Top critical review
Purchased for classroom use. Most frustrating experience I have ever had.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 28, 2022
Device: Kindle Fire 8 (10th Generation)
I purchased 8 of these Fire tablets for use in an elementary classroom. They were to be used exclusively to access the Myon ereader app through our district’s Clever page. Sounded simple enough! Yet, I have had the most frustrating experience with educational technology I have ever had.
First, I set up a child’s profile so that I could limit what the students had access to. The child’s profile comes preloaded with 100 videos/apps on the home screen! It was insane! (Note that this is not the “Kids” Fire, just a regular one with a child profile set up.) It took 4 different customer serv agents and about 3 hours to finally find someone who could tell me how to turn them off. It ended up being a simple toggle, so how could that many people not know how? (This was after I had searched through multiple threads online from frustrated parents with the same issue.) FYI, in the child’s profile, toggle off the option to Enable web access. However, this means that you will then have to go in an Allow Content for every app that you do want them to access as well as allow every web page they can go to. For me, not a huge deal because I bought these for one specific purpose, but as you will see below, even that was a ridiculously frustrating process.
After figuring out the toggle solution, I started going into the settings of each Kindle to set them up. On the 8th and final Kindle, it didn’t work. After restarting and then trying to power off/wait/power on, I finally decided to delete the profile and reinstall it. Upon doing this, the child profile interfaces of ALL 8 tablets completely changed. The original wallpaper/setup was single solid light blue page with cloud outline in background. After I reinstalled the profile, the wallpaper was a black/aqua/purple paint splatter with a “For Me”, “Home”, and some other tab. Under the For Me tab were ALL the videos and apps that I had disabled access to. Even though the toggle was set to disable, they were all back and could be opened. I then factory reset the device, and it still didn’t work. I finally tried to create yet another new child profile, and then it finally went back. No rhyme or reason.
So, now to the task of setting them up for Myon. I downloaded the Myon app, but it would not work. I think this was an issue on our district permission side. (And even though I did a press/hold and told it to remove the app from the profile and then completely deleted Myon from my account via the Content and Devices setting of my Amazon.com account, it was still showing up! And if the child tapped it, it became stuck in a loop of trying to install an app that was no longer there.) Anyway, I was told by our Academic Tech dept to go through the Clever app. Guess what – it’s not available on the Amazon app store. So, I had to go through the web. In the Allow Content section of Settings, you can allow specific websites, which is great. However, even though I allowed the website to access Clever, at every step, the child’s profile web browser said no permission. I had to enable every single page the kids will go through to get to their Myon account, and even then they have to know to navigate around an “Uh oh” page that still pops up every time, even though I allowed it.
Because of this, I needed to make step-by-step instructions by taking screenshots so I could print for the kids so they could remember all these steps. However, screenshots taken while in child’s profile cannot be located anywhere, not in the child or adult profiles. (Camera and photo storage had been enabled.) Regular photos taken with the camera could be found in the photos app, and I found an online thread suggesting going through the Files app, but they are nowhere to be found. I can’t take the screenshots in the adult profile because the screen looks completely different. I spent 20 minutes on chat with a CSR this morning only to be told he would ‘notify the team.’ The threads I read about this same issue were from 2020 and 2021, so I’m sure they know and have chosen not to fix it.
My multiple chat sessions were also frustrating. With this particular one, I took the time to write out, in detail, the exact steps I followed, only to have him ask – two separate times - if I had tried something that I had already said I tried. I had this same issue with other CSR chats. These are the least knowledgeable CSRs I have ever dealt with. One, named Jestin, kept telling me to tap the Menu button, and there was not a menu button on my screen. After hanging up with her, I continued to research online, and found the exact script she was using, and it was for a Kindle eReader, not a Fire! She didn’t even have the right device, and she kept getting very angry with me when I couldn’t follow her instructions. She kept me on hold for 10 minutes when I asked to speak with someone else, then came back on and (unsurprisingly) said she couldn’t find anyone else.
I usually have great customer service with Amazon, but they have truly failed with their training related to the Kindle Fire devices. They would have me wait for 10 minutes sometimes, only to come back and ask me to try something that I had already told them I tried.
Almost every single thing I have tried to do with these has required me to spend an inordinate amount of time researching previous threads, chatting online with a specialist, or on the phone. It took 3 separate calls to finally get someone who was willing to take over my Fire so they could see what I was seeing, and even so, I still cannot use them in the way that I need to. You definitely get what you pay for, I guess. Such a shame when teachers have to use their own money to provide these opportunities for their students. I have wasted hours of my time and a lot of my money. I hope I can save another teacher some of this endless frustration.