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Monday, July 9, 2018

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Review

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Review
PRICE WHEN REVIEWED
  • US$199.99
In October 2017 Amazon launched the Fire HD 10, which we said was a good deal for a 10in tablet if you could live with the slightly limited selection of apps compared to an Android tablet.

Eight month on and there’s now a Kids Edition version which costs more but comes with the usual bundle of extras including a 12-month subscription to Fire for Kids Unlimited, a 24-month warranty and a bumper case.

PRICE & AVAILABILITY
The Kids Edition has 32GB of RAM, comes with a blue or pink case and costs £199.99 from Amazon.

In the US it’s $199.99 from Amazon. and it’s additionally available with a yellow bumper case.

This is £50/US$50 more than the regular 32GB Fire HD 10, and that’s good value considering you’re effectively getting the case, the subscription and a warranty that’s twice as long and covers accidental damage.

However, don’t forget there are two other Kids Edition tablets in the range, and the Fire HD 8 offers the same benefits for £129.99/US$129.99. Obviously the tablet is smaller and less powerful, though.

Also, Amazon is currently doing a deal where you can get two Fire HD 10 Kids Editions for £299.99/US$299.99.

DESIGN & FEATURES
We won’t spend much time here talking about the hardware.

The Kids Edition is identical. It’s the software, warranty and bumper case which makes it a different product.
However, as we’ve said, that bundle of extras is the same as you get with the other Kids Edition tablets in the range, so it’s actually the tablet that you’re paying extra for.

To summarise, here are the key specs and differences between the three of them:
Fire HD 10 Kids
Fire HD 8 Kids
Fire HD 7 Kids
Screen
10in, 1920x1200
8in, 1280x800
7in, 1024x600
Storage
32GB (with microSD slot)
32GB (with microSD slot)
16GB (with microSD slot)
Processor / RAM
1.8GHz / 2GB
1.3GHz / 1.5GB
1.3GHz / 1GB
Battery
Up to 10 hours
Up to 12 hours
Up to 8 hours
Speakers
Stereo
Stereo
Mono
Weight
660g
483g
390g
Dimensions
188 x 294 x 26mm
154 x 243 x 26mm
141 x 222 x 26mm


With cameras being identical across all three tablets (and all being very disappointing indeed) it’s the bigger, better screen and faster processor which separates the 10-inch model from the 8-inch. And the 8-inch has better speakers and a bigger, better screen than the 7-inch one.

What you don’t get with the Kids Edition of the Fire HD 10 is hands-free Alexa. Alexa isn’t available in the Fire for Kids interface, which is a shame. Kids love using Alexa to ask questions and play music: we’d hoped there would be a child-friendly version of Alexa in the HD 10 tablet, just as there is a safe web browser that you can enable or disable.

To be clear, the tablet does have hands-free Alexa built in, but you have to switch to an adult account to use it.

Fire for Kids / FreeTime
Software is just as important as hardware for any kids tablet, and we’re big fans of Fire for Kids. (It’s called FreeTime in the US.)

That’s because it’s easy to use for younger children and it makes it easy for parents to choose which content is accessible.

On top of that, the Fire for Kids Unlimited subscription has improved over the last couple of years and now includes the seven Harry Potter books. But the selection is still too limited for our liking.

There’s nothing by Roald Dahl, Jaquelin Wilson or Enid Blyton, for example.

If your kids are already using the Kids version of Netflix, they may not be too impressed by the range of videos either, though you will find Horrible Histories, My Little Pony, Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig, Chuggington, Hey Dugee, Sarah & Duck, Teletubbies, Postman Pat, Kipper, The Gruffalo and the BFG films among lots of others. And all are available to download for watching offline.

As for apps and games, they’re now split into age groups: 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. And there are no ads or in-app purchases in any of them.

It’s useful that you can whitelist apps from the parent account on the tablet. That means you can allow your child to use an app you deem safe but would otherwise be unavailable in the kids’ interface, such as Netflix or Amazon Video.

It’s also possible to whitelist websites in the kid-safe browser, but you should be able to rely on Amazon’s hand-curated selection of sites if you don’t want to configure anything.

Parental controls
Amazon has developed its parental controls so you can limit when the tablet can be used, whether your child must read before being allowed to play games or watch videos and you can also keep tabs on how they’re using the tablet from your own phone via the Amazon Parent Dashboard

This isn’t a standalone app, it’s a web app so you can create a shortcut to it in whichever browser you use on your phone.

It shows you how much time your kids have spent reading, playing games, watching videos, using apps, browsing the web and listening to Audible.

Unfortunately, this works only if your child uses the Fire for Kids app (the kids’ interface) and not the normal Fire tablet interface. That’s a shame because from around age 8-9 kids won’t want to be restricted to the babyish interface and will want the ‘real’ tablet.

You can lock down the standard interface to restrict the use of different apps and services, but despite this activity from a standard profile still won’t show up in the Parent Dashboard.

There’s another thing to bear in mind if you’re buying the Fire HD 10 with a mind to letting your child grow into it as a proper tablet: this isn’t Android.

While Amazon’s operating system is perfectly nice, and an older child will be happy to use it, there are no Google services. The only thing you’ll find is the YouTube app, but no Gmail, no Google Maps, Docs or anything else.

SPECS
  • Display: 10.1in
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (224 ppi)
  • Colours: Black (tablet), Pink / Bblue bumper case (Yellow offered in US)
  • Processor: Quad-core up to 1.8 GHz
  • Alexa-enabled: Yes, but not in child-mode
  • Sound: Dolby Atmos, dual-stereo speakers, microphone
  • Storage: 32GB (expandable by up to 256 GB)
  • Camera: 0.3Mp front, 2 Mp rear
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi
  • Battery Life: Up to 10 hours of mixed use
  • Weight: 660 g
  • Dimensions: 188 x 294 x 26mm

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