Thursday, 17 September 2015

Amazon Fire Kids Edition vs Basic Fire: Which Tablet Should You Choose?

Amazon have announced a new version of the Amazon Fire Kids Edition (price at time of writing $89 for 8GB) and a new entry level Fire tablet (price at time of writing $49 for 8GB.) They are both interesting options for kids, tweens and teens, but how do they compare?

Update: New Amazon Fire tablets announced for 2017 including a new 8" model. The general principles in this article still apply, but we'll update with the new details as soon as we can.

New devices were released on September 30th 2015. For 2016 a new range of colours for the basic Fire have been released. (There's also a new 8" Fire tablet.)

Let's take a look at how the two tablets compare for child and family use. It's not all about the hardware as we'll see.

The new tablets are available in the US and UK.

Note that while we've checked the detailed carefully, we might have missed something and details can change on Amazon so please check carefully yourself and let us know if you find anything we should change or update.

See also:

Hardware Specification

So, how do the hardware specifications of the two devices compare. Well, if you look at the detailed description of the Fire Kids Edition you will see that it actually includes the basic Fire Tablet. So, as far as we can tell, the hardware is exactly the same.

Just note that by default Amazon will offer you the 8GB version of the basic Fire but the 16GB version of the Kids Edition.

Update: Amazon are offering deals in the run up to Black Friday so there are significant savings available. If the kids extras are useful to you then the Kids' Bundle is worth getting.

So, why is the Kids Edition $40 more expensive? 


The warranty is an area where there are differences between the two tablets. The basic Fire Tablet has a 90 day limited warranty included. You can purchase an additional 2 year warranty costing $17.99  (as of Sept 2016) and providing mechanical, breakdown and accident coverage (do check the policy details carefully before purchasing.) 

The warranty for the Kids Edition is described as a '2 Year Worry Free Guarantee' and Amazon says "If they break it, we'll replace it. No questions asked." Mechanical and electrical faults are also covered. 

So you can get accident cover for the Fire, but this does exclude intentional damage. So it looks like the coverage offered by the Kids Edition is broader. 

Kid-Proof Case

For little children, the Kid-Proof Case is a definite bonus (though why only pink and blue in the bundle? Update: Green got added. We're happy.) 
You can buy an Amazon Kid-Proof Case for $24.99 (Sept 2016 price) and you have a wider choice of colours with green and our favourites: orange and purple (in the US at least.) So you could choose to buy the basic Fire and add a case. (Do check to see if any other colour have been added to the Kids Edition configurator.)

For older kids, the case is going to be a negative. Tweens and teens will want a cool case not a kiddy bumper case. 

Update: The basic Kindle Fire 7" is now available in a range of cool colours which will appeal to tweens and teens.

Included Content

The Kids Edition includes one year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited which gives access to loads of kid friendly content: books, movies and TV shows, education apps and games.

The Amazon Fire tablets are all about the content. FreeTime Unlimited makes a lot of sense for children in its target age range of 3 to 10 years old.

A subscription usually costs $2.99 per month for Prime members or $4.99 per month without. (There are also options for multiple children.)

We'll do the maths for you: $2.99 * 12 = $35.88 and $4.99 * 12 = $59.88.

So this is where you really start to see why the Kids Edition will make sense for some families.

Sponsored Screensavers

Here's another area to consider. The basic Fire keeps its cost down by using Sponsored Screensavers.

You can pay an additional $15 to remove these as many parents of young children would want to do.

Parental Controls

Amazon has extensive parental controls for the Fire in Amazon FreeTime which is available on all of the Fire tablets including the basic model. 

A FreeTime web browser for kids is also available which will appeal to many parents.

Plus, there's an Amazon Activity Centre feature for the Fire tablets for kids who have outgrown FreeTime. Parents will be able see how kids are spending their tablet time.

You don't need to choose the Kids Edition to get parental controls.

Adding it All Up

So if we add the cost of the extras in the Kids Edition to the basic Fire price what do we get:

$49.99 + $17.99 (warranty: not the same) + $24.99 (case) + $35.88 (FreeTime Unlimited for one child for Prime member) + $15 (remove screensavers) = $143.85

Note that these are prices at time of writing and subject to change. And remember there's an additional cost for non-Prime members making the total $167.85)

This is where you can really see why the Kids Edition package will make sense for families with young children.

Amazon suggests you can save up to $109 by choosing the Kids Edition package, plus the warranty.

8GB vs 16GB

The above comparison looks at the 8GB versions of the devices. Interestingly there's a difference in how much extra you pay for a 16GB device. 

For the basic Fire the price jumps from $49 to $69, an extra $20. 

For the Kids Edition the price goes from $89 to $99, an extra $10. 


If the extras make sense for your family, especially for younger children, then the Kids Edition makes sense. For tweens and older kids go for the basic Fire, but consider paying the extra to get the advertising removed and adding on a warranty and an age-appropriate case.

More from Tech Age Kids:


Unknown said...

Nice comparison. Very helpful. Thanks a bunch!!!

Eric Compton said...

Thanks for the maths.

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