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Genius Kids Designer Graphics Tablet review

Jim Martin
2 Apr 2011
Genius Kids Designer Graphics Tablet
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
35
inc VAT

Sounds like a great idea, but the software could be a lot better.

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Specifications

This is a 8x5in (roughly A5 size) graphics tablet aimed at children from three to eight years old. It works with Windows XP, Vista and 7 and simply requires a free USB port.

Genius says the product helps kids learn colours, shapes, maths as well as having fun drawing, painting and playing games. It’s certainly a noble aim, but we’re slightly baffled as to why Genius has opted for a tablet rather than a specially designed mouse or touchpad. It’s arguably as difficult to learn to control the cursor with a pen as with the latter two devices. Unlike mice and touchpads, a tablet is mapped to your screen, so you have to move the pen to the edges to position the cursor in the corresponding places on the screen.

Genius Kids Designer Graphics Tablet

It's also important to note that, contrary to Genius' misleading product photos of the Kids Designer, you cannot actually draw pictures on the tablet. No marks are made by the pen - it simply registers your movements and replicates them on screen.

Our test subject – a 3-year-old who has already mastered the touchpad – found it very difficult to adapt to the pen. This is not a problem with age: adults have similar problems changing from a mouse to a tablet. The tablet has similar specifications to other modern versions, and has 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity.

The Kids Designer tablet has a button on the left-hand side to help with ‘clicking’, but this assumes the child is right-handed. It would have been better to place it centrally at the bottom.

The bundled software is split into learning, creativity and fun sections, and there’s plenty to do. You can complete dot-to-dot pictures by following the numbered dots; paint and draw on a blank canvas with pencils, paint brushes and spray cans; colour in line drawings by choosing colours, and more.

However, some of the maths games ran too quickly for adults to cope, let alone kids. Individual icons and controls are also quite small, so aren't really suitable for younger children. Also, we saw no evidence of the pressure sensitivity - certainly not when drawing in the painting program.

Children have an incredible capacity for learning, but while it's useful to learn how to control a mouse or touchpad, we're not convinced it's the same for a graphics tablet. Plus, in our experience kids prefer to be creative with real pens and paint brushes, so unless you’re desperate for your child to master a graphics tablet, there’s little reason to buy the Kids Designer.

If you're after some games to teach your child to use a mouse or touchpad, it's hard to beat websites such as the BBC's Cbeebies and Channel 5's Milkshake.

Details

Price£35
Rating**

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