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In moderation, tablets are awesome for kids. Games, movies, educational apps, interactive books -- a tablet can really save the day during car rides, long waits at the restaurant and so on.
But are you really going to hand a toddler an iPad? That's insane for a number of reasons, not the least of which is price: An iPad Mini will run you $200 minimum; an iPad Air, twice as much.
The smarter buy, by far, is this: Amazon has the Fire HD Kids Edition 6-inch tablet for $119.99 shipped, a savings of $30 and just $20 higher than the non-kids Fire HD 6.
True to its name, the Fire HD Kids Edition was designed -- or at least accessorized -- with kids in mind. It's the standard Fire HD 6, but with a colorful "kid-proof" case that can withstand drops and bumps. In fact, Amazon is putting its money where its mouth is: If the tablet gets broken in the first two years, the company will replace it, no questions asked. That's unprecedented.
Even better (in my opinion), Amazon offers a ton of great extras, starting with a one-year subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited. This layer offers an oversize (read: kid-friendly) interface, individual user profiles and a curated collection of books, movies, TV shows, educational apps and the like.
I particularly like the parental controls, which can be set to specific hours of the day or connected to educational goals. You can also restrict content based on the age of the user.
Could you buy a different Fire tablet (like, say, the $50 model), add a tough case and get more or less the same thing? Yes, but the FreeTime Unlimited subscription is worth $120, and you wouldn't get the worry-free warranty. Just saying.
There are some mixed reviews from Kids Edition buyers, and they're worth reading -- but I think this tablet at this price is a very solid buy for anyone in the 2-10 age range.
Bonus deal: In the unlikely event you're still in the habit of ripping DVDs, don't pay for a ripper -- grab this instead. Digiarty Software is offering WinX DVD Ripper Platinum for free. It can convert your platters to digital formats suitable for all kinds of mobile devices, or turn them into ISO files if you prefer. After you click Get Giveaway Version, make sure to copy/print the provided license code and use it to activate the software after you've downloaded/installed it. Also, from the vendor: "The software is built with an auto "Check for update" wizard. It may pop up to tell people which version they are using when they launch it for the first time. If they want to continue to use the Giveaway Version, just simply click Cancel to close the window."
Bonus deal No. 2: Anyone into PC gaming knows the value of a good mouse. Like this one: Logitech has the Laser Gaming Mouse G500S for $29.99, plus around $6 for shipping. It's last year's model, but still a top-rated rodent that normally sells for at least $65.