Meep Tablet Review: Not So Great Kids Tablet
Most of what we reviewed for tablets for both adults and kids have been pretty favorable so now we're coming down to some that feel like they were rushed to market too soon in order to hit the Christmas Holiday bonanza. The only problem when you've got so many tablets out is that the inferior ones stand out pretty quickly. Meep falls into that category.
There are all kinds of kid-centric tablets being released right now of all different calibers and in varying price ranges. We’ve already taken a look at the InnoTab 2 and the LeapFrog LeapPad 2, so we might as well run with the tablet theme right? This brings us to the MEEP, Oregon Scientific’s version of a kid-friendly touch screen tablet.
Check out our Top 30 Hottest Toys for the 2012 Christmas Holiday season chosen by the ones who’ll use them, kids…young and older!
What Is the MEEP?
The MEEP is a kid friendly tablet operating on Android 4.0. Designed for ages 6 years and up, it offers a lot of parental control to keep content safe and appropriate for whoever is using it. You can surf the web, take pictures and videos, and download apps and games and e-books to your heart’s content.
Check out readers reviews and comments on the MEEP Tablet.
Design & Durability
The MEEP has a 7 inch touch screen and comes with an orange silicone case. The case can be removed or other colors purchased if orange isn’t your kids favorite. The screen is sunken to help prevent it from getting scratched or smashed when dropped. Overall it has a nice look to it.
It seems quite durable. I did not like the weight of it (uncomfortable to hold with one hand) but it may be that its density makes it more durable- a double edged sword. With or without the case, it’s rugged enough to withstand more than a few drops.
A Few Features
From parent safety features to Wi-Fi, the MEEP has been loaded with different functions. Some include-
Parent Portal: A cloud drive based program that allows parents to control content.
Pre-loaded Apps, Games, and Ebooks: To get started playing with the MEEP right away, several apps and games as well as a few E-books come pre-loaded.
Internet & Wi-Fi: Kids can browse the web from their MEEP.
Music: Download and listen to music on the MEEP.
There is 4.0 GB of memory and an SD slot to expand.
What Is It Like To Use?
I was not thrilled with my experience, although there were some enjoyable aspects. Below I broke down some of the experiences with the basic functions (screen responsiveness, interface, sound quality, etc.) to give more detail without lumping it into one mega long paragraph. But first, a recount of my experience with things less straightforward.
When I turned on the MEEP, I was unsure of what to think. After spending more time on it instead of things becoming more straightforward they only became more muddled. At first, I couldn’t access internet, safety, or help. There was a button that said an upgrade was available so I got it, and was then able to access the ‘safety’ and ‘help.’ The safety tips were well intended, but a bit condescending considering the age range we’re going for. They included tips such as “Do not type foul languages” or “Be kind to others.”
Even after the upgrade, I could not access the web. I was still on version 1.0. I called customer support and they told me there should be another upgrade still available. Ok, well there wasn’t. The only thing the rep could say was that I had to go to the MEEP website and register (he also said I needed Google Chrome as a browser.) Registration was necessary regardless so that I could control the Parent Portal and settings but I thought the upgrades should come without registration. After restarting the MEEP and waiting a bit, the upgrade was finally picked up on.
To sign up for Parent Portal, you must provide a credit card number. They charge you $1 dollar and give you 100 ‘coins’ to use in the MEEP store for new downloads and games. This is to ‘ensure that you are an adult.’ They say they do not store your information which is nice, but I disliked giving out credit card information regardless.
I liked how easy it was to adjust the safety settings on the website. For example, you could have the web fully blocked, or you could set it to be open for a certain amount of time (say 2 hours) which I though was nicer than having just a black and white blocked or unblocked option. You can also set a timer for things like E-books or apps. Just make sure to let your kid know their time limit-they won’t be thrilled if something shuts down in the middle of use for no reason.
One of my biggest issues as of now is that I still cannot get online, even though I have adjusted the parent settings to allow it and it says ‘updated.’
I am not a fan of the user interface. It is not intuitive, and it’s clumsy to navigate. There is a wheel on the home page that you use to spin through your different options. The icons are small, and the wheel spins too fast and often times doesn’t land on what you want it to. It’s not all that kid friendly in its layout, even if we are talking ages 6 and up. The icons are also quite small, good for little fingers, but hard for parents to use.
While the screen has a wonderful crisp and clear resolution, I found that the camera and video were of a lower quality than some smartphones. The camera is not intuitive to use at all, and I struggled to try even taking a picture at first. There is only one lens on the front of the MEEP so it’s great for taking pictures and videos of yourself, but there is no screen on the back so it’s hard to take pictures of other things. You also have to reach around to hit the button to take a picture or record if the MEEP is facing away from you.
The quality of the sound was quite fine, but the speakers are on the back of the tablet, so sounds are directed away from the user and at others.
The load time wasn’t too bad, but the screen often times did not respond to my touch. Even the navigation wheel on the home page didn’t pick up on something when I had obviously wheeled it to the right place. The screen is supposedly meant to pick up a single feather light touch, but when something isn’t responding, your first instinct is to press harder or multiple times. This results in a distortion of the screen where the pressure is. In between different activities, the screen would sometimes flicker.
The charge seemed to go rather quickly, but it’s the nature of the beast. The same is true of the iPad or if you play around with your smartphone for a while. The MEEP lasted a good 6 hours before it alerted me to low battery. If you’re doing an upgrade, make sure you have plenty of juice because they take a while.
Our Final MEEP Tablet Review: Should You Buy it?
I truly enjoy the idea of the MEEP, and I think it has great potential. Having a tablet for kids who have outgrown a LeapPad that aren’t old enough for an iPad or a Kindle is wonderful. I just think that they rushed the MEEP. In my opinion, it has far too many bugs and flaws to be worth the price. I would wait for a later version in which some of the issues have been ironed out before spending your money on it.
If you are looking for an alternative to the MEEP tablet, we suggest you take a look at the Nabi 2.
For all tablets, we’ve also reviewed the Kindle Fire HD 8.9, Kindle Fire HD, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 and the Sony Reader. We also did a side by side comparison of the Kindle Fire HD versus the Apple iPad to give you an idea of the choices you have. It’s a big market out there for buyers now…just choose wisely and figure out exactly what you want your tablet to do for you.