For Christmas last year we bought our kids a Kindle Fire Kids Edition. It seemed like the perfect thing. We could download movies to it for them to play in the car on long car trips. It had some games. It had some specific kid related apps that looked great. The parental controls seemed good. And best of all, it comes with a rubberized protective case and a lifetime guarantee – Amazon will fix or replace it for life if it breaks, no matter how.
Now, I should say that I’ve had great experiences anyway with Amazon customer service. I had a second gen kindle that broke because my oldest son stepped on it when he was two. I flat out told Amazon that that was what had happened. They replaced it for free anyway. I called them about our regular Kindle Fire once when the screen had cracked and told them that another kid had damaged it. They told me that they would have replaced it for free… except the warranty had expired. Fair enough – I just figured I’d try that time, since they did it the first time. So I have a great love of Amazon’s customer support, and this product’s lifetime guarantee seemed perfect.
Unfortunately the product itself is a worthless piece of shit. Pardon my language, but it really is that bad. We bought the 8 GB wi-fi only (no cellular data connection) model. A quick check of my Amazon history shows that this product has been discontinued. That’s good – it never should have been available in this configuration.
[Update: I was incorrect. The exact model we bought is no longer available. There is still an 8GB model. If you must buy a Kindle Fire Kids Edition, do not buy the 8GB model.]
The 8GB of on board memory is literally not enough for anything. Two or three apps filled it up. We found ourselves having to buy a new SD memory card for it almost immediately just to make the product remotely usable. Unfortunately, even this didn’t really help. You still have to be careful to download apps to the SD card – a subtlety that was completely lost on my six year old son. We were constantly helping them wipe the memory clean so that they could continue to use it. The device would fill up memory literally until it broke.
It gets worse, though. For some reason that I completely can’t fathom, many of the apps want to re-download themselves when run. This doesn’t happen on every run. But it happens about every day or three. If you aren’t connected to the internet, the app simply doesn’t work. Since we bought this partly for car trips, this made it completely worthless. But it’s still worse even than that. The downloads are slow, and it doesn’t stop you from doing something else while it’s downloading. So imagine a typical four year old child. She pushes the app. Nothing happens. So she picks another app. Nothing happens. Then another and another and another. Before long, there are eight apps downloading and the entire machine has come to a standstill.
The newer generation models may be better. And I generally love Amazon. But this product was a complete waste of money. I would have had a better experience paying $139 for somebody to punch me in the face.
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