Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Pro (2022) Review
The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Pro is a great alternative to the Fire HD 8 Kids, catering for pre-teen children and giving them more freedom while still keeping parents in control.
- Good core hardware
- Slim but solid protective case
- Effective parental controls
- Kid-friendly software and browser
- Dull, flat colours on the screen
- Not fast enough for demanding apps and games
- Can’t push content from Amazon Prime Music or Video without installing apps
- UKRRP: £149.99
- USARRP: $149.99
- CanadaRRP: CA$190
- Slimmed-down, shock-resistant caseWhile the Pro model’s case isn’t as chunky as the base model’s, it still gives plenty of protection.
- 8-inch HD screenThe larger size and 1280 x 800 resolution gives you a crisper, brighter image than the cheaper Fire 7
- Amazon Kids software and Kids+ subscriptionTweaked software gives kids a little more freedom, without reducing the level of parental control.
The Fire and Fire HD Kids tablets are a hit with younger kids, and with parents who get the value of a chunky shock-proof case and plenty of child-friendly content on tap.
Older kids, however, aren’t going to be so impressed. Once they hit the upper end of primary school, they seem to become a lot more sensitive about using products that look like they’ve been made for ‘little kids’ – and they want a little more freedom than the regular Amazon Kids interface provides.
That’s where the Kids Pro range comes in, including the 2021 Fire HD 10 Kids Pro and the all-new Fire HD 8 Kids Pro. These still come with a protective bumper case – one that’s slimmer and more grown-up looking – along with a year’s subscription to Amazon Kids+.
You get a choice of plain teal or illustrated blue or pink finishes, and the tablets come with a different spin on the Kids interface that gives your offspring more freedom to explore. The actual hardware is the same as the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids (2022) – and the same as the standard Fire HD 8 tablet – but the overall look and feel is different. It’s perfect for the older pre-secondary school crowd.
- Solid protective case with plenty of edge reinforcement
- Useful handle that moonlights as a stand
- Single USB Type-C port for connectivity and charging
The case makes the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Pro significantly larger than the bare Fire HD 8, adding an extra centimetre to the height and nearly an inch to the width (in portrait mode) for an overall size of 21.2 x 16.2cm.
It’s also a chunky 17mm thick. This still gives the tablet plenty of protection, with plenty of padding around the edges and corners and a raised profile around the screen. It also makes the tablet easier to hold, and with a similar fold-out handle/stand to the Fire HD 8 Kids, you won’t feel any panic when it’s being carried down the stairs or across a hard floor.
What’s more, the Fire HD 8 Kids Pro improves on the other tablet’s design in one key way, with contrast-coloured buttons in the case that work the power and volume controls below. These make those controls a lot more accessible than the cut-outs on the Fire HD 8 Kids, and you also get good-sized cut-outs for the USB Type-C charging port and headphone socket.
One of the strengths of the Fire HD Kids line is that the protection is more than just physical. If the tablet breaks within the first two years, Amazon’s guarantee promises a no-quibbles replacement.
- 1280 x 800 HD resolution
- Decent brightness levels but dull, flat colours
- Too reflective for use in bright sunlight
If you’re used to the screens of iPads and higher-end Android tablets, then the screen on the Fire HD 8 Pro Kids might come as a bit of a shock. It has a low-ish 1280 x 800 resolution, which means you can see the pixel structure if you look up close, which means you lose a little clarity and detail.
More seriously, while it’s relatively bright – I measured it at 477 nits – it also suffers from a lack of contrast and colour depth. Images, games and videos just don’t have the punch they have on other tablets.
This shouldn’t be a dealbreaker. It’s actually fine for watching kids TV shows, cartoons and movies, and I’ve had it running Netflix on my adult profile while doing the washing up. It’s nowhere near as bad as the low-res, low-brightness screens of many budget tablets, including Amazon’s ultra-cheap and cheerful Fire 7.
Just be aware that the gloss surface is quite reflective, which makes the tablet near unusable in bright sunlight or where light streams in through a window.
Software and performance
- Revised Kids interface with more scope to explore
- Parental dashboard with strong content controls
- Mediocre performance from six-core CPU
The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Pro runs Amazon’s Fire OS software overlaid with a revision of its Kids UI. This has two tabs. On the first, you get a slightly rejigged version of the normal Kids UI, with rows of big, square buttons that take you straight to apps, games, books, music stations and video content from the Kids+ service, though – depending on your child’s age and profile – skewed to older pre-teen kids.
On the second, you get something closer to the regular Fire OS Home screen, with standard icons for apps and access to Audible and Amazon Music (if you have subscriptions), along with a customised version of the Fire OS browser, Silk.
As a parent, you can control which sites your kids can visit through the browser-based dashboard, adding those you’re happy for them to use, and blacklisting those you’re not. It uses Bing as the main search engine, with Safesearch permanently turned on, while the filtering does a solid job of preventing access to sites you’d rather they didn’t find. However, it did allow me to find YouTube and watch some pretty unsafe material on there, so you might either want to block that off or not leave the browsing entirely unsupervised.
You can install additional apps for your kids, but they can also request apps for themselves; you get an email asking for approval with a link to the dashboard, where you can accept or refuse. There’s a similar place for additional paid-for content from the store, including apps, games and Kindle books. In-app purchasing, meanwhile, is blocked by default.
All in all, Amazon has hit a pretty good balance between giving older kids a bit more freedom and keeping parents in control, though you should still check the dashboard to see what sites they’re visiting, and apply child profiles and parental controls on any video streaming apps that they download. The Kids software doesn’t do this for you. It’s also a little frustrating that you can’t add content from Amazon Prime Music or Amazon Prime Video if you have the right subscriptions, with the exception of purchased movies and TV shows.
When it comes to performance, you’re getting enough to keep things running smoothly and use a decent range of apps and family-friendly games, but not enough for more demanding titles like Genshin Impact or PUBG (not that these are available through the Kids app store, in any case). I didn’t have any issues running games like Sonic Forces or How Wheels Unlimited, and the hardware can even stretch to slightly more ambitious games like Asphalt 8.
For some reason I was unable to get a Geekbench run to complete on the Fire HD 8 Kids Pro, but previous tests on the standard Fire HD 8 gave me a single-core score of 178 and a multi-core score of 851. That’s an improvement on the Fire 7 or previous Fire HD 8 versions, but not great by Android tablet standards. For example, Nokia’s T10 8-inch tablet can hit 305 and 1243 in the same tests.
- 10 to 13 hours of battery life
- Around 5 hours to reach full charge
Amazon promises up to 13 hours of battery life, and even with the screen running at 100% brightness, I found that streaming video consumed around 8% in an hour, so 12 hours or so doesn’t seem unreasonable, with more if you can turn the brightness down.
Gaming’s going to hit the CPU and GPU harder, so prepare for more drastic drops, but otherwise this shouldn’t be one of those tablets that needs a recharge every single day.
Should you buy it?
You want a tablet for pre-teens:
The Fire HD 8 is a capable budget tablet, and with the protective casing, guarantee, software and Kids+ subscription, it’s even better value as a kid-friendly device. Amazon has put a lot of thought into the software and services, and parents have plenty of control.
You want iPad-level quality:
The hardware isn’t up to the same level as the base model iPad or more expensive Android tablets, and the iPad still has a stronger line-up of games and apps. You get what you pay for, but then you’re paying substantially less.
The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Pro is a cracking tablet for older kids, with just a few caveats to be aware of. It doesn’t have the hardware to run more demanding games, so don’t expect it to stand-in for a console, while it’s £50 more expensive than the standard Fire HD 8.
To my mind, that’s not a problem, as the case and the one-year Kids+ subscription give you plenty of value, but kids in the 9-11 age range might not be bothered with either. Still, if you’re looking for a device that gives kids plenty to do and that keeps you as a parent in control, then the Fire HD 8 Kids Pro is hard to beat.
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Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every tablet that we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product.
Tested for a week
Screen tested using a colorimeter
Benchmarked with standard industry tools
Tested the battery life
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The hardware and specs of the tablets are identical, so the only differences are the case and the software. The software is designed for pre-teens, and so allows for a little more freedom than the non-Pro models.