Before we had children, we said - very naively - that we would never leave our child on a tablet for entertainment. Three years in time-lapse and different scenarios - driving car drives, trying to cook dinner, working from home with them in tow, and more - made us really back down.
On the plus side, our toddler now has a solid grasp of technology. He also learned things from YouTube Kids that we didn't teach him. For example, sing Happy Birthday to yourself at his first birthday party.
The tricky part is that nowadays only a few brands make tablets that are specifically designed for children. And even fewer do they pack full of features and sell them as relatively cheap as that Amazon Fire HD 8 Children's Edition .
When looking for the best tablet for kids, you have to weigh the price against the ruggedness and protection in terms of apps and parental controls.
In our review of the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, we look at the advantages and disadvantages of buying this kid-friendly tablet compared to buying a regular tablet. We compare the Kids Edition with the standard Amazon Fire HD 8 . We also let our toddler test how easy it is to use and how sturdy it is. We'll also take a look at the various controls and customization options so you can sit back and relax.
Price: € 139.99
The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is available at Amazon for € 139.99.
At its core, the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is a newly packaged one Amazon Fire HD 8 . It has all of the features and design elements of the original, but is sold with a kid-friendly case, parental controls enabled by default, and free access to Amazon Kids +.
For these additions, you pay € 50 more than a standard Fire HD 8 or € 30 more than a Fire HD 8 Plus. That price difference becomes even bigger when you consider that the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is £ 90 more expensive than the entry-level model Amazon Fire 7 .
In terms of hardware, the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition has an 8-inch HD screen. It is powered by a dual core processor and runs on 2 GB of RAM. The tablet itself has 32 GB of memory, but you can expand it up to 1 TB with a microSD card. There is a 2 MP camera on both the front and the back, and Amazon promises a battery life of 12 hours.
The main difference between the Kids Edition and the standard Fire HD 8 is that the latter comes in an additional 64GB model. However, this is largely debatable as you can both expand up to 1TB. The Fire HD 8 Plus is cheaper, but offers an additional GB of RAM and wireless charging.
All Fire tablets are powered by Amazon's version of Android called Fire OS, but the Kids Edition comes with an extra layer of parental controls and kid-friendly apps. Even if you don't subscribe to Amazon Kids +, the Kids Edition has a redesigned web browser designed with child safety in mind.
Compared to the Amazon Fire 7 for £ 50, the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition has two Dolby Atmos tuned speakers instead of a single mono output and is much faster thanks to double the RAM and double the power.
You can also buy 7-inch Amazon Fire Kids Edition Fire for € 99.99 or upgrade to a 10-inch children's version for € 199.99. All Kids Editions of the Fire tablet come with a free one-year Amazon Kids + subscription and a kid-friendly cover. In our opinion, however, the 10-inch is too big for smaller hands (it might fit a teenager better), while the 7-inch is not powerful enough. The 8-inch Fire HD Kids Edition is the goldilocks of the group.
Amazon took the ethos of its standard Fire tablet lineup - to provide access to cheap and portable entertainment - and made it kid-friendly.
Signing up for Amazon Kids + is part of the setup process. Alternatively, you can download kid-friendly apps from the Amazon App Store on your parent dashboard. If you switch to an adult profile, Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music, Audible , and Kindle are all preinstalled.
The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition price, though bought directly from Amazon , is as follows:
You can also purchase the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition from the following locations:
You can sign up for Amazon Prime for a 30 day free trial, after which it costs £ 7.99 per month.
On paper, the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition seems expensive. Especially when compared to the standard Fire HD 8 for £ 90 and Fire HD 8 Plus for £ 110. Of course, it's a lot cheaper than the £ 400 Ipad Mini , as an example, but £ 140 is still an investment. In this case, however, we think it's a worthwhile investment.
If you add all the extras you get a decent deal. The Fire HD 8 costs £ 89.99; a shockproof case costs around £ 15; An annual subscription to Amazon Kids + costs £ 49 at best if you're already paying for Prime. This adds up to a grand total of £ 154 - a saving of £ 14. Not huge, but it's not quite the price difference as it might seem at first glance.
What is almost priceless, however, is the fact that Amazon put a lot of effort into setting up child profiles and navigating through parental controls across multiple apps. You also pay for the peace of mind that if it breaks, you'll get a replacement free of charge.
In addition, you can set up multiple profiles on the tablet. It can thus become a family tablet - with a protected adult profile and access to standard apps and child-friendly software functions.
While the hardware specifications of the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition are identical to the original HD 8, the software couldn't look and feel further from it.
The Kids Edition runs on a kid-friendly version of the original's Fire OS, which is a version of Android. The small homepage icons and the dark color scheme of the regular version have been replaced by colorful pages and large thumbnails in the Kids Edition. The Recent Apps button has been removed from the on-screen menu while a parent menu has been added in the lower left corner.
Your child's name and preferred color scheme are shown on the home screen, and you can swipe by swiping to choose games and apps, shows, educational apps, and more. The last seen shows or apps are also displayed, so your child can jump straight back to what they did last time. The home and back buttons on the screen disappear as soon as an app or show is selected so as not to distract your child or to be accidentally bumped into.
The extra money you pay for the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition will get you one year of free access to Amazon Kids +, and we cannot stress enough how fantastic this service is. It features all of our toddlers' favorite shows - Peppa Pig, Mister Maker, The Gruffalo, PJ Masks - and various other mainstream and niche titles. Everything perfectly geared towards younger children.
Not only does this make it incredibly easy for kids to find, browse, and select their shows, it also means you don't have to jump from Disney + to Netflix to BBC iPlayer, etc. like you do with the standard Amazon Fire HD 8 or more other tablets.
There are then books for your child to read or read to them, National Geographic collections, games, packages based on the different interests of the children, like cars, dinosaurs, animals and so on. There's even a kid-friendly browser that comes with parental controls and restrictions by default.
One disadvantage - or depending on your point of view, an advantage - is that the Amazon App Store does not support Google's app suite. This includes YouTube and YouTube Kids. If your kids are avid YouTube fans, this may not be the tablet for them. If necessary, it is possible to watch YouTube via the web browser. However, if you try to dissuade them from watching hundreds of videos of other kids opening Kinder Eggs, it can be a huge benefit.
Another more significant complaint is that many of the apps and games were too advanced for our toddler. Amazon says the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is suitable for children ages three and up, but all of the games and apps are pretty much lumped together and not categorized by age. Our toddler often clicked on games that were his age but too advanced in terms of controls. This created some frustrations.
On the iPad Mini, he learned to press the physical home button to return to the main menu. He then chooses which app he wants. The disappearing home button on the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition meant he was calling us every few minutes because he was bored with the app he was in and couldn't get out. Considering we are using a tablet to amuse him because we have to keep cooking up or while we are cleaning up the mess from a recent arts and crafts session, that ruined the point somewhat.
A big plus point of the Kids Edition is that you can add multiple profiles, including a profile for yourself. Once you have activated an adult profile, you get the full functionality of the Fire HD 8. This includes the show mode.
For us, the show mode is the outstanding feature in the 2020 versions of the Fire HD series. Instead of paying extra for an Echo Show 8, simply ask Alexa to enable Show Mode on your Fire HD 8 Kids Edition (with the adult profile selected) and you have a fully fledged alternative.
Show mode gives you the full screen Alexa experience. You can use it in your kitchen for step-by-step recipes, see weather and news headlines remotely, watch your favorite shows hands-free (e.g. in the bathtub), make video calls and to your Amazon -Shopping List. And much more.
Plus, because the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition comes with a case and stand, you don't have to prop it up against anything or pay extra for a dock - as with the HD 8 and HD 8 Plus.
However, we should warn you if you are using it in Show mode in the same vicinity as other Alexa-enabled devices, if you call Alexa they will all intervene. Eager to help you. That can be confusing!
In our Amazon Fire HD 8 and HD 8 Plus tests, we downgraded the tablets slightly because the screens were not of full HD quality. They miss the technical definition of Full HD by around 1 million pixels and only just barely qualify as HD.
When assessing the same screen with the same resolution in the Kids Edition, this drop in quality feels less important. As adults, many of us are used to 4K screens, but our toddler doesn't know the difference. Even our 10-year-old was hardly afraid that the display did not match the quality of our television.
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If anything, the quality - considering this is a kids' tablet - feels more than adequate for the purpose for which it is being used.
As with its adult sibling tablets, there are areas where the low resolution is visible, especially with smaller icons and notifications. However, since the software is deliberately bright and colorful and the buttons are all larger, this is less of a problem with the Kids Edition. However, the screen is highly reflective, which can lead to problems. Not to mention the fact that all of your child's many sticky fingerprints are visible.
Thanks to the partnership with Dolby Atmos, the sound quality of the dual speakers in the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is decent. It's not super loud, but that's good for little ears. At full volume, the sound can get a little tinny in certain games and shows, but the speakers do a good job of making voices sound clear when reading audiobooks.
Since the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition shares the same overall design as the Fire HD 8 and HD 8 Plus, our review is the same. It's simple and looks cheap. This is due to the large bezel, the chunky shape and size, the rounded corners, and the plastic case.
With the Kids Edition cover attached, however, you will not see any of it. It looks cheap and clunky, but then it's supposed to be. The shock-resistant, kid-friendly case is too big, but that's by design. It is designed to protect the tablet and make it easier for small hands to grip it.
The volume controls aren't easy to get to because the case is so thick, but we suspect that's by design. To keep them out of the reach of young users. Thanks to the robustness and thickness of the case, the balance issues we had with the regular HD 8 models are no longer a problem.
At the connections of the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition there is a 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack, which is perfect for the BuddyPhones headset from Amazon USB-C Charging port and a microphone.
The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition step-by-step guide is easy to follow and you can add multiple profiles in minutes. You don't have to set up individual Amazon accounts for your children; They can easily be added to yours. If you bought the tablet as a gift and don't have an Amazon account yet, you'll need to set up one, but you can do that using the instructions.
Unlike the original HD 8 tablets, you don't have to wade your way through a series of promotional messages and notices for Amazon's services. You will also not encounter a multitude of pre-installed Amazon apps or ads when you activate a child profile.
The overriding benefit of purchasing this tablet for your children is that you can be sure that this tablet will keep your children safe and secure without ever fiddling with various parental controls. You can of course edit these controls in Settings and through the Amazon Parent Dashboard, but if you don't want to or don't know how they're protected by default.
Speaking of parent dashboard, this is a great little app that allows you to monitor usage and control screen time remotely, all with a very simple interface. It can be accessed through the Amazon Kids + app on your phone or through your online Amazon account.
Amazon promises a battery life of 12 hours and in our video looping test (in which we repeatedly play an HD video at 70% brightness and activated airplane mode) the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition took 10 hours 2 minutes from full charge to flat rate.
This is less than what Amazon promises and three hours less than the battery life of the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus. Although the tablet shares the hardware specs of the original Fire HD 8, the Kids Edition's battery lasted about an hour longer.
If you used the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition for everyday tasks - playing a PJ Masks racing game, watching The Gruffalo (for the umpteenth time), or helping Mister Maker draw shapes - the tablet lasted for days. Literally. It didn't die until the end of the third day.
The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition apparently runs apps and games that are less energy-hungry and intensive than those of the standard models, which is reflected in the battery life.
In terms of performance, however, the HD 8 Kids Edition is less impressive. It's as sluggish as its siblings and even more so when you switch between profiles and activate Show Mode. It works fine once activated, but it can feel like a slog to get there.
Before we started writing this Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition review, we weren't sure why anyone would buy a tablet specifically for kids this way. Especially not when it costs significantly more than tablets for adults with identical hardware. But just like we've ever tracked our toddler with a tablet, so we've tracked this back.
The Kids Edition gives you the best of all worlds - minimal effort and worry about what your children see, minimal stress when they break it, maximum value for money. For 149 € you get an Amazon Fire HD 8 (89.99 €), a case (15 €), an Echo Show 8 (120 €) and a year of Amazon Kids + (79 €) - a bundle of products and services, which you would return more than £ 300 if bought separately. Plus, you can't ask a price for being able to have a hot cup of tea while they are enjoying themselves for five minutes.
Interestingly, all of the points we wrote off on the HD 8 and HD 8 Plus don't seem as relevant or bad on the Kids Edition. It's not perfect, but the things that we would change are very minor, and considering how our toddler embraced the tablet, it wouldn't change anything.
Screen and sound quality: 3/5
To install: 5/5
Battery life and performance: 3/5
Overall rating: 4.3 / 5
Are you still comparing tablets? Read our Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus review or ours best Android tablet Manual. Looking for a tech or tablet deal?