The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is Amazon's newest tablet for kids, but far from its first – the online retail giant has been making chunky, colourful, affordable tablets aimed at youngsters for several years now, and it seems to have got very good at it along the way.
This new 8-inch model replaces the old 8-inch model, with a faster processor, more memory, and longer battery life, plus an update to support USB-C charging at the same time – so the newer chargers you already have lying around should work with it.
The single 32GB storage option remains the same, which should be enough room for you and your kids, but if you need more you can slot in a memory card. It's essentially the standard 2020 version of the Fire HD 8 tablet, with a chunky colourful case on top.
On the software side, there are also tweaks: you can set up profiles for your children very easily, and the tablet comes with a wide range of apps, games and other content suitable for your youngsters. Read on for our complete Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition review.
Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition review: screen and design
One of the features that hasn't changed from the previous Fire HD 8 Kids Edition (or the previous Fire HD 8) is the screen – that stays at an 8-inch, 800 x 1280 pixel LCD display, which isn't the best in the world but does everything that it needs to. If you want a super-sharp, super-bright, gorgeous-looking panel, then you can buy an iPad Pro; for something for the kids to play around with, there's this.
It's perfectly fine, and the same can be said of the rest of the tablet's design. The move to USB-C is a welcome one, as of all the chargers and cables we've got lying around the house, there are far more USB-C ones nowadays. The bezels are a bit on the thick side for 2020 standards, but it doesn't really matter – you get exactly what you pay for, which is a cheap and solid tablet for the kids.
The biggest design difference when you buy a Kids Edition tablet is the thick, rubbery casing you get – yours in blue, pink or purple – and it's really one of the strengths of this tablet. It'll take all kinds of knocks and drops, it keeps kids' sticky fingers off the hardware itself, and it comes with a really useful kickstand built in (something we wish the grown-up Fire HD tablets had, actually).
Amazon is continuing its very generous offer to replace your tablet for free, no questions asked, if your children manage to break it within the first two years. You'd have to be really trying to manage to break this, but the guarantee adds some extra peace of mind, just in case anything happens. Overall, it's once again hard to fault anything about the design of the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition.
Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition review: performance and features
You wouldn't expect the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition to break any performance records or come packed with features – its appeal lies in other areas, like the one year subscription to Fire for Kids Unlimited that comes with the tablet. That subscription (normally £1.99 a month) gives you access to a wealth of content across movies, TV shows, apps and games, and in our time with it seems to be a great deal – there's stuff here from CBeebies, Disney, Nickelodeon and more.
Setting up a child account on the tablet is very straightforward, and you can specify the child's age so that relevant content is organised and promoted. Switch back to the adult account, which requires a PIN, and you can use the tablet just like a standard Fire 8 HD (with Amazon Prime Video, the web and so on). It's all very simple and straightforward, and we think most kids will have a great time with this tablet.
Do bear in mind that as good as the Fire for Kids Unlimited deal is, it does tie you to another subscription once the free year expires – and it's also worth noting that the Amazon App Store is not quite as well stocked as the Apple or Google equivalent. Depending on the age of your child, it might be worth considering the options before you go with Amazon, with iPads particularly good when it comes to parental controls (they're also more expensive of course).
Amazon claims 12 hours of "reading, browsing the web, watching video and listening to music", and in our one-hour video streaming test the battery level dropped from 100 percent to 91 percent – that roughly works out as a little over 11 hours of battery life, so it sounds as though Amazon is about right in its claims. You won't have to stop to charge this tablet during the day.
Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition review: price and verdict
If you're looking to get your younger kids an electronic gadget that will keep them entertained, you can't really go wrong with the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition. It's packed with content, the parental controls are simple to understand and apply, and the rubber casing is perfect to protect the tablet from any accidents that might happen. The two-year warranty really sweetens the deal, as does the one-year subscription you get to Fire for Kids Unlimited.
While it's fair to say that the choice of apps and games is greater on iPads and Android tablets, most kids won't notice the difference – especially younger kids – and when you factor in the low price of the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, you can see why this continues to be an appealing choice for parents. With more than 5,000 apps and games to pick from, your children won't get bored quickly.
Part of the appeal here is the way that you can just set up a child profile on the device and then configure the parental controls as much or as little as you need to – your youngster is put in a safe, self-contained environment that they can't get out of without your PIN code. If you need to, you can set limits in terms of screen time, or set goals in terms of spending time inside educational apps
The small spec bumps that have been applied to this 2020 edition of the tablet ensure that apps run without any problems, and the device keeps everything that made the previous editions so popular – you can even switch to your own account and use it as a normal Amazon tablet, if you want to. For most youngsters and most parents, this is the kids tablet you should be buying.