Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Binatone Appstar Children's Tablet Review

Lara is really into her tech at present and I regularly have to wrestle my own tablet from her.  She has been trying out a tablet designed specifically with children in mind - the Binatone Appstar which is now available in Argos.



The Appstar comes in its own brightly coloured protective rubberised case which is great for protecting the corners of the tablet from bumps.  It also has a small stylus attached by a cord for use on it's 7 inch screen.  Lara struggled at bit at first with using the head of the stylus rather than trying to use it at an angle like a pencil but soon got the hang of it.

The Appstar runs Android 4.0 which means that the interface is recognisable.  However, the OS has been made child-friendly and by this I mean that the backgrounds are bright and bold and the icons are larger and less cluttered.  In 'grown-up' mode the operating system is a little more like that which I am used to on my own tablet.  I would say that I didn't find the user interface particularly intuitive to use, but Lara seems comfortable using the kid mode.



The Binatone Appstar comes with a 1GHz processor and 4GB RAM and I think the price reflects this, it is certainly less powerful and responsive than the latest 'grown-up' tablets on the market but to be very honest, I don't think my four year old is looking for speedy response times or fast internet usage!

The Appstar comes with a child-friendly internet browser and you can set up wifi connectivity when you first configure your tablet (through a step-by-step wizard) or through the parent settings.  I haven't quite worked out what 'child-friendly browser' really ... as far as I can tell it is a very limited access to pre-configured web-pages.  From the parent-mode the internet browser allows you to browse at leisure as you normally would do.

The Appstar tablet comes with over 250 'apps' pre-loaded onto it; these range from small fun games such as hangman to educational videos about volcanoes.  From autumnal craft inspiration to colouring apps.  If you set up a credit card in your parent account then you can also choose to download new apps for your children from the Amazon app store. None of the built-in apps are bog-names that are instantly recognisable but I think they are as good as, and in many cases better than, any of the apps you would find to buy on a VTech or Leapfrog equivalent.

The Appstar also features a built-in camera that allows you to take photos but this doesn't seem to have grabbed Lara's attention yet.

The Appstar tablet is available exclusively at Argos for £99.99 and it is recommended for children from 4 years upwards.  It comes with a mains adapter for recharging the battery - we found the battery life to be REALLY good, it survived nearly a week of occasional use without needing to be recharged.

Disclosure:  I was loaned the Binatone Appstar for the purposes of this review

  
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