A tablet is a tablet, is a tablet, etc. Or at least that's what I thought until I became aware of the variety of ways they're adapting to our lives -- at work, in education and at play.
We recently received two tablet computers that have opened our eyes as to what the future may hold for these mobile devices.
The VINCI MV ($199.95) and the MiTraveler 3D ($349.95) are designed to offer tools and resources we may not have realized were key to the development of mobile computing.
The VINCI MV is a seven-inch Android-based tablet aimed at the education of toddlers, from preschool to second grade. Although it's running an older version of Android (Version 4.1 "Jelly Bean"), this seemed adequate enough to get the job done.
We gave the VINCI to an overly bright seven-year-old girl for the ultimate "like" or "dislike" test. The final verdict? She's still using it after two months.
The downside is that she found the so-called "learning" tools weren't advanced enough to hold her interest, so she's been seeking out more advanced challenges. We've discovered that this is common with most learning devices due to the fact that they have to be "dumbed down" to accommodate the "average" child in each age group.
The upside was that she was able to find many apps that provided more of a challenge through various learning websites and through her elementary school.
I can see this as an invaluable tool if your child needs tutoring in elementary reading or math. There is a bevy of apps that address these problems -- some of them preloaded on the VINCI Tab == and others provided as downloadable apps using VINCI Curriculum and the VINCI Kids Library. A few of these apps are preloaded on the device, with others available free or for a nominal fee.
Its key features include:
- Dual SIM slots for connecting to any mobile network worldwide
- A slot for a MicroSD card for up to 32 GB of extra storage space
- VINCI Curriculum contains structured learning programs for children aged four to seven
- The VINCI Kids Library contains more than 800 apps created to encourage learning
- Built-in WiFi and Bluetooth
- Front and back cameras
- Eight gigabytes of internal storage
- It comes with a leather case, travel charger, USB cable and an earphone with a microphone
- One gigabyte of RAM
The MiTraveler 3D was provided to us by the folks at Hammacher Schlemmer, but we found a discrepancy between what the high-end catalog retailer wanted and the price posted on the tablet computer's website. Both Hammacher Schlemmer and Amazon have a list price posted of $349.95, but, when we checked out the manufacturer's website, we found a list price of $299.
The tablet, manufactured by Michley Tivax, features a "no glasses" approach to 3D display, which literally means you don't need to wear those old, bulky 3D move-theater glasses to enjoy your favorite movies, videos or photographs in three dimensions. It accomplishes this through a process known as "parallax barrier 3D technology," which, according to the Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue, "delivers a slightly different set of pixels to each eye, creating depth of field" known more commonly as 3D.
Like the VINCI, the MiTraveler comes with Android 4.1, front and rear-facing cameras, built in WIFI and Bluetooth capability, one gigabyte of RAM and eight gigabytes of internal storage.
Its other key features include:
- Micro HDMI and Micro USB output ports
- A micro SD card slot for up to 32 gigabytes of additional storage space
- Built-in speakers and a microphone
- 3D versions of games including Angry Birds and Temple Run
- The ability to download 3D movies through the Yabazam 3D on-demand service
- The ability to convert video clips and photos to 3D
- Access to 3D videos through YouTube, GoPro and Vimeo
- Dual Core processor
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