Please, someone, help me understand why not a single company has perfected a tablet for kids. While the Amazon Kindle Kids edition is by far the best in the market, I’m still disappointed and frustrated with the options available for kids. The following review is for the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet.
I want to love it but there’s just so much to hate too.
Can someone also tell these companies to get rid of the camera when designing a tablet for children? It might be the low cost of implementing a camera but it’s seriously a waste. Your child will never use the depressing 2 MP rear-facing camera. A better camera would help but I fail to see why a kids tablet should have one.
Sucks for international travel
We travel a lot and currently live in Italy. The concept behind Amazon FreeTime Unlimited is amazing but if you travel outside of the US, UK, or Germany, most of the features won’t work.
We used Steph’s US Amazon account to register for FreeTime but much of the content itself is also locked once it recognizes you’re out of the country. Apps and books will work but video content will not. Amazon Prime Video works in Italy but for whatever reason FreeTime doesn’t.
While we were in the US we downloaded a bunch of videos for offline use. While you’re offline an annoying pop-up appears that you have 48-hours before the video becomes unavailable. This UX box is annoying for kids, especially for those that can’t read. Kids don’t need to understand they have 48-hours with that video anyway. I’ve hit this box for various videos and not a single one has deleted itself. As long as you continue to press okay, you can still watch the video. I’m confused and not sure what the point of the pop-up is then.
Amazon FreeTime content is great
I love the content on FreeTime. My favorite is the books. We have a hard time finding affordable English language books in Italy so this fills that void nicely.
The apps are okay. Most are educational but I wish there was an easy way to completely delete and hide content. You can delete an app from the device but it will still show up as an app that can be played. I’d prefer to limit the options available and choose which ones to add rather than which ones to remove. The only way to do that is to completely take the tablet offline so the store becomes unavailable. You can do most of this on Amazon Parent Dashboard though the site is simple and lacks features.
A recent update to FreeTime has slowed down the tablet a lot. The update occurred while I was reading to her too. To be clear, the tablet is only used for FreeTime and yet it’s already slowing down. This results in extremely slow responsiveness to touch which is super frustrating for my daughter to use.
The UI needs serious work though. We have a hard time finding new content and since we’re not in the US, it’s displaying a bunch of content that we can’t play. This results in a ton of error messages that my daughter doesn’t understanding related to geographic limitations.
Outside of the error message and terrible UI, the FreeTime app is locked down. Everything is free, and there’s no store or settings for kids to mess around with. You need to change your profile and insert a pin if you want to go back to the normal Amazon screen.
It comes with 32 GB internal storage of which a large portion is taken already for the operating system itself. It’s not enough if you want to have any videos at all. Get a good microSD card with decent write speeds so there’s no delay in writing and reading to the card.
The tablet has been through a lot and somehow managed to survive big drops and stomps. The bumpers the kid’s version comes with is very durable. There have also been several spilled drinks that didn’t seem to affect the touch or anything else.
Amazon claims that if it breaks, that you can return it under their two-year warranty. A crack has recently appeared so I may try out this claim.
Should you get it?
It depends. It’s great if you’re doing US-based travels or plan on doing shorter trips outside of the US. I do like that the content is curated for kids and my daughter can’t mess with any settings. I just wish Freetime was available in more countries.