Amazon Kindle Fire HD with Kindle FreeTime Parental Control App . . .
Do you like to read? Do you like to watch movies and/or play games? Is Amazon your digital media provider of choice? Then the Kindle Fire HD is perfect for you. I have to say, when I received a Kindle Fire HD 7″ tablet, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. My only experience with the line was the original e-reader Kindle. Somehow, I assumed the Fire HD was a color touchscreen version of that. I soon found out just how much I underestimated it.
Before I could properly review the Kindle Fire HD, I had to come to terms with two main facts:
- It is NOT an iPad.
- It was specifically designed to compliment Amazon products and services.
The Kindle Fire HD simply cannot do everything the $600+ iPad does. But, that’s not what it was made for anyway. It was made to be a functional and affordable all-in-one digital media device for Amazon items – a task it does well.
With Dolby stereo speakers and crystal-clear resolution, you can enjoy your favorite flicks in HD goodness. X-Ray is a great feature if you’re ever curious whose voice that is in your kids’ favorite animated films. Games run smoothly with responsive touch and digital books are neatly stored. You can scroll through the menu on top, which includes links to the web and your photos, or store your favorite programs in the icon-based carousel. There is also unlimited storage in the cloud so don’t worry that you’ll run out of memory right away. Wi-Fi connectivity is fast and constant.
Parents of children ages 10 and under will really enjoy Kindle FreeTime. This is much more than a basic parental control setup. Instead, it creates something similar to a sub-browser just for your kids. Notice that the background, menu options, and even the name of whose Kindle it is changes.
FreeTime is highly customizable with which types of files and functions you want to be accessible. You can even choose specific apps to run and do so per child. My favorite feature is the Daily Time Limits. Here, if I wanted to, I could assign time limits to how much reading, watching, and/or playing my daughter could do. I thought this would bug her but it was fine as she always had enough time to do what she wanted before time was up.
As for content, you can access whatever you already have on the Kindle OR you can take advantage of FreeTime Unlimited. This service is $4.99 for one child and $9.99 for up to six children per month. For Prime Members, that monthly fee is cut to $2.99 and $6.99.
We signed up for the 30-day free trial and I have to say it was VERY impressive. Not only could my daughter take advantage of thousands of books, games, and shows for free but each time she logged on there was a set of age-appropriate recommendations. Munchkin would often ask me to put in my parental code so she could get the ‘blue screen’. Media from FreeTime Unlimited could only be accessed while using the FreeTime app (aka Parental Control lock). I think this is the first time she ever requested to have the parental controls turned on . . .
I love the introduction of the Kindle FreeTime app and feel that it gives much more flexibility to families with young kids. Children feel empowered when having permission to use the device freely while parents are relieved of the task of constant, direct supervision. The monthly fee, in my opinion, is only reasonable if you have Prime Membership.
If you are an avid user of Amazon’s digital services for music, movies, and more, then the Kindle Fire HD is fantastic. All your media is automatically linked from your Amazon account to your Kindle. Even digital library books give the option of sending downloading it as a Kindle-ready file. Also, Prime Members have a ton of FREE steaming media available to them, including television episodes and movies.
Non-amazon files are another story. If you’d like to use ePub files, items in your iTunes account, or movies with some patent protection (basically all mainstream movies purchased), you must first run them through other apps and processes. So, it’s possible but a bit of a headache. You really need to weigh how much media you use and which types when looking to purchase a Kindle Fire HD.
As sleek as the Kindle looks, there are ways to dress it up. Take, for example, the Kate Spade cover I was sent. Not only does it look trendy, but the hot pink discourages my husband from using it 😛
There are a number of other protective and useful options for all in the Kindle family. Did you know there were this many ways to accessorize your Kindle?
All-in-all it really depends on you and your family if this is the right fit. The cost is much less than other tablets but the functionality is very specific. We also found the Kindle Fire HD to be on the heavier side. This was not a huge con as my daughter said it was basically the same as or lighter than it would be to hold a book. Good point, Munchkin! If you’re looking for a straight forward media device that you can trust even your little ones with, it might be worth your while to look into getting either the Fire HD 7″ or it’s larger 8.9″ counterpart.
You also have the chance of winning one right here! Enter below for your chance to win a Kindle Fire HD – 7″, 16 GB of your own!