Why You Shouldn’t Buy an Amazon Fire Tablet for Your Kids
Whatsapp Pinterest
Advertisement

Are your kids happy with the Amazon Fire tablet? Perhaps you’re thinking about buying one. Here’s why you shouldn’t, and why existing owners should move their children onto a real tablet.

Is the Amazon Fire Tablet for Kids Worth It?

Amazon’s Fire 7 tablet and the child-focused Amazon Fire 7 Kids (essentially the same device, separated only by a kid-proof case and different return policies) are popular devices for children. Their low prices makes them great gifts.

Your first impression is likely that this is a competent device that can play games, music, audiobooks, and videos. The eight-hour battery is a bit of a bonus, too. However, as time goes on, you find yourself fixing annoying problems with the tablet, checking for solutions online, and regularly turning it off and back on again.

Oh, and it probably lags too—a lot. And while this happens, your child is falling out of love with the device, bit by bit.

12 Months With Two Amazon Fire Tablets for Kids

I bought my children (boy and girl twins) a pair of Amazon Fire 7 tablets, each equipped with a rubber foam case. The devices cost just $50 each (less on Prime Day or other special deal events). My kids were, of course, instantly delighted. But soon the problems started.

Fire 7 Tablet Fire 7 Tablet Buy Now On Amazon

It wasn’t long before the tablets had run out of internal storage. After a week of installing games and taking photos, we noticed the problem—just hours before we had to leave for vacation.

As we mainly intended the tablets as in-car entertainment for the children, this was not ideal.

Child using an Amazon Fire tablet

Since then, I’ve bought two high-capacity microSD cards, initiated four factory resets, and uninstalled more games than I can count. Oh, and then there’s the endless tapping of the move to SD card button.

Twelve months of restarts, closing unresponsive games, battling with Wi-Fi drops, performing factory resets, and children crying because their tablet has decided not to launch their favorite game… it’s not good, and it leaves a bad experience.

Kids want more from their tech. So do adults.

Insufficient RAM for Multitasking on a Kids’ Tablet

Buried within the “2x more durable than an iPad mini 4” tablet is a 1.3GHz quad-core CPU accompanied by 1GB of RAM. A single gigabyte of memory is laughable.

My smartphone has 4GB of RAM. Even the Amazon Fire HD 8 has 1.5GB of RAM. Sure, these are more expensive devices, but 1GB is utterly paltry for a device that’s supposed to be capable of running apps and games from the Amazon Appstore.

Girl using a tablet
Image credit Kristyna Petrikova/Flickr

In short, there are titles in the store that demand more from the hardware. You can install games that push the very limits of what your device can handle. But after your child plays one of them, they’ll download and play another, and perhaps another.

Within half an hour, they’ll have three or more games are running. Some are lightweight, while others demand more resources. Either way, multitasking grinds to a halt, along with the tablet.

And children under 10 won’t bother closing inactive apps. They want to have the ability to switch back to them in a few minutes when they get bored with game number two or three.

The Default Storage Space Is a Joke

The Fire Tablet’s RAM is low; its default storage is another problem. With just 16GB to play with, if you don’t want to run out, you have three options:

  1. Don’t install large games and apps.
  2. Don’t download any movies from Amazon.
  3. Buy a compatible microSD card 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a MicroSD Card 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a MicroSD Card Buying MicroSD cards may seem simple, but here are a few critical mistakes to avoid if you don't want to regret your purchase. Read More and add more capacity.

This last option might not seem too bad (see below) but the other two can prove troublesome. As we’ll see later, games take up space both as downloaded files and as installed programs.

Meanwhile, children love watching movies in the back of the car. You can downloaded these from Amazon Instant Video or synced from your PC. Streaming is an option, but not practical in the car.

But prepare too many movies for your little ones to watch, and you’ll quickly run out of space for other media and games.

As you can see, it’s all a bit tricky. Fortunately it’s possible to regain storage on the Amazon Fire Tablet How to Regain Storage Space on a Full Amazon Fire Tablet: 9 Key Tips How to Regain Storage Space on a Full Amazon Fire Tablet: 9 Key Tips The Amazon Fire Tablet doesn't have much internal storage space. Here's how to reclaim free space on a full Amazon Fire tablet. Read More , but it takes a bit of work.

Online Checks for Games Are Frustrating

This problem came as a shock.

On a different trip later in the year, we found that some newly installed games would simply not play. Why not? Well, the error message for one advised that the title’s “license expired,” and it blocked the game from running.

All you can do to fix this is connect to the internet, which isn’t exactly straightforward when you’re driving a car.

Now, we had two Amazon Fire tablets for our kids, but only one Amazon account. Other titles run on the tablets without any trouble—often the same game at the same time. Researching the error, I discovered that the problem is often linked to duplicate instances of the same title running, but this is sadly inconsistent.

In short, it’s a lottery whether or not games (as well as books and audiobooks) will run. Whether you’re playing free or paid games, this simply isn’t good enough.

Games That Won’t Install to the SD Card

Because Fire OS is based on an old version of Android, it struggles with games that run from the SD card. You can’t automatically install them to the expanded storage. However, you can move them to your microSD card later.

SD card slot on an Amazon Fire tablet

Installing too many games that you can’t put on the SD card is a problem. It means that you won’t even be able to download games that you’d otherwise be able to move.

This can often result in you, as a parent, getting involved with uninstalling games, trying to download that one awesome new title, failing, and repeating the process.

Many Problems Require a Factory Reset

As it’s building low-spec tablets on a massive scale, Amazon is no doubt aware of its product’s shortcomings. So it probably doesn’t care that its most popular device is basically impossible to use without a jigsaw puzzle-approach to installing apps and games.

After all, the company’s most popular response to support issues is to instruct users to initiate a factory reset. Sure, it makes everything fresh again, but it’s a massive pain, especially for children. All their games are gone after the reset, and usually the progress they’ve made disappears too.

A full reset is the instruction I received when complaining that the Wi-Fi on one of our Fires would disconnect of its own accord. Seriously, that’s the fix—because there is no competent tech support for these units.

A factory reset is only a temporary solution to a deeper issue. As long as the Amazon Fire remains a low-end device, Junior will continue getting frustrated by games that won’t install to the SD card, online checks, low RAM, and a generally sluggish operating system.

And Then There Are Privacy Concerns

Giving credit where it’s due, the Amazon Fire ships with a good parental control tool. But this seems like a bit of an afterthought when there are so many issues with ads on the device.

We’ve previously looked at how to (attempt to) control privacy and ads on the Amazon Fire How to Make Your Amazon Fire Tablet Look Like Stock Android How to Make Your Amazon Fire Tablet Look Like Stock Android If you're sick of Amazon's tweaked version of Android, don't worry! You can make your Fire tablet look just like stock Android. Read More . If you’ve already spent a few minutes looking at how to deal with these issues, you’re probably loathe to spend more time closing unused games or trying to get the tablet back online. In short, the Amazon Fire experience needs to be better for your child—and better for you.

You’re a Parent, Not a Techie!

If you think that everything you just read is okay, that’s fine. You’re the parent; it’s your call how much time you waste dealing with these problems on behalf of your child. But let’s be honest: there’s nothing simple about the Amazon Fire experience for children.

Don't let Amazon Fire tablet problems upset your child
Image Credit: Firesam! via Flickr

We’re well into the 21st century at this point. Little ones have been born into a world of compact, digital technology. The TV has hundreds of channels that they can call up via the remote control.

Your child sees you on your iPad or high-end Android or Windows tablet and sees that it just works.

So why is their tablet struggling to load a game? Why won’t their audiobook play? How come it needs to check online whether the game you bought just last week has permission to load? And isn’t it a pain when you’re three hours from home, hoping the tablet will entertain your child, only to find that all these problems arise in quick succession?

You’re the mom or dad. You’re probably not a tech expert. Other tasks are waiting in your house—you need to get dinner ready, or mow the lawn, or sort the laundry out.

So what’s the answer? If not the Amazon Fire, which tablet should you choose for your children?

Three Alternatives to the Amazon Fire Kids Tablet

Thankfully, you have several affordable alternatives to the Fire tablet. We’ll be honest—they’re not as cheap as the Amazon Fire kids tablet. After all, that device is essentially a portal into the Amazon ecosystem, manufactured on-demand by the massive Amazon machine.

Really, it’s not just a low-spec tablet; it’s a cash cow.

However, these non-Amazon Fire tablets aren’t strictly tablets for kids. Thus, you’ll need to install some parental control software to keep a close eye on what they do. You’ll probably also want to secure your Google Play (or Apple App Store) account so that your kids can’t make accidental purchases. We’ve shown even more steps you can take to kid-proof a Fire tablet How to Set Up a Kid-Friendly Amazon Fire Tablet How to Set Up a Kid-Friendly Amazon Fire Tablet If your children use an Amazon Fire tablet, you should make it safe for them to use. Here's how to prevent purchases and more. Read More .

However, the performance your little ones will get from these 8-inch tablets will be largely headache-free, especially if they want a tablet for reading.

1. ASUS ZenPad 8

ASUS ZenPad 8 ASUS ZenPad 8 Buy Now On Amazon $183.65

This tablet has 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and a 1.3GHz CPU. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow. However, you’ll notice that the ASUS ZenPad 8 is quite expensive for a child-friendly tablet. This is certainly not one for younger kids!

2. Huawei Mediapad T3

Huawei Mediapad T3 Huawei Mediapad T3 Buy Now On Amazon $149.95

Available with 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, and a quad-core 1.4GHz, the Huawei Mediapad T3 is preinstalled with Android 7 Nougat. It features a 5MP rear camera and an HD IPS display.

3. iPad Mini

iPad Mini iPad Mini Buy Now On Amazon $519.00

If money is no object, you might opt for a premium tablet. The latest iPad Mini is clearly an expensive option, but cheaper and older models are available with less storage.

What Does Your Child Think of Their Amazon Fire?

12 months in, my largely undemanding children are becoming fed up with the limitations of the Amazon Fire. They’re not hardcore gamers—they just want to be entertained and diverted on long journeys.

I’ve identified the major problems we’ve encountered with the Amazon Fire. But it’s entirely possible that there are more. Of course, it’s not a completely useless device. Check our unofficial Amazon Fire tablet manual Your Unofficial Amazon Fire Tablet Manual Your Unofficial Amazon Fire Tablet Manual The Amazon Fire tablet is a great alternative to the basic E-Ink Kindle e-readers, while offering compelling new features more akin to a tablet. Its small size and flexibility makes it the top choice. Read More to ensure yours is correctly set up.

Explore more about: Amazon Kindle Fire, Android Tablet, Buying Tips, .

Enjoyed this article? Stay informed by joining our newsletter!

Enter your Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Kblank
    May 6, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    All this, yes! Horrible product. My son & I both hate it. And I DID spend plenty of time researching it before I bought it.

  2. dragonmouth
    April 25, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    CAVEAT EMPTOR!
    You did not do your due diligence. Had you done so, you would have discovered the shortcomings you mention before spending the money. You went for the price rather than the specs.

    As to the other parents, they spend more time researching a purchase of toothpaste or a coffee-maker or a TV than they spend on researching an educational toy for their children.

    Have you done your due diligence on the three devices you recommend instead of the Fire? You complain bitterly that "The (fire) Default Storage Space Is a Joke" but the three alternatives you recommend come with the same 16 GB as the Fire.

    • Chris
      April 26, 2019 at 1:50 am

      Agree. This article reads as a dump on a product rather than a review. Attacking with emotion seems to lack power that a strong compare and contrast would have.

  3. Chris
    February 1, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    We've had a Kids Fire 7 for 2 years and while it does run out of space, that's to be expected if you actually bothered to check the specs of the device to begin with. I knew from the beginning that my little one was probably going fill that up in no time. The thing is, instead of doing everything for them, I showed her how to remove unwanted apps herself, explained to her that if she wants to download something new, she has to get rid of some of the old stuff. Teaching them how to look after and maintain their own tech' stuff is a good thing. She used it for everything from reading, drawing and watching videos to games like minecraft without issue.

    Since she is now a bit older this Christmas we bought her the 32GB Kids Fire 10 and a cheap 128GB SSD, transferred the backup from the 7 to get it set up easily without losing anything and she loves it even more, it's more powerful than the smaller version and, obviously, has more space. Even so, kids can get carried away and she's already started to fill it up with games, apps and video's. The good thing though is that she already knows what to do to look after it. So I would perhaps suggest to the author of the article they try teaching their child to actually use the Kindle, rather than just leaving them to play games/watch stuff on it, I'd also try teaching them not to whine and moan because something doesn't work the way they want, and to look for a solution instead.

  4. Robyn
    January 21, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Thank you for writing this article. I thought I was going crazy. These things are utter garbage and what makes it worse, there’s little to no help from Amazon on how to address the storage issues. I purchased two of these horrid things. My husband wanted to purchase the IPad mini’s for our kids, but I thought that was too extravagant (let’s build up to that - right?). I wasted countless hours trying to fix the storage issues and I’m at the point now, where I’m about to toss them in the trash. We’re getting the mini’s.

  5. Henley
    January 13, 2019 at 12:40 am

    My son received a kids version of the Kindle about two years ago. He's now 4 and navigates it seamlessly and seems to enjoy it for the most part.

    But I effing hate this thing.

    It's the single most piece of garbage tech I've ever seen in my entire life. Someone said these are built very well and the issues mentioned are "issues with Android" in general. This is simply NOT true and I don't care what sort of background in IT (let alone child development) you have.

    This tablet is pathetic. The battery life has always been bad but just recently, like the last two months, my son will put his tablet down with nothing running in the background and come back two hours later to a tablet that goes from 68% to 14%. THAT IS PATHETIC! Especially since it's marketed towards children and marketed as having an exceptional battery life. His tablet barely lasts through the day now.

    I'm thinking about investing in an ipad for him at this point. At least I'd know he'd get a quality product with quality battery life.

  6. Steve
    December 30, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Many of your issues with the Fire tablets are issues with Android and yet you recommend androids with hardly better specs as alternatives. You'll still run out of space and memory with them.

    The fire tablets are extremely good value and very well built. I agree that very young children shouldn't be using them as a surrogate parent which I've seen a lot. Sticking a child in front of a screen with thousands of apps of questionable educational qualities is not good. Yes I have kids. Yes they have tablets (they are older and their usage is monitored). Yes I studied child development. Yes I've spent decades working with IT.

    I think I've reset their tablets once (if that) in the time we've had them. I check the devices to see how they are doing regularly and more importantly what the kids are doing with them. I've also explained the limitations of the device to them.

    Anyway, each to their own, but just giving any android tablet to young kids and then leaving them to it is going to end up with a full machine and problems. A bit of time spent with them explaining the limitations of it and helping them use it will save a lot of frustration for all involved later.

  7. M
    December 7, 2018 at 11:30 am

    I purchased a kindle fire for my 9 year old daughter and I'm not surprised to read this article. We don't want the tablet to be a "tablet" - we want it to be an E-READER, and it isn't even adequate for that. The free-time unlimited subscription meant that the tablet was loaded with highly branded and low-quality books, and my daughter couldn't find the books she actually wanted to read. (there are some good books included in free-time unlimited, but they are buried behind the ones branded by disney or nickelodeon, etc). First I set the age filter higher and higher, and I kept waiting for more substantial books at her actual reading level to appear...instead, what appeared was just more violent books. Sigh. We finally turned off the free-time unlimited subscription so she could find the books she wanted, and half the time it won't let her load the books onto the tablet. (almost like they want you to use it with the advertising-based subscription service in place...). There are no apps, games, or videos on the tablet - only books and audio books - and it's out of storage. We made an international move and this was purchased so she could have as many books as she wanted in her native language, and I am very frustrated with how badly it works for that.

  8. Tasha
    November 29, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    I had a completely opposite experience. I purchased a Fire HD 10 tablet for my 4 year old after his leapfrog tablet stopped charging. I put a cheap SD card in it and have had zero issues. I even downloaded the google play store on it and run android apps on it with no issues. My son loves to watch the YouTube kids app and play all the Lego games with no issues. I've never had to factory reset or manually shut down anything.

    We are actually on our 2nd Fire tablet since we took the first one camping in June and someone stepped on it in the tent, completely shattering the screen. We mailed it back to Amazon with a prepaid label and got a new one in less than 2 weeks without any hassles under the warranty.

    • Henley
      January 13, 2019 at 1:05 am

      You purchased a NORMAL Fire HD 10 tablet, not one of the childs Kindle Fires. That's why you have none of the issues we've had and are able to use the Google Play store.

  9. Tim Tanner
    October 23, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    Good article!

    Each of my 2 kids had one of these pieces of junk. I was sick and tired of factory resets, reboots, internet checks, out of memory, random lose of apps, random loss of everything on the SD card even, week wifi reach, etc.. Both of my kids tablets had been replaced under warranty and the new ones worked just as poorly.

    I bought my kids each a $40 iTel smart phone and installed Google Family Link (free) and have had a happy family and tech experience. From my phone or table I have full control of what my kids can see and do, screen time control, usage limits, On hours control including remote shut-down, ratings, messaging etc.

    My kids get access to Google Play, movies, Youtube, and much much more all with limits I can control remotely. I'm not a tech guy, and all I did was follow Googles directions. Seriously $40 one time expense and a nearly tech problem free family. No more factory resets, no data loss, and I'm using the SD cards from the Fires in the smartphones and they work fine there.

    You don't have to go as cheap as I did with the device, but NOT buying an Amazon Fire Kids Edition would be a smart move.

  10. Math
    October 9, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    It's about £50 what do you expect it's great value for money , I have the fire hd7 and it's very good built in Alexa loads of kids apps the storage thing isn't great as there's no SD card slot but it's fine most with these tablets have prime so the photos and vids are backed up so you can delete from the device . It's definitely worth it's money and very good for kids. I can't disagree more from what you've said.

  11. Math
    October 9, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    The tablet is about £50 what do you expect!! It great value for money , I have the fire hd7 and it's great not the best but it is worth £50 !

  12. Rhett
    September 19, 2018 at 2:58 am

    Perhaps your child is too old for it. Ours has had a Fire for Kids HD8 since she was about 20 months old - about 9 months now.

    She is majorly rough on it. She throws it around all the time, often on hard floors. She routinely stands on it, jumps on it, and I often have to wash food off of the display.

    It has withstood all of that without a problem.

    Since the initial set up, I've never had to do anything with it other than force a power down restart now and then. Yes, the software is a little flaky. Sometimes, a video will get stuck playing.

    But, over 9 months, she has found and used tons of apps and watched many, many videos and I have never had to help her, give any instructions on how to play any game, or been disturbed by any content she found. I have been pleasantly surprised that she has gravitated to the learning activities and enjoys almost no pure entertainment games. The puzzles seem to be her favorite.

    All in all, sure, there are glitches, but I've seen no better offering.

  13. Cyraxdiaz
    August 30, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Just got a fire8 for my oldest daughter and we are planning to give it to her for her birthday, I have never been a fan of tablets and cellphones being the sole source of entertainment so if the tablet performance is as crappy as you say, i think I will be ok with that.

  14. Krysta
    August 23, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    I stumbled upon your post because my DD's fire7 will no longer open Minecraft.. I have deleted soooo many apps...
    I really don't want to factory reset but it is looking like it.. sigh..
    I want to set the thing on fire. We have had it 8 mo..

  15. Jules
    July 11, 2018 at 4:23 am

    We're on our 2nd Fire in 2 years. The 7" one isn't great, I'll admit that. Mainly storage issues.

    But the HD 8 with 32gigs of internal storage is great. My kid is 4 and has no trouble navigating it and doesn't run into any issues. 90-95% of the time the problem is with the application more so than the tablet. The parental controls work very well. The battery life is plenty. From 100% the device can get easily a week's worth of use or more of limited supervised use (I won't get into parenting and using this as a babysitter here...).

    This isn't mean to be a bleeding edge tablet. It's a cheap device for a kid to use every now and then.

    A couple notes though. First off never buy the Freetime subscription. At the time of me writing this it's $83 / yr as a prime member. A Kid's Echo Dot is $79.99 and includes a year of Freetime also. So either get the kid a new Fire every other year for $130 or pick up a Kid's Echo Dot below the cost of the actual subscription.

    The other note is, I really wish Amazon would develop a video chat app with heavy parental controls where you could limit the individuals the kid could talk to (Grandma/Grandpa/Cousins/Friends that you ok).

    So ultimately for it's purpose the device is great. But, on the other hand, I am a techie.

  16. Gerr
    January 31, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    It was the first tablet that I bought for the price and not the specs. BIG mistake. I will not buy any Amazon hardware and the reason for that is that it does not play well with other hardware. Their Fire HD 8 is a perfect example. Why does it have to have it's own operating system? Android not good enough? No, the answer is that Amazon wants you in their universe and does not want you to step over the line into other areas.
    Amazon sole purpose for me is to buy other products, not their hardware. So I won't be buying their speakers or another tablet.

  17. Laurence
    January 21, 2018 at 9:57 pm

    Something else very important.... we have Amazon Prime so have music unlimited. My kids are starting to be interested in music so the amazon service on a fire tablet is ideal. But no! Amazon is always stream EXPLICIT songs and there’s no way to disable them! So amazon music on the fire is a no no if you got kids.

    • Kyan
      December 9, 2018 at 9:12 pm

      Amazon music does have an explicit filter. If you click on the three dots in the corner and hit settings, it’s a toggle switch at the top.

  18. Fred Johnson
    December 30, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    I got this for my child last year and have not had any issues at all. It has been great both at home and when we need to sit in a doctor's waiting room, etc. The battery seems to last forever. It never lags and I child has downloaded everything under the sun and still has plenty of space on it.
    Highly recommended.

    • ben
      January 26, 2018 at 3:46 pm

      Wow, this is the first time I've heard this from a Kindle owner. As someone who's been gifted 4 over the last 3 years, I can assure you that this is not the normal experience. I'm actually trying to figure out how this is possible with how the Kindle/Free time/Parental controls are set up. My child fills a 32GB Kindle in a week with the nearly 2000 apps that are available to them to install at any time without permission. I've also not found a way to restrict app installation at all besides individually blocking every one of the 1800 apps (one tap each. Yes, I've done it, trying to get control of the Kindle. Didn't work). So I'm inclined to say that this is an Amazon friendly comment or an incredibly strange edge case that is not the experience you should expect.

      • dragonmouth
        April 25, 2019 at 3:46 pm

        Having more storage is not going to help matters. It might even exacerbate the problem. Nature abhors vacuum. It is only human nature to want to fill up all the available space, whether on a computer, a tablet or in an attic. How about teaching your child the virtues of restraint? Just because the apps available does not mean that they have to be ALL downloaded. Exercise some control over your child. Delete all but 100 or 200. Does the kid really need and use all of them? Be a parent. Don't just hand them a tablet and leave them to their own devices.

  19. Hannah Baker
    December 19, 2017 at 6:28 am

    We have had similar issues. We bought them for our move to Australia to keep them happy on the long plane ride. I installed games but even on the plane (the first time they used them) some games uninstalled themselves after being played once. With no wifi we couldn't download anymore. This was very frustrating for them as they had just been given this new device which basically wasn't usable. A year on and we have more and more issues with them. Now ALL the apps are gone and it's says 'ask a parent about apps'. No idea what this means. The only way we use it is through the parental screen so they watch videos that we have paid for and downloaded so more money spent! Now one of them won't connect to the wifi (authentication problem). I am currently doing a factory reset with the hopes of them being able to use them on 3 week trip we are going on. I'm not too hopeful though. I know they weren't too expensive but I expect them to be able to do basic things like keep a few games on them for my kids to play. I would not recommend them at all and I am looking at alternatives. Amazon have been no help either.

  20. Wes
    August 1, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    Last year I got this Fire 7 tablet for xmass. With in minutes I rooted it, and installed a custom ROM (new OS), and have been happy! Now I do not play games, but I have a few for my kids. Yes if you are a little bit techy it helps but the youtube vids show you all you need to make this a great tablet. I travel from time to time for work, and lod it up with movies, and music and the battery lasts at least 6 hrs.

    Now with the new version you can not root them any more, so getting and older one is key.

    • Christian Cawley
      August 3, 2017 at 8:15 am

      Hi Wes -- which ROM did you use? I have been planning this for a while, but ran into problems with the boot unlock on one of the devices, discouraging me from continuing.

      And I write this as someone who installed Android on old Windows Mobiles and the HP Touchpad hundreds of times via eBay, and have only had one phone I never flashed (Sony Xperia z5)

    • Diego
      July 17, 2019 at 5:50 pm

      Wes, Mediatek processors models MT8127, MT8163, MT8173 found on these tablets (and probably many other models) contains a vulnerability in their BootROM and are open to bootloader unlock, thus all tablets using these processors can be rooted & unlocked and a different ROM (firmware) can turn them usable. You can install Android L on them and somehow give them a new life. This however don't turn them gold they are still trash. My 2 cents.

  21. Light
    July 28, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    I use it for myself. Yes, it's slow. But it's just a machine for Google Chrome, reading comics and... not much else really. I've got a standard set of Apps installed - my obligatory Swiftey, some Google Drive software to do minor editing on the go, my newspaper, Goodreads, Spotify and all my usual media Apps, a few emulators, OneNote, LastPass, Fender Tune, Perfect Ear and Songsterr. No, I'm not a gamer. Yes, this tablet sucks. Yes, this tablet is also exceptional if you consider the price. No, don't give it to a child. Yes, buy it if you know what you're doing. As a mere extension to your monchrome Kindle, it's a fantastic addition to your collection.

  22. armakuni
    July 25, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    My kids share a Kindle Fire 6. I got it cheap as Amazon Warehouse deal, and it was meant as an experiment, if it would go well with my kids.
    I like it, that I can define more than one profile. I like that I can define the usage, how much they can play a day.
    I don't like, that Amazon FreeTime (I didn't try Unlimited) is so ugly to configure.
    Every app will be stored multiple times on the device, if you use more profiles. Actually, this Kindle has 4 profiles: my two kids, me (for config) and a music profile.
    As this device has NO MicroSD card slot, the internal memory is the biggest limit.
    As my daughter began to take photos and videos with the Kindle, the trouble began.
    The only option it has is to upload everything into the cloud. Not an option for me.
    But it is impossible to access her data with my profile. In my profile I could use tools like ES File Explorer, which I use for transfering data to our home server. Therefore I need to install this tool in HER profile, but I could hide the symbol from the app carousel. But it's a matter of time she will find it. Ok, this app can be protected with a pin, but it's not the best solution.
    The same "fun" is for storing music on the device. We don't use Amazon Music on it or any other streaming. I have plenty of MP3 with music and radio plays for them, but I can only store a little amount directly on the device. My plan to use something like a streaming player went south because no player is really suitable (and usable) for kids. And for vacation or a journey this is not an option.
    I avoid the storage problem by installing only two or three actual games. I am already looking for a better device.
    Nevertheless, let it be for kids or not, but Android devices with only 1 GB RAM (or even less) and with only 8 GB internal storage and no MicroSD option are NOT a suitable option.

    These Fire Tablets could be better, and some of them seem to be better. But Amazon did many changes to the underlying Android system. In fact you have more trouble with the Amazon ecosystem than with the hardware itself.

    • Christian Cawley
      August 3, 2017 at 8:12 am

      Thanks for you thoughts, in part I would agree -- it's all about weighing up the impact of the resets, I guess!

  23. MommyIsAHotMess
    July 25, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    I agree with your assertion of the Kindle Fire. I have spent so many hours in the 7 months my daughter has had one. I bought it for my 9 year old daughter who has ADHD and previously had an IPad 1 and 2. I switched to the kindle because of its far superior parental controls and Freetime. However, it's been factory reset at least 15 times often times at the direction of tech support with whom I have spent countless hours on the phone. Unfortunately, your alternatives don't provide what originally brought me to the kindle: parental controls. I would also note that I did a great deal of research on the Fire before purchasing. I rather liked the fact that the storage was expandable with an SD card.

  24. Kelly
    July 25, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    I couldn't agree more! I have 2 kids who are currently each on their 3rd Kindle Fire. The memory/storage problems are a nightmare! Some of the older generation Kindles did not have the option for a memory card, so we upgraded in hopes of solving that problem with a 64g card. Now we still have all the issues you described. Plus the charge ports do not hold up well at all!

    • Eric S.
      November 18, 2017 at 6:18 pm

      Amen to the charge port issue. I bought two for my kids 4 & 5 and charge ports are the absolute worst. Not to mention how slow they are... my kids will go for my phone over their own tablets everytime.

  25. Scott
    July 25, 2017 at 1:31 am

    Haven't had any trouble with my some for tablet. Then again I used the settings to lower image quality on downloaded movies and he didn't notice. Only time it is slow is when it's covered in a layer of fingerprints and food. The kid mode prevents the installation of extra stuff too.

  26. Jersey Girl
    July 24, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    First of all, five year olds should not have their own tablets. Engage them and give them books to look at. Giving each a tablet as a baby sitter is a parenting cop out. In the car they should be taking in the countryside, looking at the sights and playing games with you. Be creative and play games with them. They will grow up much smarter and better socialized without screens to stare at young ages.

    I have two Fire tablets, a 7 and an 8, and have been very happy with them. For the price, they have performed beyond my expectations.

    • Christian Cawley
      August 3, 2017 at 8:10 am

      I disagree.

      We live in a world where these children need to be engaged with digital technology to have the tools they need to succeed in adulthood. On long car journeys on motorways, looking at countryside for four+ hours is a bit of a big ask. SO why not give them problem solving tasks (spelling games, puzzles, programming-related activities disguised as games) to keep them learning, even on holiday?

      (My children have excellent vocabulary, problem solving skills and crafting ability. They excel at dancing, and have a wide circle of friends at school, dance school, and church.)

      I'm not sure it's fair to make a judgement on a stranger's parenting ability based on a few lines of text. However, thank you for your comment.

      • Mike
        December 8, 2018 at 2:36 am

        Well said.

    • MH
      October 11, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      Spoken like a true person with with no kids. Thanks for the outside perspective. Worth its weight in mud.

    • Kay
      January 5, 2018 at 2:51 am

      How many kids do you have? Sounds like you have NONE! LOL.

    • Haystack
      November 13, 2018 at 10:10 pm

      Clearly you dont have kids. They use tables at SCHOOL in KINDERGARTEN

  27. infmom
    July 24, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    My granddaughter (almost 4) loves her Kids Fire tablet. Fortunately both her mommies ARE techies, and the tablet never gets connected to the internet while the kidlet's around.

    In fact, the only meltdown occured when granddaughter accidentally deleted one of the cat photos in Neko Atsume, her favorite game.

    I have a similar 7" Fire tablet that occasionally fails to connect with our home wifi, but so do other wireless devices. Probably time for a new router.

  28. Adam
    July 24, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    This article pretty much sums up my experience with multiple Fire tablets.
    Unless you like playing techie and reading articles online about how to fix these dumb things, looks elsewhere for your kids.
    With that said, I have a Fire 7" for personal use and have not had any issues with it. I'm only using it for the internet though.
    I know a lot of the problems with my kids tablets is how the Fire interacts with the Freetime software. Files seems to be everywhere. I've spent countless hours trying to fix these dumb things. It is too much to explain. Just get something else for your kids and save your sanity.

  29. Jeff
    July 24, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    I agree, the device has some drawbacks. But I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around your suggested alternatives. Neither device you suggested has a CPU capable of any faster speeds than the Fire tablet, and neither seems to offer the amount of RAM you seem to think is essential.

    • GB
      July 25, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      I agree, for the cost you cannot fault this. I would consider the 8"but only if you wanted to spend a bit more. I have also installed the Google services on ours for the full experience. I will admit there are some full fat games that you cannot install due to size. I do not think you can blame the fire for games that require always to be online either. It basically boils down to if you want to spend.

  30. Susan L
    July 24, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Totally agree! I bought three for my grandchildren and gave their mother a huge headache. Another big issue we had was the SD card. I knew the 8G would not be enough to hold anything so bought 64G SD cards, and set up the device to install everything it could there. But then we got random but repeated messages that the SD card was not installed. I'm pretty technical and believe it is because the underpowered CPU can't get to the code that "installs" it before the child is trying to load the app.
    And then there was the time that one of the Fire 7's completely reset itself to factory... could not figure out how this could happen. Later I found out that it was caused by an Amazon technical (person??) error where they remotely reset a large number of devices to factory in error.
    Not to mention how poor the design of the software, settings,and user experience is, especially Freetime Unlimited, both for adults and children.
    And so true that the tech support is completely useless; I usually knew more about the device and how it worked than they did. It amazes me that Amazon would want to give such a bad experience to the next generation of its customers. You would think they would read all the comments and try to fix the problems and train tech support, but they don't seem to care at all.
    Last Christmas I replaced the 7's with HD8's with 32G. Most of the problems have gone away. 32G is enough for a child to download lots of games.
    In spite of the problems, the grandkids love them, especially Minecraft. And the benefit of them having games to play in the car on long drives... priceless!! My daughter in law has forgiven me.