Nabi Big Tab: A super-size Android tablet for kids (hands-on)

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How big do you like your Android tablets? Having a massive one, sized like a small TV, might seem ludicrous, but there are already Windows 8 all-in-one tablets (like the Dell XPS 18) that do combo work as desktops and tabletop PCs. The Nabi Big Tab is along those same lines, but it runs Android KitKat 4.4.

The 20- or 24-inch Big Tab feels like a big touchscreen PC that just happens to be portable. The tablet will cost $449 for the 20-inch or $549 for the 24-inch when it arrives in the third quarter of this year, along with a suite of preinstalled kid-friendly apps. (That translates to about £269/£328 and AU$482/AU$590, though no official pricing or availability in the UK or Australia has been announced.)

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Sarah Tew/CNET

You can choose between a 20-inch 1,600x900 display version, or a 23.6-inch, 1,920x1,080 display, both with 15-point capacitive touch for two-person simultaneous use. Both have a quad-core Tegra 4 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of onboard storage. Sadly, both models are without SD card expansion slots. A built-in battery offers, according to the Big Tab specs, "30 minutes of backup battery," so you'll want to keep an AC outlet and extension cord very close by.

The Big Tab feels clunky, but sturdy; it has a removable metal frame that doubles as a carrying handle, and it folds into various angles for desktop or reclining table-top use. You can connect a keyboard or mouse via USB, but you can also just touch the screen like any other Android tablet...except you'll feel like you've suddenly entered a land of giants.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The Nabi Big Tab runs its own Blue Morpho software on top of Android, which offers kid-friendly UI, parental controls, a separate curated app store for kids called AppZone (The Nabi Big Tab supports Google Play, too), and a digital currency that can be tied to allowances or completing chores. The parental control ideas are helpful, and there were some familiar apps I tried on the prototype unit I spent a few minutes with: Fruit Ninja, Jenga, and some interactive story books. There will be Dreamworks and possible Nick and Disney editions, each with specialized additional content. Pre-installed free apps include multiplayer board games and table-top games like Air Hockey, a kid-friendly video player, a story-book reader called Story Time with 35 free books, and Dream Pro Studio, an art, painting, and animation app.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

First thoughts

I'm not sure who would go for this type of very specific -- and odd -- hardware, especially when other alternatives are out there. Then again, $449 isn't a whole lot to spend for a very large screen, and the Big Tab could double as an everyday Android device... albeit a limited and odd one. My gut says Big Tab is way too weird. And way too big.

And when you consider that "kid-friendly" tablets are available for as little as $99 if you aren't picky, the mid-$400 entry price of this big-screen Nabi seems a little hard to swallow. It really depends on how good that software experience is, and I didn't spend enough time with one to find that it particularly won me over.

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Where to Buy

Nabi Big Tab (20-inch)

Part Number: CNETnabi20

MSRP: $449.00

See manufacturer website for availability.