There’s no question that Android tablets have gained increased popularity over the past few years. Initially targeted at adults, if you have kids, then these tablets most likely see just as much – if not more – use from your kids as well. The problem with Android tablets in general has been managing the content that your kids have access to, and while changes to Android have allowed for multiple account logins, it is still lacking in parental controls. A number of manufacturers have released dumbed down tablets for kids, but full Android tablets for kids are few and far between. After launching the Kurio Xtreme last year, Kurio has introduced its second iteration of their Android tablet built especially for kids ages 3 and up – the Kurio Xtreme 2.
The Kurio Xtreme 2 is designed for kids with a modern design, protective bumper, shatterproof screen protector, and built in kickstand. It also comes preloaded with over 60 apps including 18 Kurio Motion body-movement controlled games, but more notably allows access to all the apps available on the Google Play Store. The biggest feature this tablet offers is “best-in-class” Parental Controls which allow you to create up to 8 unique child profiles and set time controls, manage apps, and determine web access with the Kurio Genius Internet filtering system.
Let’s dive in and see if this kid tough Android tablet lives up to a parent’s expectations in our Kurio Xtreme 2 review.
The Kurio Xtreme 2 features the following specifications:
- Display: 7″ 1024×600 capacitive touch screen
- CPU: Quad-core Mediatek MTK8127
- Storage: 16GB, micro SDHC card slot
- RAM: 1GB
- Camera: 2.1MP rear/0.3MP front
- Audio: 1 x 1W mono
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
- Ports: microUSB with OTG support, micro HDMI
- Battery: Lithium Polymer 2820mAh
- Accessories: charging cable, keyboard
- Operating System: Android 5.0 Lollipop
What’s in the Box
The Kurio Xtreme 2 comes with:
- Kurio Xtreme 2 tablet
- Power adapter
- Protective bumper
- USB cable
- Integrated stand
- Screen protector
The Kurio Xtreme 2 definitely doesn’t look like a kids tablet at a glance. When held in landscape orientation, the headphone jack, microUSB, and micro HDMI ports are on the left, the volume and power buttons are on the top, and the microSD slot is on the bottom. The back facing camera is located on the plastic back, and the integrated stand is clipped into the back with a thumb slot for easy removal for use. The single mono speaker on the device is also located on the back beside the camera.
The protective bumper (available in pink or blue) slides over the left and right sides. To install it just place it over one side and stretch it over the opposite end. It fits quite snug, which is nice, and adds a nice hand grip for smaller hands. There are cutouts for the front facing camera, the back camera, speaker, and ports. When flipped over, there is also a slot with two tabs marked A and B on the bumper. This is where you place the integrated stand if you want to set the tablet up somewhere to use, and is useful for the Kurio Motion games.
One issue you might encounter with the bumper, and the design in general, is when held in the left hand, there is a tendency to cover the speaker with your finger which can lead to muffled sound.
For a 7″ kids tablet, the display definitely isn’t going to wow you, especially with its 1024×600 pixel display. When viewed at that “perfect viewing angle,” items on the screen are easy to see and the colours are pretty decent. Once you angle it slightly though, the screen does become difficult to see. When used by a single child this shouldn’t be an issue, but when you have two kids trying to share and watch the other play, it does become a bit of an issue. It’s in no way a deal breaker considering the price of the tablet, but I’d be willing to pay an extra $20 or $30 for a slightly better screen on the device.
As mentioned in the specifications, the Xtreme 2 comes with Android 5 Lollipop and over 60 apps pre-installed. Even so, there is still just under 5GB of space available to install other apps or games, and the pre-installed apps can also be uninstalled for added space, with the exception of the default Google Apps.
Aside from the default Google Apps, the other preinstalled apps are grouped into categories and include games, education, media, ebooks, and other. The majority of the games and apps are relatively unknown ones (to me), but are kid friendly, and you’ll even find a few popular ones like Subway Surfers and Fruit Ninja installed. Education based apps include jigsaw puzzles, a dictionary, colouring apps, math apps, and even an app to help learn Chinese. In addition to YouTube Kids, a couple of KIDOZ apps, Oznoz Video, and Magicflix are installed for media consumption, as well as 6 eBooks. In the “other” category, apps like the web browser, which defaults to the KidRex Kid Safe Search engine website, the calculator, sound recorder, and even a kids email app. Check out the gallery below for the full set of apps that come pre-installed.
While the KidRex Kid Safe Search engine returns a number of results, many are further blocked by the Kurio Genius system. Sites can be added and removed from an allowed website list as well for further control.
Some of the cooler pre-installed apps come from Kurio’s Motion app series, and include Motion Dance, Motion Extreme, Motion Kidz, Motion Playground, Motion Racer, and Motion Sport – each with multiple games for a total of 18. The Motion apps work by setting the tablet up using the integrated stand on a table or counter, and then it uses motion tracking, much like the Xbox Kinect sensor, to allow the child to control the game. The few we tested out worked quite well and there was no lag between motion and response on the tablet. The only minor issue is that the tablet had to be set 1.5m away which can make it a bit hard to see in some cases considering it’s only a 7″ screen. The Motion games definitely add something different to tablet gaming.
The Parental Controls on the Kurio Xtreme 2 tablet build on Android’s multiple account system and are set up through the Kurio Genius control app. This is where the tablet really shines. Kurio Genius is split into four sections – App Management, Time Control, Web Access, and Profile Settings. Once you add or edit a child account, you can set what apps they are allowed to access, the time of day they are allowed to play, how long they can play each day, how long they can play per session, how long they must wait for the next session, if they have web access or not, and even if they have USB or Google Play Store access. The big thing here is that the child account isn’t a Google Account, so you don’t have to worry about the need for attaching an email address to your child.
When you install an app, you are asked to either put it in a category or block it from child use. Settings, and other system functions can be accessed from either the parent account or by entering the parental password from a child account.
Ease of Use
The tablet is super easy to use from a child’s perspective when logged in to their child account. Everything is nicely laid out in a bookshelf format with nice large buttons to access the various types of apps (games, education, media, ebooks, or other).
From a parent standpoint, when you are logged in under a parent account the tablet is like any other standard Android tablet. When a child’s time is running out, they get a red bar warning across the top. Once they run out, their activity stops and the screen is replaced with a message indicating they are out of time. If they choose, they can take it to a parent to get more time added.
The Kurio Xtreme 2 also comes with a Support app which can be used to access a Wi-Fi setup walkthrough, apps to test performance, an SOS mode which uses Log Me In for remote assistance, and even live chat and email access.
Given the price point, you can’t expect a high performance tablet and while there was a slight lag between launching an app and it actually starting to launch, or switching to a different app from the open apps view, it wasn’t anything super critical and something my kids never complained about while playing it. Navigation between home and app screens, as well as scrolling through content was pretty snappy as well.
The Kurio Xtreme 2 only comes with a single, 1W mono speaker. It’s also placed on the back and as mentioned before, it’s easy to cover it with a finger when being held or when the tablet is set flat on a table or lap which will muffle the sound. When not covered though, the speaker sounds decent enough – after all this is a kids tablet so you’re not going to get premium sound by any stretch of the imagination. The kids were able to use the tablet at a reasonable sound level without having to turn it up all the way.
Unfortunately the camera in this kids tablet falls quite short. With only a 2.1MP back and 0.3MP front camera, the picture quality is going to be quite poor. There’s also no flash on the back camera, so trying to take indoor photos in a poorly lit room isn’t going to give great results. While some may say it’s “good enough” for kids, I think there is definite room for improvement here for those kids that love the idea of being able to take pictures with their tablets. The front camera does work well for the motion games though, as mentioned previously we had no issues on the ones we tested out.
The 2820mAh battery in the tablet gives roughly 5 hours of screen time. The Kurio Xtreme 2 does have outstanding standby battery life with very little drain when it’s left on but not being used. It may not be the greatest battery life when in use, but given the goal of the tablet is to limit your child’s use of it, the battery life was more than suitable in this device.
The included bumper and screen protector add great protection to the device. As mentioned before, the bumper is very tight fitting and is a nice thick rubbery material. When installed, it lifts the screen a fair distance from the surface it’s laid on when face down, and the look and feel of the bumper make me confident that it should survive most falls intact.
For $129.99USD, you can’t go wrong with the Kurio Xtreme 2. It’s definitely kid safe and kid tough, and offers great value with not only the 60 pre-installed apps and games but also by being able to be used as a full Android tablet with access to the Google Play Store and its full selection of games and apps.
If you’ve been looking to get your toddler or child an Android tablet and don’t want to be worrying about how long they spend using it or what apps or websites they are accessing, you’ll definitely want to consider the Kurio Xtreme 2. The included protective bumper and screen protector removes an extra level of stress against accidental drops that are bound to happen with tablet use by kids.
*We were sent a demo unit of the Kurio Xtreme 2 for the purposes of this review.
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