Wednesday, 25 September 2013

New Kindle Fire Tablets - Which Model for Kids?

Kindle Fire HD 7", HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB - Includes Special OffersToday Amazon have announced their new range of Kindle Fire tablets which are available to pre-order and will start shipping on October 2nd in plenty of time for the holidays. There's a lower priced entry level model or you can pay extra for additional features if they make sense for your family.


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We have a Kindle Fire HD which my nearly 7 year old son uses a lot and it's an excellent tablet for kids. Amazon listened to parents and added parental controls to their tablets and they have a great range of content for kids and even the Freetime Unlimited subscription service which gives you access to loads of kids content for a fixed monthly fee.

In this article we'll take a look at the new models from a kids' perspective. We'll look at what the different models mean for kids and look at whether it's likely to be important to upgrade to a higher spec model. Note that Amazon have already announced the new Kindle Paperwhite eReader with Freetime for Kids.

Note that there are a variety of price options for each model depending whether you accept special offers and the amount of memory you choose, and also whether you go for the 4G option where available.

New Kindle Fire HD 7"

Kindle Fire HD 7", HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB - Includes Special Offers Kindle Fire HD 7", HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB - Includes Special Offers

@ Amazon
The new entry-level Kindle Fire is based on last years HD model but has a new design. The processor and screen are excellent and I think this option is perfectly good enough for young kids. We've been very impressed with the sound on Kindle Fire tablets too - great for watching movies.

One thing you should be aware of is that the front-facing camera is not available on this model so there's no Skype or taking pictures (awkward with a front-facing camera anyway.) That might be a reason to move to a higher spec model if that's going to be important for your child.

Another option if you want the camera is to find a used or refurbished version of last year's Kindle Fire HD which you might now find at a bargain price.

Some parent's will prefer that their child doesn't have access to a front-facing camera when using their tablet and will actually prefer new HD. 

You should also note that the storage options for this model are a fairly small 8MB or 16MB. The cloud storage works well so you don't need to keep everything on the device. But if you plan to store a lot of videos locally or install lots of very big apps then this is a consideration (there's no SD card support.)

If you are just looking for an affordable tablet for kids with easy access to lots of ebooks and apps then the new Kindle Fire HD is a good option.

New Kindle Fire HDX 7"

Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers

@ Amazon
The Kindle Fire HDX is the new flagship 7" tablet from Amazon. It has an even better display. It's 2.2 GHz quad-core processor is very impressive. And it has a front-facing camera for Skype.

If you have a child who wants to Skype their grandparents or a parent who travels for work then this might be the better option. They'll also be able to take photos although this is a little awkward with a front-facing camera.

The HDX is also more future-proof so your child will likely be happier with it for longer before you need to upgrade.

It's also slightly lighter weight than the HD model. And there's an option for 4G as well which is useful if your family travels a lot.

The battery life is also improved in the new HDX models with further battery saving when the tablet is used for reading rather than more processor intensive tasks. 

Kindle Fire HD 8.9

Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers

@ Amazon
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9" model is definitely worth a look and is still part of the range. It's not much more expensive than the 7" HDX and we've found that a larger screen does make sense for some kids activities.

A larger tablet is useful for preschoolers and little kids who enjoy picture books and interactive book apps. The larger writing and pictures work well for this age group. These books are often shared with a parent so the child isn't having to hold the tablet themselves. One option is to have a family tablet that parents also use which is shared with a little kid.

The other group that appreciates a larger screen are tweens and teens. They're bigger themselves so can cope with the larger tablet. And it's a good size for reading comics, magazines, graphic novels and text books. And of course they will enjoy the bigger screen for watching movies.

Unlike the 7" HD this model does have the front-facing camera and can be used for Skype and taking pictures and videos.

This tablet is also available immediately as it is part of the existing range.

New Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" 

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers

@ Amazon
If the larger screen appeals and you want a top of the range tablet then there's the new Kindle Fire HDX. The improved screen is great for detailed text and images.

This tablet also adds rear facing camera for taking photos and videos.

One feature which is relevant for kids is that this is a very lightweight tablet at 13.2 ounces. That's very impressive and will make a big different when holding a table for a long time or carrying it around when traveling.

The HDX 8.9" also makes a good family tablet to be shared with kids and adults. 



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