Amazon’s least expensive tablets, the Fire 7 and Fire 7 Kids Edition ($99.99), have been updated for 2019. While both feature slight hardware upgrades and hands-free Alexa access, the Kids Edition comes with a protective case with a built-in stand, making it good for FreeTime streaming sessions (which is also included for one year with your purchase). We like it more than the standard Fire 7, but the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition offers a sharper display and zippier performance for an extra $30, making it the better buy.
Design, Durability, and Performance
In terms of design, the Fire 7 Kids Edition is exact same tablet as the Fire 7, with the exception of the included protective case. Most of the case is made out of a foam-like plastic that’s available in blue, pink, or purple, while the stand is made out of hard plastic that folds down from the back. There are no small parts or the possibility of accidentally being pinched.
The case can handle everyday drops without a problem. We dropped the tablet from four feet more than half a dozen times with no damage. It doesn’t offer any sort of protection against water, but Amazon’s warranty covers water damage. Simply contact Amazon and it will arrange a replacement. The warranty also covers screen cracks and pretty much any other forms of damage you can manage.
The Kids Edition also has the same hardware as the Fire 7, and performance really depends on how you use it. If you’re using the tablet primarily with FreeTime, it feels sluggish but manageable. Switch to an adult profile however, and you’ll quickly become frustrated by its capabilities. In testing, FreeTime apps opened in about three seconds on average, while the regular Fire OS can take up to 18 seconds. For all the details on performance, battery life, and display, check out our Fire 7 review.
FreeTime is, hands-down, the main selling feature of Amazon’s Kids Edition tablets. It’s a subscription-based service that offers thousands of apps, audiobooks, games, movies, and television shows for children 4 to 12. Its simple interface makes it easy for kids of any age to find and play exactly what they want, especially because you can split it into two different age categories: 3 through 8, and 9 through 12. Finally, there are extensive parental controls available on the tablet and via the FreeTime phone app that allow you to add additional content, restrict items, approve purchases, and manage how much time kids spend on the tablet.
A one-year subscription to FreeTime Unlimited is included with the tablet. Once the subscription expires, you can renew it for a single child starting at $2.99 per month (with a Prime membership) or 6.99 per month for the family plan.
The Fire 7 Kids Edition offers an excellent warranty, a terrific library of kid-friendly content, and is easy to use for children of any age. That said, if you’re willing to shell out an additional $30 dollars, the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition offers faster performance and a larger, sharper display your child will thank you for. If you’re looking for something that isn’t so reliant on Amazon’s ecosystem, check out our list of the best tablets for kids.