Why an Amazon Fire Tablet is the best thing you can buy your kids while they're off school
So, your company decided you will be working from home for a while at the same time your school district has shut down. Good! Keeping groups of people who have been exposed to other groups where someone might be coughing Coronavirus all over the place is a smart move.
But it might not seem like such a good decision if you've got a little tyke or two with a full tank of energy and nowhere to drain it. You've made sure they had a good breakfast and got them outside for a bit of sunshine and fresh air, but it's still early, and they're in the room still going strong while you have to get some work done and you're ready to call it quits and bury your face in your hands. I've been there with three kids that are all within four years of each other in age. It can be crazy.
Here's a secret, though. It's one I wish I had access to when my kids were still kids: the Amazon Fire HD tablet. Maybe you'll go with the Kid's edition, perhaps the fancy 10-inch version, or even the simple $80 8-inch "cheap" version. Any of them are one of those things you can keep around and when you're out of ideas, pull them out and watch the kids' eyes light up because they love the darn things.
Amazon Fire HD 8 vs. Fire HD 10: Which should you buy?
The secret sauce in an Amazon Fire HD tablet is a mix of Amazon Prime Videos and the Silk Web Browser. Amazon Prime Videos doesn't get enough credit in a world where everyone is talking about Netflix and Disney+, but if you're looking for kid-friendly content, it's still the champ. You'll find hundreds of hours of programming for kids of any age on Prime Video, and when you let your child hold a tablet in his or her hands and act like it's their idea to watch, it makes it even better for them. There's no need to remind them that it was your idea for them to sit down and watch a movie or show. Add in Amazon's Kids+ — a service that offers endless entertainment for your kids for just a few bucks each month — and you have a powerful tool to tame those wild-at-heart kids and keep them from going stir crazy.
Older kids will also find plenty to watch on Prime Video (as will you), but the Fire HD tablets also come complete with access to the Amazon App Store (admittedly, it's kind of bare-bones) and a really good web browser called Amazon Silk. That means however much time you allow on Facebook or Twitter is top-notch on a Fire HD tablet, and the best content on the internet is available whenever you think it needs to be.
When it's time for something more educational or intellectually stimulating, the Kindle Library is built into the Fire HD, and that includes Amazon's Kindle lending library. To top it off, there are other eReaders in Amazon's App Store, so you can even borrow eBooks from your local public library. Just because the little
rugrats darlings are stuck at home doesn't mean they can stop learning something, right?
Best of all is the price. If you want to buy the top of the line 10-inch 64GB version that has an amazing display, you'll have about $200 invested. At the opposite end of the spectrum, $80 gets you an 8-inch version that's perfect for media consumption of Amazon's own movies, as well as apps from Netflix and all the cable networks. The hardware looks and feels good, Amazon does a good job of keeping things up to date on its own, and even though they don't really run Android, a Fire HD tablet is probably among the best Android tablets I would buy if I were a tablet guy or still had kids at home.
Nobody is saying that you should let any electronic device become your child's babysitter, but if you're looking for something a little more age-appropriate or educational than an Xbox or PlayStation and don't want to listen to the kids all fight over a Chromebook or the television, you can do a lot worse than an Amazon Fire HD tablet. Your kids will love it and maybe even say thanks!
Best value tablet
At this price, you have to buy one
The Fire HD 8 is half the price of the HD 10 and offers a nearly identical experience. The smaller size makes it a great e-reader, and the dual stereo speakers are good enough for playing back audiobooks, music, and movies.
Best Amazon tablet
Bigger screen and more power
If you plan on watching a lot of movies on your tablet, the Fire HD 10 is the clear winner. Its display is larger and higher density than the HD 8, it comes with more onboard storage, and the speakers are louder and clearer.
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Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.