Tech gift ideas: Kindle Fire HDX – Google Nexus 7 – Samsung Tab Kids

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Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7″ – $230

The Kindle Fire HDX 7″ is the 3rd generation in the Amazon Kindle Fire line.  Amazon redesigned the hardware, putting the volume and power buttons on the back instead of the sides.  There is also somewhat of a bezel shape on the back.  I like it.

The Kindle HDX is another solid tablet from Amazon.  The processor is fast, the screen looks great and the Amazonified version of Android delivers what you would expect.  It doesn’t look or feel like a typical Google Android tablet but it also gives you extra features you wouldn’t find otherwise.

I really like the new Mayday feature.  Tap the Mayday button and a little video window pops up in the corner with a customer service rep in it.  This rep can help you solve problems or walk you through the OS.  They can draw on your screen or even take control of your tablet.  It’s very slick and free with an Kindle Fire HDX!  I tested it out and the rep was very nice and very helpful.  Nice job Amazon.

I also like the Amazon Kindle Freetime app that lets parents share the tablet with their kids and setup limits on apps, purchases and time limits.

There are a few warnings about the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX is that you don’t get full access to the Google Play store.  You have to download apps from Amazon’s own appstore.  Most popular apps are in Amazon’s store but you won’t find the Gmail app or any of Google’s very popular Android apps.  It’s frustrating.  No Google maps, no Google drive, etc.  Most other popular apps including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are available.

There is also no camera on the back, only a front-facing camera.  Personally I don’t think tablets need rear cameras but some people will be disappointed that it’s not there.

The Kindle Fire HDX is available for $230 (with ads on the lock screen).

nexusGoogle Nexus 7 – $229

If you’re a Google purist and you want a slick, clean Android tablet, the Google Nexus 7 is the best option.  It’s designed by the same team that makes the Android software.  It runs the newest version of Android, 4.4 Kit Kat.  The processor is fast and the screen looks amazing.

The Nexus 7 has both a rear and front camera.  It comes pre-loaded with the standard selection of Google apps.  The tablet has the same size 7″ screen as the Kindle Fire HDX but the Nexus is taller.  There is extra space next to the screen on the top and button while the sides are thinner.  This makes it great for holding the 2 sides while watching a 16:9 movie.

The Nexus 7 is a great option for anyone looking for a high-end Android tablet without an extra frills or software add-0ns.  It sells for $229 from Google.

tabkidsSamsung Galaxy Tab 3 7″ Kids – $190

Sure, the Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX have options to control what your kids see and do on your tablet but the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7″ Kids is a tablet designed specifically for kids.

It comes in fun colors and includes a rubber case to help protect the tablet.  The interface has been custom designed for kids.  This includes big buttons, limited access to settings and a great selection of kids apps pre-loaded on the tablet.

It has a decent screen and processor.  It falls behind the Kindle Fire HDX and Nexus 7 on those categories but it probably won’t matter much since this tablet is designed for kids.  It does include a camera on both the back and front of the tablet.

At $190 the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7″ is a good option for kids that won’t break the bank.

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