Fire 8 tablet: Amazon Fire HD 8 and 8 Plus Review (2022): Unrivaled Value

Amazon Fire HD 8 and 8 Plus Review (2022): Unrivaled Value

If you want slightly more power, there is also the Fire HD 8 Plus ($150), which offers an extra gigabyte of RAM, wireless charging, and a 5-megapixel camera (to the base model’s 2-megapixel—neither are very good, so don’t let this be the selling point of the Plus). The extra RAM is very welcome, but the difference here is not as noticeable as it is with the 10-inch Fire HD Plus. If you want to get real work done, you can do it on the the 10-inch Fire HD, but neither model of the Fire HD 8 will work for you.

Fire HD 8 Kids

Photograph: Amazon

Fire HD 8 Gaming Bundle

Photograph: Amazon

Along with the Plus model, Amazon has quite a few other bundles, like the Fire HD 8 Kids models, which feature protective cases, some extra software, and content bundles along with parental controls. There’s also now a gaming bundle that comes with a Luna controller ($169), though given the limitations of Fire OS, I can’t imagine this appealing to many gamers.

Therein lies the main rub with Fire tablets—Amazon’s software.

What’s Wrong

Out of the box, Amazon’s Fire tablets offer an experience that reminds me of the hyper ad-saturated world of Idiocracy

From the moment you try to unlock your Fire HD 8, you are confronted with an onslaught of ads and dark-patterned designs engineered to get you clicking on stuff, especially if you opt for the ad-supported models. Just don’t. Spend the extra $20 to free yourself from some of the ads. Don’t worry, you’ll still have Amazon content pushed on you every time you so much as look at your Fire HD 8. This is, as they say, the price of admission. You want a cheap tablet? You’re going to get a tablet that feels like it needs to get more money out of you at every turn.

Fire OS, Amazon’s fork of Android, has been updated to use Android 11, which is still two full versions behind stock Android. Other than the app-switching screen and few minor theme details, I couldn’t tell much of a difference. Fire OS still offers the same basic experience, which isn’t necessarily bad, but is limited by its app store.

Out of the box, Fire HD 8 tablets do not offer any Google apps or any access to the Google Play store. The selection in the Amazon app store is what you might call lacking. Want to watch YouTube? Chat on Slack? Nope, not happening. Even if you want to argue that this is a tablet mostly for consumption and doesn’t need much of what’s in the Google Play Store, YouTube is a glaring omission. My suggestion would be that if you have specific apps you want to use, browse Amazon’s app store before you buy to make sure what you want is available (if you have an Android device, you can download and browse Amazon’s app store here).

What about “sideloading” Google Play? We do have a guide on How to Install the Google Play Store on an Amazon Fire Tablet, but unfortunately that guide doesn’t work for this model. Or at least, it doesn’t work with the current version of Fire OS. Some Reddit users who have received a software update to Fire OS 8.3.1.3 claim that they have been able to install and use Google Play. My review unit is so far stuck at Fire OS 8.2.1.2, which, I can confirm, will install the Google Play Store itself, but does not allow you to log in and install any apps from it. I will update our guide with info on how to do it once I can confirm that it works. At some point, you likely will be able to install the Play Store, but you can’t right now.

Amazon’s 2022 Fire HD 8 remains good at what it is designed to do: stream Amazon content. If you’re a Prime subscriber and want a small, affordable device to use on the couch, in the kitchen, or even with a stand to impersonate an Echo Show, the Fire HD 8 isn’t bad. But if you can afford it, the 10-inch model offers a much better overall experience and remains our top pick. If you really want to score a deal, wait for the next Prime Day to roll around, when, typically, Amazon’s Fire tablets can be had for half-price.

Amazon Fire HD 8 review: Only slightly better

By
Charnita Fance

After two years, the latest version of Amazon’s affordable tablet has finally arrived, but the improvements are minimal

Amazon’s smaller Fire tablets are known for being extremely portable and easy to navigate, but cheaper and slower than competing tablets. Just type “why are Fire tablets” into Google, and you’ll see that the auto-complete options aren’t pretty. This isn’t to say that these tablets aren’t good. They’re great for certain uses, which is why the Amazon Fire HD 10 is one of the best Android tablets. However, the Fire tablet line doesn’t live up to its full potential.

Amazon recently released a new edition of the popular 8-inch tablet, two years after the debut of the 10th generation. While there aren’t many differences between the two, the Amazon Fire HD 8 is a tad faster and smaller. Otherwise, the newer device is the same, right down to the embarrassing front and back cameras. Sure, it’s good for reading e-books, browsing the web, checking your email, and shopping online, but when it comes to anything demanding, like gaming and taking pictures, the Fire HD 8 continues to disappoint.

See on Amazon

The Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8 comes in three colors, offers up to 13 hours of battery life, and doubles as an Echo Show device. However, it’s still a budget option due to its slightly sluggish (yet tolerable) performance, just 2 GB of RAM, and low-quality display.

Specifications

  • Storage: 32 or 64GB
  • CPU: Hexa-core 2.0 GHz
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Operating System: Fire OS
  • Battery: Up to 13 hours
  • Ports: USB-C (2.0)
  • Camera (Rear, Front): 2MP, 2MP
  • Display (Size, Resolution): 8″ 1280 x 800
  • Price: Starting at $99.99
  • Size: 11. 88 ounces
  • Connectivity: Dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wi-fi, bluetooth 5.0 LE
  • Measurements: 7.94 x 5.40 x 0.37 inches
  • Headphone jack: Yes

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Impressive battery life
  • Great for traveling due to its small size
  • Has all of Amazon’s services baked in for convenience

Cons

  • Low-quality display with poor ppi
  • Insufficient amount of RAM for resource-heavy apps and games
  • Not all Android apps are available in Amazon’s App Store
  • The cameras are impractical due to their low specs

Buy This Product

Amazon Fire HD 8: Price and availability

You can snag the Fire HD 8 from various retailers, including Amazon’s website and other online retailers like Best Buy, Walmart, Target, and Kohl’s. It starts at $100 at the lowest tier and goes up to $145 at the highest. If you’re looking for the best price and selection, it’s often a good idea to shop around and compare prices at different retailers.

You’ll be disappointed to learn that the 2022 Fire HD 8 is just a minor upgrade from the 2020 version. It’s slightly slimmer, 18 grams (0.62 ounces) lighter, and has a faster processor. Also, the volume rocker and power buttons have switched places.

The Fire HD 8 comes with a 5.0V power adapter and a USB Type-A to USB Type-C charging cable. Everything else remains the same as the previous Fire tablet, including two storage options: 32 GB and 64 GB. If you need more space, there’s also a MicroSD slot that supports up to 1TB cards.

The processor in the latest version of the Fire HD 8 is a step up, with a 2.0GHz Hexa-core instead of the previous 2.0GHz Quad-core. This upgrade allows the new Fire HD 8 to operate up to 30% faster than the previous version. However, there’s still only 2GB of RAM, which isn’t going to cut it with apps that require a lot of memory. You’ll also notice UI sluggishness if too many apps are open in the background.

The Fire HD 8’s display is exactly the same size and resolution as the previous model: 1280 x 800 pixels at 189ppi. And, even though it’s technically an HD screen, the quality is pretty low for a 2022 tablet geared toward entertainment. Nevertheless, it is good enough for those who aren’t interested in sharp, vibrant graphics, like children.

It also works well as an e-book reader, which is hardly surprising for a Fire tablet. Thankfully there are great-sounding stereo speakers that are Dolby Atmos compliant, so you can watch videos, listen to music, and play games with an immersive surround sound experience.

The build quality of the Fire HD 8 is excellent for the price, and it looks and feels good even without a case. The tablet’s casing, made with 35% post-consumer recycled plastic, is easy to grip and doesn’t easily slide out of your hands. While the bezels are slimmer all around, they are still larger than some may prefer and should be reduced by at least 30% to give the tablet a more modern appearance.

The bottom navigation bar takes up valuable screen space and can’t be minimized or hidden, and you lose even more screen space when you open apps with their own menu bar at the bottom of the screen. Most people will use this tablet in portrait mode by default, but this places the camera on the side of the screen instead of on the top. It feels out of place in this location, but you’ll eventually get used to it.

Amazon Fire HD 8: Software and performance

As always, the device uses Amazon’s own Fire OS, a forked version of Android OS. This means there’s no Google Play Store, even though it’s possible to install it yourself if you’ve got a little time and patience. Not having the Google Play Store also means you won’t have access to nearly as many Android apps since the Amazon App Store’s offering is limited. Side loading APK files is another way to go.

If you’re looking to save some money, you can opt for the ad-supported version of the Fire HD 8 like the one we’ve reviewed. With this version, you’ll see sponsored screensavers on the lock screen. The good news is that if you change your mind and no longer want to see these somewhat bothersome ads, you can pay a small fee to get rid of them. (There are also sponsored content tiles that can’t be removed in the Continue and Discover row at the top of the Home tab.)

While the Fire HD 8 isn’t the snappiest, it’s far from unusable. Most tasks are performed at an acceptable speed well before the “this is just getting ridiculous” waiting period. That said, some things take noticeably longer, such as navigating to the home screen from an open app or opening graphics-intensive games and apps like Instagram and Plex. Things also slow down if you have too many apps running in the background, which is to be expected with such limited RAM.

The tablet also struggles with intense games like PUBG Mobile. Luckily, Amazon knows this and automatically starts “Game Mode” when you launch a game. This feature optimizes the tablet’s memory and performance to make games run a little smoother. It also hides notifications and disables Alexa. The bad news is that after several attempts to get PUBG to launch properly, we ran into constant freezing issues just a few minutes in, and the game ended up crashing altogether. Casual games like Stardew Valley run fine, though.

As an Amazon device, Alexa is baked in, making it even easier to make video calls, listen to music, get the news, find out the weather, set reminders, use timers, control your smart home devices, and much more using your voice. Amazon Kids can also be enabled to set up parental controls and subscribe to Amazon Kids+ for access to books, apps, games, videos, songs, Audible books, and more.

One of the best features is the ability to transform your Fire HD 8 into an Echo Show device. Upon enabling Show Mode, you’ll have a wireless, handheld Echo Show that you can take wherever you go. This gives you a beautiful Alexa-powered display and makes engaging with Alexa from anywhere in the room easier. You can also get a solid case with a built-in stand from Amazon, which will be very useful while cooking dinner, getting ready for the day, working at your computer, and so on.

Amazon Fire HD 8: Battery

The battery life of Fire devices continues to improve. Amazon promises up to 13 hours of continued usage with the new Fire HD 8 tablet, compared to the previous 12 hours. Keep in mind that, unlike the Fire HD Plus model, you can’t charge this device wirelessly. Upon testing, we went two full days without charging the device, with light usage during the day and heavy use in the evenings (around 4 hours each evening).

With the included 5W adapter, it takes around 5 hours to charge the device completely. However, since the tablet has a USB-C charging port like most smartphones, you’re sure to have a much faster power adapter and cable to speed up the charging process. We tested a 45W charger and found that a full charge from zero took just 3 hours, which is certainly better than 5 hours.

Amazon Fire HD 8: Cameras

While most people don’t purchase a tablet specifically for the camera, Amazon put front and rear cameras on the Fire HD 8, but Amazon didn’t upgrade the cameras to something usable. They’re still both a mere 2 MP. Even in well-lit situations, you can expect to be let down by the device’s image quality. Still, despite having a low number of megapixels, you’ll find that the cameras are fine for taking insignificant photos or making quick video calls in a pinch.

The Amazon camera app is just as disappointing; it only takes pictures and doesn’t record videos (not that it would make a difference if you could, given the expected poor quality). There are also no camera settings, just a few camera mode options: Auto, HDR, and Night. You can also show or hide the camera grid and set a camera timer.

Amazon Fire HD 8: The competition

If you’re looking for an extremely portable tablet for casual use, like web browsing, reading eBooks, watching videos, and listening to music, you can’t go wrong with the Fire HD 8. However, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 is a better deal if you need something more powerful. For $130 more at the lowest tier, you can get a larger screen, faster performance, better cameras, more RAM, and access to all the apps in the Google Play Store.

If you’re just looking to read eBooks and want a sharper display, the base Kindle device is the way to go. Sure, it’s the same price, but it’s smaller for better portability, lighter, much easier on the eyes thanks to 300ppi, and has incredible battery life. If you spend your evenings reading a good book or digital magazine, there is no need to have a bulkier, full-featured tablet.

You may also be able to find older used or refurbished Fire HD 8 tablets for sale on sites like eBay or through other online marketplaces. Since the 2020 version varies slightly (a tad larger with slower hardware), you can save money while getting most of the same features.

Amazon Fire HD 8: Should you buy it?

It can be hard to decide if you should buy an inexpensive tablet with specs that don’t impress. If you’re looking for a screen a little larger than your smartphone for simple tasks like watching videos, browsing the web, checking your email, reading eBooks, playing casual games, and shopping (on Amazon, of course), then by all means, you should buy the Fire HD 8.

If you can find the Fire HD 8 on sale and have the extra cash, don’t even think twice — the Show Mode feature alone makes it worth having around. Alternatively, if you’d like a tablet for your child that you won’t cry over if they break or lose it, the Fire HD 8 is also a great buy, especially if it’s their first tablet because they’ll have nothing to compare it to.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for high-quality graphics, fast performance, a functional camera, and the ability to play all the top Android games with the best graphics, you should definitely pass. Regrettably, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get your hands on all the games and apps you’d like to play, and even if you did, the device’s meager 2GB of RAM would make it impossible to do so. If this is what you’re looking for, there are much better options, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8.

FAQ

Q: How does the Fire HD 8 compare to the base E Ink Kindle (2022)?

Both of these devices have the same starting price at their lowest tier; however, each one is geared toward a specific audience. The base Kindle has a 6-inch screen and is made specifically for reading eBooks. Thus, it doesn’t support apps of any kind. The Fire HD 8 has an 8-inch screen and is marketed as a device for entertainment. It can also run various apps from the Amazon App Store. So while you can use it to read eBooks, it’s also great for browsing the web, watching videos, enjoying streaming services, listening to music, and playing games.

The base Kindle has 16 GB of storage, a 1072×1448 display with 300 PPI, USB-C charging, and weighs 5.56 ounces. Since it’s only for reading, it has extraordinary battery life; a single charge lasts up to six weeks. Meanwhile, the Fire HD 8 has 32 or 64 GB of storage, a 1280 x 800 display with 189 PPI, USB-C charging, and it weighs more than double at 11.88 ounces. It also has wonderful battery life, and a charge will last up to 13 hours. If you’re only looking to read, the base Kindle is your best choice.

Q: How does the Fire HD 8 compare to the 2022 Samsung Galaxy Tab A8?

The Galaxy Tab A8’s lowest tier is more than double that of the Fire HD 8. However, it’s worth the higher price considering the difference in design and quality. With the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8, you’re getting a larger 1920 x 1200 display, a faster and better-quality processor, fast charging, Android OS (instead of Fire OS), more RAM (double the RAM with the 128 GB device), higher-quality cameras (5 MP front, 8 MP rear), and four stereo speakers (instead of two).

The Fire HD 8 is six ounces lighter and has a smaller 8-inch display compared to Galaxy Tab A8’s 10.5-inch LCD. They’re both available in three colors; the Fire HD 8 is available in denim, black, and rose, while the Galaxy Tab A8 comes in gray, silver, and pink gold varieties. Both also have built-in Bluetooth v5 and a USB-C port for charging. If you’re looking for better-quality videos, more RAM for gaming, and less disappointing cameras, go for the Galaxy Tab A8.

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About The Author

Charnita is a wife, pet mom, tech enthusiast, and part-time freelance writer with over 14 years of experience. She’s done countless app roundups, product reviews, and tutorials! In her free time, she enjoys tinkering with gadgets, playing casual and cozy games, and spending way too many hours on YouTube.

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Complaint!

Land Rover P300 Tablet – “A decent tablet that can get through fire, water and copper pipes.

For a long time I was looking for an indestructible travel tablet with a screen larger than 8 inches. Most rugged tablets on the market are equipped with screens no larger than 7 inches. It turns out almost like the largest smartphone (Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – 6.3″, OnePlus 5T – 6.01″, Google Pixel 2 XL – 6″), and I need even more – so that it is convenient to view navigation maps, work in a video editor, surf in the browser, watch movies. In this case, the tablet must have a powerful battery and reliable protection according to the standard of at least IP67.

My choice fell on a site selling rugged tablets, where I bought a Land Rover P300.

Externally, the tablet looks modern: matte black color, thin dimensions (only 11mm), two-way USB Type-C connector, good front and rear cameras, 8-inch screen.

But if you look closely at the details, then in appearance an ordinary tablet falls into the category of protected ones. First, it is anti-shock. The case has enlarged rubberized inserts at the corners, absorbing possible impacts both with the screen down and with the back side. Secondly, it is waterproof. The USB Type-C port, although it comes without a plug, is waterproof, which was verified by personal tests. Plus, the rear removable battery cover is equipped with a rubber gasket against leaks. Thirdly, the hardware keys under the screen. Protected equipment is usually used in protected clothing. These can be gloves, mittens or other overalls in which it is not possible to control sensory equipment. In the Land Rover P300, the manufacturer has marked out a number of physical keys under the display – volume buttons, menu, home, back, two function keys and power. Each press has a mechanical response, so you can feel the touch without looking. Fourthly, protected equipment is often used where there is either no connection at all (mines, sea), or where it is weak (mountains, forest). It is for this reason that the developer made a connector for an external cellular antenna in the tablet to amplify the signal. This is very cool!

Usually ruggedized manufacturers lag behind the basic technical metrics such as memory, processor, graphics, but it’s the other way around. The Land Rover P300 has an 8-core Snapdragon processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of built-in memory and there is also a separate slot for a memory card up to 128GB. The 505th video chip from Qualcomm is responsible for the graphics. This is just enough for the eyes to process photo / video materials, work in the clouds with heavy files, and also play around in between work.

From the functionality, I liked the presence of 4G, NFC and GLONASS modules.

Android 7.1.2 Nougat is responsible for the software. Goes straight out of the box. If an update to Android 8.0 Oreo comes out, I will only be happy!

The declared battery capacity of 8000 mAh in the field was enough for me for 8 days. This is not a month, but real numbers.

I still feel euphoria from buying a tablet, I’m happy as a child with a new toy.