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

With models readily available in 7-, 8- and ten-inch display screen sizes and priced as

With models readily available in 7-, 8- and ten-inch display screen sizes and priced as reduced as $50 prior to Key Day reductions, Amazon’s line of Hearth tablets have prolonged been the go-to option for cut price gadget hunters. But with its 2020 refresh of the 8-inch Hearth Hd 8 pill, prolonged the Goldilocks of its line, Amazon is incorporating a twist that may perhaps leave you asking yourself which a single to buy. There are now two 8-inch models to opt for from: a baseline Hearth Hd 8 starting off at $90 (£90), and the $a hundred and ten (£110) Hearth Hd Additionally, which provides wireless charging and a bit superior overall performance. The pill isn’t really readily available in Australia but the starting off value converts to about AU$a hundred and sixty.

Like

  • More rapidly processor
  • Wi-fi charging
  • Speedy USB-C charging
  • Greater entrance digicam placement
  • 3GB of RAM (up from one.5 GB)
  • Optional wireless charging dock turns the Hd 8 Additionally into an Echo Clearly show
  • Palms-free Alexa voice-assistant
  • Improved battery everyday living

Really don’t Like

  • Show is Hd but not 1080p (could be sharper)
  • Amazon application retailer is constrained in comparison to Google Enjoy and Apple application retailer
  • Amazon Key membership is a will have to

The two models appear equivalent on the outside. The Hd 8 Additionally is only readily available in a slate colour even though the normal Hd 8 is readily available in black, white, plum, twilight blue and slate. But apart from the white variation, they all have a black bezel all over the exhibit. Both of those models increase over the prior 2018 Hearth Hd 8 variation with a more rapidly processor, USB-C charging, enhanced Wi-Fi overall performance and a bump from 16GB to 32GB of storage in the foundation product. The normal Hd 8 has 2GB of RAM — that’s up from one.5 — and the Hd 8 Additionally has 3GB of RAM, which is where by you get the overall performance increase. The USB-C charging does enable reduce charging moments by about an hour from the prior Hd 8, with the Hd 8 Additionally charging even more rapidly.

The 2018 Hearth Hd 8 (remaining) is taller but a bit slimmer than the new Hearth Hd 8 and Hd 8 Additionally. 


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What is a large offer is that Amazon has moved the entrance-struggling with digicam. It made use of to be at the best of the pill when you had it in portrait method. Now it is on the aspect, so it is at the best when you have it in landscape method. That assists when you happen to be performing video phone calls with Zoom and other video contacting applications, together with Amazon’s individual. The new product is a bit wider than the 2018 Hd 8, but it is shorter and the bezel is now a equivalent width all over the total exhibit, which stays the exact same 8-inch measurement. Only a large-conclude pill like the iPad Professional has additional display screen and fewer bezel: Other spending budget tablets normally have wide bezels.  

Thanks to the combination of a new 2. GHz quad-core MediaTek 8168 processor and some software program updates, battery everyday living is now rated at 12 hours of “mixed-use” as an alternative of ten.  The other little update is that the microSD enlargement slot now accepts up to 1TB playing cards. Beforehand, the optimum capacity was 512GB.

So all in all, there are some considerable adjustments. And you are going to have to pay additional for them. As mentioned higher than, the normal Hd 8 now prices $90 as an alternative of $80 and the Hd 8 Additionally with wireless charging and the additional gigabyte of RAM is $20 additional at $a hundred and ten. The value for the Additionally goes up a different $20 if you buy the companion wireless charging dock for the Additionally, which you probably want to do.

The Hearth Hd 8 now options USB-C charging.


David Carnoy/CNET

Both of those new Hearth Hd 8 models have the exact same one,280×800-pixel resolution exhibit as the prior Hd 8. The display screen is technically Hd but it is in essence 720p and not 1080p. It is really high-quality for viewing videos but it is not practically as sharp as the display screen you get with, say, an iPad, which is why you happen to be paying out a ton fewer for this. At 355 grams, the new Hearth Hd 8 weighs a touch fewer than its 363g predecessor.

A number of a long time again, the Hd 8 seemed sluggish, but its overall performance has steadily enhanced and now it is pretty zippy (Amazon claims the new Hd 8s are 30% more rapidly than the 2018 Hd 8 thanks to the new processor and software program optimization). It isn’t really as responsive as an entry-stage iPad, which is typically on sale for about $250, but it is all round pretty clean and I didn’t have any challenge managing online games like Asphalt nine: Legends. That stated, the 8-core processor and GPU — the graphics processor — are more rapidly in the ten-inch Hearth Hd ten, which also has a sharper 1080p exhibit. When that product goes on sale for $a hundred, it is probably the best value in tablets. But some people are seeking for a smaller, lighter pill and the Hd 8 is a major bump up from Amazon’s most inexpensive pill, the Hearth Hd 7.

When docked in the optional wireless charging dock, the Hd 8 Additionally automatically goes into Clearly show Manner.


David Carnoy/CNET

I didn’t see a large distinction in overall performance among the Hd 8 Additionally and normal Hd 8, but the additional gig does enable. Applications open up a touch more rapidly and it can enable with multitasking and additional graphically intensive purposes. It under no circumstances hurts to have additional RAM, I can explain to you that. 

The Hd 8 Additionally looks to wirelessly charge on any Qi-enabled charging pad — at the very least the types I attempted with 7.5 watts or bigger charging ability. But you actually want the charging dock that Amazon bundles in for an additional 20 bucks. That’s simply because a single of the large appeals of the Hearth Hd 8 Additionally is that you can fall it in the dock and it automatically goes into exhibit method, basically turning your pill into an Echo Clearly show 8, entire with palms-free entry to the Alexa voice assistant. It is really however working with the tablet’s inner speakers as an alternative of a serious speaker and the pill doesn’t have a additional intensive microphone array for selecting up your voice like an Echo speaker does. But it works perfectly enough and the audio is Okay (it is high-quality for viewing video but not so excellent for music). You could wirelessly connect a Bluetooth speaker to increase the audio.

I put the dock in my kitchen and made use of the Hd 8 Additionally as a mini Tv set simply because I have Spectrum Tv set as my cable service provider (like the Hearth Hd ten, the Hd 8 now has a photo-in-photo method for viewing video in a little window in the corner of the exhibit even though working with the tablet’s other purposes). There takes place to be a Spectrum application that offers me all my channels on the Hearth Hd 8 or Hd 8 Additionally so prolonged as I am on my household network (you get a reduced selection of channels when you happen to be absent from your household network). You could get a deal with with a constructed-in stand — Amazon sells a good deal of all those, together with its individual nicely built but high priced covers — and make the exact same established-up for viewing videos. But you would not be equipped to wirelessly charge the pill at the exact same time.

The wireless charging dock is an supplemental $20, which is a great value. 


David Carnoy/CNET

The Hearth Hd 8 has always been a useful pill for consuming Amazon written content, whether or not it is video, ebooks or music, and it is however specifically valuable for Key customers. You can also observe other streaming video companies these kinds of as Netflix and Hulu, but the Amazon application retailer has always been constrained in comparison to Android and iOS, especially for online games. You won’t uncover applications for Vudu or HBO Max, for occasion (though the latter may perhaps be coming quicker or later).

The Hearth Hd 8 operates on Amazon’s most current Hearth OS, a custom made variation of Android P, which was unveiled in the slide of 2018. And even though Amazon doesn’t stimulate it, you can put in the Google Enjoy retailer by pursuing some guidance on the world-wide-web. That would allow for you to operate a ton additional applications. But some people may perhaps experience intimidated by the course of action.

The Hearth Hd 8 is common with mom and dad who want an very affordable pill for their little ones. If that’s who you happen to be buying this for, the normal Hd 8 is going to be just high-quality. It is really a great value and it will be a cut price when it goes on sale. (There is certainly also a $130 Youngsters Edition that bundles in a protecting circumstance and a yr of Amazon’s Freetime Limitless all-in-a single membership services that offers little ones entry to hundreds of age-appropriate textbooks, videos, applications, Audible textbooks and online games).

I like remaining equipped to wirelessly charge the Hearth Hd 8 Additionally and the dock is nicely built. I consider you are going to conclude up working with the pill additional simply because it does double duty as an Echo Clearly show it is in essence always charged and prepared to go when you want to use it outside the dock. So for me the Hd 8 Additionally with the dock bundle is the way to go, especially if it goes on sale. I do would like the display screen was 1080p, but you apparently are unable to have every little thing at this modest value.