Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus review: Nice extras give it an edge over other cheap tablets

With styles readily available in seven-, eight- and 10-inch display screen sizes and priced as reduced as $fifty ahead of Key Working day discounts, Amazon’s line of Hearth tablets have long been the go-to option for discount gadget hunters. But with its 2020 refresh of the eight-inch Hearth Hd eight pill, long the Goldilocks of its line, Amazon is including a twist that may perhaps go away you asking yourself which one to invest in. There are now two eight-inch styles to select from: a baseline Hearth Hd eight setting up at $90 (£90), and the $110 (£110) Hearth Hd Moreover, which provides wireless charging and somewhat superior functionality. The pill just isn’t readily available in Australia but the setting up selling price converts to about AU$160.

Table of Contents

Like

  • More quickly processor
  • Wi-fi charging
  • Rapidly USB-C charging
  • Greater front digital camera placement
  • 3GB of RAM (up from one.five GB)
  • Optional wireless charging dock turns the Hd eight Moreover into an Echo Demonstrate
  • Fingers-no cost Alexa voice-assistant
  • Enhanced battery existence

Don’t Like

  • Display is Hd but not 1080p (could be sharper)
  • Amazon app retail outlet is restricted when compared to Google Perform and Apple app retail outlet
  • Amazon Key membership is a ought to

The two styles glance identical on the outside the house. The Hd eight Moreover is only readily available in a slate shade when the standard Hd eight is readily available in black, white, plum, twilight blue and slate. But apart from the white model, they all have a black bezel all around the display. The two styles make improvements to about the previous 2018 Hearth Hd eight model with a more quickly processor, USB-C charging, improved Wi-Fi functionality and a bump from 16GB to 32GB of storage in the foundation design. The standard Hd eight has 2GB of RAM — that’s up from one.five — and the Hd eight Moreover has 3GB of RAM, which is in which you get the functionality enhance. The USB-C charging does help lessen charging occasions by about an hour from the previous Hd eight, with the Hd eight Moreover charging even more quickly.

The 2018 Hearth Hd eight (still left) is taller but somewhat slimmer than the new Hearth Hd eight and Hd eight Moreover. 


David Carnoy/CNET

What’s a massive deal is that Amazon has moved the front-struggling with digital camera. It utilized to be at the best of the pill when you had it in portrait manner. Now it can be on the facet, so it can be at the best when you have it in landscape manner. That assists when you’re accomplishing video phone calls with Zoom and other video calling apps, like Amazon’s personal. The new design is a little bit wider than the 2018 Hd eight, but it can be shorter and the bezel is now a comparable width all around the complete display, which remains the very same eight-inch sizing. Only a substantial-end pill like the iPad Professional has more display screen and fewer bezel: Other price range tablets ordinarily have huge bezels.  

Thanks to the blend of a new two. GHz quad-main MediaTek 8168 processor and some software package updates, battery existence is now rated at twelve hours of “combined-use” in its place of 10.  The other small improve is that the microSD enlargement slot now accepts up to 1TB cards. Previously, the most capacity was 512GB.

So all in all, there are some sizeable changes. And you’ll have to spend more for them. As said higher than, the standard Hd eight now expenses $90 in its place of $80 and the Hd eight Moreover with wireless charging and the further gigabyte of RAM is $20 more at $110. The selling price for the Moreover goes up another $20 if you invest in the companion wireless charging dock for the Moreover, which you probably want to do.

The Hearth Hd eight now attributes USB-C charging.


David Carnoy/CNET

The two new Hearth Hd eight styles have the very same one,280×800-pixel resolution display as the previous Hd eight. The display screen is technically Hd but it can be in essence 720p and not 1080p. It is fine for looking at videos but it can be not virtually as sharp as the display screen you get with, say, an iPad, which is why you’re paying out a great deal fewer for this. At 355 grams, the new Hearth Hd eight weighs a contact fewer than its 363g predecessor.

A several years back again, the Hd eight appeared sluggish, but its functionality has steadily improved and now it can be very zippy (Amazon claims the new Hd 8s are thirty% more quickly than the 2018 Hd eight thanks to the new processor and software package optimization). It just isn’t as responsive as an entry-stage iPad, which is generally on sale for about $250, but it can be total very clean and I didn’t have any difficulty jogging games like Asphalt nine: Legends. That said, the eight-main processor and GPU — the graphics processor — are more quickly in the 10-inch Hearth Hd 10, which also has a sharper 1080p display. When that design goes on sale for $100, it can be probably the best benefit in tablets. But some folks are searching for a scaled-down, lighter pill and the Hd eight is a important bump up from Amazon’s cheapest pill, the Hearth Hd seven.

When docked in the optional wireless charging dock, the Hd eight Moreover quickly goes into Demonstrate Method.


David Carnoy/CNET

I didn’t see a massive change in functionality amongst the Hd eight Moreover and standard Hd eight, but the further gig does help. Apps open up a contact more quickly and it can help with multitasking and more graphically powerful applications. It by no means hurts to have more RAM, I can explain to you that. 

The Hd eight Moreover seems to wirelessly demand on any Qi-enabled charging pad — at the very least the types I attempted with seven.five watts or bigger charging ability. But you really want the charging dock that Amazon bundles in for an further 20 bucks. Which is because one of the massive appeals of the Hearth Hd eight Moreover is that you can fall it in the dock and it quickly goes into show manner, basically turning your pill into an Echo Demonstrate eight, complete with palms-no cost accessibility to the Alexa voice assistant. It is nonetheless using the tablet’s interior speakers in its place of a genuine speaker and the pill will not have a more comprehensive microphone array for finding up your voice like an Echo speaker does. But it functions effectively adequate and the sound is Ok (it can be fine for looking at video but not so wonderful for audio). You could wirelessly connect a Bluetooth speaker to augment the sound.

I set the dock in my kitchen area and utilized the Hd eight Moreover as a mini Television because I have Spectrum Television as my cable service provider (like the Hearth Hd 10, the Hd eight now has a image-in-image manner for looking at video in a small window in the corner of the display when using the tablet’s other applications). There happens to be a Spectrum app that presents me all my channels on the Hearth Hd eight or Hd eight Moreover so long as I am on my residence network (you get a lessened variety of channels when you’re away from your residence network). You could get a address with a crafted-in stand — Amazon sells a good deal of all those, like its personal properly designed but high-priced addresses — and build the very same established-up for looking at videos. But you wouldn’t be equipped to wirelessly demand the pill at the very same time.

The wireless charging dock is an additional $20, which is a great benefit. 


David Carnoy/CNET

The Hearth Hd eight has normally been a useful pill for consuming Amazon content, whether or not it can be video, ebooks or audio, and it can be nonetheless especially valuable for Key customers. You can also watch other streaming video solutions such as Netflix and Hulu, but the Amazon app retail outlet has normally been restricted when compared to Android and iOS, in particular for games. You won’t uncover apps for Vudu or HBO Max, for occasion (nevertheless the latter may perhaps be coming quicker or afterwards).

The Hearth Hd eight runs on Amazon’s latest Hearth OS, a tailored model of Android P, which was launched in the fall of 2018. And when Amazon will not inspire it, you can install the Google Perform retail outlet by adhering to some directions on the internet. That would let you to operate a great deal more apps. But some folks may perhaps come to feel intimidated by the process.

The Hearth Hd eight is preferred with dad and mom who want an affordable pill for their youngsters. If that’s who you’re shopping for this for, the standard Hd eight is heading to be just fine. It is a great benefit and it will be a discount when it goes on sale. (There is certainly also a $one hundred thirty Little ones Version that bundles in a protecting situation and a year of Amazon’s Freetime Endless all-in-one subscription services that presents youngsters accessibility to countless numbers of age-suitable publications, videos, apps, Audible publications and games).

I like being equipped to wirelessly demand the Hearth Hd eight Moreover and the dock is properly designed. I feel you’ll end up using the pill more because it does double duty as an Echo Demonstrate it can be in essence normally billed and ready to go when you want to use it outside the house the dock. So for me the Hd eight Moreover with the dock bundle is the way to go, in particular if it goes on sale. I do would like the display screen was 1080p, but you apparently cannot have everything at this modest selling price.