Amazon Fire Kids Tablets are great - they're not too expensive, they come with loads of content and they have a two-year guarantee that even covers accidental damage.
Now Amazon is bringing the same experience to Kindle and we got the chance to check it out during our recent trip to Seattle for Amazon's big Echo device and services launch.
Design and specs
- Same as standard Kindle inside the case
- 6-inch 167ppi display
- 4GB of storage
- Four case designs available in the US, two in UK
To all intents and purposes, the Kindle for Kids is the standard Amazon Kindle underneath. It has the new features of that Kindle, introduced earlier this year.
A case is included with the Kindle Kids Edition. A couple of friendly case designs are available in the US but not the UK, where only pink and blue are available for some reason. There are some nice child-orientated wallpapers though (main image, above).
The Kindle Kids Edition has the same specs as the standard Kindle, so that's a 6-inch 167ppi display (not as pixel-dense as the more expensive Paperwhite).
It comes with 4GB of storage and has a 4 LED front light. For the avoidance of doubt, the screen is black and white as per the standard Kindle experience.
The Kindle Kids Edition is not waterproof like the Paperwhite and Kindle Oasis, while there's no warm light as on the Oasis. You wouldn't expect any of these features for the price.
It boasts Wi-Fi connectivity of course, but there's no 3G/4G connectivity as on the Kindle Paperwhite and Oasis. There will soon be an update so kids can listen to Audible books via headphones or a Bluetooth speaker but this isn't enabled as yet.
Services and reading experience
- Two-year worry-free guarantee
- Comes with a year of Amazon FreeTime/Amazon Fire for Kids
- Awards for reading progress
- Vocabulary Builder and Word Wise
Of course, the key benefit for readers is that it's by-and-large a distraction-free experience. Reading on the Kindle keeps you free of notifications, incoming emails and so on. It's no different on this new Kindle. There are several child-orientated features aside from the content restrictions which we'll look at more below.
This includes Word Wise for short definitions that appear above difficult words (you can toggle this on or off) and Achievement Badges so kids can earn awards for reading progress (kids can view their reading progress for each book as with other Kindle devices). There's also a Vocabulary Builder, so if you look up words in the dictionary, these are added to a list you can return to and view as flashcards.
The device comes with a two-year worry-free guarantee which includes accidental damage. If anything happens to it - and as we all know things do with children - just send it back and Amazon will replace it free of charge.
The device comes with a year's subscription to Amazon FreeTime in the US and Amazon Fire for Kids Unlimited in the UK (which could be used with other Kindle devices previously). This will give children access to over a thousand age-relevant books, including titles like the complete Harry Potter series, Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce and Steven Lenton and The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. There's also access to numerous Audible books, too.
As with other Amazon devices, parents can use the Amazon Parent Dashboard to impose time limits, gift books and select access to content. And, of course, kids can't make purchases through the Kindle Store unrestricted or access anything they shouldn't be.
After the initial year, you'll need to pay $2.99/£1.99 a month for continued access to Amazon FreeTime or Amazon Fire for Kids Unlimited.
The main negative around the Kindle Kids Edition is that it costs exactly the same as the Fire 7 Kids Edition which is more of a traditional tablet experience. It can do a lot more, in other words.
Of course, the debate there is that, actually, many parents aren't happy giving their kids a tablet and letting them play games and watch videos they choose themselves, even if it's within Amazon's walled garden, as Fire tablets for Kids are.
Kindle is a pure reading experience and, as such, it's ideal for children who want to read more digitally but whose parents or guardians aren't comfortable with them having a tablet. Of course, that comes down to parent/guardian preference.
Kindle Kids Edition an excellent new option for parents that want kids to read more or simply join the Kindle ecosystem. Kids will feel great they have an ereader that's easy-to-use and they can use and feel unrestricted with even if they're actually limited in what content they can read.