As a family that uses a significant amount of tech, it’s surprising that tablets rarely get used in our house. We actually have two and have gone through spells of using them, but they soon fall out of favour for whatever reason. But now that Toddler L is getting older, I’m a lot more open to the idea of her using one as a source of entertainment and education – it just feels that our existing tablets are more adult-focused than kid-focused.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want my nearly three-year old to actually own her own tablet – just yet. But I think there’s definitely a place in our lives for something more family-friendly which she could use independently to learn and have fun. Plus, let’s be honest, it keeps her grubby mits away from my £600+ smartphone!
So when Amazon got in touch about reviewing the brand new Fire 7 Tablet, this was right up our street. From what I’d read, it ticked the kid-friendly box, but could still be used by adults. It sounded like a decent, multi-purpose, family device – the fact that we already watch shows and listen to music through Amazon Prime was a bonus. As well as checking out the new Fire 7, we were asked to take a look at some of the hundreds of thousands of apps in the Amazon Appstore.
Below, you’ll find my review of the Amazon Fire 7 Tablet and Amazon Appstore.
The Fire 7 Tablet and Amazon Appstore provide the gateway through which your family will never be bored ever again. With a huge choice of entertainment, it’s something that can be used by preschoolers, children, teens and adults:
Toddler L has been using the Fire 7 Tablet – in conjunction with kid’s apps through the Appstore and Fire For Kids Unlimited – as a way of learning, problem solving and keeping herself entertained. As existing users of Amazon Video, Netflix and DisneyLife, these were our first downloads from the Appstore.
Toddler L watches the majority of films and shows through these three subscription services, so it’s great to have access to them through the Fire 7 Tablet too. By downloading in advance, she can still watch her favourite shows – such as Tom The Tow Truck – even when we’re out and don’t have Wi-Fi. This is great when looking to entertain a toddler when travelling by train, on long journeys in the car or when away on holiday.
Until the Fire 7, Toddler L only used phones / tablets to watch shows and films – mainly because the thought of her hogging and dropping my phone would have made me cry. However, she’s been using many of the educational apps and games that can be downloaded through the Appstore. As something she’s never really done before, it’s been interesting to see how she’s got on with this new found source of fun.
With 800,000+ apps in the Appstore, there’s a huge range of child-focused apps. There’s too many to mention obviously, but two that Toddler L has enjoyed exploring are Ben and Holly: Elf and Fairy Party and BBC CBeebies Playtime Island – both of these revolve around mini-games and activities featuring characters she watches on TV. As such, they feel familiar and grab her attention, but she’s actually doing something completely different to just watching a show.
We’ve also regularly sat down and read some of the stories in the BBC CBeebies Storytime app – again, the characters she recognises from TV have drawn her in into the books. In addition, it’s been great to have a huge ‘online library’ meaning that we’ve been able to read more books than we own and haven’t needed to pop down to the library.
In addition to the apps in the Appstore, I came across Fire For Kids Unlimited. As part of the set-up process, I was asked if I wanted a free trial – being the risk taker that I am, I thought ‘why the hell not’. I’d not heard of this before, but it’s a paid subscription service for children that offers access to thousands of books, videos, educational apps and games. This is similar to downloading individual apps, but is actually much easier and quicker as it’s all in one place.
As Fire For Kids Unlimited is designed for kids (hence the name!), it’s got a really simple and easy-to-use interface – plain blue background, large text, big areas to tap and lots of identifiable thumbnails. The entertainment is organised into five categories – Home, Books, Videos, Apps and Characters – which gives your child different ways of accessing the content.
Unsurprisingly, there is A LOT of stuff available. When she’s used the tablet, Toddler L has enjoyed checking out various different things. This has included reading new books together, watching the video content and playing both educational and fun stuff on the apps. I wasn’t aware of Fire For Kids Unlimited previously, but have been hugely impressed with it and £1.99 per month seems really good value for money.
At just under three years old, Toddler L obviously can’t use some of the more complicated apps – it’s not like she’s an expert at Angry Birds or Candy Crush just yet – but she’s surprised me at how capable she is at using touchscreens. It must be an in-built thing these days that kids know how to tap and swipe on exit from the womb! The Fire 7 Tablet is definitely something she’ll be using more, particularly the educational apps and games.
Obviously tablets can be used for multiple things – that’s one of their main selling points. Since getting the Fire 7 Tablet, I’ve used it for a number of varied tasks – from checking email, to social media, to browsing the internet, to playing games, to reading books to catching up on sport news. There’s pretty much an app for everything, so you’re never going to be short of something to do.
Similarly to Toddler, we watch the majority of our shows and films through Amazon Video and Netflix. Unsurprisingly then, I’ve found myself using the tablet to watch films or box sets in situations that I haven’t previously. For example, I’ve used the Fire 7 Tablet when running on the treadmill, when travelling by train and, you know, when ‘occupied’ in the bathroom…
On opening the box, I was greeted with the Fire 7 Tablet, a 5W power adaptor, USB charging cable and a couple of information leaflets. The first thing I noticed was the striking colour on the back and sides of the tablet – this wasn’t just blue, it was marine blue!
As I went to plug it in for the first charge, I had my first proper look at the Fire 7. At less than 300g, I was surprised at how light it felt – in fact, it’s half the weight of the tablet that we bought a few years ago. It also felt chunky and sturdy – the hard plastic case wrapped around the sides and was flush with the screen. I didn’t plan on trying out a drop test, but I’d fancy it’s chances if Toddler L accidentally dropped it.
After charging for a few hours, I was able to turn it on and have my first proper play – obviously doing the smart thing and coinciding it with Toddler L’s nap! Not only did this mean that I could have a gander in peace, but it also meant that I could ensure it was set up properly.
I followed the start-up wizard which talked me through the various steps, such as selecting language, connecting to Wi-Fi, installing updates, registering the device, making the tablet kid friendly, selecting who will use it and setting a PIN lock. This was all very straight forward and probably took no longer than 10 minutes.
Before letting Toddler L loose with the Fire 7, I wanted to double check the settings to make sure it was safe. I’d already set-up a child profile for her, so was able to tinker with some of the things behind the scenes. For example, I was able to lower the age range, set a password for purchases, turn off the internet browser and set usage limits. Again, this was really easy to do and I liked the fact that I could control what access she has to various things – obviously, as she gets older, these settings can be changed.
As Amazon customers already, I was pleased that it not only recognised both the missus and I, but it also pulled across various things. For instance, without any additional setting up, it knew that we were Amazon Prime customers, so gave us access to Amazon Video and Amazon Music. Not only that, but things like our watchlist was the same as when we watch Amazon Video on TV. This saved a lot of extra setting up and faff. Although, it’s worth noting that I’d need to switch profiles to the missus’ if I wanted to watch shows or listen to music as she’s the main account holder.
Other Things To Note
In addition to the above, there’s a couple of other things to mention. Firstly, it comes with Alexa which gives you access to information etc by speaking to it – however this is blocked when you have Parental Controls turned on like we do.
The tablet has two cameras – one front-facing and one 2MP rear-facing. They take a reasonable photo, but the quality is lower than I’ve come to expect – my phone is 12MP after all. However, for a child messing around with a camera, I think it’s fine. The same can be said for the small speaker on the back – you can tell that it’s not amazing, but a kid is unlikely to notice.
I was impressed with the 7″ touchscreen with 1024 x 600 resolution. It’s been clear when reading, watching and playing, plus can still be seen in the light, although it’s obviously made more difficult. There’s also a Blue Shade feature which reduces the amount of blue light emitted from the screen which supposedly helps with sleep if using the tablet before bed.
The Fire 7 comes in two sizes – the 8GB and 16GB. However, it also comes with a MicroSD slot so you can increase the storage to 256MB. This expandable storage is great when you have multiple profiles and a toddler who likes to download everything! There’s also three different colours you can choose from in addition to the Marine Blue – these are Black, Canary Yellow and Punch Red.
The Amazon Fire 7 Tablet has an RRP of £49.99. This feels great value for money for a basic tablet that the whole family can use. When we bought our first tablet a few years ago, we spent the best part of £250 from recollection. Spending less than 50 quid on this also means that you’ll care – but not as much – should a toddler drop it or spill a drink on it.
I also mentioned Fire For Kids Unlimited as we signed up to the free trial. As an existing Prime member, this would cost us £1.99 per month for one child after the trial period (£3.99 for non-Prime members). For two quid, it’s crazy the amount of content you get, so I’d have no qualms continuing after the trial period.
I’ve been impressed with the Amazon Fire 7. It’s a basic tablet – which is reflected by the £49.99 price tag – but it does the majority of things you’d want from a family tablet. Sure, it could be quicker, be more powerful, have a better camera etc, but that’s not really why you’d buy this. This isn’t an all-singing, all-dancing ‘adult’ tablet and isn’t intended to be.
Instead, this is a tablet that provides value for money, is simple to use and provides easy access to entertainment for the family. I’d see the Fire 7 as being something you’d throw into a bag on a day out in case of a toddler tantrum, something they’d play with at home when you’re busy or be something you’d give to them on a long car journey. It fulfils that role perfectly.
For me, things like the colour, the size, the durability, the weight and the ability to set parental controls mean that it’s ideal for kids – particularly when combined with the 800,000+ apps in the Appstore. This makes it a powerful device to both entertain and educate – the latter being something that is pretty new to us as a family and something that I can see Toddler L doing more of as she gets older.
To date, Toddler L has used tablets and our phones to watch things – Amazon Video, Netflix, DisneyLife etc – but never really to play games. Therefore, seeing her engaging in these educational apps by solving puzzles, colouring shapes, picking the right option etc is a pretty cool thing. Although it’s not offically her tablet, I can see her using it a lot more than the missus and I because we prefer our smartphones.
To summarise, if you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive tablet for the kids, then you can’t go wrong with the Amazon Fire 7.
The product is described as:
The all-new Fire 7 tablet was launched in June 2017 and is the next generation of Amazon’s bestselling Fire tablet – it’s now thinner, lighter, with longer battery life and an improved display. Features include:
- A 7″ IPS display with higher contrast and sharper text, a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor and up to 8 hours of battery life.
- Alexa gives you quick access to the information and entertainment you want. Ask questions, play music, get the news, weather, control your smart home and more – just press the home button and ask.
- Enjoy millions of movies, TV shows, songs, Kindle eBooks, apps and games – including Amazon Video, Netflix, Facebook, Spotify, TuneIn, Instagram and more.
- Prime members get access to over a thousand books and magazines, more than two million songs, thousands of movies and TV shows and secure photo storage – at no additional cost.
- Watch downloaded videos offline anywhere with a Prime membership or Netflix subscription.
- Enhance your entertainment experience with features you only get from Amazon – including ASAP, X-Ray, On Deck, Blue Shade and Fire for Kids Parental Controls.
The DADventurer Star Rating
4.5 Out Of 5 Stars
Disclosure: This is a commissioned post in collaboration with Amazon. The Fire 7 Tablet was sent to me by Amazon with the purpose of writing an honest review.
Disclosure: This post includes an affiliate link(s).