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Amazon Fire HD 8: The Best Budget Tablet Has New Tricks and Old Flaws

Rating: 7/10 ?

  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 – Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $90

The Fire HD 8 with some of its less colorful predecessors.Andrew Heinzman

Amazon is one of few firms to carve out an area within the pill marketplace. Its Fire pills, whilst restricted via {hardware} and app variety, are extremely reasonably priced and best for streaming, studying, or mild gaming. And whilst the new $90 Fire HD 8 is interesting for its new good options and upgraded processor, its faults really feel extra evident than ever.

Here’s What We Like

  • USB-C, wi-fi charging, nice battery existence
  • Improved audio system
  • Hands-free Alexa
  • Echo Show Mode saves you from purchasing a wise show (more or less)

And What We Don’t

  • Performance continues to be gradual
  • The app variety feels extra restricted than ever
  • Ironically, Amazon nonetheless hasn’t upgraded the show in its Fire “HD” pill

I’m speaking concerning the 10th technology Fire HD 8 pill, the primary Fire pill to recreation a USB-C port, and the primary Fire HD 8 pill to fortify hands-free Alexa and Echo Show mode. But that’s about so far as “firsts” move. Otherwise, the Fire HD 8 is only a rather sooner model of its predecessor with a neat 12-hour battery existence.

If it ain’t broke, don’t are compatible it—proper? That’s the place issues get a bit of difficult. The Fire HD 8 is riddled with small issues that most of the people received’t thoughts, however some other folks will obsess over. The very first thing that I realized concerning the HD 8, for instance, is that it feels gradual.

Poor Performance, But the Apps Work Fine

The Fire HD 8 in Echo Show mode. The Fire HD 8 in Echo Show mode. Propping it up in opposition to books is tougher than you’d be expecting. Andrew Heinzman

The Fire HD 8 has 2GB of RAM and a Quad-Core processor, striking it up to the mark with the bigger Fire HD 10. But the ones specifications don’t translate to a big building up in efficiency. Like each different Fire pill I’ve used, the HD 8 stutters whilst navigating during the Home display and apps take longer to load than they actually must.

I’m now not positive why the brand new Quad-Core processor has such a lot bother with the Fire’s easy interface and out of date 1200 x 800 HD show. (I’ll communicate concerning the show in a minute.) Maybe it’s an OS factor—reviewers who’ve had a possibility to put in writing concerning the new Fire HD 8 Plus (Amazon’s maximum robust pill so far) whinge that it’s gradual, too. Either method, apps paintings flawlessly after they’re open, so Amazon will have to be doing one thing proper. I haven’t spotted any lag in video games, streaming apps, or books, and that’s what counts.

Actually, there may be one laggy app: Echo Show mode. I’m actually enthusiastic about the Echo Show mode as it turns your Fire pill into an Echo good show. The Fire pill actually runs the Echo Show instrument, so you’ll use Alexa voice instructions and hands-free controls to invite questions, set timers, movement media, or regulate your good house.

A photo of the Fire HD 8's USB-C port, aux port, volume controls and power button.Oh glance, ports! Buttons! Andrew Heinzman

Echo Show mode has the possible to show your Fire pill right into a family equipment, however I believe it wishes a instrument replace. It takes some time to begin up and doesn’t all the time paintings smartly. In the top, it’s more uncomplicated to activate hands-free Alexa and bark out instructions with out opening Show Mode, which is a bummer.

If you’re into the theory of Echo Show mode, you then must believe purchasing the Fire HD 8 Plus as a substitute of the elemental Fire HD 8. It mechanically enters Echo Show mode when put on a wi-fi charger, so you’ll seamlessly transfer between pill mode and good show mode. (That’s the one primary distinction between the HD 8 and HD 8 Plus, via the best way. The HD 8 Plus has an additional GB of RAM, can wirelessly rate, and enters Echo Show mode whilst wirelessly charging.)

Decent Build Quality, “HD” Screen, Improved Speakers

The new Fire HD 8 appears other than another Fire pill, because of its colourful bottom and sideways speaker placement. But the adjustments listed below are most commonly aesthetic. The HD 8 feels just about similar to its predecessors. It’s light-weight, it feels robust, and it sports activities the similar 2-megapixel cameras and 1200 x 800 HD show as each different Fire HD 8 pill from the previous couple of years.

I believed that the 2-megapixel cameras would glance unhealthy, however truthfully, they’re about as excellent because the webcams in maximum laptops. Most other folks will simplest use them for Zoom calls, so the standard isn’t an enormous deal. But the show, which I anticipated Amazon to beef up, is beginning to glance a little out of date.

A photo of the Fire tablet playing Pac-Man256.Even the pretty Pac-Guy256 appears a bit of boring at the Fire pill’s show. Andrew Heinzman

I’m now not going to mention that the Fire pill’s 1200 x 800 HD show appears “unhealthy,” as a result of I truthfully suppose it appears superb. I simply don’t perceive why Amazon provides the phrase “HD” to the Fire pill’s identify. It’s technically HD, positive, however Amazon hasn’t up to date it in years. To put issues into viewpoint, the iPad 3 had a 2048 x 1536 show … in 2020.

Anyway, one primary alternate to the Fire HD 8 is speaker placement. Instead of shoving each audio system on the best of the pill, Amazon moved them to the facet. They sound higher than another Fire pill audio system, and the horizontal placement signifies that they don’t get lined via your filthy mitts all the way through Zoom calls or Netflix classes. The new speaker placement could also be nice for Echo Show mode, the place your pill is caught in a panorama place.

C’Mon Amazon, the People Want Apps!

I just like the Fire HD 8 pill. I believe it’s an ideal price, even though its a little gradual. But there’s one factor that helps to keep me from achieving for the Fire pill after I take a seat down at the sofa, and that’s its horrible app variety.

The app variety on Fire units has all the time been underwhelming. Fire pills run on a customized model of Android, however they simply have get admission to to Amazon’s app retailer (which is arranged like a maze, via the best way). Software within the app retailer isn’t all the time stored up to the moment, and there aren’t a large number of prime quality apps or video games to make a choice from. Sure, you’ve were given the entire streaming apps, the entire Amazon apps, and Minecraft, however there aren’t any Google apps or fashionable productiveness gear.

A screenshot of the dreaded Silk browser.The dreaded Silk browser. Andrew Heinzman

I don’t want a ton of apps, as a result of lots of the gear that I exploit are to be had on the net. With a excellent internet browser, I will write out a Google Calendar tournament or edit my Trello to-do record at the fly. But there’s simplest one browser at the Fire pill—Amazon’s Silk browser. It’s rapid and light-weight, positive, but it surely’s tough to make use of, it doesn’t sync bookmarks out of your desktop browser, and isn’t supported via some internet sites.

Nobody needs to put in writing out spreadsheets on an 8-inch Fire pill, I am getting that. The Kindle HD 8’s power is that it’s a low cost pill with get admission to to each Amazon app, a handful of video games, and your whole favourite streaming services and products. I’m simply seeking to emphasize that, if you wish to have a pill that may leap between leisure, buying groceries, good house stuff, and productiveness paintings, you then must save up an additional $100 to $200 for an iPad, a Lenovo Ideapad Duet, or a Microsoft Surface Go.


In all, it’s arduous to knock the Fire HD 8. It isn’t essentially the most superb or leading edge tool, but it surely does the whole lot that you just’d be expecting a pill to do and prices not up to $100. If you’re at the fence, I counsel taking the jump. Even if you happen to simply use the Fire pill as an e-reader or Zoom system, it’s definitely worth the cash. Plus, Amazon has a 30-day go back coverage, so it’s now not such as you’re caught with the Fire HD 8 if you happen to don’t find it irresistible.

Rating: 7/10
Price: $90

Here’s What We Like

  • USB-C, wi-fi charging, nice battery existence
  • Improved audio system
  • Hands-free Alexa
  • Echo Show Mode saves you from purchasing a wise show (more or less)

And What We Don’t

  • Performance continues to be gradual
  • The app variety feels extra restricted than ever
  • Ironically, Amazon nonetheless hasn’t upgraded the show in its Fire “HD” pill