The nabi Elev-8 and the LeapFrog Epic are both tablets designed for children, so how do they compare? The first difference is the size; the Elev-8 is an 8″ tablet whilst the Epic is a more common 7″. The Elev-8 has a 1280×800 pixel resolution touchscreen whilst the resolution of the Epic is 1024×600 pixels. Each also comes with a protective bumper intended to reduce the likelihood of damage should the tablet be dropped. The Epic’s comes in green or pink, the nabi’s in their signature red.
Both tablets are Android tablets but neither runs a completely standard version. The Epic runs 4.4 KitKat, but a variant of it from LeapFrog. The Elev-8 runs the more recent 5.1 Lollipop, but it has been modified with nabi’s Blue Morpho OS overlay, which adds over 400 kid-friendly features to the Android system, which includes the Wings Learning System. The nabi tablet comes with Google Play, whilst the Epic does not and this cannot be installed on it, although the Amazon Appstore can. The Epic can download apps from LeapFrog’s App Centre of educator approved apps.
The Epic comes with a substantial 16 gigabytes (GB) of internal memory but the Elev-8 comes with even more, double that at 32 GB. Each tablet also has a memory card slot which will take memory cards up to 32 GB in size. Both tablets have a front facing and a rear facing camera; those on the Epic are both 2.0 megapixel (MP) in resolution whilst those on the nabi are 2.0 MP resolution for the front facing camera and 5.0 MP for the rear. The Epic has a single speaker whilst the nabi has dual speakers. Each has a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microphone. The processor of the Epic is a quad core whilst that of the Elev-8 is an octo core. Both tablets have WiFi and Bluetooth but the nabi also has Near Field Communication. The Epic has a standard micro USB connector whilst the nabi has a custom nabi Connector.
Each tablet has parental controls provided by the manufacturer. As would be expected with a LeapFrog tablet, out of the box the Epic’s are the strongest, allowing access to only LeapFrog approved content and sites, a very short list although, unlike previous LeapFrog tablets, parents can add content to this. Those on the Elev-8 may not be quite as strong as those on the Epic, but most companies are not anywhere close to as restrictive as LeapFrog.
Each tablet has substantial educational uses, with the Wings Learning System on the Elev-8 whilst LeapFrog tablets are primarily educational in nature. Although more flexible than previous LeapFrog tablets, the Epic is still primarily an educational tablet whilst the Elev-8 is more general in nature.
Technically, the Elev-8 is superior to the Epic in pretty much every way. The nabi tablet has superior screen resolution, superior camera resolution, greater internal memory and a more powerful processor. Its primary disadvantage is the use of the custom nabi Connector, which means that, if a cable breaks or gets damaged, it has to be replaced with a custom cable rather than the more generic micro USB cables most devices use. The greater size may or may not be a disadvantage, depending on preferences. The nabi Elev-8 is a more technically capable tablet, but it is also usually more expensive.