Amazon’s Fire tablets have starting prices as low as $50 for an entry-level model with a 7 inch screen. But the Amazon Fire HD 8 has always represented a stronger value proposition for folks who can pay a little more for a version with much better specs.
Now Amazon is updating the Fire HD 8 with two new models featuring a faster processor, faster WiFi, more RAM and storage, a USB Type-C port, and even optional support for wireless charging for the first time in an Amazon Fire tablet.
The new 10th-gen Amazon Fire HD 8 is up for pre-order for $90 and up (representing a $10 price bump over the 8th-gen version), while the new Fire HD 8 Plus with more RAM and wireless charging is available for $110 and up.
Both tablets feature a new 2 GHz quad-core processor, an 8 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel touchscreen display, USB 2.0 Type-C ports, stereo speakers, 3.5mm audio jacks, and support for 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0 LE.
Both also have 2MP front and rear cameras, a choice of 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, and a microSD card reader with support for cards up to 1TB.
Here are the key features that set the new Fire HD Plus apart from the lower-priced Fire HD 8:
- The Plus model has 3GB of RAM compared with 2GB for the standard model.
- The Plus model comes with a 9W wired charger that can charge the tablet in 4 hours. The standard version has a 5W charger that takes 5 hours to provide a full charge. Both can work with 15W chargers (sold separately) to charge in less than 3 hours.
- The Plus model also supports Qi wireless charging.
- The Plus model comes with a 6-month Kindle Unlimited subscription
Amazon sells a 10W wireless charging dock that the company says can charge the tablet in under three hours, but you’ll have to pay an extra $20 to get that dock, bringing the starting price of the Fire HD 8 Plus & dock to $130.
Here’s an overview of the specs for the new tablets, and how they stack up against the 8th-gen model released in 2018:
|Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020)||Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus (2020)||Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018)|
|Display||8 inch, 1280 x 800||8 inch, 1280 x 800||8 inch, 1280 x 800|
|Storage||32GB or 64GB + microSD (up to 1TB)||32GB or 64GB + microSD (up to 1TB)||16GB or 32GB + microSD (up to 400GB)|
|CPU||2 GHz MT8168 quad-core||2 GHz MT8168 quad-core||1.3 GHz MT8163V/B quad-core|
|Battery||Up to 12 hours||Up to 12 hours||Up to 10 hours|
|Ports||USB 2.0 Type-C||USB 2.0 Type-C||micro USB 2.0|
|Charging time||5 hours (5W wired)||4 hours (9W wired), 3 hours (wireless)||6 hours (5W wired)|
|Cameras||2MP front & rear||2MP front & rear||2MP front & rear|
|OS||Fire OS 7||Fire OS 7||Fire OS 6|
|Dimensions||202mm x 137mm x 9.7mm||202mm x 137mm x 9.7mm||214mm x 128mm x 9.7mm|
|Weight||355 grams||355 grams||363 grams|
While the $10 price increase widens the gap between the $50 Fire 7 tablet and the new $90 Fire HD 8 (or $110 Fire HD 8 Plus), the spec bump certainly helps justify that increase. Amazon’s 7 inch tablet has just 1GB of RAM, a 1024 x 600 pixel display, a mono speaker, 7 hours of battery life, and a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, 16GB to 32GB of RAM storage, and a micro USB 2.0 port.
Along with new hardware, Amazon is also introducing some software updates including a new Game Mode that offers a notification/distraction-free gaming environment.
The Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 8 Plus are available for purchase starting today and they should begin shipping June 3rd. Amazon is also selling a new line of cases in blue, black, white, and plum colors. They cost $30 each.
There’s also a new Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet priced at $140 and up. This model is basically the same as the standard 10th-gen Fire HD 8, except it comes with a 1-year subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, a rugged bumper case, and a 2-year worry-free guarantee (which means Amazon will replace a damaged tablet free of charge if your kid (or anyone else) manages to break it.