Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet Review: The King of Tablet Basics
The Amazon Fire HD 8 is just a slight improvement on the previous model. This shows that, in regards to a good below-$100 tablet, there are really no other companies giving Amazon competition. This lack of competition is allowing Amazon to create similar products. This factor, based on our Amazon Fire HD 8 Review, contributes to the device ranking high on our list of low cost tablets.
- Review Price- $79.99
- 1280 x 800 screen resolution
- 8.4 x 5.0 x 0.4-inch dimensions
- Weight- 16.7 Oz
Same as its predecessor, this Amazon HD 8 is a plastic (HWD) tablet available in four colors – blue, yellow, black, and red. The screen is colorful yet reflective, and not quite bright.
Dual speakers sit at the bottom of the tablet and they sound loud when they are being used through the hand held.
The Fire HD 8’s speakers have relatively quiet output and at its highest volume, there’s some distortion.
A regular micro USB cable is used to transfer files, as well as charge the Fire HD 8. It also comes with the standard headphone jack. The HD 8 supports Bluetooth for audio and dual-band Wi-Fi for Internet. It’s not waterproof, but it’s definitely a durable model. Overall, the device is equipped with all of the standard features offered by market tablets.
The only significant improvement from the former model is the camera quality. The Amazon Fire HD 8 has a front facing camera and has been enhanced to 2 megapixels with 720p video, up from VGA. Its actual aim is to be used for video chats – particularly for drop In calls- and it works well for that purpose, maintaining 30 frames per second of clear indoor video. Unfortunately, the camera shoots still photos that are of questionable quality– some appear grainy and pixelated. The 2mp rear camera also carries the previous model’s low quality output.
Performance is average. The HD 8 uses a Mediatek 8163 processor running at 1.3GHz, acknowledged as being slow and underpowered by Amazon representatives. The tab’s Fire OS appears to pre-cache its image-weighty interface to avoid processing speed disturbances. While performing basic web surfing, playing video, listening to music, and reading, the tablet ran fine and no issues were experienced.
High-end games cannot be played on this device due to it scoring very low in the basic GFX Bench T-Rex test.
Battery life is the same as the predecessor – about 5 hours of web video streaming.
The Fire HD model comes with 16GB of storage and lock screen ads. The ads can be turned off for $15, while for $30 the device storage can be upgraded to 32GB. Though the tablet supports micro SD card, it is advised to purchase the 32GB Fire HD 8 if you download from Netflix often. This is because Netflix files cannot be downloaded directly to the micro SD.
As usual, Amazon’s Android based OS is made to run Amazon content effortlessly. During device set up, the tablet suggests TV shows and free books for your library. The home screen displays your last read or last viewed Amazon content, and after that section there are various options to purchase recommended Amazon content.
The HD 8‘s biggest hurdle is the Amazon app store. It contains many low quality games, basic document software, video streaming, and email apps. Popular apps are either rarely found on the store or are unable to be updated. Google apps such as YouTube are not available on the platform.
With some technical proficiency and another Android device, Apk files can be sideloaded onto the HD 8. There are methods to hack Google play onto Amazon tablets, but we advise against doing that as it is in violation of Google’s terms of service.
That being said, if basic apps and services are what you need, the tablet will work just fine. Additionally, the tablet supports up to a 400GB microSD card and the Amazon store features third party music and video players for file format compatibility. Multiple user profiles can be installed on the device to aid in controlling your child’s apps and web usage.
The Amazon Fire HD 8, like its former version, supports hands-free Show Mode. This is quite the big deal as it allows the tablet to function as an Alexa-run Echo show, displaying video and query results powered by voice. Speakerphone calls to any US or Canadian number can also be made through this feature.
There are other below-$100 Android tablets on the market, but they are inferior to the Amazon Fire HD 8. Amazon has been delivering good quality, affordable media tablets for a couple of years now. Still, the absence of Google play and the strict focus on Amazon content can leave the user disappointed when looking for a broad array of media. It may be harder to view non-Amazon content through this device, like news, weather, and other website material.
However, from our Amazon Fire HD 8 Review, we that feel most people will be happy with the tablet’s features, as it covers all the essential tablet needs at an affordable price.