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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.
Amazon tablets just don’t seem to be a viable option for my any longer. I own the 7th gen, 8″ tablet and regret the compromises. Poor speakers, poorer performance, poor app store, limited UI, bluetooth issues (when using BT speakers) and the additional spyware loaded on top of general android apps and the core OS itself.
For anyone in a similar situation: Amazon makes their apps available via Google. You can pick and choose those that are most useful to you. Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Kindle, Amazon Store… to name a few.
The Amazon experience isn’t lost at all by running their apps on a “normal” tablet. Example: I’ve been using the Prime Video app on a generic ASUS 10″ tablet and the experience has been phenomenal – improved audio, working bluetooth speakers (including the ability to download entire seasons to SD card).
The Kindle app runs on both my (much more powerful) phone and 10″ tablet (great for comics). Even with improved hardware specs, Amazon’s newer tablets simply have too many limitations – starting at the OS level.
If there is one positive: it’s in the area of updates. Even this positive turns into a slight negative as it’s clear that Amazon appears more interested in pushing their latest wares (Alexa and other underlying tech) and I can’t tell what bundle of an update is security focused (not unlike Microsoft’s own nebulous updates).
I probably am going to buy one with original firmware and leave it in the box until decent hacks are found. I really don’t want to be limited by Amazon’s apps store. Hardware wise it looks like great value.
You can use the F-Droid Store, and the Aurora Store, and consequently, the Play Store from day one.
Wish someone put a sound level meter to these
devices. The old tablets suffered from a lack of
volume, and haven’t seen any attachable accessory
speaker or dock that gave it sufficient oomph. At
least they boosted the microSD capacity to 1 TB,
the 400 GB maximum was limiting.
My HD10 is certainly loud enough and if you really want it louder then attach a BlueTooth receiver to your stereo.
Anyway. Is it just me, but I think from these cheap tablets, the “right” sizes are either the 7″ or the 10″ one and the 8″ is the strange, in between size?
I haven’t tried one, but suspect you are right but it probably dates back to the original Fire HD.
Just you… my 6th Gen, Fire hd 8 is still a valid choice for what it was bought for -> reading ebooks and light internet.
However my M3 Lite 8 has replaced it as my general purpose tablet…
In all honestly I still prefer the 8.4 form factor and screen resolution of my old Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 (which is long dead given the battery).
“In all honestly I still prefer the 8.4 form factor and screen resolution of my old Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 (which is long dead given the battery).”
Why don’t you replace it’s battery? OR why don’t you let a service technician replace its battery to give it a new life? Letting an otherwise great device dead just because its battery is dead, is not really green. 🙁
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 Battery Replacement
Difficulty – Easy
Fair enough. We won’t argue over different tastes. 😉 At least Robby Payne of Chrome Unboxed agrees me on the 10″ Tablet size… and I’d say the 7″ size could be ideal for folks who don’t want to carry a large phone.
My TabPro’s has a know battery problem that causes it to freeze, so I am well aware of the battery removal procedure. The main issue, besides getting a new battery, would be getting an up to date ROM/Operating System… it came and stayed with 4.4.4, I installed 5 and 6 (SlimRom courtesy of someone at XDA) but it didn’t get better than that. Right now a new battery would only be worth if I could find a 8.1/9 ROM that would keep it updated. But yes I do agree that we need greener options here.
Regarding the form format… yes, everyone has its own use-case and preference so we end up with large choices. And yes I have tried 10″ tablets (have about 4/5 of them at home – mostly used by the children and visitors) but couldn’t find one that suited me fully – the one that got closer was the Toshiba Excite 10 (AT300) but support for that is long gone.
BTW, I am also one of the many that is eagerly waiting for the Duet to show up in my market (Europe/Italy) and I am keeping up to date with all the reviews. So far the killer problem is the external display resolution… but I may forget about it if everything else works (specially gestures and Android/Linux Apps)!
I don’t have 4-5 tablets of the same size so for me it’s probably easier to re-use older devices out of software support as media consumption only devices for video and ebooks.
I don’t know about the exact device name number regarding your Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4, but you said you tried XDA ROMs previously. Have you checked out XDA recently? A quck glance suggests me they even have the latest ROM for your tablet. Depending on the exact model number, of course.
I think it’s all about personal preference and use case. I think all three sizes have their strengths. I used to like the 7″ tablet for the best portability, but now I prefer the 8″ for the extra size and pixels. For home use, I prefer the 10″ because I can usually prop it up somewhere so the extra size/weight doesn’t matter.
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