The All-New Fire 7 Kids Edition is the latest offering from Amazon, a kids version of their Fire tablet. This is a 7″ tablet with a 1024×600 pixel resolution touchscreen. The tablet is also available with an 8″ screen, the Fire 8 Kids Edition, which has a higher resolution than the 7″, 1280×800 pixels, as well as some other differences, mentioned later. The tablet comes with a protective bumper intended to reduce the chance of the tablet being damaged if it is dropped. The bumper comes in three different colours, blue, pink or yellow (the tablet itself is black, underneath the removable bumper), and covers the back and sides with cut-outs for the various ports and camera. This is an Android tablet, although it does not run the main Android OS but rather Amazon’s own offshoot of this, Fire OS.
The Fire 7 has 16 gigabytes (GB) of internal memory (the Fire 8 has a substantial 32 GB) as well as a memory card slot which will take memory cards up to massive 256 GB in size, increasing the available storage. The potentially quite large external storage is mostly suited to storing content on, as the internal storage is what the operating system and many apps use. There are two cameras, a front facing 0.3 megapixel (MP) one and a rear facing 2.0 MP.
The tablet comes with the essential WiFi and the less essential Bluetooth. Bluetooth is comparatively uncommon in children’s tablets and allows the Fire to wirelessly connect to other Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as speakers. The Fire 7 has a micro USB port for connecting to other devices and charging the tablet, a single speaker (the Fire 8 has dual speakers and Dolby Atmos stereo) and a 3.5mm headphone jack, as well as a built-in microphone.
The tablet’s processor is a quad core, which is fairly standard for a children’s tablet currently, although some do still use dual core processors, and it comes with 1 GB of RAM, also fairly standard.
The Fire 7 Kids Edition comes with a one year’s subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, and can also access the Amazon Appstore, through the parental controls.
The screen resolution on the Fire 7, at 1024×600 pixels, is a bit below standard, although that on the Fire 8, at 1280×800, is more typical, and there are tablets that come with higher resolutions than even that of the Fire 8. The 16 GB of memory the Fire 7 has is becoming pretty typical for children’s tablets, but the 32 GB on the Fire 8 is far more uncommon, and not often seen outside of regular tablets. The ability to take memory cards of up to 256 GB is highly unusual; most children’s tablets will only take cards up to 32 GB. The tablet’s cameras are not that impressive any longer, having a resolution for the rear camera of 2.0 MP that is on the low end and for the front camera now very poor, at 0.3 MP.
Does the Fire 7 Kids Edition Have any Parental Controls?
Parents are often concerned about two main factors when children use tablets, the first being the type of content that they will encounter on the internet and the second being how much time children spend on their tablet.
Children are initially limited to over 56,000 sites, videos and YouTube videos which have been curated by Common Sense Media and Amazon. Parents can also easily add additional websites to this from the parental dashboard.
Playing videos and games instead of learning through the tablet can be controlled using Learn First. This allows a parent to block access to videos and games until a child has fulfilled a specified learning goal, such as a specified reading goal.
With Amazon FreeTime, children cannot access social media and the internet and cannot make in-app purchases.
Up to four different children’s profiles can be created on the tablet. Each profile allows a parent to set limits such as bedtime curfews as well as controlling the amount of screen time and content accessed by a child.
What is Amazon FreeTime Unlimited?
Amazon FreeTime Unlimited is a subscription content service that, at the time of writing, costs $119 for a year. The Fire 7 Kids Edition comes with a one year subscription to this included in the purchase. FreeTime Unlimited isn’t limited to Amazon products either; other Android smartphones and tablets can also install it, after testing the service with a month’s free trial.
FreeTime Unlimited comes with a range of over 13,000 television shows, films, games, ebooks and educational apps, all of which can be watched or used as much as desired whilst the subscription is active. The content is all kid-friendly and is aimed at children of ages 3-12, separated into different age bands.
FreeTime Unlimited is also integrated with the parental controls, which are accessed from within it, and have all the features described above. Perhaps the major downside to FreeTime Unlimited is that it’s a paid subscription service, and will need renewing once the included year’s subscription expires.
What is Amazon’s “Worry-Free” Guarantee?
Included in the price is what is described as a two year “worry-free” guarantee. This covers electrical and mechanical problems with the tablet, which is pretty standard although in most cases one year of cover is the norm. What the worry-free guarantee also covers is accidental damage; Amazon state that “If they break it, we’ll replace it. No questions asked.” This is rather unusual, as most tablets are not covered against accidental damage.
The guarantee does only cover it if it is used as a child’s tablet; commercial uses are excluded so no buying the tablet for business and then expecting Amazon to cover it if it’s broken.
Does the Fire 7 Kids Edition Have Any Educational Uses?
Education is often stated as being a primary reason why parents buy tablets for their children. Although the Fire 7 Kids Edition isn’t a dedicated educational tablet (which are generally less flexible) it still has access to educational content through Amazon FreeTime Unlimited. FreeTime includes educational material from such as Disney, PBS Kids and Nickelodeon and parents can also set educational goals for children to meet before they are allowed access to the entertainment features of the tablet. The content in FreeTime adjusts to the age range of the child in question.
As well as the included material, additional educational apps can always be purchased – or even downloaded for free – from the Amazon Appstore and added to a child’s account using the parental controls. Educational apps and content, both those in FreeTime and elsewhere, can, and for younger children should, be fun to use as well as educational.
Can You Play Games on the Fire 7 Kids Edition?
Games, whilst they may not be the primary stated reason for buying a tablet, often become an important part. Although the Fire 7 Kids Edition does not support Google Play without tweaking, it can download and buy games from the Amazon Appstore. Parents can do this using the parental controls and then add a game to a child’s account, granting them access.
There are also games included with the tablet. Some of the content that comes in Amazon FreeTime Unlimited is games, and some of these may well have educational uses as well.
Summing Up the Fire 7 Kids Edition
The internal memory of the Fire 7 is decent, as not many children’s tablets have more and most have the same, or less. The internal memory of the Fire 8 is amongst the highest around. The memory card capabilities, at 256 GB, are far greater than perhaps all of the comparable children’s tablets. Memory cards with greater storage capacity do cost more, but smaller cards can always be used. External storage such as memory cards is mostly suited for content such as images and videos, whether taken with the tablet or downloaded, as most apps will require at least some internal memory to be used, and some cannot be stored on memory cards at all.
The screen resolution of the Fire 7 is on the low end but that of the Fire 8 is more typical. The resolution of the cameras is comparatively poor these days; very few tablets have a front facing camera with such a low resolution, assuming they have one (not every tablet does) and the rear facing camera is at the bottom end of what’s typical.
The battery life of the Fire 7 Kids Edition is stated as being 8 hours (that of the Fire 8 is stated as being 12) although battery longevity depends greatly on what use the tablet is being put to, so this can only be taken as a rough guideline.
the “Worry-Free” is perhaps one of the biggest selling points of the tablet; most children’s tablets are not built from the ground up to withstand breakage, which is as a result a definite possibility even with a protective case. The biggest downside is the need to pay to renew Amazon FreeTime Unlimited once it expires, as this is not a cheap service, usually costing more than the tablet (it may make more sense to buy a new tablet than renew!).
The Fire 8 Kids Edition is slightly better and is also slightly bigger, being an 8″ tablet, and a bit more expensive than the Fire 7. The Fire 7 Kids Edition and the Fire 8 Kids Edition are both pretty decent and competitively priced tablets, although their technical specifications do lag behind some of the other tablets around.
Find out more about the Fire 7 Kids Edition.
Find out more about the Fire 8 Kids Edition.