You want to get your youngsters an Amazon Fire Tablet, but which version is right for you?
The Amazon Fire Tablet 7 is a great buy at $50, especially for the kids. It's capable enough to keep them entertained while not costing enough to pull your hair out if it gets accidentally destroyed. You can also get all the (non-Google) major content services on there as well as a dedicated kids mode to keep those little fingers from buying a new laptop on your Amazon account.
But, when you go to buy, there's both a "regular" 7-inch and a Kids Edition, which now also has an 8-inch version. Underneath they're both regular Amazon Fire tablets. So what's the difference and which should you buy?
Let's break it down.
Updated May 23 2017 to reflect the updated versions of the Fire tablet.
What's the difference?
When you spend $50 on the standard Fire Tablet what you get is the 8GB model with special offers, meaning ads on the lockscreen. And that's it. No case or added extras, just the basic tablet and a charger in a choice of your preferred color.
When you buy the Kids Edition, it costs more at $100 but with that you get the 16GB tablet, also with a roughty toughty kid-proof case to keep it nice and safe during those inevitable falls. Amazon also throws in a "no questions asked" two-year warranty, so if the worst does happen, you just send it back and get a new one. The Kids Edition also comes with unlimited, free access to 10,000 kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games with 1 year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited included.
For an additional $30 you can get the Fire 8 Kids Edition which comes with 32GB of internal storage and a better looking display.
The biggest thing to consider when thinking about getting the Kids Edition is the value added inclusions Amazon gives you. The case itself retails for around $25 if you buy it separately, the 16GB 7-inch tablet costs $70 and then there's the FreeTime Unlimited subscription on top.
If you buy the basic $50 Fire Tablet you'll have pay extra for each of these, and you won't get a two-year warranty, either. Likewise if you get the basic Fire 8 which starts at $80. You get the same value add for less than the cost of buying everything seperately.
You don't just have to get Amazon's case to protect a Fire Tablet from the kids. The FreeTime is no doubt a tremendous case that's friendly to small hands while still allowing easy access to all the ports and buttons.
There are a number of cases available at various prices though that will do just as good a job. So you can protect a Fire Tablet and give it to your little ones if it's not just for them.
It's not inconceivable you might want to use it yourself from time to time!
So which should I buy?
If you're purely buying a tablet for your kids, spend the extra and get the Kids Edition. It's worth the investment, not least for that worry-free two-year warranty. But it's a single purchase that comes 100% child-equipped, with that tough as hell case and the included 1-year subscription to kids content. And if you can stretch to the extra for the Fire 8, that's the one to get. It's well worth the extra $30.
You can provide the same experience by buying a regular Fire Tablet at $50. But you should probably only get one of those if you're going to be buying for an older child/teenager or it's going to be used by yourself a decent amount of the time. If that sounds more like your scenario, then this option is for you. Buy a more grown-up case and slap in a microSD card and use it like a grown-up would!