Which tablet should you buy?

When Amazon sent over their Fire 7 tablet for me to review, they also included a Fire 7 Kids tablet. For those of you wondering what the differences are between the Fire 7 and the Fire 7 Kids, there really aren’t any. The Fire 7 Kids tablet comes with a big, poofy, foam rubber case, but inside the tablet is exactly the same. If you read my review of the Amazon Fire 7 tablet, you’ll know that this is a cheap “knockabout” tablet that you should buy, but not care about all that much.

Adding on

But the Fire 7 Kids tablet has a few extras piled on top of it to justify that extra $49 it’ll cost you. We’ll take a look at those extras and find out if they’re worth the extra money. Here’s what you get when you buy the Fire 7 Kids tablet:

  1. Amazon Fire 7 tablet
  2. Foam rubber case
  3. One year of Amazon Kids Plus subscription
  4. Two-year worry-free guarantee

Bumper case

A Fire 7 Kids tablet side view with two lego minifigs

That last item is the most interesting and we’ll get to that in a moment, but for now, let’s talk about this case. This is a thick foam-rubber case that more than doubles the thickness of the Fire 7. But let me assure you, that thickness is well-used. It is not an exaggeration to say that I spent dozens of minutes literally bouncing this tablet off the concrete floor of my sunroom. I wanted to see if I could bounce it like a basketball. I never came close but not from a lack of trying.

The corners of this case absorb rough impacts when dropped and indeed thrown from a sitting position. I dropped this tablet on its face, back, side, and corner and the tablet itself suffered no damage. About the only way you’re going to break this Fire 7 while it’s in the case is if you happen to hit the screen on a corner of a table or something. Even if that happens…

Two-year worry-free guarantee

Amazon sees this tablet as a device for kids and kids don’t always take the best care of electronics. From drops to spills, there are probably a hundred different ways a kid could take out this tablet despite its armor. That’s why Amazon backs this tablet up with a two-year, no questions asked, guarantee. If it breaks, send it back and they’ll send you a new one. The bumper only goes so far and the guarantee takes you the rest of the way.

One year of Amazon Kids Plus

Amazon Kids Plus is Amazon’s subscription program for kid-friendly content. As parents, you can set up what your child is allowed to download, when they can access that content, and even set up reading or learning limits, such as, “Yes, Billy, you can watch Backyardigans, after you read for 30 minutes and work on this Math app for another 30 minutes.” Amazon charges $4.99 per month for the subscription, so a year is a $60 value that you get included when you buy this tablet.

Why you should buy the Fire 7 Kids tablet

The Fire 7 Kids tablet on a concrete floor.

So who should buy this tablet? Parents who want to give their kids some worry-free entertainment are the main customers here. Having lived through the challenges of raising two children past the age of seven, I can attest to how stressful putting electronics in the hands of children can be. Personally, I have watched some parents hand an iPhone to children and I have privately questioned their sanity. It’s a bold choice.

This tablet with its bumper case is a much better proposition for something like that. Add in the two-year guarantee and the peace of mind it offers, and that by itself could justify the extra cost.

When my children were growing up, Amazon Kids Plus wasn’t really a thing yet, so I can’t attest to how useful it would be for children that young. But, some of the foundations are there for it to be a worthwhile experience. If you want to set limits on screentime, or what apps can be downloaded, Amazon Kids Plus is a good mechanism for doing that. The main thing I really like about Kids Plus is the Learn First mechanism that allows a parent to set learning goals that have to be met before a child can go on to watch a video or play a game. That’s a really smart idea, and I frankly wish more parental control software did that, and yes I’m talking to you Google, and Apple.

What if you don’t have a child?

A man holds the Fire 7 kids by the handle.

The important point to remember here is that if you buy the Fire 7 Kids tablet, you are getting a normal Fire 7 tablet with an easily-removable bumper.

Some might look at that two-year guarantee and think to themselves, “If I buy this Kids tablet, I get the same Fire 7 tablet, but with a two-year guarantee, so if I break it, I can get it replaced for less money than a second Fire 7.” That’s a legitimate argument, once you work out the math. The Fire 7 tablet is $60 and this Kids tablet is $110. If you break it once over the course of two years and Amazon replaces it, you get $120 worth of tablets for $110. You would save yourself $10 in the long run. Of course, that’s only if you actually break it.

Put simply, even without the bumper, the Fire 7 tablet is a tough little tablet and even if you break it within the first two years, you’re only saving $10 on a replacement. As I said in my review, this is a cheap tablet that’s already pretty durable. The bumper case that comes with the Kids edition allows you to bounce it off the walls and floor, for sure, but unless you plan to actually do that, it doesn’t add anything else to the equation.

Of course, there’s more to this than one single replacement. Amazon does not cap the number of replacement tablets you can get. As long as you can send the broken tablet in, Amazon will replace it throughout the two years. It can be two broken tablets, or twenty, though good luck explaining number twenty to customer service.

Assuming you are not the most accident-prone person on Earth, the only reason to buy this tablet is if you have children that are in the appropriate age range. Amazon says that’s between the ages of three to twelve. I suspect my daughter wouldn’t be caught dead with that bumper past the age of eight or so, but of course, your mileage may vary.

Both the Fire 7 tablet and the Fire 7 Kids tablet are available at Amazon.com.

    Amazon Fire 7 Kids

    The Amazon Fire 7 Kids is a child-friendly version of the Fire 7 tablet.

Overall, if you have kids, this is not a bad deal. If you plan to use Amazon Kids Plus, it gets even better. The tablet is probably tough enough to withstand a lot that you could throw at it. That means the guarantee alone isn’t worth the extra money. The bumper case is gaudy and no self-respecting person over the age of seven would be caught dead with it in public, so also keep that in mind. But if you have kids and you want to hand them a tablet and not care about it for the next two years, this is a good buy.

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