Amazon's New Fire 7 Tablets Improve Storage, Alexa (With a Catch)

Amazon announced this year’s updates to the Fire 7 and Fire 7 Kids tablets, with the 2019 models providing twice as much storage as their predecessors as well as performance gains. Meanwhile, the Kids edition also comes with a new, adjustable stand.

Credit: Amazon

Both Amazon slates retain their previous pricing ($49 and $99, respectively), but they unfortunately include a drop in battery life when compared to last year's model.

The 2017 Fire 7 started at 8GB of storage with an optional 16GB upgrade. The 2019 Fire 7 starts at 16GB, with the option to pay more (pricing will be announced) for 32GB of internal storage. Of course, you can still expand storage up to 512GB with a microSD card.

While the 2019 Fire 7 tablet's quad-core 1.3-GHz processor resembles the CPU in the previous model, the new chip has a faster core and more memory bandwidth, which Amazon says will provide faster performance. This should translate into consumers quickly and easily switching between apps, streaming movies, and browsing the web.

MORE: Best Tablets - Top Tablets on the Market - Laptop Mag

But about that battery life: Amazon quoted the Fire 7 (7th generation, 2017) as offering "up to 8 hours of battery life," and the company is rating this year's model to last "up to 7 hours." During our real-world testing, the 7th Gen model lasted 6 hours and 53 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test (Wi-Fi surfing at 150 nits). 

The upside is that Alexa can now be triggered more easily on the Fire 7, as you just need to shout out the digital assistant’s name. Before, the screen had to be on or the device had to be connected to a power source. Now, you just need to be connected to Wi-Fi. Hands-free Alexa can be turned off, however, which will likely improve battery life

Credit: Amazon

The big bonus for the new Fire 7 Kids Edition is that its case (unlike those Amazon packed in before) now features an adjustable stand, for hands-free usage, such as watching a show.

In terms of what's staying the same, the slate still packs a 7-inch screen, and Amazon's quoting the tablet as being twice as durable as the iPad mini. The kids model is essentially the same tablet as the regular non-Kids version, with the same performance boost and 16GB of storage. It includes one year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited and a 2-year, no-questions-asked warranty in case junior somehow breaks it.

Check out our best tablets for kids roundup for more recommendations.