This is a tablet that's been virtually ignored in the emerging genre of 'mini tablets' - a sector dominated by the Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire - but there's definitely a place for a tablet that's child-centric, even if it's merely to enable parents to regain control of their own tablet. Step forward the Archos Arnova ChildPad.
The internet is a big and very bad place for kids to be let loose in, and the fear of offspring visiting inappropriate websites is certainly one of the reasons - the other major one being high prices - for tablets not being as prevalent as they could be among youngsters.
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The Archos ChildPad is a seven-inch tablet that seeks to take on the likes of the Kindle Fire, Nexus 7 and even the iPad mini by providing some parental filtering software for parents' peace of mind.
The software in question - Mobile Parental Filter - doesn't come for free, but of more concern are the hardware limitations of the Archos ChildPad. This is a basic implementation of the Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 flavour (version 4.0.3 to be exact), but it runs behind a somewhat questionable screen; it's got just 800 x 480 pixels to play with.
Touch-play comes from within four folders on the home screen, namely Puzzle, Learning, Entertainment and Games. There are plenty of the latter preloaded, from Angry Birds and GlowHockey to Hamster: Attack! and the pleasingly-named PigRush.
The regular Google Play app shop is replaced - in what does seem like a wise move for parents keen to cut out inappropriate downloads and accidental app purchases and in-app payments - by an alternative hub called AppsLib, which has 10,000 games, books, comics and video that's filtered for suitability. That's the theory, anyhow.
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The Archos ChildPad comes with 4GB of built-in storage, with a micro SDHC card slot for either pushing that up to as much as 32GB, or inserting music, photos and video from a smartphone or computer.
Unlike some Android gear, the Archos ChildPad links to Windows and Mac computers as a pop-up flash drive for simple file transfers.
Features and design
Measuring 223 x 142 x 12.2mm 8.78 x 5.59 x 0.48 inches) and weighing a generous 380g (13.4oz), the Archos ChildPad is small enough for an adult to pocket, but whether it's light enough for a child to carry easily is in doubt.
In terms of design it's really nothing special; its curved corners of white plastic are soft enough, though even softer is the blue silicon back that has four millimetre-deep feet to further prevent scratches.
Otherwise, the design is more phone than tablet; either side of a centimetre-thick blue screen surround are a camera (VGA 640 x 480-pixel quality - and there's no rear camera) and a mic at the top (if held in portrait orientation) and a speaker at the bottom.
Meanwhile, there's a huge blue Archos ChildPad logo on there too, just in case you've forgotten who this is aimed at or what it's called.
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Elsewhere, the only slots and controls are along the top. This includes a small standby switch, a micro USB in and, underneath that, a micro SDHC card slot (which in theory increases its 4GB of flash memory, and a good thing too since almost half is taken up with pre-installed apps and software). There's also a headphones jack, and a find-something-sharp reset button.
There's also an empty slot that looks suspiciously like it could have housed an HDMI output; perhaps Archos changed its mind at the last minute. More likely, the Archos ChildPad is a mere mod of another model - something that puts into question its child-centric claims. There's no Bluetooth or GPS functionality, either.
Backed-up by a 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor and 1GB of RAM, the Wi-Fi-fuelled Archos ChildPad's 800 x 480-pixel capacitive touchscreen has a G-sensor to recognise its orientation.
In the box comes a micro USB cable and a USB wall charger. All this comes for a full retail price of just £99.99 (around US$150/AU$146).