Just in time for the summer travel season, Amazon has upgraded its entry-level 7-inch tablet. The newly christened Fire 7 tablet (it was formerly just “Amazon Fire“) gets a slightly trimmed down design, a bit better battery life and added contrast to its 1,024×600 display.

It will ship June 7 in 8GB ($50; £50) and 16GB ($70; £60) configurations, along with a Kids Edition ($100; £100) that includes a protective case and a two-year, no-questions-asked replacement guarantee should the device get damaged.

In addition to retaining the pricing and screen resolution of its predecessor, the Fire 7 is likewise equipped with a memory expansion slot — but it now accommodates microSD cards with up to a 256GB capacity, instead of 128GB. It also comes in four color options, though not exactly the same ones as before. Black returns, but the current magenta and tangerine colors are being replaced by Punch Red and Canary Yellow and the “Marine” blue is darker than the previous blue.

Just prior to the launch I spoke to Kevin Keith, Amazon’s general manager for Fire Tablets, and we talked about the improvements.

As far as weight goes, the new 295 gram Fire is about 20 grams or half an ounce lighter. And while the processor is the same as before, Keith says that battery life has been bumped up from 7 to 8 hours (for mixed use) thanks mostly to software improvements. Keith also says that Amazon’s engineers have managed to improve the contrast of the display so it pops a little more for video and web viewing and text appears a little sharper.

Like the step-up Fire HD 8, which gets a $10 price cut, the new Fire has been upgraded with dual-band Wi-Fi.

Ultimately, the most significant upgrade Amazon could make to its entry-level tablet would be to increase its screen resolution. As it stands, these small improvements make this budget tablet an even better bargain (as well as a hit with parents looking for a cheap tablet for their kids), but don’t expect to get iPad-like performance for $50.

With families in mind, Amazon is offering a discount if you purchase multiple Fire tablets. Buy any three, including the new Fire 7, Fire HD 8, Fire 7 Kids Edition and Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, and you get a 20 percent discount.

The Fire 7 Kids Edition starts at $100 or £100 and comes with a case and a year of Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited service.


Key specs

  • Alexa-enabled: Press a virtual button and ask to play videos, music, audiobooks, ask questions, shop, find news, display the weather and more
  • 10.4 oz (295 grams)
  • 20 grams lighter than previous model
  • 7.6 x 4.5 x 0.4 inches (192 x 115 x 9.6mm)
  • Quad-core 1.3GHz processor
  • Front- and rear-facing cameras: Video chat with friends and family, take and share photos, and save them for later with free, unlimited cloud storage for all photos taken on Fire devices
  • Up to 256GB of expandable storage via microSD card (up from 128GB on previous model)
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi support
  • Screen sharing: Let an Amazon expert guide you remotely through any feature on your screen, available 24/7, 365 days a year — for free
  • Amazon-exclusive features: Alexa, ASAP, X-Ray, Second Screen, Amazon FreeTime, Family Library, Blue Shade, On Deck, Prime Video downloads and more
  • Access to millions of movies, TV shows, songs, books, magazines, apps and games with free, unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content
  • New color options: Black, Punch Red, Marine Blue and Canary Yellow
  • Ships June 4 in 8GB ($50; £50) and 16GB ($70; £60) configurations, as well as 16GB Kids Edition for $100 or £100 that includes protective case, two-year free replacement policy, one year of FreeTime Unlimited

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