Spoiler alert: Should you can afford it, skip the Amazon Fireplace 7 Children Version, and get the Amazon Fireplace HD Eight Children Version as an alternative. It is greater, sooner and higher throughout, and effectively price the additional $30 or £30. For what it is price, the identical recommendation applies to the “grownup” variations of the Fireplace 7 ($49.99 at Amazon.com) and Fireplace HD Eight, too — the hardware and worth differentials are similar.

Want a extra detailed appraisal? OK, let’s again up a bit. 

The Amazon Fireplace 7, in both its normal model or the Children Version reviewed right here, is bound to be tempting based mostly on worth alone. For between $50 to $100 (and as little as $35 when on sale, which it continuously is) or £50 to £100 within the UK (you possibly can’t get it in Australia), you get a fundamental slate-style pill that may play movies from a number of companies (together with Amazon Prime), learn Kindle ebooks, deal with your websurfing and social media duties and even play some video games.

The Fireplace 7 does an honest job at most of those duties. However when you add within the premium required for the Children Version, which features a padded case, two-year guarantee and a one-year subscription to FreeTime Limitless (a Netflix-like subscription service with kid-appropriate ebooks, movies and video games), the higher Eight-inch Fireplace HD Eight begins to appear to be a wiser alternative. Evaluating the 2, the variations embody display screen measurement and determination, audio high quality, onboard storage and RAM, with the Fireplace 7 inferior in every case.

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

Navigation and menus on the Fireplace 7 really feel sluggish in comparison with the Fireplace HD Eight, and apps load much less shortly. Some apps stutter, though video playback and even most video games labored effectively after that they had an opportunity to begin up. However youngsters could get annoyed ready even a couple of additional seconds (I do know I did). With extra RAM, a greater display screen and different enhancements, spending about $30 extra on the superior Eight-inch model seems like a sensible wager. Sure, the Fireplace 7 is nice for a dirt-cheap pill, however it’s nonetheless a dirt-cheap pill. 

A lot of our assessment of the very comparable Fireplace HD Eight Children Version is relevant right here, particularly relating to the Fireplace Children Version software program and parental management options. For a deeper dive into the non-kid variations, learn the our earlier evaluations of the Fireplace HD Eight’s hardware and efficiency, in addition to the extra restricted Fireplace 7.

A numbers sport

The present Amazon Fireplace line, final up to date in 2017, is available in 7-inch, Eight-inch and 10-inch variations, with on-sale costs dropping as little as $35 for the (very) fundamental Fireplace 7. It is the pill as impulse buy, backed by the hope that you will purchase content material — books, movies and apps — from Amazon and create a recurring income stream for the e-commerce big.

Apart from the usual fashions, there are additionally particular Children Version variations of the Fireplace 7 and Fireplace HD Eight. These kid-friendly fashions are bodily similar to the common variations, and the distinction comes from included equipment, software program and assist. At first look, it appears loopy to pay an additional $50 for a pill that normally prices $50/$80 (for the Fireplace 7/Fireplace HD Eight), however the math really makes extra sense than you may suppose.

The Fireplace HD Eight behind the Fireplace 7.

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

With the Children Version ($100 for the 7-inch, $130 for the Eight-inch), you get a rubberized bumper case (I’ve had an analogous one on my son’s hand-me-down iPad 2 for years), which Amazon sells individually for $30, a two-year “no questions requested” substitute guarantee, double the storage of the bottom mannequin (8GB to 16GB within the 7-inch, 16GB to 32GB within the Eight-inch), and a one-year subscription to FreeTime Limitless. After one 12 months, the service prices $2.99 a month for Amazon Prime members ($four.99 for non-members), which is about $35 per 12 months. That each one provides as much as effectively greater than the $50 premium for the Children model over the usual pill.

Consider additionally that Amazon usually places these units on sale. The Fireplace 7/Fireplace 7 Children Version can at instances be as little as $35/$75 and the Fireplace HD Eight/Fireplace HD Eight Children Version might be discovered for $55/$95 throughout Amazon gross sales. This chart lays out the essential worth variations between the fashions.

Amazon Fireplace costs

Fireplace 7 (8GB)

Fireplace 7 Children Version (16GB)

Fireplace HD Eight (16GB)

Fireplace HD Eight Children Version (32GB)

Fireplace HD 10 (32GB)

US

$50

$100

$80

$130

$150

US sale worth (supplied periodically)

$35

$75

$55

$95

$110

UK

£50

£100

£80

£130

£150

The hidden charms of FreeTime

Of the extras included within the Children Version of the Fireplace tablets, the subscription to FreeTime Limitless could appear the least helpful, particularly when in comparison with the padded case, additional storage and no-hassle substitute plan. It is really Amazon’s secret weapon, and having used the service extensively over the previous couple of weeks, it is virtually criminally low-profile for the worth and adaptability it provides.

I would earlier heard concerning the service, which mixes the really free FreeTime options, together with detailed scheduling and utilization instruments for fogeys to restrict how and when youngsters use their pill, with the subscription Limitless half, which acts as an all-you-can-eat buffet of ebooks, apps and movies.

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

A toddler (or youngsters, as you possibly can arrange a number of profiles at an additional value) will get a customized interface, a lot totally different from the usual Android-like Fireplace interface. FreeTime has a blue background and a handful of enormous class icons. It is also landscape-only, though some apps and ebooks work in portrait mode whereas they’re getting used.

As is usually the case with content material looking, precise discovery might be hit and miss. There isn’t any clear grasp record of what particular content material is included, or an actual understanding of what highlights the app chooses to floor. That mentioned, the provides are so broad and far of it’s of top of the range, that children will get pleasure from simply making an attempt random new issues.

My 6-year-old son has been utilizing FreeTime Limitless on his lately bought Fireplace HD Eight for a couple of weeks now, and is a giant fan, particularly of the concept he can decide and obtain his personal video games with out getting me or his mom to log out on each particular person one.

A junior product tester with the Eight-inch Kindle Fireplace.

Joshua Goldman/Proinertech

When establishing FreeTime, you choose the age vary of media you need displayed, and that modifications the extent of books, movies and apps. I set Sprint’s vary at as much as Eight years previous, simply to verify he was challenged by new issues.

The video seems to be from Amazon Prime, so you are not getting something new there, however the ebooks and apps add nice worth. Books are pretty well-formatted for the display screen. Some work on both panorama or portrait mode, however others are restricted to 1 view or the opposite. There isn’t any pinch-to-zoom to learn textual content, which may get small, however double-tapping on textual content pops it up in a bigger bubble. Learn one blurb, then swipe left with one finger to mechanically advance the textual content. I am unable to say it’s going to encourage self-directed studying for each child, however it labored on the one I do know, largely as a result of he may decide what to obtain by himself.

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

The apps are principally video games. Many are of the free or freemium selection (and no, youngsters cannot make extra purchases on their very own), however an excellent quantity are literally surprisingly premium. I used to be pleasantly shocked to seek out a big library of apps from Toca Boca, writer of Toca Life, Toca Lab and different kid-friendly apps. Sprint is a giant fan of those, and I’ve beforehand bought a couple of for round $three every. One obtain like this per thirty days covers the price of the whole FreeTime Limitless service as soon as the included one-year subscription expires.

Getting in character

One attention-grabbing option to seek for content material is thru a prime menu icon labeled “characters.” There, youngsters can scroll via icons that run from generic, like Dinosaurs, to very particular manufacturers, like Lego, Sesame Road, Marvel and Star Wars. Clicking on any of those brings up a listing of all out there ebooks, movies and apps from that class, and tapping on every particular person merchandise downloads or streams it.

It is a good way to find content material, though some manufacturers have solely apps and movies, however no books, or solely books and movies, however no apps, and so forth. Many, nevertheless, have all three, and Sprint now has an prompt Phineas and Ferb e-book assortment.

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