Amazon Kids Fire Tablet Review: A Parent’s Take
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We purchased Amazon’s Kids Fire Tablet as a gift for our 13 year old daughter on a lightning deal several years ago and it has been a terrific gift. She has used it for hours of entertainment and reading before going to bed.
We’ve had the device for several years and have learned how to tailor the Fire Kids tablet to our daughter’s interests. This review covers our experience with the device and if it’s worth the cost.
What Makes the Kids Fire Tablet Special?
To say that life is busy in our home is an understatement. Our business and three young children keep our lives full and flying by at a fast clip. Our kids (aged 13, 11 and 8) have grown up with tablet technology from a young age.
We’ve found tablets useful in helping them develop reading, spelling, vocabulary, and other language art skills.
What we’ve noticed about the Fire Kids edition that we appreciate most is the included subscription to Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited service.
Before we had the Fire Tablet, we had iPads in our home for years. One of the most frustrating things about the iPad is that whenever our kids want a new app, they must wade through countless options.
Many cost money or allow in-app purchases, which we don’t allow. That is not the case with many options with the Amazon device.
What makes Amazon’s Kindle Fire for Kids unique is the FreeTime Unlimited subscription it offers. While this is something you can add on to any Kindle Fire tablet, ours came with it free for one year.
As Amazon notes, its benefits include:
- 20,000+ kid-friendly books, educational apps, games, movies and TV shows
- Age-appropriate content from Disney, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Disney Jr., Sesame Street, PBS Kids, and more
- Ability to watch content on Fire Tablets, Kindle Readers and Fire TV
- Lots of parental controls (more on that later)
- No ads or in-app purchases
Once our daughter starts reading a book or using a Fire Kids tablet app, she get to enjoy all levels and characters. Other devices limit you to just the first two that free versions of paid apps give you access to.
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This leads to a more enjoyable experience for both us and our daughter.
What Comes with the Fire Kids Edition?
As I mentioned in the open, we purchased the Fire Kids Tablet on a lightning deal and includes the following:
- Fire Kids Edition Tablet, 10” Display with Wi-Fi, and front and rear cameras
- 32 GB expandable up to 400 GB, internal digital storage capacity
- Kid-Proof Case
- 2-Year Worry-Free Replacement Guarantee
- 1-year subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited
- Micro-USB power adapter
A few other product specs to note is that this Fire Tablet weighs 27.4 ounces and measures at 11.5” x 8.1” x 1.0”. It fully charges in under six hours and boasts a 12-hour battery life. It comes with a octa-core 2.0 GHz and 2.0 GB of RAM and has a USB 2.0 (micro-B connector) that can connect to a PC or Mac or charge with the included power adapter.
Also, it has a microSD slot for external storage and a 3.5 mm stereo jack and integrated speaker.
There’s really not anything else you need to add to the Fire Kids Tablet. If you want more storage or want to use it for over seven hours without recharging you have that option.
Honestly, the Kids Fire package comes with everything you need.
Customizing the Fire Tablet for Your Child
Amazon says the Fire Tablet with its FreeTime content is built for kids and it really is. In FreeTime, the background color of the device turns blue, letting parents know what their child is viewing is age-appropriate and safe.
Kids can only see titles that have been chosen for them. Younger kids can search before they know how to type with character images.
While in FreeTime, kids can’t access social media or the internet or make in-app purchases. Robust parental controls let you design the experience you want your child to have.
For our daughter, we mainly allow her to use the tablet to read so we set the Time Limit controls to require her to read at least one hour before she can play games or watch videos. We set a daily time limit of 30 minutes to play games or watch videos.
We gave her unlimited reading time but set the Fire Tablet to turn on at 7:00 a.m. and off at 8:00 p.m. each day. Just the other night she was reading on her Kindle, and came downstairs (at 8:03 p.m.) saying it had shut off.
It was a nice verification that this feature was working properly. We explained that was to let her know it was time to stop reading and go to bed.
The Kids Fire Tablet with FreeTime uses smart filters to ensure your child sees age-appropriate content. We chose the age 3 – 9 category so our daughter wouldn’t see teen or baby content.
Beyond that, you can filter further to refine the experience for your child’s individual needs and preferences.
Something to Watch Out For
One thing to mention is that despite the parental controls and time limits. In the beginning you may have to refine the experience a little further, especially for very smart and curious kids.
Our daughter innocently figured out the first day using the tablet that she could switch to our profile and access paid content. She purchased a few books that we were able to get refunded.
Your child may not be so enterprising, but it was a cue to us that she had learned our profile password and that we needed to change it to prevent this from happening again.
Amazon emails you whenever content is purchased or added to the tablet so we were able to immediately see what she was doing. We were also able to use it as a teaching opportunity for the need to always ask us before buying anything online.
Sometimes, ‘package deals’ aren’t really deals but in this case, it seems like the Kids Fire Tablet is. The device comes with plenty of items most children will love. If you already have Amazon Prime, the Kindle Fire comes with even more options for your child.
Considering the cost along with the value we receive, our family feels the Kids Fire Tablet is a good deal.
While you have to make sure you set a passcode and parental controls so that your child can’t accidentally or intentionally buy paid content under your profile, Amazon makes it easy for kids and parents alike to enjoy a robust tablet at a fraction of the cost of higher priced Apple iPads.
Do you think tablets can be useful for learning and development or do they encourage kids to be too plugged in? Is your house an Amazon or Apple (or neither) house?
John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.
Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.
Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.
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