Amazon Kindle Kids (2022) Review
in 2022 Amazon Kindle ($99.99) is a solid upgrade from the company’s previous entry level e-book reader thanks in large part to the sharper screen, and that resolution difference extends to the refreshed 2022 Kindle Kids edition. This $119.99 kids’ e-reader is simply a standard Kindle with a colorful cover and a one-year membership to Amazon Kids+, which includes a parental control package and provides access to thousands of kid-friendly books, audiobooks, games and videos (to be used on devices other than Kindle). It’s a powerful package for parents who want to encourage their children to read. It is said, Kindle Paperwhite also comes in a model for Kids for $159.99, and it has fully waterproof construction that should better handle messy kids, making it our Editors’ Choice winner.
A standard Kindle with a colorful cover
Kindle Kids is physically identical to a standard Kindle (before you put the included case on it). It’s a matte black panel measuring 6.2 x 4.3 x 0.3 inches (HWD) and weighing 5.6 ounces, with a black bezel around the 6-inch E Ink touchscreen. The bottom edge houses the USB-C port (an upgrade from the micro USB port on the previous Kindle) and the power button.
(Photo: Will Greenwald)
The big visual difference between the Kindle Kids and the regular Kindle comes from the included case, which slightly increases the overall size and weight to 6.3 x 4.5 x 0.5 inches and 9 ounces. There are currently three styles to choose from: Ocean Explorer, Space Whale or Unicorn Valley. Ocean Explorer and Space Whale are primarily blue and water-themed, although Ocean Explorer is more green, while Space Whale has a magenta gradient starry sky. Unicorn Valley is just glorious pink and cyan, with a little rainbow on one side. All three cases have magnetic covers that automatically wake up the Kindle when opened.
We go into detail describing the general qualities of the Kindle as an e-book reader in our main review, and the Kindle Kids is the same device. You can read that review for more details, but to recap, the 6-inch, 300 ppi screen is much sharper than the previous version, although the relatively cool front light is a bit harsher on the eyes than the Paperwhite, which has adjustable color temperature. It has 16GB of storage, twice as much as the previous Kindle and the standard Paperwhite, and can last about six weeks with half an hour of reading a day (with the front light set to 13 and the wireless turned off). It is not waterproof, unlike the Paperwhite.
A kid-friendly Kindle experience
Setting up Kindle Kids is a simple process. It guides you through connecting to your Wi-Fi network and connecting to your Amazon account. After that, you’re asked to set up Amazon Kids mode, which involves adding the names of the kids who will be using it and creating a PIN to secure the device. Once the PIN is set, the Kindle will be locked in Kids Mode until you enter the PIN to exit. Although the tablet supports multiple profiles with separate libraries (and all children on the account will benefit from Amazon Kids+), switching between each child’s profile requires you to re-enter the PIN. It’s a shame there isn’t an option to quickly change profiles, perhaps with each child having their own PIN. This would allow children to open their own profiles without disturbing you.
(Credit: Will Greenwald)
Amazon Kids mode is a stripped-down, curated version of the standard Kindle interface, limiting what can be read to Amazon’s list of kid-friendly content (or books that parents manually add to their kids’ profiles). It’s easy to browse, with recently opened books and audiobooks appearing at the top of the home screen, but the standard Kindle’s Library tab has been replaced by a Recents tab that also displays recently accessed content and has none of the organizational features of the standard Library tab. This is disappointing, as children cannot sort and keep track of their piles of books.
Kids mode adds two useful features for children learning to read. Vocabulary Builder tracks each word you look up (by tapping and holding the word to get the definition), helping kids remember what they’ve learned and even generating flashcards for them. The Rewards section gamifies reading by setting up different achievements that can be earned by reading, such as Book Worm for reading at least 30 minutes a day and Serious Reader for reading 500 pages.
(Credit: Will Greenwald)
Amazon Kids Mode is available on all Kindle devices, so it’s not a feature specific to Kindle Kids. The real boon of Kindle Kids is the annual subscription to Amazon Kids+, which is normally $48 per year with Amazon Prime membership or $79 per year without membership. Kids+ offers 20,000 books, audiobooks, videos, apps and games, all ad-free. The book selection sounds a little sparse compared to the two million e-books on Kindle Unlimited, but that subscription costs twice as much, and Kids+ ensures that all content is safe for ages three to 12. Multimedia content on Kids+ extends the subscription to devices such as Echo smart speakers, Fire tabletsand Fire up TV media streamersadding value.
All of these benefits leave out one potentially important resource that Amazon doesn’t directly support: Overdrive. Overdrive is an e-book lending system in public libraries and makes many more books available for all intended ages and topics. You can get Overdrive books on Kindle readers, but it’s a complicated process that requires connecting the two services and browsing them on the web. The £2 coins ($179.99) has built-in Overdrive support, and if you want to focus solely on library collections, it’s easier to use.
An affordable way to get kids reading
The Kindle Kids screen is sharp enough to ensure that children of all ages can read comfortably. It can also be paired with Bluetooth headphones and speakers to listen to audiobooks and text read by Amazon’s VoiceView text-to-speech accessibility feature. The interface is quite bland, like a standard Kindle, but the content available on it and the control it gives parents make it attractive. The real value is in the included sleeve and one-year Amazon Kids+ membership, which justifies the $20 premium over the standard Kindle.
(Credit: Will Greenwald)
However, the Paperwhite comes in a children’s version for $40 more. The cases available are different (mostly Emerald Forest green, mostly Robot Dreams yellow or black), but all the benefits are still there. And since the Paperwhite is waterproof, it seems safer to give to small and/or particularly messy children. So while the more affordable Kindle Kids is ultimately a great e-book reader for kids, the Paperwhite Kids is the better overall package, and our Editors’ Choice.
Amazon Kindle Kids (2022)
The 2022 edition of Amazon’s affordable Kindle Kids has a sharper screen than ever, but it’s not as durable as the Paperwhite.
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