What is the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition?
The Amazon Fire HD 10 is a great-value tablet, but the custom version of Android and limited selection of apps could be a problem for some. With the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition, these problems are largely redundant, and the locked-down, easy-to-control operating system and a year’s free subscription to Fire for Kids Unlimited edition make this tablet a great choice for parents.
Add a longer warranty than the original and a protective rubber bumper, and the Kids Edition tablet is a device that can withstand far more punishment than the plain tablet.
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Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition – Design
The Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition houses the same 10-inch tablet as the standard model, only this one costs £50 more. That may seem like a lot extra, but it’s money well spent, as you get the Kids Unlimited subscription (normally £3.99 a month or £1.99 a month with a Prime subscription), a better warranty and a protective case.
The case is a chunky rubber surround, available in blue or pink. While it won’t make the tablet completely indestructible, it provides a high-level of protection from most accidental drops. And, the chunky bezel also makes it easier for kids to grip and hold the tablet.
Should the tablet become broken, the two-year guarantee kicks in and you can get a replacement no questions asked.
The downside of a 10-inch tablet is that the physical size can be rather awkward for adults to hold, let alone children.
In portrait, the 16:10 aspect ratio screen makes the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition a little top-heavy. It’s more comfortable to use in landscape mode, which is ideal for most games and videos, but it remains a tablet that your kids will most likely use on their laps or a table.
As such, it may be better suited to slightly older children, with the smaller Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition best for younger kids.
All of the physical controls (volume and power) are lined up across the top of the tablet, with cut-outs in the surround providing access. For adult-sized fingers, trying to get a finger through to turn on the power or adjust volume can be tricky; child-sized fingers seem to have no such problems.
By itself, the Fire HD 10 tablet looks and feels a little cheap thanks to its plastic case; inside the protective case, the only part of the tablet on view is the screen. Arguably, then, the Kids Edition looks better than the standard version.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition – Screen
The Fire HD 10 tablet has a 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 display. It’s a decent resolution for the screen size, with sharp text and clean images.
Amazon has used an IPS panel, which offers great viewing angles and bright colours. An OLED panel would give deeper blacks and better saturation, but the screen is more than good enough for the price.
Watching kids films, TV shows and cartoons through the Fire for Kids Unlimited subscription, everything looked sharp and detailed on the screen. For books, text was sharp and images nice and bright. Whites are a little yellow, but there’s nothing to really complain about at this price.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition – Software
For an adult, the biggest problem with Fire tablets is the operating system, Fire OS. A heavily customised and skinned version of Android, Fire OS feels hugely restrictive, offering less flexibility, choice of apps and customisation than available with a standard Android tablet.
For kids (and parents), Fire OS comes into its own. The main benefit of the operating system is that parents have full control over their children’s profiles, and what kids can do.
Built-in parental controls let you set the verified age range of the content (web, videos, apps, books and so on) that each child can look at. You can even block web browser access if you don’t want your children going online.
Fire OS lets you set time limits for use, with granular control letting you specify if your children have to use educational apps and books for a certain amount of time before entertainment features are unlocked.
In addition, the ability to lock the tablet between certain hours – say, during the night – will stop kids sneakily using their tablets when they should be sleeping. That level of control is exceptional; there simply aren’t any other tablets out there that offer the same.
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Parents also have full control over the apps installed under each child’s profile, downloading them first and then adding them to a profile. The only downsides are that apps installed in this way often have to be updated and managed through a parent’s profile, and it’s a manual and often time-consuming process.
It’s with Amazon Kids Unlimited that the Fire HD 10 Kids Edition really shines. With this service, kids get access to thousands of apps, videos and books directly from their profiles. The exact selection available depends on the age range you set in a child’s profile, but it means that kids can safely download and view the content they’ve chosen. And that range is pretty good, too, catering for most kids’ interests.
Everything is presented through a friendly, simple interface, which makes it easy for kids of any age to find what they want to do. Sensibly, in-app purchases are blocked, so your kids can’t install their own apps and then run up a huge bill.
Videos can be saved offline with a long press, which is great news if you want to pre-load the tablet with content for a long car journey or flight.
If you want to block a particular bit of content, you can set filters to remove items you don’t want your kids to have access to. For example, you could search for ‘Barbie’ and block access to all content that relates to this, or you can just select a single app, video or book to block.
Although all content is safe for kids, there are some occasional issues with Kids Unlimited’s categorisation.
I had an isue where Maths Bingo was categorised as entertainment, rather than educational, and was therefore blocked until my six-year-old had used educational apps for 15 minutes. In her case, the educational app she chose was a game where she could paint nail varnish on a giraffe.
Maths Bingo has since be recategorised, but it highlights that the system isn’t always perfect. Annoyingly, you can’t manually re-categorise apps, and have to wait for Amazon to do the job.
You can monitor everything your children are up to through the Amazon Parent Portal website, seeing which books, videos, websites and apps they used, and how long they used each for. Usefully, you can control daily time limits from the portal and even lock a device to prevent it from being used.
Alexa is built into the tablet, and you can even turn on hands-free mode, so the voice assistant will respond to all requests. Unless you want your kids turning your smart devices on and off when they’re alone with their tablets, I recommend disabling this feature.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition – Performance
A MediaTek 1.8GHz quad-core CPU and 2GB of RAM are a decent combination for the price, handling pretty much all kids apps without issue. Faster tablets are available, but it’s unlikely that children will need anything more powerful than what’s on offer.
The Kids Edition tablet comes with 32GB of storage, which provides a fair amount of room for games, apps, photos and offline videos, but more generous options would be nice. A microSD card slot lets you expand storage by up to 256GB.
By default, Fire OS is set to save videos and photos, plus supported apps, to the SD card. In my experience, there are a fair number of apps that don’t support SD card installation. When the storage fills up, you have to manually manage it, removing apps and other files.
‘Dolby Audio’ is built in, which doesn’t mean a huge amount: volume and sound quality are fine for games and videos, but this tablet isn’t going to blow you away. Fortunately, there’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack, so your kids can entertain themselves quietly.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition – Camera
The tablet has a 2-megapixel camera at the rear – which doesn’t have a flash – and a VGA front-facing unit. Photo and video quality is poor and outclassed by the competition, but it can still be fun for kids to shoot their own video and take photos. Big buttons and a super-simple interface make using the camera easy for kids.
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Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition – Battery life
Battery life is quoted at around 10 hours from a charge, and our experience playing back video with the screen set to half brightness backs that up. That’s a decent amount of time, and should get you through even the longest journey.
Charging time, at around five hours, is quite long. I recommend keeping the tablet topped up overnight so that the Fire HD 10 Kids Edition is ready to go when your kids need it.
Why buy the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition?
Fire OS is a little too limiting for a tablet aimed at adults; here, on the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition, the OS is exceptionally powerful for adults. Having complete control over what your kids can and can’t do gives you far more confidence in handing over a tablet to a child.
With the tough case, extended warranty and a year’s subscription to Kids Unlimited, the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition is a great choice for older children who need a larger, more powerful tablet.
For younger kids, this large tablet may be slightly unwieldy to hold. The cheaper, smaller and slightly-less-powerful Fire HD 8 Kids Edition could be a better choice.
A bigger, more powerful tablet for kids that need it – but the smaller 8-inch model may be better for younger children