We were lucky enough to be invited to the launch of MEEP, a brand new Kids Tablet, back in september but sadly were unable to attend. After being super disappointed on missing out on this new introduction to the kids tablet market, we were offered a loan MEEP to review for 2 weeks.
There are children’s tablets galore being released right now in the build up to christmas. With so many out there, with such varying capabilities and prices, it’s hard to know which is the right one to go for.
The MEEP has a 7 inch touch screen and comes with an orange silicone case that can be changed for other colours. The sunken in screen is also handy to help prevent it from getting scratched or smashed when dropped. However the downside is the MEEP is quite heavy in comparison to other tablets I have seen this may be to maintain its durability for children.
The MEEP operates on Android 4.0 and is designed for ages 6+, it offers a clever cloud based parental control system that allows you to keep control of what content is accessed from any laptop, computer or iphone. With the MEEP you can surf the web, take pictures and videos, and download apps and games and e-books to your heart’s content… if, of course, it is permitted from the parent portal.
The clever parent portal also allows you to set designated times for apps, games or internet can be used (eg. 2 hours not just permitted or blocked) meaning you can control the length of time your children are able to play on certain sections. Bare in mind, however, signing up to the Parent Portal does require google chrome or safari and also requires you to input credit card details, with which they charge you $1 dollar and give you 100 ‘coins’ to use in the MEEP store for new downloads and games. This is all to confirm you are indeed an adult…. I must admit I am not a fan of inputting my credit card details for anything (although MEEP say they do not store your details, I still feel wary of anything like this.)
The MEEP comes with a few apps, games and ebooks pre-loaded and more can be bought from the store and with 4.0 GB of memory and an SD slot to expand this memory further it should have plenty of space for more games, apps, or music. There is also a social section where children can communicate with other MEEP users with internet access (such as their friends who also own a MEEP.) As well as lots of additional accessories like a piano, joystick, drums, microphone etc.
The interface itself is not something I was able to get on with. Firstly the icons on the home screen were quite small, this may be easier for smaller hands but I struggled on a few occasions and the wheel on the homepage is very touchy. I think the fact that you can only select the icon in the center (although you can see and tap other icons only the one in the center would open) can get quite frustrating. The fact that the whole screen is not used to spread the icons out seems a little silly to me.
The screen itself is a nice clear resolution but is a little let down by the low quality camera and video. The camera is also located on the same side as the screen making it difficult to take pictures of things other than yourself as the buttons are… of course… on the screen too. Also the screen did not always register my taps, it was not as responsive as I had hoped.
Battery life is pretty good and lasted a good 5 hours of playing before I needed to charge it again, make sure you have this on charge or fully charged before installing updates though as these can take some time. The load times of some of the games was a little slow as well but didn’t seem to bother the children, I think this would be more a case of what you are used to in comparison.
I think the idea behind the MEEP is a great one. This year is clearly the year of children’s tablets as parents try to pry their expensive ipads from their children’s’ hands to replace them with something more age and price appropriate. The MEEP is reasonably priced at £129.99 and widely available from Toys R us, Amazon, Argos and Smyths. However, due to the flaws (although small) I would hold off buying ANY kid’s tablet until the market has settled a little and they have had a chance to be tried, tested and had all the creases ironed out.
I personally found the MEEP store very limited, although I am sure with time this will expand, at the moment there just aren’t enough options.
I also think the speakers, although clear and loud, are badly placed on the back of the MEEP meaning the sound is directed away from the user and often towards those not interacting with it.
The other thing I found puzzling was the fact that, although I could control most aspects of the MEEP’s use, the settings menu was accessible at all times and within this menu was an option to restore the MEEP to factory settings. I understand the importance of this feature but not why it would be place where it can be accessed by children who could potentially wipe all content from the MEEP including downloaded apps and settings.
All in all my children really enjoyed the MEEP and I think it has fantastic potential, it is something I would buy but perhaps in a years time when all the bumps have been rolled out and there is a much bigger range of possibilties.