By Nancy C. Muir

In 2014, Amazon introduced four Fire tablet models that offer slightly different features and pricing, including a Fire HD Kids edition, which comes in a 6-inch or 7-inch display.

Essentially, the 8.9-inch Fire tablet sports a faster processor, higher resolution screen, higher-end cameras, the most current Wi-Fi standard, and Dolby Atmos multidimensional sound (which means when wearing headphones you hear sounds from multiple locations, as you might in a movie theater). In addition, the Kids edition has a rugged casing, two-year replacement warranty, robust parental controls, and a free year of access to Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited with age-appropriate content.

Other than these major differences, all the models include

  • Unlimited Amazon Cloud storage for photos taken with your Fire model or content bought from Amazon.

  • An integrated app to work with Microsoft Office documents.

  • A free month of Amazon Prime, which provides free two-day shipping for many Amazon products, as well as access to a treasure trove of free products (video, music, and books).

  • X-Ray provides background information about artists, movies, musicians, and more when you’re looking up or playing content.

The table helps you make sense of the differences among the various models.

Fire Model Comparison
Feature Fire 8.9″ Fire 7″ Fire 6″ Fire HD Kids Edition
Quad-core 2.5 GHz processor X
Quad-core 1.5 GHz processor X X X
1280 x 800 screen resolution X X X
2560 x 1600 resolution X
Wi-Fi Dual band, dual antenna Single-band Single-band Single-band
Support for 802.11 ac Wi-Fi X
Dolby Audio X X X
Dolby ATMOS X
4G model available X
Front-facing VGA camera X X X
Front-facing HD camera X
2MP rear camera X X X
8MP rear camera X
Unlimited Amazon Cloud storage X X X X
Mayday live help X
Battery 12 hours 8 hours 8 hours 8 hours
Storage 16, 32, 64 GB 8 or 16 GB 8 or 16 GB 8 GB
Two-year Worry-Free Warranty X
Kid-proof case X
Accelerator/gyroscope X X X X
Price starting at $379 $139 $99 $149
Fire keyboard X
Firefly X
Dynamic Light Control X
One year of free FreeTime X

In addition to these four models, Amazon offers the 2013 Fire HDX 7-inch tablet for $179. This is essentially last year’s model, but it includes the Mayday help feature, a 2.2 GHz processor, and 1920 x 1200 display resolution, which is better than the newer 6- and 7-inch Fire models for not much more money.

If you prefer working with your Fire tablet on a stand rather than holding it in your hands, check out Meb’s Kitchenwares to view their lovely handmade wooden tablet stand. It’s portable, handcrafted from cherry wood, and at only $70 is a beautiful piece of furniture for your Fire tablet. Note it works best with the larger versions of the tablet and works in both portrait and landscape orientations.