I give my kids “old” technology to play with. “Old” but quite reliable workhorses like the Nexus series of tablets and phones. So when I ditched my Nexus 4 phone (which was still zippy and fast) a few months back, I passed it to my son. It works really well as a iPod Touch type thing (an Android version of the iPod Touch of course… ) It is fast, capable of handling most gaming apps, and has a somewhat decent camera and videocamera. It can basically do everything he wants – play Minecraft? Check. Roblox? Check. YouTube? Check. Even Spotify. Check. I’m sure it could handle other games too, but for now that’s all he wants to play with. And at 16GB storage, it would be fine with the one or two large game files… It would struggle to cope if social media apps like Facebook and Twitter were installed. Luckily my son is too young for all this anyway. This beats the price of an iPod Touch surely. For all the iPod Touch features he needs, this can do just as well. When I looked on Ebay, I saw iPod Touches easily going for 150 quid and over. There is no way I am spending that kind of money on a small handheld phone-size device for a young child. And I do not wish to encourage more gaming time by buying the latest and most appealing slick devices on the market. I’m quite happy with the black low-profile looks of the Nexus 4, and it does what it needs to do.
I got a Nexus 7 tablet off Ebay for around 50 quid. It is the 2012 1st Gen 32GB model. Excellent almost new condition. Has around the same speed of processor as my Nexus 4 phone… with double the storage and a larger screen. Perfect.. Only problem is that at first we installed all of the Android updates so the tablet was at Android version 5, and the tablet got super sluggish. I tried researching everywhere on the internet and found out it could just be that this old thing needed an older version of Android OS to work smoothly, so I tried to unenviable task of rooting the phone and reinstalling an older Android OS on it. Specifically Android 4.4.4 KitKat… as that would be just over the minimum OS requirements for the games my kids play today. At first I really bugged up the tablet big time by following a website’s advice. The tablet couldn’t even boot up. I guess I am too much of a newbie at this sort of thing to really be able to follow the instructions properly. There were steps not described, perhaps presuming I would know… No I didn’t. I finally stumbled upon this page here http://www.wugfresh.com/nrt/ which actually provides an installer that I simply download and install onto my computer. Select the right options, and then click go, and it does everything for me. It’s really easy. I will include instructions on how I did this in a following post to this one. It is basically information I have distilled over reading several websites. This is the thing. No single website was able to give me all the answers I needed to fix my tablet up properly.
We do have an iPad Air at home now and it’s a 2nd hand one bought directly from the Apple Refurbished store. It is cheaper than new, and looks and acts like new. Perfect…
My verdict? Apple iPads are nice. They are visually stunning and run very smoothly. That is not to say they never crash. Oh yes they do. But it still gives the illusion of running smooth and fast. I think it is in the way the apps are programmed to transition from one process to another. It just looks and feels buttery smooth… even though it can malfunction at times. Some aspects I found annoying, for example the ease at editing chunks of words and paragraphs when typing on Android devices… they are trickier to do on an Apple thingy. Also difficulty in copying and pasting web page addresses from a browser to say, Facebook Messaging messages that I’m typing out to friends and family. I don’t know why it is impossible to do this on Apple things but so easy on Android… There are loads more niggly things… but I’ll just say now that if you’re looking for a budget tablet device for a child, go on the market and look for 2nd hand Nexus tablet or phone (for a smaller device size). You can’t go wrong with that.