Samsung's new Galaxy Tab 3 Kids, as its name suggests, is an Android tablet specifically designed for children.
Design & display
The Galaxy Tab 3 Kids is essentially a rebranded version of the Galaxy Tab 3 7, which was released in Australia back in July.
It's been coated in a bright yellow colour instead of the standard white but is otherwise identical in both design and components.
The design of the Galaxy Tab 3 Kids isn't very kid friendly on its own but Samsung includes a bright orange, silicone case in the sales package.
It wraps around the tablet to protect the back, sides and front bezel, and doesn't block any ports or buttons.
The Galaxy Tab 3 Kids becomes even more child friendly when you purchase the optional "Kid Grip Cover" ($69.95).
It's a hard plastic, protective case that includes a rotatable stand and handle, and comes with a "C Pen" stylus. It feels well constructed and fits the tablet snugly, though Samsung should have included the case and stylus into the package instead of selling it as an expensive accessory.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab Kids has a 7in screen with a resolution of 1024x600 pixels. While this is certainly no match for the best tablets on the market, it is adequate for children's use.
The AMOLED panel offers excellent viewing angles and bright colours, but the relatively low resolution means text isn't as crisp or clear as many other devices on the market.
Software & performance
The Galaxy Tab Kids can be set to boot directly into a Kids Mode user setting that provides access to a seperate Samsung Kids Store.
It contains apps that have been developed to help support children's entertainment and early learning for users three years old and above.
Out of the box, the device comes pre-loaded with a number of games, e-books, and education and entertainment apps.
The Kids Mode home screen immediately presents a list of installed apps in a carousel based interface. The app drawer is basic grid of icons that's been spruced up with bright colours and large icons in order to appeal to a younger demographic.
One feature missing is multiple kids user profiles. Although multiple children can effectively share the Galaxy Tab 3 Kids, it would have been nice to have seperate kids accounts, each with their own preferred apps on the main carousel.
The list of other settings is seriously extensive, headed by the ability to set a usage time limit of between 10 minutes and one hour and 20 minutes.
A password protected lock screen then prevents use when the allotted time period is up. Parents or guardians can also set a specific time period for use, for example between 5pm-8pm, and can even set up the device to be always locked.
Parental controls allow users to choose which applications can be accessed in the mode, so you're not restricted to the apps that are available in the Samsung Kids Store. If you choose to, you can enable any app you've downloaded on the device to be accessible in Kids Mode.
The Galaxy Tab 3 Kids requires a four digit passcode to be entered when purchasing both free and paid apps, so there's no risk of your child racking up a huge bill, or churning through your Internet download limit.
A seperate standard mode setting offers the same features and functions of a regular Samsung Android tablet.
In this mode, the limited specifications of the tablet do result in a rather frustrating user experience.
The 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM clearly isn't enough to keep up with the demand of the Android operating system and Samsung's TouchWIZ UI.
The Galaxy Tab 3 Kids comes with 8GB of internal memory but a microSD card slot allows users to expand the on-board memory.
The tablet has a 3-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a front-facing 1.3-megapixel snapper that takes poor quality photos and video, though it should be good enough to keep the kids entertained.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids has a large, 4000mAh battery that should last about six to eight hours of constant use.
In our experience, the battery does drain quite significantly when the screen is on, even when used purely in Kids Mode.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids is available now in Australia and sells for $299 outright.
It is stocked at Samsung's Experience Stores in Sydney and Melbourne and is also available through various other retailers across the country.