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Tablet & Chromebook reviews

We have put together some reviews of tablets and Chromebooks which parents & schools may find helpful when considering what to buy for school-aged children.

Tablets

LINX 810B (8 inch) and LINX 1010B (10 inch)

The LINX 810B and 1010B tablets come with Windows 10 preinstalled, making them ideal for students looking for devices which support computer programs as well as apps. Windows 10 is the latest version of the Microsoft operating system and can be run in a ‘desktop mode’ similar to what you’d experience on a laptop or desktop computer, or in a ‘tablet mode’ geared towards touch-screen users.

Both the 8 inch and 10 inch LINX tablets come with 32GB of storage built in, which should be enough to install quite a few programs. You can add more memory in the form of a MicroSD card, up to 64GB. Some core programs are already installed on the tablet, including mobile versions of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Apple iPad Mini 2 (7.9 inch)

  • Operating System: iOS 9
  • Storage: 16GB or 32GB
  • Camera: 1.2MP front, 5MP rear
  • Connections: Lightning, Wi-Fi, Cellular, Bluetooth
  • Charger: Lightning cable
  • Battery capacity: 6470mAh (10 hours)
  • Child Safety: Apple Restrictions (https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201304)

The Apple iPad Mini 2 is the smaller sibling to the iPad, and proves the adage that size isn’t everything! Among the many benefits of Apple’s tablets is the battery life, which is usually long enough to last well beyond a day’s use. Apple’s iPad and iPhone family are in a closed system, which means you’ll get pretty much the exact same experience regardless of which Apple device you’re using. You’ll also receive the latest iOS updates as they are released, without having to wait for third parties to customise anything. Any Apple device is covered with iCloud’s FindMyDevice security feature, keeping your files backed up and helping you find your iPad on a map should you misplace it.

The iPad Mini 2 comes in two distinct versions, the Wi-Fi only model and the Wi-Fi and Cellular model. The latter can take a SIM card, meaning you can access the internet even when travelling away from a wireless network!

 Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 (8 inch)

  • Operating System: Android KitKat
  • Storage: 8GB or 16GB, 64GB MicroSD support
  • Camera: 1.3MP front, 3MP rear
  • Connections: MicroUSB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Charger: MicroUSB
  • Battery capacity: 4450mAh (up to 10 hours)
  • Child Safety: Samsung Kids mode 

The Galaxy Tab 4 comes in three sizes, 7, 8 and 10 inch. Smaller tablets are more portable but can suffer when viewing large documents or presentations. The Samsung Tab 4 supports ‘Multi-Window mode’, allowing applications to work in split-screen. This means you can have one app taking up half the screen, and another app taking up the other half! This works much better on the larger 10 inch version of the tablet, but can be used on any of the three.

Samsung’s Multi-User mode supports up to 8 different user accounts so busy households can share the tablet and keep all their information and apps separate from the rest of the family. Backed up by Samsung’s Kid mode you can tailor the tablet to make it fully child-safe.

Asus ZenPad 8 (z380C) (8 inch)

  • Operating System: Android Lollipop
  • Storage: 16GB, 64GB microSD support
  • Camera: 2MP front, 5MP rear
  • Connections: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, MicroUSB
  • Charger: MicroUSB
  • Battery capacity: 4000mAh (8 hours)
  • Child Safety: Asus Kids Mode

Asus are known for their laptop and desktop computers, and are steadily making a name for themselves in the tablet market. Their ZenPad 8 is a comfortable low to midrange tablet running Android Lollipop, one of the more recent releases of the Android operating system. While the ZenPad 8 isn’t overly powerful, it can handle day-to-day apps and tasks well. With a 4000mAh you should get a full day’s work done before having to charge it up again, and as it takes a MicroUSB cable to charge you’ll find your charging cable can be swapped with nearly any modern smartphone’s cable so you’re never too far from a usable power source!

Asus added their own Kids Mode to the tablet as part of their ZenUI, a customized user interface (UI) for Android devices. You should find all the essentials pre-installed, and more apps can be downloaded from the official Google Play Store.

Chromebooks

ACER CB5-311 13.3″ Chromebook

  • Price: £179.99
  • Touch screen: no
  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • Storage: 16GB
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Camera: front-facing HD webcam
  • Connections:
    • 2 x USB 3.0 ports
    • 1 x SDcard port
    • 1 x HDMI port
  • Battery Capacity: up to 14 hours

ACER’s CB5-311 Chromebook is a great little device for students due to its impressive 14 hour battery life and double USB 3.0 ports. More and more devices are switching to the USB 3.0 standard as it provides very fast transfer speeds, which is perfect when using your Chromebook with other USB 3.0 gadgets like external hard drives.

The screen size is limited to 13.3 inches, which does cut out a lot of the power costs that larger Chromebooks can take. This also makes the CB5-311 much more portable than some alternatives!

Unlike many tablets, the CB5-311 Chromebook comes with an HDMI port allowing for easy connection to most modern TVs and monitors.

TOSHIBA CB30-B-103 13.3″ Chromebook 2

  • Price: £199.99
  • Touch screen: no
  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • Storage: 16GB
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Camera: front-facing webcam
  • Connections: 1 x USB 3.0 port
    • 1 x USB 2.0 port
    • 1 x SDcard port
    • 1 x HDMI port
  • Battery Capacity: up to 11.5 hours

Toshiba’s Chromebook 2 comes packed full of Toshiba’s own software, providing a number of utilities like split screen, Eco mode, DTS Studio Sound and many more. These tools aren’t used by everyone, but for users looking for that little bit extra these will definitely tick some boxes!

An added bonus is the inclusion of 100GB of Google Drive storage space for two years, giving you a place in the Cloud to save all your files, pictures, documents and more. When you save to Google Drive or any other cloud service, you’re effectively backing up your files instantly making them available from any other computer you work from.

Unlike many tablets, the CB30-B-103 Chromebook 2 comes with an HDMI port allowing for easy connection to most modern TVs and monitors.

ACER CB5-571 15.6″ Chromebook

  • Price: £229.99
  • Touch screen: no
  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • Storage: 32GB
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Camera: front-facing HD webcam
  • Connections: 1 x USB 3.0 port
    •  1 x USB 2.0 port
    •  1 x SDcard port
    • 1 x HDMI port
  • Battery Capacity: up to 9 hours

The ACER CB5-571 is the bigger brother of the CB5-311 listed above, built with a larger 15.6 inch screen for better viewing. With a screen this size it’s much easier to fit in everything you need to view, especially if someone else is working with you! The larger screen size is offset by a 9 hour battery life, which should be good enough for a full day’s school work.

This model of Chromebook comes with one USB 2.0 port and one USB 3.0 port, which is a reasonable balance to make as most devices you’ll be connecting use USB 2.0. This is the type of USB that everyone is familiar with, and has only recently been surpassed by the quicker USB 3.0 connection.

Unlike many tablets, the CB5-571 Chromebook comes with an HDMI port allowing for easy connection to most modern TVs and monitors.

Google Pixel 12.85″ Chromebook

  • Price: £799.99
  • Touch screen: yes
  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • Storage: 32GB
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Camera: front-facing HD webcam
  • Connections:
    • 2 x USB 3.0 ports
    • 2 x USB-C port
    • 1 x SDcard port
  • Battery Capacity: up to 12 hours

One of the most full-featured Chromebooks on the market, Google’s Pixel is a step above the rest. Under the casing you’ll find an Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of ram, which is as powerful as some desktop computers! This is one of the few Chromebooks to support USB-C, a whole new type of USB connection. USB-C is ultra fast and has replaced the HDMI port commonly found on other Chromebooks, making the Pixel a very future-proof gadget.

A Chromebook of this calibre is designed for more than just searching the internet and creating documents on, so if you’re in the market for something lightweight, powerful and free from the Apple or Microsoft umbrella this may be the device for you.

This content was provided with the support of Dixons Carphone.

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