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Discussion Starter #1
My wife and I are looking at buying tablet for each of my kids. I'm aware of the iPads, but the $300+ price tag is a turn off. Also, I'm not an Apple fanboy.

I know about the Fire Tablet, but I've been made aware that the Google Play Store is disabled and it can't be made available unless you root the Fire Tablet. I'm not a fan of that either.

Are there any other tablets out there that are both good and affordable, $150 - $200 range, have the latest version of Android, and will offer support for some time to come?

I was considering buying a refurbed Pixel 2 for my kids, but the small screen wouldn't do it any justification.

I'm also open to Chromebook devices, preferably a model with a detachable or 180* foldable keyboard, if available.
 

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How old are the kids?

Apple just unveiled new iPads the old one's should be price reduced.
 

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1) if I had to buy an android tablet today, I'd take a serious look at the Samsung S5e or S6 Lite. The S5e has an AMOLED screen but the enwer S6 lite only has an LCD display. My MIL uses her S5e daily and loves it. App support is all there as well. Its $400 though but you can get it on sale.
On the cheapside, I might consider a Lenovo Tab M10 Plus w/ 4GB Ram and 64GB storage.

2) I decided to buy my son a Lenovo Chromebook Duet thinking it would be good to have one in the house for him to use aside from his school ipad (which doesn't allow any apps to be installed) and as an eventual replacement for his ancient Samsung Tab A from 2015 (it was a handmedown from a friend that I swapped batteries on).
  • You can get a kid friendly case for the Duet in the form of a Huawei Mediapad T5. Just needs a few cuts to be made for the USBC
  • Good little machine; the BB ver comes with 128GB and a keyboard for $300. Works like a MS Surface.
  • Yes, Chromebooks can run android apps but the support isn't complete. Some apps aren't certified to work on it and you need to sideload them to make them run. Not super elegant on that part (I think there was a Lego game and the Wyze cam app that I had to do this with).
  • Knowing what i know now, and knowing that i can always buy a more laptop like chromebook in the future for my son's needs, I probably would have opted for an S5e as my sons old tablet replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter #4

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We buy Lenovo 300e Chromebooks for the younger kids in our schools (like K-2) instead of iPads. They run all the ChromeOS extensions and integrate seamlessly into the Google domain for easy management (not something you'll likely care about) and they have a full attached keyboard and the ability to convert to a lay-flat tablet anytime. Buuut they're still about $300.
 

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I just bought a Galaxy Tab A 8"er for $120. MAINLY BOUGHT IT TO STREAM racing at the shop and in the RV at the track. Worked great this past weekend at the track. Batttery seems very good.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We buy Lenovo 300e Chromebooks for the younger kids in our schools (like K-2) instead of iPads. They run all the ChromeOS extensions and integrate seamlessly into the Google domain for easy management (not something you'll likely care about) and they have a full attached keyboard and the ability to convert to a lay-flat tablet anytime. Buuut they're still about $300.
For $300, I might as well go with an iPad a friend of mine has been pushing me to get. My thing is that I am adamantly anti Apple. I've never liked Apple before I started using them and when I did start using them because where I work we started to implement iPhones and iPads through an MDM server, I liked them even less.
 

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I just bought a Galaxy Tab A 8"er for $120. MAINLY BOUGHT IT TO STREAM racing at the shop and in the RV at the track. Worked great this past weekend at the track. Batttery seems very good.
My kids will be playing games and streaming video (YouTube, Netflix, etc.) on whatever we end up getting them. So it needs to be a decent performer in that regard.
 

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Yep. But for $300, we'd rather have Chromebooks than iPads, so that's what we buy. I'm an apple hater too, FTR. :)
 
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My kids are 9 and 6.

@S4gunn , the Lenovo seems like a good fit!

This is the one, right?

Yeah, that's the one I was thinking about. Check the dimensions.
I'm not one of the "OMG it's Lenovo, China's going to hack me" set and I don't have direct experience with this tablet specifically BUT MediaTek makes decent low/mid range Application Processors and most importantly, Lenovo has decent build quality. In truth, Apple's SoC is better than pretty much anything else you can get performance and efficiency-wise but I don't like the inflexibility of IOS vs Android.

The one mfg I tend to run away from is Acer; I've had bad luck with multiple machines based on build quality so even if it looks like a good deal spec for performance wise, I tend to shy away. My mom's laptop died prematurely (WIFI module just died within 1.5 years. Crazy) and my MILs Acer Android convertible had poor support. You might want to read up to see how well Lenovo updates their android OSes; that could be a concern; I know Samsung is pretty good about it and on the tablet side, while 99% of the top 200 apps on the Google Play store will work with an x86 based android machine

In comparison, you are guaranteed 8 years of updates on any chromebook from date of release (which made the newly released duet so compelling to me).


---
BTW, for those of you who have an older system and need a basic chromebook or as a backup for the kids, I've had good luck with CloudReady as a super easy way to implement ChromeOS on an older laptop. I was getting rid of a few laptops and one way to make them more palatable to some randos on Craigslist than Win 7 was to throw CloudReady on there. Easy way to keep a machine from going into the scrap heap a little longer.
 

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Run, do not walk, from the MTK Lenovo Chromebooks. I actually don't think they make them new anymore - they are all AMD based now, the Intel ones are not available (for now). We bought hundreds of the MTK based models last summer duiring the (first) Intel fab plant switch/chip shortages and they have been dropping like flies in the last few months. Motherboard failures galore. And - just after the 1 year warranty expires!
 

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Run, do not walk, from the MTK Lenovo Chromebooks. I actually don't think they make them new anymore - they are all AMD based now, the Intel ones are not available (for now). We bought hundreds of the MTK based models last summer duiring the (first) Intel fab plant switch/chip shortages and they have been dropping like flies in the last few months. Motherboard failures galore. And - just after the 1 year warranty expires!
That's interesting. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet was just released this year in May 2020 and is MTK based; we'll see if it lasts a year.
 

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Hopefully whatever is going wrong with the systems we have has been resolved. To be fair the 100e is quite a bit different than this new one, but internally... who knows...
 

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So have you decided on something?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I have not yet.

The Kindle Fire is most appealing hardware wise, but the fact that it's not Google native is a turn off. That Lenovo unit Gunn brought up seems like the best bet right now.

Shoot, I might go as far as getting them each a refurbed Pixel 2 XL or refurbed Pixel 3 XL, lol.
 

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1) Now, I'll be honest and say that I'm still a little underwhelmed about chromebook vs android compatibility (some apps aren't available from the GOOG store without sideloading), its been a good little machine so far.

I think it all depends on your use-case/needs. Your kids probably type (BTW, the keyboard IS small; its hard for an adult to type fast on it) and do more on the web so their needs are probably different from my sons (who still plays games on his tablet and watches youtube since his schoolwork is minimal and done on a school supplied ipad anyway). if I had to do it again, I probably would have actually bought a Samsung S5e and fully retired his old samsung tablet. If he needed it, I would have gotten the 2021 ver of this chromebook. Now, he uses a mix of the new chromebook and the tablet. I suspect he might grow into the new chromebook though as his needs change.

Two days ago, I got a Lenovo USI pen. I saw it on slickdeals for $32+tax shipped and I must say, it's quite impressive. USI is the new standard for stylii that new chromebooks support and include palm rejection and pressure sensitivity on the tip. It works like a pen but doesn't cost $99 like a friggin apple pencil and works a LOT better than the "fake finger tip" pens you can buy for $5. If he doesn't kill it, this stylus should last for a while since this is the new standard.

Use coupon DISCOVER20 to knock it down to the $32 price.
 

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For $300, I might as well go with an iPad a friend of mine has been pushing me to get. My thing is that I am adamantly anti Apple. I've never liked Apple before I started using them and when I did start using them because where I work we started to implement iPhones and iPads through an MDM server, I liked them even less.
I’ve found that with tablets, you get what you pay for. The Android based tablets usually don’t get software updates and don’t have a good lifespan. I finally got an iPad and it has proved to be reliable and useful, while having good performance. My brother-in-law has had an iPad 2 since 2011, and it is still going strong.

Since it is for your kids, another thing going for it is it has better privacy safeguards as well as parental controls. Not sure if I’d trust Google/Amazon with my kids on this, due to their business models.

Whatever you end up getting, I hope it works out for you - good luck!
 

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My kids will be playing games and streaming video (YouTube, Netflix, etc.) on whatever we end up getting them. So it needs to be a decent performer in that regard.
I don't like Apple products as well but to their credit their mobile SoCs are some of the best for mobile platforms because of the $$$$$ they spent developing their own architecture around the Palo Alto Semi startup as their core team. They've also developed their own GPU and it performs quite well as well.
IIRC, the A13 SoC found in their Iphone SE is even better performing than the flagship android QCOM Snapdragon 855 CPUs.

My biggest beef with the Apple products, besides the IOS look and feel, is that you don't get a lot of storage for your money. The poverty spec $300 Ipads only come with 32GB of storage which isn't very much. I suspect you'll kids will be shuffling apps way sooner than you'd expect.
-g
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The one game that they're both hooked on right now is Roblox. I know there will be other games that they will want, but that's the one for the moment.

I already have my kids setup with their own gmail accounts, so that's one big reason why I want them to continue using an Android device. Would them going to Apple be cause for concern in regards to the Google environment on Apple products? I want to say yes, but I'm not sure. My only exposure to Apple products is through my employer's MDM servers. Basically, all the individualization of my work issued iPhone 10XS has been stripped out. The only apps on the phone are what's there already.
 

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The one game that they're both hooked on right now is Roblox. I know there will be other games that they will want, but that's the one for the moment.

I already have my kids setup with their own gmail accounts, so that's one big reason why I want them to continue using an Android device. Would them going to Apple be cause for concern in regards to the Google environment on Apple products? I want to say yes, but I'm not sure. My only exposure to Apple products is through my employer's MDM servers. Basically, all the individualization of my work issued iPhone 10XS has been stripped out. The only apps on the phone are what's there already.
1) Roblox seems to be cross platform. I've never used it but it sounds like every kid has their own acct anyway so they would just download the app from the Apple vs Google Play sttore.
From what I can see, it's not super GPU intensive. If gaming becomes a bigger issue, I could imagine a scenario where you start collecting games in a Steam acct, enable Family Sharing, and then setup each kid with a GeForce Now acct so they can use cloud-based gaming. This may be the future until their needs (and your willingness to pay) gets them into their own gaming PCs.

2) my wife uses an iphone/macbook for her work and they've all moved to a google cloud-based environment. Ditto with my son's school and his Ipad.
 
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