I recently ditched my iPad for a lighter, more affordable travel tablet—the Amazon Fire 7 Tablet. While I didn’t have high expectations, I was pleasantly surprised with my purchase.
Amazon Fire Tablet Review
While it’s no fancy Apple tablet, the Amazon Fire tablet is a useful and affordable tool for frequent fliers and travelers. Here are its pros and cons.
Pros of the Amazon Fire Tablet for Travel
At just 10 ounces, the Fire Tablet 7 is super portable and lightweight. I wanted something durable and small to take with me on my travels as an entertainment option, and this fits the bill.
TV, Movie, & Music Entertainment
The Amazon Fire tablet hosts tons of apps (not just Amazon’s), including Prime Video, Netflix, HBO, Spotify and other streaming services. This means you can watch or pre-download your favorite playlists, shows, and movies onto your tablet via your subscription apps.
The main reason I bought the Amazon Fire tablet is because I wanted to minimize my carry-on space: On longer trips I might bring two to three physical books with me. The Fire tablet has features like Prime Reading, Kindle eBooks, and magazines that now take the place of my paperbacks. The Fire even has a Blue Shade feature, which adjusts the backlight of your screen for nighttime reading.
Traveling with kids? Get them a Fire Kids Edition tablet. This version of the Amazon Fire tablet is essentially indestructible, with a kid-proof case and two-year, worry-free warranty. It comes with Amazon FreeTime—a subscription service that curates kid-friendly books, games, apps, movies, and TV shows so you’ll have a no-fuss flight. You also have the option to use parental controls for setting daily limits on use or restricting certain categories of entertainment.
Amazon Fire tablet pricing starts at $50, or $35 for Prime members. Pricing increases based on the model and its storage, but all versions of the Fire Tablet are significantly cheaper than an iPad and most eReaders.
The new Amazon Fire tablets are enabled with Alexa, allowing you to do things like ask questions, control your smart home, set an alarm, make a to-do list, stay up-to-date with the news, check the weather, and more. Note that you must be connected to Wi-Fi for this feature to work, and the Kid’s Fire tablet version doesn’t have Alexa.
Cons of the Amazon Fire Tablet for Travel
As a long-time Apple user, I found the web display and design of the Amazon Fire tablet to be a little disorienting. Of course, this might just take some getting used to, but it’s worth noting for those who haven’t used an Amazon device before. Amazon’s browser app, Silk, isn’t as well designed as Chrome, but it works. Another advantage that an iPad has over the Fire tablet is its camera, but you probably won’t be using a tablet camera often anyway.
Not an eReader
If you’re looking for a simple eReader, I’d recommend exploring Amazon’s Kindle options instead. While the Fire tablet is also great for reading, you’re paying ore for its multi-use functions and internet. Since a Kindle is only for reading, it has better reading features like a built-in adjustable light, long-lasting battery, and an anti-glare screen.
Short Battery Life
Amazon says the Fire 7 Tablet battery lasts up to eight hours (with the Fire 8 HD and kids edition promising 12), but that depends on what you’re using it for. I found that when you’re connected to Wi-Fi and browsing or streaming a show, the Fire’s battery won’t last eight hours. I didn’t find this to be a huge issue as you can charge it via USB while in use, but it’s worth considering for unplugged activities like camping or road trips.
If you want to download more than a few books and movies for your trip, then I suggest upping your Amazon Fire tablet’s storage amount. I found that the 8G is enough space to download all of my entertainment for one trip, and I delete the shows and books before my next one. Offline downloads from any streaming service are saved to your account, so it’s easy to wipe them from the device and free up storage once you’ve read, watched, or listened to something.
Pro Tip: If you have Amazon Prime and use Prime photos for photo storage, you might want to get the 16 or 32 G size to use your Fire tablet to keep track of all your photos.
Final Verdict: Amazon Fire Tablet for Travel
If you’re looking for an inexpensive entertainment device for a longer trip, the Fire tablet is a great purchase. It’s a great complement to your smartphone, which likely has a better camera and browser. I use the Fire Tablet exclusively for offline entertainment and reading, and am happy I swapped it for my larger iPad.
More from SmarterTravel:
- What to Binge Watch on Your Next Flight
- Who Decides What’s on Your In-Flight TV?
- 10 Secret Amazon Prime Perks You Probably Aren’t Using
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