While there are a few Windows tablets out there, there aren’t many that you’d feel comfortable handing off to your child to mess around with. Kurio, maker of the Xtreme Android tablets for kids, have recently released a full Windows 2-in-1 tablet/laptop geared specifically for kids ages 6 and up. The Kurio Smart is designed especially for kids, comes preloaded with more than 40 apps and games with access to the Windows Store, and allows parents to use Microsoft’s Family Safety system which allows them to determine the websites, apps, and games their kids can use, as well as monitor usage and set time limits. Let’s take a look and see how it stands up in our Kurio Smart review.
The Kurio Smart tablet features the following specifications:
- Display: 8.9″ IPS 1280×720 capacitive touch screen
- CPU: Quad-core Intel® Bay Trail™ T Z3735G @ 1.33GHz
- GPU: Intel® HD Graphics
- Storage: 32GB, micro SDHC card slot
- RAM: 1GB
- Camera: 2MP rear/0.3MP front
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
- Ports: microUSB, micro HDMI
- Battery: Lithium Polymer 4900mAh
- Accessories: charging cable, keyboard
- Operating System: Windows 8.1 (upgradable to Windows 10)
What’s in the Box
The Kurio Smart tablet comes with:
- Kurio Smart tablet
- Power adapter
The Kurio Smart looks like a toy at first glance, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It consists of a tablet which docks onto the included keyboard. It doesn’t really snap into place, but rather slides into the magnetic slot and rests on two tabs with the keyboard connection in the middle. The magnet is strong enough to hold it in place during normal use, and it is strong enough to hold the tablet in place when turned upside down for a very short period of time. Both the tablet and keyboard are constructed of a pretty sturdy plastic which should survive minor falls and bumps.
As far as the tablet goes, when held in landscape mode, the headphone jack, micro HDMI, microUSB, power connection, and microSD card slot are located on the left side, while the power, volume, and Windows buttons are located along the top. The two speakers are located on the front side near the bottom, one on each side, and the front and back cameras are located on the left side of the tablet as well.
The keyboard actually isn’t that bad to type with. It is smaller and better suits smaller hands but that is the target market after all. It is pretty much a full keyboard with function shortcuts for volume and music playback controls. Some of your more common keystrokes require using the function key combination as well and include the / ? ‘ ” | \ ~ and ` characters. You’ll also need to use a function combination to delete (but not backspace).
When not in use, the tablet lays face down on the keyboard and connects into place so both the keys and display screen are protected.
The 8.9″ IPS 1280×720 capacitive touch screen display is pretty decent. 720p is pretty clear given the size, and it is pretty viewable from most viewing angles. The touchscreen is also very responsive and we didn’t have any issues with delays between touch and execution.
The Kurio Smart ships with Windows 8.1 and works well under it. It is upgradeable to Windows 10, and while the interface takes some getting used to, it performs well under Windows 10 as well. One thing to note that isn’t mentioned anywhere in the documentation: once you upgrade to Windows 10, you CANNOT revert back to Windows 8.1 even though there is a setting to do so under the Settings > Update & Security > Recovery menu. According to Kurio Support, trying to revert will simply restore factory settings.
In addition to the typical pre-installed Windows apps, the Kurio Smart includes more than 40 apps and games already pre-installed. Some of the games that are pre-installed include:
- Bubble Blast 2
- Happy Chef
- Hill Climb Racing
- Junior Explorers
- Motion Extreme
- Motion Playground
- Toon Goggles
Two apps that provide some interesting fun for kids are the Motion Extreme and Motion Playground which use the tablet’s camera to allow them to play baseball, rafting, mountain bike, tug of war, paragliding, wingsuit, roller skate, and drone race all by using their motions to play. It works quite well, with no delay between movement and translation to the game itself. The only minor issue is the fact that the tablet needs to be 1m (3 ft) away, and with a small screen it can make it a bit difficult to see in some situations.
As mentioned previously, the Kurio Smart uses Microsoft Account family settings to control kid’s activities. I won’t go into all the setup details here, you can check our How To guide posted earlier this week for details on how to set it up and configure it.
Ease of Use
Considering this is a full blown Windows 8.1/10 tablet, it was fairly easy to use under both operating systems. Because of Windows 8.1’s more tile based approach, some might find it easier to stick with that. On the Windows 10 side, you do have easier access to the power menu, settings, and all apps with the new start menu structure, and the tablet interface is present both with and without the keyboard docked.
Powered by a Quad-core Intel® Bay Trail™ T Z3735G running at 1.33GHz and 1GB of RAM, the Kurio Smart actually performs quite well. Everything from web browsing to document editing and basic games launched and performed well with little to no noticeable lag at all.
The stereo speakers on the tablet are pretty decent. You’re not going to get a lot of bass out of this unit but for normal listening they work quite well and sound was pretty clear. It was a bit on the low side, even at full volume but that’s not necessarily a bad thing considering it is a kid’s 2-in-1. The speakers being on the front guarantee that you won’t be muffling it when the the tablet is on a flat surface, lap, or being held.
Again, the cameras on the Kurio Smart are pretty weak. With only a 2MP back (without a flash), and 0.3MP front camera, your kids won’t be taking any keeper photos with this tablet. The front camera does work well for the motion games and there were no issues there.
The keyboard doesn’t have a separate battery and is only powered when connected to the tablet, drawing power from that. Even so, the battery life was pretty consistent when used in tablet only or laptop mode and was usually in the 4 to 5 hour range before needing to be plugged in again. Unfortunately the power adapter is specific to the tablet so there’s no USB charging and you’ll need an AC outlet to recharge the unit.
The Kurio Smart doesn’t have any extra cases for it, but it is built pretty solidly and should survive accidental drops and bangs – although I’d be concerned the plastic may crack if dropped from more than a couple feet on a harder surface.
With a price of $199.99USD, the Kurio Smart is definitely a great value if you’re wanting a Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 laptop/tablet for kids.
With its sturdy design, good performance, decent battery life, and the ability to use Microsoft’s Family Safety system to control what your kids do and see online, the Kurio Smart is a good starter computer for kids ages 6 and up.
*We were sent a demo unit of the Kurio Smart for the purposes of this review.
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