So my kids are spoilt, of course. A house full of the latest technology they get to try some cool things and sometimes I wonder what it would be like if some of the gadgets were pulled out from under them. So, two weeks ago as we headed off on holiday, I thought it was the perfect time to swap out my daughter’s iPad Mini for the TCL Tab 10S.

Some context here, the iPad mini of course has the Apple Pencil which is one of the key things my Daughter loves about using the iPad Mini. Second generation Apple Pencil support, as she loves to draw, sketch and create.

For comparison, to buy the cheapest iPad mini, with an Apple Pencil and a case, will set you back $1,043. Of course, you could save a few hundred there and get a larger iPad, a Pencil and third party case for around $700.

TCL’s Tab 10S though is half that, at under $350 ($349 at Bing Lee, $325 at Catch)

But is it any good?

I was sceptical. Very Sceptical, but today, even after we’re home, and her iPad sits on her desk, she’s still using the TCL Tab 10S.

That $350 price tag gets you a ten inch tablet, a case with screen cover, and a stylus. It’s an all-in-the-box kinda situation – and that for one is the most impressive part of this package.

Running Android, my next concern was parental controls. We live in a world of Apple Screentime, so how would I keep an eye on things.

Turns out, that’s easy. With TCL Kids mode this tablet can be booted into a walled garden with a parental access code allowing me to approve apps that are on the device to be visible within Kids mode, so I can download new apps for me, and her, and choose which ones she sees.

Then there are time limitations and such on there too, so for me, it ticked all the boxes.

I’ve watched as my daughter explored the apps I downloaded at her request – ones that were the same or similar to those she uses on the iPad, like Messenger Kids, and a sketchbook program, and never once did she come to me for tech support or concerns.

In fact the only “issue” she experienced the whole week was on the plane, paired with her simple $18 Laser headphones, her downloaded Apple Music library was working fine, but would stop playing now and then, she worked out just pressing the power button on the TCL Tab 10S when it was closed in the seat pocket would restart the music. I’m assuming that’s a screen off music stops kinda situation in kids mode, but not a deal breaker at all.

Bottom line, this test was all or nothing, my daughter may have asked for her iPad back within hours, but she didn’t – we’re on a winner here.

At under $350 the Tablet, Case and Stylus bundle is fantastic value. Battery life is great, the screen is big and colourful, though not as bright as you will pump an iPad Mini up to for sure.

Technology on a budget is hard, but it doesn’t have to be.

TCL’s Tab 10S is well worth it for any family, kids too – check it out.