|+ Kid-friendly software||- Low-res screen|
|+ Durable||- Average battery life|
|+ Cheap||- Middling performance|
"The Amazon Fire Kids Edition is a perfect fit for children, keeping them entertained and you in control. It's under-spec'd for adults, but should keep your kid away from your phone."
Kids and tech don’t always mix, which is a shame because giving a child access to a tablet can provide a near endless source of entertainment and education for them, not to mention teaching them how to use computers and touchscreens – two skills that are becoming increasingly vital.
The Amazon Fire Kids Edition was created as a solution to this problem, combining a known name with a low price, in a device that’s built from the ground up for children. But what exactly does that mean? And is the Amazon Fire Kids Edition really a good fit for your child?
The Amazon Fire Kids Edition has a 7.0-inch display, which should be more or less the optimal size for the age range the slate is targeted at (3-12).
A 6.0-inch screen would be a little more manageable for small children, but it wouldn’t provide a true tablet experience, with a number of phones now approaching that size. At 7 inches it’s ideal for watching videos, playing games and using apps.
What’s less ideal is the resolution, which is just 1024 x 600, for a pixel density of 171 pixels per inch. That’s not particularly sharp and if this tablet was aimed at adults that would make for a major mark against it, but children are often more forgiving of such things – and if it’s their first tablet they won’t know how much better it could be.
Given the price, which starts at just £99.99 from Amazon, or £139.99 with data and a mobile broadband device thrown in on Three, it’s also perfectly reasonable, as very few tablets are even available for so little money.
With a bright blue or pink colour scheme it’s immediately clear that the Amazon Fire Kids Edition is designed for children, and with big bumpers around the screen it can survive a drop.
Not that it necessarily needs to, because it also comes with a two-year no questions asked guarantee, so if it does get damaged or broken it will be replaced for free.
The design is chunky, but small enough for little hands to grasp and at 405g most kids should be able to comfortably hold it. It’s not going to win any awards for style, but that’s not really the point. Other than an absence of dust and waterproofing this is pretty much exactly what we’d want from a kid’s tablet.
Despite being a very cheap tablet the Amazon Fire Kids Edition has a reasonable amount of power, with a 1.3GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM.
That’s an entry level spec, but one that’s good enough for fairly smooth performance, and more importantly one that allows it to run lots of games, especially given the low resolution screen, which minimizes the amount of pixel pushing needed.
Tablet cameras are rarely any good and the Amazon Fire Kids Edition has an especially weak one, with just a 2MP main lens and a VGA one on the front.
But tablet cameras are also rarely needed, and the spec should be just enough for children to enjoy taking snapshots with, especially as they can add stickers and drawings to their photos. And don’t worry – the tablet blocks them from sharing the snaps online, but makes it easy for parents to share or print them.
Despite being so cheap, the Amazon Fire Kids Edition is packed full of features, designed to make it as kid-friendly as possible.
Key among them is Fire for Kids Unlimited, which you get a free year of with your purchase. This provides access to thousands of kid-friendly books, videos, educational apps and games, so your child should never get bored.
They’re split into age ranges, covering everything from 3 to 12, and they’re paired with parental controls and a child-friendly web browser, so you’re always in control of what your child has access to.
You can make multiple profiles if you have children of different ages and you can set screen time limits so they’re not glued to the tablet all day. These are all thoughtful features that help put your mind at ease while making the tablet as enjoyable as possible for kids.
Amazon hasn’t revealed the size of the battery in the Fire Kids Edition, but has said that it will last for up to seven hours of mixed use. That’s not up there with the longest lasting tablets around, but it should still be plenty to keep a child entertained during long drives and flights.
Memory comes in at 16GB, plus there’s a microSD card slot with support for cards of up to 128GB, so there’s no shortage of memory.
Connectivity is something you might not even want too much of on a children’s tablet, and your options are slightly limited here, with no 4G or NFC for example, but the Amazon Fire Kids Edition does have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
The Amazon Fire Kids Edition pairs basic, kid-friendly hardware with a very low price and brilliantly designed software.
If you want a tablet for the whole family this perhaps isn’t it, as the specs are basic and the screen is low resolution, but if you’re primarily buying it for a young child to use then the Amazon Fire Tablet Kids Edition is ideal.
It’s durable, colourful and packed full of content kids will love, along with parental controls to limit what they can access. There are better budget slates, but none that are as well suited to children.
Dimensions (mm): 219 x 138 x 25.5
Weight (g): 405
Battery capacity (mAh): TBC
Colours: Blue, Pink
Screen size (inches): 7.0
Resolution: 1024 x 600
Pixels per inch (PPI): 171
Processor: 1.3GHz quad-core
Processor make: TBC
Internal storage: 16GB
Expandable storage up to (GB): 128
Camera: 2-megapixel (VGA front-facing)
Operating System: Fire OS
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