Amazon Kindle Kids Edition review: 5 things to know before buying
The Amazon Kids Edition is a great device for young readers and parents alike.
Amazon is no stranger to offering child-friendly variants of its devices. Its successful range of Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition tablets have proven that it understands both the parent and child’s needs: the child wants to devour as much as it can in the way of books, games and video, while the parents want to monitor this and make sure that it’s not costing them their house to do so. Oh, and they also want something that won’t break.
To make sure the breaking thing doesn’t happen, there’s a rubber sheath over the tablets, as well as an ‘if it breaks, we’ll replace’ warranty. Couple this with the modestly priced Kids Unlimited service, and some nifty monitoring tools, and what you have is a great device.
And now it is time for the Kindle to get a Kids Edition. It’s actually a surprise that this hasn’t come out before. It makes so much sense for Amazon to put a kids’ spin on the traditional e-reader, and anything that helps children counter their time spent gaming, on social media and the rest of what their phone offers, is alright by us.
We’ve been playing with the Kindle Kids Edition for a few weeks now - as has our child - and here are five things to know before you purchase.
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1. It’s kid proof, to a point
As the Kindle Kids Edition is for older children (well, children of reading age), it’s not quite as rubberised as the Kindle Fire tablets. It does come with a silicon, non-slip case which is great for those with smaller hands and it’s light, too, at 288g.
You also get a two-year warranty and access to Kids Unlimited - for those who haven’t used this service, it’s packed with child-friendly books and the like. This is the same service as what’s on the tablets, except here it is limited to the books and comics available - given it’s an e-reader, gaming and video doesn’t work on the device.
If you already have the service, then you can use it here, too, just put in your details and you are away.
2. You already know how to use it
The great thing about the Amazon Kindle Kids Edition is that you probably already know how to use it. Most of us have Kindles by now and that means that you can teach your child to use it with ease. This is essentially the entry-level Kindle with child-friendly bells and whistles. That does mean that there is no waterproofing on board, so make sure that you keep it away from baths and swimming pools.
There’s a 6-inch 167ppi E Ink display (which is fantastic at making you feel like you are reading a real book), battery life that lasts for weeks and front illumination - which leads to our next point...
3. It’s always on
We are never going to say that a Kindle is better than a book. It’s not, as seeing your child pick up a paperback and getting engrossed is always going to trump that. But there are massive advantages to owning a Kindle Kids Edition - storage for a start. There’s 8GB on board here and that means you can carry around thousands of books, which is great for a school bag or if you are going on holiday somewhere.
There’s a small issue with the Kindle Kids Edition, though, that we found and that came to bedtime. Putting a book down and turning the lights out usually means that a child has no choice but to go to sleep, but with this device, it does have the light so they can do some sneaky reading when they want to.
Now, if they really want to substitute sleep for a good book, that’s not the worst thing in the world, but it is something worth mentioning - and you can always make sure that you know the pin and they don’t, to access the content inside. Also, we all had torches hidden somewhere so we could read up on the next adventure when our parents thought we were getting some shut eye.
4. It lasts a long time...
The battery life on this thing is superb. You can go weeks without charging it, because of the low-power E Ink display. And it only takes a couple of hours (we clocked four) to get it back to full capacity. Another small niggle is that the charging point is still not USB-C - so make sure that you don’t lose the cable that comes with it, as many most phones and chargers now are USB-C. This is a sore point for all Kindles and not just here.
5. You’re in control
The parental controls on the Kindle Kids Edition are fantastic. Yes, this is the regular Kindle (and can be used as such) but the safe area of Kids Unlimited means that there’s no way that your child can rack up the bills buying books and it also means that the content there is appropriate for the age of the child.
There are also nice touches such as the screensaver being kids’ drawings and cartoons, making this feel like a device for them and not just a regular Kindle. There are also the inclusion of reading badges and help with words and phrases (called Word Wise) that might be a little difficult for younger readers - these are things we would actually like to see in the full-fat adult Kindle!
While there is no stopping you from getting a regular Kindle, loading up Kids Unlimited and giving it to your child, the Kindle Kids Edition feels like the full package - one that comes complete with a warranty and, with that, peace of mind.
It’s a superb device for older children that want to read, want to be rewarded for reading, and want all their favourite stories in one place.