in this video we are checking out the recently refreshed line of Amazon’s fired tablets. The Fire 7, the Fire HD8 and the Fire 7 kids edition, all now supporting Amazon’s Alexa. If you’re even a little familiar with Amazon’s Fire tablets, you know that these fall into the budget category. The Fire 7 comes in at just $49.99, the Fire HD8 sells for $79.99 and the fire seven kids edition will set you back about a hundred bucks. There’s also a Fire HD8 kids edition that was recently refreshed that I don’t have here and that’s the most expensive of the bunch at $129.99. Obviously, at these price points the fire tablets are not meant to compete with the likes of the iPad or Galaxy Tab or anything like that. They are the entry-level bare-bones budget tablets that are supposed to give the average user just enough to work with. And as always if you’re interested in learning more about any of the tablets in this video or purchasing one for yourself, I’ll have links to everything down in the video description. But without further ado let’s go ahead and get into it.
To start off this is the Fire 7 and the name kind of gives it away. This tablet rocks a 7 inch IPS display which is slightly upgraded from the last generation of Fire 7 tablet yielding higher contrasts, sharper text and just generally a little better viewing experience overall. Amazon also made the updated Fire 7 tablet a little lighter about half an ounce lighter and a millimeter thinner too. Not something you’d immediately notice as this tablet is pretty light and very easy to hold already but it’s never a bad idea to shed some of the bulk. Aside from that, everything else on this iteration of the 7 looks pretty much the same. You’ve got the power and volume buttons up top along with the charging port and headphone jack; SD card slot on the side for up to 256 gigabytes of expandable storage and the same plastic housing that’s meant to be more durable than pretty. And if yellow isn’t your thing, you can get black, blue or red instead. There’s also a small speaker around back that sounds good enough for what it is. All of Amazon’s tablets run Fire OS 5 which is essentially Android 5.0 with some heavy Amazon specific skins and modifications. To power everything, underneath the hood you’ll find the same ARM cortex A7 processor clocked at 1.3 gigahertz that came with last year’s tablet along with one gigabyte of RAM. Certainly good enough specs for basic web browsing, reading, using some apps and just general light casual usage. And while the official battery capacity isn’t necessarily advertised, Amazon states that the Fire 7 should get around eight hours of battery life.
Now if the Fire 7 isn’t quite enough tablet for you, the Fire HD8 is bigger and better in more ways than one, Visually everything is more or less identical to the 7 when it comes to build quality buttons and things like that. But the HD8 offers an 8 inch HD display, 1.3 gigahertz quad-core processor, 1.5 gigabytes of RAM and Dolby audio. So comparably you’re getting a bit more in pretty much every department with the HD8. And four just a little more money, I personally find the HD8 to be a great deal overall. And if you’re deciding between the two, I really think the HD8 is the way to go for sure. For not that much more money, you’re getting a bigger and better screen, a bit better internals and noticeably better tablet all the way around. Of course along with the refreshed hardware specs, one of the other noticeable new features for the Fire tablets this year is Amazon Alexa support. Think Siri on the iPad or Google assistant on Android devices, Amazon’s Alexa can do a lot of different things. Alexa is launched by tapping and holding the home button. There’s no hands-free voice activation support or anything like that but Alexa can do most of the things you might be familiar with already if you used an Echo before. Alexa can check the weather, give sports scores, read off your calendar or news headlines, play music and a whole bunch of other things.
Personally while it’s great that Amazon Alexa is now off feature on these Fire tablets; Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, these voice assistants are just not something I use very often. However I know a lot of people can really utilize these services every day so I know this is a welcome addition for those people. Generally speaking both of Fire 7 and Fire HD8 are good tablets for the sub $100 price point they come in at. But like anything in the budget category there are some limitations with these devices. The hardware like I mentioned is good enough but Fire OS 5 out of the box lacks support for the Google Play Store for example. You’re limited to installing apps using only Amazon’s App Store which doesn’t really have the greatest or most up-to-date selection of apps. With that being said though you can go out of your way to install the Google Play Store since fire OS 5 is essentially just Android 5.0 and I’ll leave a link on-screen if you want to learn how to do that. But keep in mind the Amazon App Store apps are optimized to run on the Fire devices and anything beyond that might not be so smooth given the tablet’s limitations. With all that being said, I know I’ve harped on the Fire tablets shortcomings but all in all I think these devices are some of the best budget tablets you can get at any price point. Like I said earlier they aren’t meant to compete with the top-of-the-line tablets. They simply standalone as essentially really good, really usable budget devices with good specs, smooth software and an overall great value for the cost.
I do want to go over the kids edition of these tablets for just a minute to sort of give the complete overview of the entire Fire line up. The kids edition comes in both the 7 and HD 8 versions and the first obvious difference with the kids edition is that massive case that houses the tablet itself. You get a big thick cushy, foam type case which serves a purpose that I feel is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a tablet aim for kids, so this case is going to help protect the already pretty durable tablet from everyday drops and spills. But if anything does happen to the tablet, if it cracks or breaks, Amazon offers a two-year guarantee, free replacements, no questions asked which is pretty awesome. On the software side, the kids Edition tablet has the ability to set up specific kid profiles that not only support Amazon’s free time service which consists of 15,000 popular apps and games, videos, ebooks and education content from kid-friendly companies like PBS, Disney and Nickelodeon which by the way is free for a year when you buy this tablet. But parents also have the ability to dive into some deep parental controls and settings to keep track of all kinds of usage. Parents can monitor and filter content, set up specific times the tablet is available to be used, filters of course. And parents can even go through and individually add or delete certain content from the tablet. The software is incredibly flexible and can pretty much cater to the needs and expectations of any parent to ensure a child is using the tablet properly, free from inappropriate content.
Aside from the deep software editions and the big foam case, the kids edition of the Amazon tablets are pretty much identical to the standard versions both on the inside and out. With that being said you are paying more but with that extra cost comes a two-year guarantee, the big foam case, a free year of free time and the peace of mind knowing that the tablet can be filtered free from anything you don’t want the kids to see. So there you have it, those are the new refreshed Amazon fire tablets for 2017.