I was forced to put off my review of the Fuhu Nabi BigTab HD 24 by three days because I had taken away my son's gaming privileges.
And yes, that's an odd way to begin telling you about a very good educational tablet geared for kids. But raising a child involves more than throwing new technology at them; it's exposing them to what's appropriate, and limiting that exposure. Some may see the BigTab as just a massive Android tablet. But it's actually a bundle of fun, educational software controlled by management tools that allow you to place limits on your child's digital playtime.
The BigTab HD 24 elicited an awed "Whoa" from my six-year-old son, who quickly volunteered to help "test" it. We both came away impressed: he with the variety of apps, including the ability for me to load his favorites on the tablet, and me with the ability to create a virtual playspace to keep him entertained. We both agreed, though, that the BigTab probably favors boys over girls, however, and that we didn't think the BigTab was appropriate for his two-year-old brother, because of the size. At $549, the BigTab HD 24 is priced slightly more than an entry-level Apple iPad Air 2 (the 16GB model costs $499), which would be more the little one's speed.
An unusually solid design
Physically, the BigTab is solidly built — I don't want to say "kid-proof," but a lot of care has obviously gone into the construction. I measured the BigTab HD 24 at 22.5 inches of screen size, with a full 1920x1080-pixel display. Surrounding it is a 24.5-inch rugged removable metal frame that locks into the tablet itself, providing a kickstand. On top, it sticks up from the tablet about two inches, providing a sturdy carrying handle as I moved it from room to room.
You don't have to tote the power cord everywhere, but the BigTab HD 24's battery won't last you more than about 90 minutes, thanks to that massive screen. Note that there is a "performance" slider buried within the generic Android settings to dial down the performance of the embedded Nvidia Tegra 4 processor and extend the battery life somewhat. An unexpected glitch that happened once: When inserting the power cord into the partially charged tablet, it shut itself off.
I would be a little worried about what would happen if this huge tablet fell over near a small child. The Big Tab HD 24 weighs an estimated 13.5 pounds. I foolishly placed it on our coffee table, kickstand extended, and left the room for a few minutes — only to be informed sadly by my son that it had fallen off. I'm still not sure what happened. The good news is that the BigTab survived the 18-inch fall to a hardwood floor without incident, and my youngest was nowhere nearby it when it did.
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