Aimed at kids 6 to 9, Fuhu’s Nabi Elev-8 is an 8-inch tablet that includes a bright red bumper and six months of Nabi Pass All Access, which is packed with content separated by age group. Education is emphasized, with a suite of Wings apps that provide math, reading, and writing lessons based on Common Core.
Mommy/Daddy Mode includes not only a whole host of controls over what the kids can see and do, but also a full suite of Android apps for you: all the standard Google apps, plus popular games, Skype, YouTube, and the Google Play Store if you want to get more. The Chore List feature lets you create a list of tasks for your kids to do to earn Nabi coins, which they can redeem for apps and games in the Nabi Treasure Box. There’s also the “NSA” or Nabi Security Administration, where you can exert control over your child’s address book, approve chat buddies, and “spy” on their email and photos.
Pros: The 1280×800 IPS screen makes movies and TV shows look great, and the Elev-8 comes with 32GB of memory plus an SD card slot for up to 32GB more, so you can bring plenty of movies on the plane or in the car. The build quality is excellent too, with powerful front-facing speakers, metal buttons, and a slim design under the bright red bumper. The rear-facing 5-megapixel camera takes decent stills and 1080p video, and the front-facing camera is 2-megapixels and 720p video for Skype sessions with grandma. It runs Android 5.1 Lollipop.
Cons: The app store is terrible for browsing. Apps are grouped by category, age rating, top rated, what’s new, and so on, but you can only look at one category at a time. I can’t look at top rated games for 3–4 year olds, for example, just the top rated apps, or the games, or anything for 3–4 year olds. But the store does warn you ahead of time if apps have advertising, web access, or social media tie-ins. I’m also not a fan of the proprietary “Nabi Connector” charging port.
Who’s it for? Families with slightly older kids, especially those who need a little electronic tutoring in Common Core subjects.