Hands on: Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition review

The best kids tablet around for small hands and a big imagination

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

If you’re looking for a cheap, surprisingly capable tablet that’s suited for use with children, look no further. Amazon has packed the Fire 7 Kids to the brim with features and value.

For

  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • Amazing two-year warranty

Against

  • Amazon’s app store is somewhat limited compared to Google Play Store

Amazon has captured the market for budget tablets in the sub-$100 price bracket with its Amazon Fire 7 and Amazon Fire HD 8. And as we’ve seen with the latest Amazon Fire 7 Kids, it didn’t leave the children out of the scope of its ambition.

This small seven-inch tablet is mostly like the one made for adults, in that it’s refined and rather speedy for its affordable price. But this edition in particular arrives with some specialized software, an extended two-year warranty, and because kids generally don’t care about keeping tech pristine, it comes in a case that can bounce around without worry.

Normally starting at $99 (£99), deals can sometimes be found for the Amazon Fire 7 Kids at less than $70 (£70). At this price, picking up a tablet (or two) for the children in your family isn’t such a big ask.

Design

Stripped out of its grip-friendly case that comes in blue, magenta or yellow, the Fire 7 Kids is sleek and low-profile. Despite its low price, it looks and feels like a flagship tablet. On the front, there are bezels surrounding the top and bottom of the 1,024 x 600 IPS display. Hiding in the blackened bezel is a front-facing camera that’s perfect for taking the one-off selfie.

The tablet’s ports and controls are located on its top, with the power button and micro USB charging port sitting off to the right. On its side is the removable hatch covering the microSD card slot, which can expand the Fire 7 Kid’s 16GB of built-in storage. Over on the left, there’s a volume rocker and a trusty 3.5mm headphone jack.

Of course, most of this design becomes irrelevant to take notice of when it’s slid into the included drop-resistant case. Access holes exist on it so that adjusting controls is simple and better yet, the case raises the glass-covered screen off the ground level. This way, the chances of shattering your Fire 7 Kids are greatly reduced.

Performance

Although most kids aren’t as demanding of performance as your average tech enthusiast, they’ll come running to you if it can’t at least hold up to playing their favorite games and apps.

And good news: the Fire 7 Kids can definitely handle the latest and greatest from the Amazon app store. Running on Fire OS version 5, this tablet runs smoothly and can multitask without showing much lag, – an impressive feat considering it only features 1GB of RAM.

We haven’t had a chance to check out FreeTime Unlimited, Amazon’s cool year-long offering that comes with purchase, which includes access to 15,000 kid-friendly books, videos, educational apps and games. But that’s, at least on its face, a lot to keep someone busy and entertained.

In terms of battery performance, Amazon states that you’ll be able to squeeze about eight hours before it needs to be plugged in with its included micro USB cable. We’re still testing out its longevity, but can confidently state that it can survive in an idle state for about a week.

Early verdict

If you have a kid who wants to get into tech, there’s really no need to spend hundreds of dollars on a tablet that will probably end up getting broken. Even if it meets a similar fate, the Amazon Fire 7 Kids only costs a fraction of, say, the cheapest iPad and is far more user friendly (crucial for children). 

As your kid matures and develops new interests, whether it be in books, movies or games, it’s always possible that they might want to upgrade, which is where the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids comes into play. It maintains the resilience of the Fire HD 7 Kids, but amps up the screen size, battery capacity and internal storage, – and it doesn’t cost a whole lot more. But until that day comes, sticking with the smaller option will be a bit easier for your kid to wield, and it will be just as easy on your wallet.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.