Amazon is updating its Fire tablet lineup with a new 2018 version of the Fire HD 8. For the most part… it’s a lot like last year’s model. But there are a few improvements.

The new model supports larger microSD cards. It has a better front-facing camera. And it lets you interact with the Alexa voice service without touching the tablet.

The new Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet is available for pre-order for $80 and up and it should ship starting October 4th.

If you already have a 2017 model, the new version seems like a pretty modest upgrade. It has the same display, processor, memory, and storage options and the new 2018 model looks pretty much identical to its predecessor.

But the new model has a 2MP front-facing camera (up from 0.3MP on the previous version) and works with microSD cards up to 400GB (up from 256GB). You can also install apps to the microSD card if the built-in storage capacity isn’t enough for you.

It also supports Alexa hands-free usage at any time. Last year’s model only supported Alexa hands-free interactions when the screen was already on or when the device was plugged in.

Other features remain pretty much the same. The new tablet still has a 1280 x 800 pixel display, a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, and 1.5GB of RAM. It has stereo speakers, a microphone, and a 2MP rear cameras.

Amazon charges $80 for a model with 16GB of storage and “special offers,” also known as ads on the lock screen. A 32GB model has a starting price of $110. Add $15 if you want to get rid of the ads.

One spec seems to have been downgraded: Amazon said last year’s model had an estimated battery life of up to 12 hours. The new version gets up to 10 hours of battery life with mixed usage.

The new Amazon Fire HD 8 measures 8.4″ x 5″ x 0.4″ and weighs 12.8 ounces. It’s available in black, blue, red, and yellow color options.

Amazon has also updated its Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet.

The new version is priced at $130 and up and features a 32GB Fire HD 8 tablet without special offers, plus a rugged case, a 2-year worry-free guarantee (you can get a replacement for a damaged device, no questions asked) and a 1-year subscription to Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited service (now available in English and/or Spanish).

Like the normal Fire HD 8, the new 2018 model is up for pre-order starting today and it should ship October 4th.

For a limited time, Amazon is also offering a bundle discount: you can buy two Fire HD 8 Kids Editions for $195, or 25 percent off the list price.

press release

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11 replies on “Amazon’s new $80 Fire HD 8 supports hands-free Alexa, better front camera… not much else”

  1. > The new version gets up to 10 hours of battery life…

    They probably are factoring in the Alexa effect. My 8″ Fire is much slower, gets less battery because of their Alexa-focused updates. I don’t own my Amazon tablet anymore. It belongs to Amazon to push whatever technology they want on me (pretty much like so many other OS Vendors) – whether I want or not.

    It’s still useful to me ((8″ screen, basic browsing, news focused side-loaded apps, rss feeds) but it’ll be the last Amazon tablet I buy.

    1. Really? I disabled all of the Alexa features on my 2017 HD8. Haven’t noticed any drop in speed or battery life with any of the recent updates.

      Silk might have slowed down a bit, but it’s always been a poorly-designed browser that I avoided it in the first place. I use Naked Browser as my primary, and if something doesn’t work (like downloading a file from APKPure) then I switch to Silk.

      1. Yes, really. I disabled the Alexa features too in addition to disabling another feature that auto-downloaded complete movies and TV episodes that I would never have watched. My video interests should be clear based on the prime videos I watch and save.

        This is to say, despite all the profiling Amazon and others do, they will still push their wares on their customers – whatever it may be – at the cost of storage, bandwidth, system resources. How’s that for “telemetry” (spyware) to improve services?

        Another issue related to these self-serving updates that do little to improve the user experience is when I press the power button, the screen will blank out (expected) but if I touch the screen within 1-2 seconds of it blanking out, it will register the touch and turn on again. This is consistent behavior now.

        I haven’t resorted to such a low-end browser like Naked Browser (I’m familiar with it) since you aren’t having any problems… but have opted for Brave instead. May have to do a complete reset of the OS (have already rc’d the steps from customer service). Since our differing experiences are anecdoctal, I wanted to reply in case others have similar issues.

  2. “You can also install apps to the microSD card if the built-in storage capacity isn’t enough for you.”

    Does the 2017 HD 8 allow you to install apps to the SD card, or is that ability new to the 2018 version?

      1. Thanks. What about the 2017 HD 10? Because that’s the tablet I just got a couple weeks ago.

        1. It’s a capability of Fire OS. As long as the tablet has an SD slot, it can move a good chunk of the apps (along with photos/videos) to the card.

          The only Fire tablets that can’t do it are the 2014-era tablets with no SD card slots.

  3. Oh, well. I recently bought the now discontinued 32G model for $60.

  4. wow, lame even by amazon standards. just buy the 2017 model for $40. Can’t believe they wouldn’t improve the ram and processor just a little bit.

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