I only just last fall tried my first Amazon Fire HD tablet, the Fire HD 8, and I’ve been fortunate to be able to test out the Amazon Fire HD 10 during some downtime recently.
The Amazon Fire HD 10 is Amazon’s newest tablet; it’s bigger than the 8 (Read the review of the Fire HD 8 here) and has a more widescreen format, it has better resolution and a more powerful processor, plus it has some other improvements.
What’s the difference between Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10?
There are some key differences between Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10:
- size; HD8 is 8” while the 10 is 10.1”
- resolution: HD 8 is 189 ppi (1280×800) while the 10 is 224 ppi (1920×1200)
- storage: HD 8 has 16/32gb storage while the HD 10 allows for 32/64gb
- Camera: HD 8 has a 2mp front-facing camera and a 2mp rear facing camera with 720p HD video recording capability. The Fire HD 10 has a VGA front-facing camera and a 2mp Rear camera also with 720p HD video recording
- There’s more ram and a more powerful processor in the Fire HD 10
- Battery life: same; about 10 hours on both
Speed: Is Fire HD 10 faster?
Some have complained the Fire tablets are laggy. So I compared the Fire 10 to the 8 and to my Apple iPad Pro to see how long it takes to open apps:
Prime Video: 3 seconds on Fire HD 8, 1-2 seconds on Fire HD 10
Netflix: 6 seconds on Fire HD 8, 2 seconds on Fire HD 10, instant on iPad
Calendar: 2 seconds on Fire HD 8, 1 second on Fire HD 10, instant on iPad
Silk Browser: 10 seconds on Fire 8, 4 seconds on Fire HD 10, instant on Safari
So the Fire HD 10 is definitely faster than the 8. Obviously it’s not as fast as an iPad, but it’s also a fraction of the cost and doesn’t have the same processing power.
Alexa on Fire? Does Alexa work in Canada on Fire tablets?
When I reviewed the Fire HD 8, I really liked the experience and found it to be an amazing budget tablet. Even so it did have some serious limitations, particularly compared to our American cousins. For starters, Alexa functionality wasn’t ready or functioning then, and the popular Show Mode option— in which Alexa voice responses are enhanced with full screen visuals also wasn’t working. So I was looking forward to seeing if things had changed.
When I started to use Alexa voice requests, I couldn’t get it to work. At least this time I could see the smart home gadgets I already had connected inside the app, but the voice control option wasn’t working.
Nor was Show Mode. I reached out to a contact at Amazon to double check on these functions, and guess what? They’re still not enabled in Canada. This is definitely disappointing and might be a big drawback for some shoppers.
The speakers on this tablet get pretty loud. I wouldn’t say they’re ultra high quality (because in something this size, that realistically not possible) but they’re good. Holding the tablet horizontally you get the stereo effect and voices are clear. When it comes to music, you can hear it ok using the built in speakers but I think you’re losing a lot of the quality. Music sounds a bit tinny and bass, not surprisingly is minimal. Even so, sound quality overall is good for a tablet of this size and at this price point.
The video quality is again, pretty good, and definitely improved from the Fire 8. The resolution as noted earlier is obviously better, but does that translate into a better viewing experience? Yes, there’s a slightly noticeable improvement, and having the widescreen format gives you more video to fill your field of vision with too.
I do feel the video can be a bit dark, and watching very dark scenes like on The Saint or Bosch was a challenge.
Overall if you’re suing this as a travel tablet or a commuter device, you’ll be able to enjoy all your favourite videos easily.
Charge time & Battery
It seems to take a while to charge the tablet. Some estimates put it at about 5 hours.
What else can you do in Fire 10? Other apps on Fire HD
This tablet is loaded with apps and productivity tools. There’s a web browser called Silk, email, maps, contacts, calendar, calculator, docs, weather and more. If you want to have much of the functionality of a small tablet computer, this device puts it all right in front of you.
Of course a big draw will also be the Kindle app for reading books. Once signed in, you’ll have access to your full library without having to go hunting for them all again.
The Amazon App Store comes loaded onto the tablet so you can download other apps you might want. I quickly added Spotify, YouTube, Netflix, Instagram, Twitter, Google Keep (I LOVE this organizer and note keeper) and a few others. I found many of the daily apps I use on my iPhone are also available in Amazon’s app store, so that was a nice surprise.
Disappointingly, Audible is still not available in Canada, so using that app is still a mystery.
Also, I couldn’t see things like Canadian banking apps, or Canadian News apps.
Overall review of Fire HD 10
I still think this is one of the best budget tablets out there. If you need a tablet but can’t swallow the price of something like an Apple iPad or Samsung, Amazon’s tablets will give you what you need in a wallet-friendly form.
The Fire HD 10 is a definite improvement on the 8 but when it comes to price, you have a question to ask yourself; are marginal improvements in speed and resolution worth another hundred bucks?
Fire HD 8 starts at $99 and the Fire HD 10 starts at $199. I’d say if you’re getting this tablet for a kid, save the money and pick up the 8. If you need it and demand responsiveness, and a slight lag would drive you nuts, then upgrade to the 10.
Find the Amazon Fire HD 10 at Amazon’s website.