Kindle Fire Kids Edition Review
If you want to find out more about a great and budget friendly tablet for toddlers, then look no further than my Kindle Fire Kids Edition Review. I’ll be digging into all of the key features of the device, and also pointing out a few flaws along the way. If you already have a Kindle Fire Kids Edition, then check out my post about a great pair of headphones for your child.
My little boy has had his Kindle Fire Kids Edition for around 3 months now, after he finally dropped our 3 year old Samsung Galaxy Tab one too many times. During this 3 months, we’ve road tested the Kindle Fire Kids Edition to the extreme. I’ve also used it myself when stuck in a hotel room with sleeping toddler that I didn’t want to wake up, so I’m hoping I can give a good all-round overview.
Currently for sale on Amazon for £99.99 for a 16GB version, which includes lots of little extras.
- 2 year worry free guarantee
- One year subscription to Fire for Kids included
- Shockproof removable case
- Simple to use parental controls
- 7″ screen size perfect for little hands
- Weighs only 405 grams
- Expandable storage of up to 128GB supported by microSD
- Front and rear facing cameras
- Wifi connectivity
- Bluetooth compatible
- 7 hour battery life
- Looks like a “real” adult tablet
- Difficulties in claiming on 2 year guarantee
- Fire for Kids content warning
- Slow charging speed
- Bugs with profiles and downloaded apps when no wi-fi
- No 3G/4G connectivity
2 year guarantee
The standard Fire Tablet with 7″ display and 16GB storage is available to purchase for only £59.99. One of the major selling features and reason for the £40 price increase on the Fire Kids Edition is that when you make the purchase, it also comes with a 2 year “worry free” guarantee.
What the guarantee means is that if the Kindle is damaged in any way within the first two years of purchase, Amazon will replace the item, no questions asked. Knowing that this item was going to be used by my toddler, obviously this was a huge bonus for me, especially given that he managed to break the Samsung in less than 12 months of using it (*throwing/dropping it in a tantrum).
Is it worth £40? Obviously you could not bother with the Kids Edition and know that you could replace it once within 2 years for the same cost anyway, however there are a few extras within that £40 too – a kids shockproof case, and one year subscription to Fire for Kids.
Please note that there are a few negative reviews stating the difficulty that customers have had in claiming against the guarantee, so maybe it’s not quite as “worry free” as Amazon are marketing it, I don’t have any personal experience in this though.
One year Fire for Kids subscription
Another big bonus that made me think the Kindle Fire Kids Edition was worth the extra £40 is that it comes with the one year subscription to Fire for Kids Unlimited. This is a service aimed at three to twelve year olds, and offers thousands of free games, apps, books, tv shows and movies at the touch of a button.
The subscription usually costs £1.99 if you have an Amazon Prime membership, or £3.99 if you don’t have Prime membership. We do have Prime, so to me the inclusive value of having this for free within the Kindle Fire Kids Edition package is £23.88.
As promised, there are literally thousands of games, apps, books, tv shows and movies to choose from, some of which will only work when connected to wi-fi. It does provide a great deal of choice when you are in a wi-fi zone, and your child should not get bored with all of this content to play on.
It’s not all a positive experience though. Although Fire for Kids is for children aged 3-12 years, there’s no way to narrow that down. My 2 year old is certainly not interested and doesn’t understand the apps built for 12 year olds, and I’m sure a 12 year wouldn’t want to look at toddler apps either. Also, in order to watch the tv shows and movies, you will need a wi-fi connection, which renders the subscription pretty pointless for using the tablet when out of the house and travelling in the car, which is our primary purpose for the tablet to be honest.
The Kids Edition comes with an Amazon Fire for Kids Kid-Proof case, which I have to say is brilliant. It’s made from a foam PVC type of material, which means it can take a pretty hefty shock if the Kindle is dropped. It’s also not too bulky that it makes the device difficult for your toddler to handle.
The Amazon Kids-Proof Case can be purchased separately at £19.99, or you can buy similar items such as the MoKo Fire 7 Case for slightly less at £14.99. Either way, this is already included in the Kindle Fire Kids Edition package, so it’s another cost that you have saved.
Parental controls that make sense!
One of the major downfalls of the iPad is the lack of parental controls available. Android fares slightly better in this area, but I think this is something which Amazon have really managed to excel with the Kindle Fire Kids Edition (as is also available on the standard Kindle Fire).
It works by creating profiles on the Kindle for each family member, and then as an admin (parent) with pin protected access, you choose to add specific apps which you are allowing the other users to have access to. You can really fine-tune this too. You can choose whether or not to allow the child to have access to the wi-fi and internet or not. You can choose to limit the number of hours the child is allowed to access the Kindle.
It is truly a fantastic feature, but note there are plenty of complaints about the current bugs with the profiles (as of September 2016). Somehow linked to the use of profiles, there is an issue that apps you have previously downloaded will all of sudden require a network connection in order to be used, as the Kindle wants to redownload the app. There’s seemingly no logic to it, and Amazon have acknowledged it as a problem but provided no estimation of a date for a fix. This is truly frustrating, speaking from experience, but one way we have gotten around this slightly is to ensure we open the app that we will really be wanting to use before we leave home, and then do not close the app!
7″ screen and 405 gram weight
The screen resolution is 1024 x 600 and has an advanced polarising filter, it’s fantastic quality. At only 7″ screen size (17.7cm) and 405 gram weight including the case, it might seem too small when you compare to your own iPad or Android tablet, however you need to think of things from your toddler’s perspective. My little boy struggles a lot less when carrying his Kindle around the house when compared to thinking back to him lugging the 10.1″ Galaxy around a few months back. He’s dropped it a lot less times because of this.
Expandable storage (with microSD)
A great feature that is still missing from iPads – the ability to easily increase your storage device without adding external devices to the tablet. MicroSD cards are so easy to slot in and work instantly, so this is something I loved with having an Android Samsung Tablet, and now also a possibility on the Kindle Fire Kids Edition.
The device supports up to 128GB microSD, which is a huge amount. The 16GB internal storage of the device is sufficient for numerous apps, however once you start to download a few of your child’s tv shows on BBC iPlayer, you’re going to want to supplement it.
Something to point out is that similar to using a microSD on Android mobile phones and tablets, some apps require that they be installed on the device’s internal storage, and so you still need to be careful with the 16GB that the Kindle Fire Kids Edition comes with.
Front and rear facing cameras
The front camera of the Kindle leaves a lot to be desired in terms of photo quality, however it’s fine for things such as making video calls or taking silly selfies, which all kids love doing let’s face it!
The rear facing camera at 2MP is still not up to the standard of your iPhone, but it’s highly doubtful your toddler is the next David Bailey so it’s sufficient for them to have a bit of fun.
Wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity
The device comes with wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity, however there’s no option to get 3G/4G connectivity through purchase of a SIM card and data package. Of course the fastest way around this is to set your mobile phone as a hotspot and use the data included in your mobile phone package, just keep an eye on your usage.
Also worth pointing out, that you cannot turn the wi-fi on and off through your child’s profile, you have to log into the adult profile to switch it on, and then log back into the child profile where the child can then use it. In my mind, it’s just another feature of the parental control, but some users seem to find this annoying.
Battery life and charging speed
Again, comparing to a 10″ tablet or iPad, the 7 hour battery life of the Kindle Fire Kids Edition doesn’t sound that great, however when compared to other 7″ tablets, where the average battery life is only 5-6 hours, you can see that the Kindle fares well.
One major annoyance is that the tablet takes almost as long to charge as the battery life lasts – usually 5-6 hours for a full charge using the mains adapter. Also, the micro USB charging cable is very short at only 0.7m long, so it means you can’t easily have the device charging and use it at the same time.
We’ve realised with our little boy that looks are important. He wants to play with things which look like grown up things. He wouldn’t be happy with a kids V-Tech tablet, he would just want to use ours. So for me, it was important to buy him a real tablet, but something that will withstand his rough and tumble attitude, and something that I could trust him to only access suitable content on. The Kindle Fire Kids Edition ticks all of these boxes, without having such a high price tag that I need to be very precious with it.
Value for money: 4/5
Buy from: Amazon.com
The Kindle Fire Kids Edition is so close to being 5/5 in each category, but it’s just missing a little bit of something in each area. The styling is still just a little bit clunky, the quality and usefulness are downgraded because of the functionality problems of the profiles and having to redownload apps, and altogether this just means that for me, it’s not quite a 5/5 on value for money either. It’s still a great buy for us though because of the durability of the device. I’ll keep you updated if I find a better option.
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