Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Amazon Kindle for Kids Bundle vs Basic Kindle: Which eReader Should You Choose?

The Amazon Kindle for Kids Bundle includes the latest basic Kindle e-reader plus extras and a case. Is it worth paying the extra for the add-ons?

If you're interested in the Amazon Fire tablet rather than the e-reader then please see our Amazon Fire Kids edition vs basic Fire tablet comparison.

Please note that Kindle deals and features vary from country to country and over time.

Update: Just after we published this post Amazon announced Prime Reading in the US. This gives Prime members access to a library of books and magazines, including children's books.

What is the Basic Kindle?

The 6" Kindle E-reader is the entry level electronic ink device. A new 8th generation model was released in 2016 and this is now the least expensive Kindle in Amazon's range.

The Kindle charges via the included USB charging cable and will run for weeks between charges (so make sure you keep the cable somewhere safe so you can find it!)

This year Amazon have improved the tech specs, as well as making the device smaller and lighter, while keeping the price the same.

It's a device that is focussed on reading. It doesn't have games or multimedia capabilities so kids won't get distracted as they might on a tablet. The electronic ink screen is designed to be easy on the eye and the battery life is weeks rather than hours. 

The basic Kindle has lots of features but notably doesn't have a back-light for reading in low light levels. Some will see this as an advantage for children and teenagers as there is research indicating that the blue light emitted from electronic devices delays sleep. You can buy an add-on reading light for those times when you do want a light. 

Kid-Friendly Features

It's worth noting that the basic Kindle has plenty of kid-friendly features which are available with or without the kids bundle. 
  • Thin and light which makes it easier for kids to hold
  • Ability to access Kindle FreeTime Unlimited kids content (with a subscription)
  • Word Wise and Vocabulary Builder to help kids tackle more challenging books and develop their knowledge
  • Parental controls so parents can disable purchases and social sharing and block access to the internet and Wikipedia
  • VoiceView accessibility feature which reads books out loud via a Bluetooth speaker. 

What's in the Kindle Kids Bundle?

The kids bundle includes an 8th generation 6" Kindle ereader. The colour of the device itself (black or white) cannot be selected.

You additionally get:
  • A cover in a choice of colours (black, lime, purple, pastel blue and pastel pink)
  • 2-year worry-free guarantee: "if they break it, return it and we'll replace it for free. No questions asked."
  • No sponsored screensavers (ads)

The cover is not the same cover as the official cover for the Kindle. It's a Nupro cover which has a similar design with a magnetic closure and wake on open, sleep on close. You don't need to remove the case for charging or reading. The case has a polyurethane exterior and microfiber interior.

In my opinion the choice of colours for the Nupro cover in the kids bundle is better than the choice for the official cover (you can choose purple!)

No Kids Unlimited 

It's also worth mentioning what's not in the Kindle Kids Bundle. There's no actual reading content in this bundle.

Update:  Just after we published this article Amazon announced Prime Reading in the US. This gives Prime members access to a library of books and magazines, including children's books. This means that Prime members will get content with their Kindle (whether it's in a bundle or not.) Prime has so many other features that it may make sense for families to sign up.

Kindle FreeTime can be used with the Kindle but a subscription to FreeTime Unlimited (the kids content service) is not included (whereas it is with the Fire for Kids bundle.) 

In the US you can borrow books to read on the Kindle from a public library, this is a really useful and money-saving feature. And some families will already have a FreeTime Unlimited subscription, or may get one with a Fire for Kids bundle

Amazon also offer a 30 day free trial for Kids Unlimited if you haven't used it before.

Price Comparison

First we'll look at how things stack up for the recommended retail price of each device, but be aware that you need to consider deals on the devices.

The basic Kindle has a RRP of $79.99 with sponsored screensavers (ads) or $99.99 without. Adding an official cover is a further $29.99, or $24.99 for the same case as the one in the kids bundle. And 2 year warranty and accident protection cover is $19.99 (not the same warranty as with the kids device and there are also 1 and 3 year options to consider.)

This means that you would pay $144.97 for a package similar to the Bundle for Kids. The RRP for the Kids Bundle is $124.98 but we're seeing lots of deals so you may be able to pick it up for less.

Of course you could opt for a cheaper case or even no case, and maybe you're not worried about removing the sponsored screensavers or warranty terms. If you want the absolute cheapest option then you might want to choose the basic Kindle, you'll still have an ereader with great kid-friendly features.

But the Kids Bundle offers much better value for money if the extras are useful for you, particularly when it's discounted. 

Amazon are running lots of deals on the Kindle and Kindle Bundle for Kids so you'll need to compare the current prices. At time of writing the Kindle Bundle for Kids has an additional discount. And there are seasonal discounts and offers for prime members and new joiners. 

The official cover for the basic Kindle costs $29.99 (at time of writing) so if the kids edition costs less than that much extra and you want a cover then it definitely makes sense. If you also want to avoid your kids seeing ads or the 2-year worry free guarantee appeals then those will make the package more valuable.


If you want the absolute cheapest option then that's the basic Kindle with sponsored ads and no case (or a cheaper case.)

For the Amazon Kindle in most cases it makes sense to choose the Kids Bundle even for teens (and maybe adults too!) You get a smart protective cover in a choice of colours that aren't just for little kids, there's even the option to choose black. With some of the deals that Amazon have been running the Kids Bundle ends up cheaper than a Kindle plus the Nupro case.

Note that you don't get to choose the colour of the Kindle device itself with the Kids Bundle (they come in black and white.)

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