Amazon Fire HD 8 2020 review: Higher price, but upgrades keep it a bargain

With designs obtainable in 7-, 8- and ten-inch screen measurements and priced as very low

With designs obtainable in 7-, 8- and ten-inch screen measurements and priced as very low as $50 ahead of Prime Working day reductions, Amazon’s Fire tablets have extended been the go-to possibility for deal gadget hunters. But with its 2020 refresh of the 8-inch Fire Hd 8 tablet, extended the Goldilocks possibility of its line, Amazon is adding a twist that could leave you wondering which a single to purchase. There are now two 8-inch designs to decide on from: a baseline Fire Hd 8 setting up at $90 (£90), and the $110 (£110) Fire Hd 8 Plus, which adds wireless charging and a little improved performance. The tablet isn’t really at present obtainable in Australia but the setting up price converts to about AU$160.

Like

  • Speedier processor than last variation
  • Rapidly USB-C charging
  • Better entrance digicam placement
  • 2GB of RAM (up from one.5GB)
  • Palms-free of charge Alexa voice assistant
  • Improved battery lifestyle

Don’t Like

  • Hd 8 Plus gives great phase-ups for just a little bit extra revenue
  • Display is Hd but not 1080p (could be sharper)
  • Amazon Appstore is restricted as opposed with Google Participate in and Apple Application Keep
  • Amazon Prime membership is a will have to

The two designs glimpse similar on the outdoors. The Hd 8 Plus is only obtainable in a slate coloration when the conventional Hd 8 is obtainable in black, white, plum, twilight blue and slate. But aside from the white variation, they all have a black bezel all-around the show. Equally designs are improved over the earlier 2018 Fire Hd 8 variation with a quicker processor, USB-C charging, improved Wi-Fi performance and a bump from 16GB to 32GB of storage in the foundation product. The conventional Hd 8 has 2GB of RAM — which is up from one.5GB — and the Hd 8 Plus has 3GB of RAM, which is wherever you get the performance improve. The USB-C charging does assist lower charging times by about an hour from the earlier Hd 8, with the Hd 8 Plus charging even quicker.

The 2018 Fire Hd 8 (remaining) is taller but a little slimmer than the new Fire Hd 8 and Hd 8 Plus. 


David Carnoy/CNET

What’s a huge deal is that Amazon has moved the entrance-experiencing digicam. It used to be at the prime of the tablet when you experienced it in portrait method. Now it really is on the facet, so it really is at the prime when you have it in landscape method. That helps when you are performing movie calls with Zoom and other movie-contacting applications, together with Amazon’s very own. The new product is a little bit wider than the 2018 Hd 8, but it really is shorter and the bezel is now a very similar width all-around the full show, which stays the exact same 8-inch dimension. Only a substantial-end tablet like the iPad Professional has extra screen and significantly less bezel: Other price range tablets ordinarily have extensive bezels.  

Thanks to the combination of a new 2GHz quad-main MediaTek 8168 processor and some software program updates, battery lifestyle is now rated at twelve hrs of “combined use” rather of ten.  The other small upgrade is that the microSD enlargement slot now accepts up to 1TB playing cards. Previously, the greatest potential was 512GB.

So all in all, there are some significant alterations. And you can have to spend extra for them. As said above, the conventional Hd 8 now expenditures $90 rather of $80 and the Hd 8 Plus with wireless charging and the added gigabyte of RAM is $twenty extra at $110. The price for the Plus goes up yet another $twenty if you purchase the companion wireless charging dock for the Plus, which you in all probability want to do.

The Fire Hd 8 now features USB-C charging.


David Carnoy/CNET

Equally new Fire Hd 8 designs have the exact same one,280×800-pixel resolution show as the earlier Hd 8. The screen is technically Hd but it really is fundamentally 720p and not 1080p. It is really good for looking at video clips but it really is not nearly as sharp as the screen you get with, say, an iPad, which is why you are spending a ton significantly less for this. At 355 grams, the new Fire Hd 8 weighs a contact significantly less than its 363g predecessor.

A couple of yrs back, the Hd 8 appeared sluggish, but its performance has steadily improved and now it really is fairly zippy (Amazon suggests the new Hd 8s are thirty% quicker than the 2018 Hd 8 thanks to the new processor and software program optimization). It isn’t really as responsive as an entry-amount iPad, which is usually on sale for about $250, but it really is over-all fairly smooth and I failed to have any challenge operating game titles like Asphalt 9: Legends. That explained, the eight-main processor and GPU — the graphics processor — are quicker in the ten-inch Fire Hd ten, which also has a sharper 1080p show. When that product goes on sale for $one hundred, it really is in all probability the best price in tablets. But some folks are searching for a more compact, lighter tablet and the Hd 8 is a sizeable bump up from Amazon’s cheapest tablet, the Fire 7.

The extra costly Hd 8 Plus features wireless charging and is obtainable in a bundle with a wireless charging dock. The Hd 8 Plus automatically goes into Display Method when in the dock.


David Carnoy/CNET

I failed to see a huge big difference in performance in between the Hd 8 Plus and conventional Hd 8, but the added gig does assist. Applications open a contact quicker and it can assist with multitasking and extra graphically extreme purposes. It hardly ever hurts to have extra RAM, I can explain to you that. 

The Hd 8 Plus would seem to wirelessly cost on any Qi-enabled charging pad — at least the types I tried with 7.five watts or greater charging ability. But you genuinely want the charging dock that Amazon bundles in for an added twenty bucks. That is for the reason that a single of the huge appeals of the Fire Hd 8 Plus is that you can fall it in the dock and it automatically goes into present method, turning your tablet into a little something a great deal like an Echo Display 8, finish with fingers-free of charge obtain to the Alexa voice assistant. It is really nevertheless applying the tablet’s inside speakers rather of a real speaker and the tablet does not have a extra comprehensive microphone array for choosing up your voice like an Echo speaker does. But it performs very well enough and the sound is Alright for looking at movie (it really is not so good for songs). You could wirelessly link a Bluetooth speaker to increase the sound.

The conventional Fire Hd 8 is obtainable in white and other coloration selections.


César Salza

I put the dock in my kitchen area and used the Hd 8 Plus as a mini Television set for the reason that I have Spectrum Television set as my cable provider. There takes place to be a Spectrum application that offers me all my channels on the Fire Hd 8 or Hd 8 Plus so extended as I’m on my household network (you get a reduced amount of channels when you are away from your household network). Like the Fire Hd ten, the Hd 8 now has a picture-in-picture method for looking at movie in a small window in the corner of the show when applying the tablet’s other purposes, this kind of as applying a browser to glimpse up recipes. You could get a deal with with a constructed-in stand — Amazon sells a great deal of all those, together with its very own properly made but costly handles — and make the exact same set up for looking at video clips with either the Hd 8 Plus or conventional Hd 8. But you wouldn’t be capable to wirelessly cost the tablet at the exact same time.

The Fire Hd 8 has normally been a handy tablet for consuming Amazon movie information, ebooks and songs, and it really is nevertheless specifically handy for Prime members. You can also watch other streaming movie solutions this kind of as Netflix and Hulu, but the range of applications in the Amazon Appstore has normally been restricted as opposed with what is obtainable for Android and iOS, particularly when it arrives to game titles. You won’t uncover applications for Vudu or HBO Max, for occasion (even though HBO Max could be coming).

The tablet runs on Amazon’s most recent Fire OS, a personalized variation of Android P, which was released in the tumble of 2018. And when Amazon does not motivate it, you can install the Google Participate in shop by adhering to some guidance on the web. That would let you to run a ton extra applications. But some folks could experience intimidated by the course of action.

The earlier Fire Hd 8 was popular with mother and father seeking an affordable tablet for their youngsters. If which is who you are getting this for, the conventional Hd 8 is going to be just good. (You can find also a $one hundred thirty Little ones Version that bundles in a protective circumstance and a year of Amazon’s Freetime Unlimited all-in-a single subscription services that offers youngsters obtain to hundreds of age-proper publications, video clips, applications, Audible publications and game titles.)

I like staying capable to wirelessly cost the Fire Hd 8 Plus and the dock is properly made. I assume you can end up applying the tablet extra for the reason that it does double responsibility as a extra modest Echo Display substitute it really is fundamentally normally billed and all set to go when you want to use it outdoors the dock. That explained, the bundle with the dock is at present $40 extra than the conventional Hd 8, and for some folks which is a huge soar in price if you are searching for a price range tablet.

The earlier Fire Hd 8 offered for as very low as $50 throughout the vacations last (and other flash product sales this year). This a single in all probability won’t go that very low, but anticipate to see it for $twenty to $thirty off at some place in the long term. At $90, it really is a first rate price, and it’s going to be a real deal if it drops to $sixty or $70. I do would like the screen were 1080p, but you evidently are not able to have every thing at this modest price.

Editors’ be aware: Mainly because the Fire Hd 8 reviewed below is incredibly very similar to its sibling item, the Fire Hd 8 Plus, most of this language is borrowed from our overview of that product.