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.