Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition review: A tablet kids quickly outgrow

    Spoiler alert: When you can afford it, skip the Amazon Fireplace 7 Youngsters Version, and get the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition as an alternative. It is larger, sooner and higher throughout, and properly value the additional $30 or £30. For what it is value, the identical recommendation applies to the “grownup” variations of the Fire 7 ($49.99 at and Fire HD 8, too — the and value differentials are an identical.

    Want a extra detailed appraisal? OK, let’s again up a bit. 

    The Amazon Fire 7, in both its normal model or the Youngsters Version reviewed right here, is bound to be tempting based mostly on value alone. For between $50 to $100 (and as little as $35 when on sale, which it regularly is) or £50 to £100 within the UK (you’ll be able to’t get it in Australia), you get a fundamental slate-style pill that may play movies from a number of companies (together with Amazon Prime), learn Kindle ebooks, deal with your websurfing and social media duties and even play some video games.

    The Fireplace 7 does an honest job at most of those duties. However when you add within the premium required for the Youngsters Version, which features a padded case, two-year guarantee and a one-year subscription to FreeTime Limitless (a Netflix-like subscription service with kid-appropriate ebooks, movies and video games), the higher Eight-inch Fire HD 8 begins to appear to be a wiser alternative. Evaluating the 2, the variations embrace display screen dimension and determination, audio high quality, onboard storage and RAM, with the Fireplace 7 inferior in every case.

    Sarah Tew/CNET

    Navigation and menus on the Fireplace 7 really feel sluggish in comparison with the Fireplace HD Eight, and apps load much less shortly. Some apps stutter, though video playback and even most video games labored properly after they’d an opportunity to begin up. However youngsters could get annoyed ready even a couple of further seconds (I do know I did). With extra RAM, a greater display screen and different enhancements, spending about $30 extra on the superior Eight-inch model seems like a sensible guess. Sure, the Fireplace 7 is nice for a dirt-cheap pill, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a dirt-cheap pill. 

    A lot of our evaluate of the very related Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is relevant right here, particularly relating to the Fireplace Youngsters Version software program and parental management options. For a deeper dive into the non-kid variations, learn the our earlier opinions of the Fire HD 8’s hardware and performance, in addition to the more limited Fire 7.

    A numbers sport

    The present Amazon Fire line, final up to date in 2017, is available in 7-inch, Eight-inch and 10-inch variations, with on-sale costs dropping as little as $35 for the (very) fundamental Fireplace 7. It is the pill as impulse buy, sponsored by the hope that you will purchase content material — books, movies and apps — from Amazon and create a recurring income stream for the e-commerce large.

    Apart from the usual fashions, there are additionally particular Youngsters Version variations of the Fireplace 7 and Fireplace HD Eight. These kid-friendly fashions are bodily an identical to the common variations, and the distinction comes from included equipment, software program and help. At first look, it appears loopy to pay an additional $50 for a pill that normally prices $50/$80 (for the Fireplace 7/Fireplace HD Eight), however the math truly makes extra sense than you may assume.


    The Fireplace HD Eight behind the Fireplace 7.

    Sarah Tew/CNET

    With the Youngsters Version ($100 for the 7-inch, $130 for the Eight-inch), you get a rubberized bumper case (I’ve had an analogous one on my son’s hand-me-down iPad 2 for years), which Amazon sells individually for $30, a two-year “no questions requested” substitute guarantee, double the storage of the bottom mannequin (8GB to 16GB within the 7-inch, 16GB to 32GB within the Eight-inch), and a one-year subscription to FreeTime Limitless. After one 12 months, the service prices $2.99 a month for Amazon Prime members ($four.99 for non-members), which is about $35 per 12 months. That each one provides as much as properly greater than the $50 premium for the Youngsters model over the usual pill.

    Take into accout additionally that Amazon commonly places these units on sale. The Fireplace 7/Fireplace 7 Youngsters Version can at instances be as little as $35/$75 and the Fireplace HD Eight/Fireplace HD Eight Youngsters Version may be discovered for $55/$95 throughout Amazon gross sales. This chart lays out the fundamental value variations between the fashions.

    Amazon Fireplace costs

    Fireplace 7 (8GB) Fireplace 7 Youngsters Version (16GB) Fireplace HD Eight (16GB) Fireplace HD Eight Youngsters Version (32GB) Fireplace HD 10 (32GB)
    US $50 $100 $80 $130 $150
    US sale value (provided periodically) $35 $75 $55 $95 $110
    UK £50 £100 £80 £130 £150

    The hidden charms of FreeTime

    Of the extras included within the Youngsters Version of the Fireplace tablets, the subscription to FreeTime Limitless could appear the least helpful, particularly when in comparison with the padded case, further storage and no-hassle substitute plan. It is truly Amazon’s secret weapon, and having used the service extensively over the previous couple of weeks, it is nearly criminally low-profile for the worth and adaptability it affords.

    I might earlier heard concerning the service, which mixes the truly free FreeTime options, together with detailed scheduling and utilization instruments for fogeys to restrict how and when youngsters use their pill, with the subscription Limitless half, which acts as an all-you-can-eat buffet of ebooks, apps and movies.


    Sarah Tew/CNET

    A baby (or kids, as you’ll be able to arrange a number of profiles at an additional price) will get a customized interface, a lot completely different from the usual Android-like Fireplace interface. FreeTime has a blue background and a handful of enormous class icons. It is also landscape-only, though some apps and ebooks work in portrait mode whereas they’re getting used.

    As is usually the case with content material searching, precise discovery may be hit and miss. There is no clear grasp listing of what particular content material is included, or an actual understanding of what highlights the app chooses to floor. That mentioned, the affords are so broad and far of it’s of top quality, that children will take pleasure in simply making an attempt random new issues.

    My 6-year-old son has been utilizing FreeTime Limitless on his just lately bought Fireplace HD Eight for a couple of weeks now, and is an enormous fan, particularly of the concept that he can decide and obtain his personal video games with out getting me or his mom to log off on each particular person one.


    A junior product tester with the Eight-inch Kindle Fireplace.

    Joshua Goldman/CNET

    When organising FreeTime, you choose the age vary of media you need displayed, and that adjustments the extent of books, movies and apps. I set Sprint’s vary at as much as Eight years outdated, simply to ensure he was challenged by new issues.

    The video seems to be from Amazon Prime, so you are not getting something new there, however the ebooks and apps add nice worth. Books are pretty well-formatted for the display screen. Some work on both panorama or portrait mode, however others are restricted to 1 view or the opposite. There is no pinch-to-zoom to learn textual content, which might get small, however double-tapping on textual content pops it up in a bigger bubble. Learn one blurb, then swipe left with one finger to mechanically advance the textual content. I can not say it can encourage self-directed studying for each child, nevertheless it labored on the one I do know, largely as a result of he might decide what to obtain by himself.


    Sarah Tew/CNET

    The apps are largely video games. Many are of the free or freemium selection (and no, youngsters cannot make extra purchases on their very own), however a very good quantity are literally surprisingly premium. I used to be pleasantly stunned to search out a big library of apps from Toca Boca, writer of Toca Life, Toca Lab and different kid-friendly apps. Sprint is an enormous fan of those, and I’ve beforehand bought a couple of for round $three every. One obtain like this per thirty days covers the price of the whole FreeTime Limitless service as soon as the included one-year subscription expires.

    Getting in character

    One fascinating solution to seek for content material is thru a prime menu icon labeled “characters.” There, youngsters can scroll by way of icons that run from generic, like Dinosaurs, to very particular manufacturers, like Lego, Sesame Road, Marvel and Star Wars. Clicking on any of those brings up a listing of all obtainable ebooks, movies and apps from that class, and tapping on every particular person merchandise downloads or streams it.

    It is an effective way to find content material, though some manufacturers have solely apps and movies, however no books, or solely books and movies, however no apps, and so forth. Many, nonetheless, have all three, and Sprint now has an immediate Phineas and Ferb ebook assortment.

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