hand-held devices. Which one should you buy? That often depends on your needs and budget.
Of all the tablets in this review, the iPad Mini has the best end-to-end product. Apple does a great job of creating an eco-system that keeps you coming back for more. Apple’s iTunes store (why do they still call it iTunes?) has the most to offer of all the tablet makers. If you already own an iPod or iPhone your apps will work on the iPad Mini. The biggest detriment is the price. $329 for a smaller iPad 2 seems like quite a premium but if you’re gung-ho about Apple products you’ll want to stick with the iPad Mini.
Kindle Fire HD
Amazon’s offering in the tablet market is clearly priced to move. It competes well against the iPad Mini and Nexus 7 and is quickly becoming my preferred tablet. My 1st-generation Kindle Fire is getting more and more use every day and despite the sometimes clunky operating system it’s growing on me. The Amazon Marketplace tied in with an Amazon Prime account make this a great choice and at $199 the price blows the doors off the iPad mini. As Amazon continues to develop their end-to-end product line, look for more people to start jumping from Apple to Amazon.
Off all the 7-inch tablets out there, this is the most disappointing. There are very few apps available compared to the 3 other devices and for $199 you only get 8GB or RAM, hardly enough space to store movies for a long trip or vacation. However, the Nook HD does come with a micro SD slot for up to 32GB of additional storage. This, unfortunately, is its only shining point. The Nook HD is primarily a reading device and if you want a tablet for reading, go with a Kindle Paperwhite.
Google’s tablet is a middle-of-the-road tablet that has great potential. Although it has more apps available than the Kindle Fire HD the books and videos selection isn’t as robust. The OS rivals iOS6 and from my brief encounter with one seems fast and easy to use. The one thing it lacks, however, is a complete end-to-end solution. If you have an Android phone your apps will run on the tablet but may not be optimized. In addition, you only get 8GB of storage for your $199 which you can double for an additional $50.
Before I make my recommendation you may be thinking, what about cameras? Honestly, I think the camera is one of the least-used features of any tablet. Taking pictures with a tablet isn’t easy and personally, I’ve never thought about taking a picture with my 1st-generation Kindle Fire. I’m happy to use my iPhone or Nikon for that.
If you want a great price and a great selection of apps and media, the Kindle Fire HD is the hands-down winner. If you are an Amazon Prime subscriber this makes more sense than any of the other devices because you get a lot of content to go along with your subscription.
The iPad Mini comes in at a close second place. The price prevents me from committing to this tablet. Were this a mini version of the 3rd-generation I’d say it would be a steal. Even a $299 price tag would convince me to recommend the iPad Mini over the Kindle Fire HD but personally I feel the price is too high for people who haven’t committed to Apple’s products.
What do you think? Do you own any of these tablets? Have you already ordered your iPad Mini? I love to hear what you have to say.
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Music by Kevin Macleod.
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