Hands on: Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition review

HD comes to Amazon’s kid-friendly tablet

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

Who says kids can’t appreciate hi-def video and gaming content? Available for a bit more than the smaller seven-inch version, the HD 8 Kids packs a larger display and a bigger battery life to keep the party going until bedtime comes around.

For

  • HD screen for cheap
  • Rugged
  • Fantastic warranty

Against

  • Amazon app store is somewhat limited

Searching for the best tablet for your kid? You can’t go wrong with the Amazon Fire 7 Kids. But what if your kid wants their content in high definition? Or you want to shield their precious eyes from the horrors of sub-HD video quality? In either situation, the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids is what will bring a smile.

Similar to the non-Kids variant of the Amazon Fire HD 8, this one rocks an identical design and of course, comes with a high definition display. However, it costs a bit more, usually at $129 (£129), but prices go as low as $89 (£89). So, what’s with the price hike?

This version of the tablet comes with a two-year guarantee that protects against virtually everything. Drop it and it stopped working? Amazon will send you a new one. Spill a cup of sticky juice over it? Amazon will send you a new one.

Not just that, it comes with one year of Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited program. It’s chock-full of educational books, apps and games to endlessly entertain your children. It shares this in common with the Fire 7 Kids, but where the HD 8 Kids deviates is with its 1,280 x 800 display and Dolby Atmos (the sound envelops you from all angles) support, which makes playing games and watching movies more enjoyable.

Design

Popped out from its tablet, the Fire HD 8 Kids is just a bit bigger than the seven-inch version, but that one inch gain makes all the difference if viewing your content in high definition is important to you and your kid.

Like the smaller version, black bezels occupy the top and bottom of the tablet’s front, where you’ll also find a front-facing camera to snap selfie pictures with. Snapped into its drop-proof case, the ports and buttons are easily accessible through some holes.

For reference, the power button and micro USB charging port sit next to each other on the right, and the volume rocker and headphone jack sit on the left. Along the right side is where you’ll find the cover for the microSD, which you’ll need access to if you want to expand the storage beyond its default 32GB.

Performance

Generally speaking, the performance you’ll squeeze out of the Fire HD 8 Kids is similar to what we’ve seen in the smaller Fire 7 Kids. In short, it’s surprisingly great for a cheap tablet. But to accommodate its larger, high definition-enabled display, there’s a bit more power under the hood. 

There’s 1.5GB of RAM inside, as well as a bigger battery, which work in tandem to make multitasking pretty smooth and keep the entertainment going on longer (up to 12 hours) than you’d see on the smaller Fire variant (about eight hours). We haven't had a chance to test against Amazon's claims but initial impressions look favorable

This tablet runs on Fire OS 5 and offers access to the Amazon app store and its many games and apps. Of course, this isn’t as wide an offering as the Google Play Store, but your kid will likely find plenty of content to stay entertained by.

Early verdict

Deciding between the smaller Fire 7 Kids and this version comes down to a few questions. Do you have about $100 to part with? Does your kid demand high definition content and a larger screen to complement it? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, the Fire HD 8 Kids is the option to get.

Its HD chops paired with the stellar two-year warranty make this a no-brainer, though we haven’t spent enough time with the product to issue a star rating. But looking at past options leave us confident in recommending it to parents or caretakers in need of a value-packed tablet that’s carefully suited for kids.

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.