Lingering Micro-USB ports are the bane of consumer electronics. Every time I see an allegedly “new” gadget with one of those fragile, asymmetrical charging tips I cringe. Following in the footsteps of its Kindle e-readers, Amazon is updating its phenomenally popular base model Fire Android tablet with new hardware, and a USB-C charging port is first on the list.
But it’s far from the only change. The 7-inch standard Fire hasn’t been updated since 2019, so the new model gets some dramatic refreshes. The new quad-core system-on-a-chip is allegedly 30 percent faster than the previous model, and perhaps more importantly, 2GB of RAM instead of just one. That’s still pretty sparse for any modern Android-powered device, but it should alleviate some of the multitasking and performance issues that are endemic to low-cost tablets.
Amazon says it’s improved the battery life of the Fire 7 by 40 percent, up to 10 hours of video playback. With all those improvements (not to mention a pretty steep increase in component price and inflation over the last three years), it’s no surprise that the base price is jumping from $50 to $60 in the US. The new Fire 7 will launch on June 29th in black, blue, and pink hues. You can upgrade from 16GB to 32GB of storage for an extra $20, and remove lockscreen ads for $15 on top of that.
As with previous versions, the Fire 7 will also come in a “Kid’s Edition,” packed with a spongy impact-resistant kickstand case in vibrant colors. The kid’s version is also pre-loaded with a child-friendly interface and apps, and comes bundled with the Kids Plus service for streaming videos and games. This more protected model also comes with an expanded 2-year warranty with a no-questions-asked replacement for broken tablets, if that case should prove to be less “kid-proof” than advertised. The standard Kids Edition costs $110, but a 32GB storage upgrade is available for $130. It’s also shipping on the 29th.
Michael is a former graphic designer who's been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.