When the first tablets hit the market, they were ridiculously expensive and delicate. No doubt about it, they were not designed for kids. Nowadays, tablets are cheaper, and there is a plethora of content geared towards children now available.
Enter the kids tablet to the market, or as I like to call it, the babysitter. Of course, I’m kidding, but there is something to be said for a device that keep your kid’s attention for more than one minute.
In this review, I will be looking at the Kurio Xtreme 2 from two perspectives. My perspective, the perspective of an adult, and the perspective of my 2 children.
Kurio Xtreme 2 overview
The Kurio Xtreme 2 is a tablet that is made for children. It comes with a rubber bumper cover to help protect it from drops and a unique removable back panel that will allow you to prop the tablet up in a landscape orientation.
- Display: 7-inch capacitive touch screen, 5-point touch
- Resolution: 1024 x 600 pixels
- Chipset: Mediatek MTK8127 Quad-Core
- Operating System: Android™ 5.0 Lollipop®
- Storage Memory: 16GB
- Ram: 1GB
- Camera: Front: 0.3 Mpx / Rear: 2.1 Mpx
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, 802,11 b/g/n – Bluetooth v4.0 – Micro HDMI
- Speakers: 1 x 1W mono
- Languages: Supports multi languages
- USB Connection: Micro USB 2.0 – OTG support
- Battery: Lithium Polymer battery 2820 mAh
- Micro SDHC Card Slot: Add up to 32 GB of extra memory*
Kurio Xtreme 2 hardware
The hardware, unfortunately, is not that great. I know that it’s meant for kids, but there are some areas where it is apparent that they skimped in order to keep costs down. The first is the rubber tablet cover. It should protect the tablet fairly well when dropped, but this only happens when it drops flat or on one of the corners. The case does not cover the long sides of the tablet and won’t protect it if it hits on the corner of stairs or any other edge. If you have kids, then you know about Murphy’s kid law. If it can be broken, it will be broken.
My other gripe is with the viewing angles of the screen. The screen looks great when viewed head on, but when tilted at an angle the screens colors will either wash out or darken. I think this bothers me more than my kids. At least, until they are all hovered around the tablet trying to watch the same thing.
The cameras are not very good in well-lit areas and are absolutely horrible in low light situations. I had a hard time, short of going outside during the day, to even get the motion games to recognize the movements.
The speaker is OK. It won’t win any prizes, but it delivers an acceptable level of volume and clarity.
The Mediatek MTK8127 provides a solid, lag free experience and is powerful enough to run all the pre-installed games.
Overall the tablet has a nice feel about it. The buttons have a satisfying click to them and the screen feels solid without too much flexing. There is a slight, hollow feeling to the back of the device, but this is mainly because the removable back panel.
Kurio Xtreme 2 software
The software is where the value of the device becomes more apparent. The Kurio Xtreme 2 runs Android 5.1 Lolipop. It’s not the latest and greatest, but it gets the job done and does it well. You have the option to set up to eight different child accounts on the device. The parent can even pick and choose which apps are available on which accounts.
The Xtreme 2 comes pre-loaded with over 60 apps and games designed with children in mind. There is also access to Google play and Kurio’s own, kid-centric app store to download more apps. Their app store requires that you use coins to purchase apps and games. The coins can be purchased in packs or can be earned by playing certain games. The real advantage here is that all the apps in their store are designed for kids.
The parental controls are very comprehensive. They give the parent the ability control which apps the child can access and when they can access them. You can also choose whether or not they have access to the internet and whether or not to use their web filter. The web filter is pretty strict and by default will block access to all but one search engine. That search engine is kidrex.org which is powered by Google. You can, of course, deselect categories that you don’t want to be filtered, and you can whitelist and blacklist websites to override the selected categories. You can even block access to the USB port.
The Xtreme 2 comes with a bunch of preloaded games, but the games that they are most proud of are the motion games. Using the tablet’s front facing camera as a sort of Kinect-like device, the motion games can capture the movements of the child and use them to control the games. Unfortunately, there are two big drawbacks here. The first is that the camera’s resolution is so low that it becomes very hard to use. On top of the low resolution, the low light performance is horrendous.
The second drawback is that to use the motion games, you need to back up from the tablet, which makes the game harder to see. You can mirror the screen to a larger screen, either wirelessly or through the included HDMI port. This is the only way that the motion games make any sense, but you need to make sure there is plenty of light.
3 out of 5 stars
Overall this is not a bad little tablet. However, it’s not a great one either. It’s really tailored for children, and they are the only ones that will be forgiving of the hardware’s limitations. However, the device won’t be as forgiving of the children’s rough play because it is not as kid proof as I would like to see. Also, at $144 its kind of pricey. Other devices like Amazon’s new Fire Tablet for kids with their 2-year worry-free guarantee, may be a better option at a lower price.